Sunday, July 23, 2017

MTV Offers a Rare Chance to Enlighten

As I wandered around my apartment Wednesday night, I was stopped suddenly, distracted by the program that my roommates were watching on television. The program had mediocre acting and I, at first, thought it was one of those silly drama series, but I was instantly intrigued and couldn't pull myself away from the screen.

There were no commercial breaks and I wondered what station was airing the show. To my surprise, it was MTV. It was the special showing of ""A Hate Crime Revealed,"" the story of Matthew Shepard.

I recalled hearing about the horrific crime that took place in Wyoming and had read an article about it in ""Time."" Though it certainly was not the first crime of such nature and magnitude, the case of Matthew Shepard drew national attention.

The harsh treatment of gays in America, the ""land of the free,"" needed to be brought to light. The events surrounding Shepard's death were unsettling. With its portrayal of the violence of the men who attacked him and exhibition of small-town anti-gay sentiment, the program struck emotional chords.

But the most disturbing part of the story was the public reaction after Shepard's death. There was footage of actual events and protests that transpired after his death woven into the movie. The posters that people made in response to Shepard's death were appalling. Bold letters on posters screamed ""Matt is in Hell.""

To know that the people who made these posters were so-called people of the church was especially disturbing. Those people who claimed to be followers of God were certainly not practicing the unconditional love they believed was so graciously given to them. There can be no resolution when those who should ease the problem only contribute to it.

I am not saying all believers are of the same outspoken and judgmental type, but those outspoken people are the ones who set precedence into the public's eye of what all Christians are like. It is outrageously hypocritical to judge another person without considering one's own faults.

My initial reaction to the show was to praise MTV for sparing an hour of airtime from the bombardment of advertisements. A significant statement was made: This is an important topic that warrants no interruption.

The popularity of MTV with youth adds to the impact. Eager young viewers flip to their favorite music channel to find something very different. MTV hopes their interest is piqued by this show and that they might continue to watch and broaden their understanding of such a topic as hate crime awareness.

Certainly, many viewers were disappointed to miss their regular program and did not even consider what was being shown. Or even worse, the young viewers may have already been conditioned to think negatively about homosexuality and refuse to open their minds to other ideas. It is not that they should completely change their morals and the way they were raised, but they should at least try to gain a new understanding. One does not have to believe in or accept an idea, but an attempt should at least be made to understand it.

It is encouraging to see programs that touch on important events and problems that affect our nation. By educating the people, especially the younger generation, there is hope for less hate in the future.

Recent Wars Are Irrelevant to Our National Security

Dear Editor, I understand President Obama’s plan is to have all of U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014. As a lifelong U.S. citizen for over 54 years, I would like to say the following about these two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, and how they relate to our nation’s history.

Revelle Administration's Actions Backfire

Would you believe me if I told you that Revelle administrators think a 13-inch television is a bigger fire hazard than a wood table, wood desk, wood sofa, wood bed, wood shelves, wood doors, wood closets and wood chairs?

Well, they do.

As ridiculous as this may sound, Revelle college forbids televisions to be left in students' suites, citing them as fire hazards. This inane rule states that a television may only be in the shared suite area if it is being watched and that the moment it is turned off, it must be unplugged and placed inside one of the rooms. If the owner fails to do so, he is written up.

Although we all just love repeating the tedious process of setting up the television and unplugging it shortly thereafter (a very therapeutic way to spend a study break, of course), it is hardly worth the effort just to watch a single television show.

The idea itself is just plain ridiculous. What is so flammable about a 13-inch television? Think about it: The television is made out of plastic, but virtually everything else in the suite is made out of wood or flammable cloth. I am far more worried about the wooden table bursting into flames than the television that sits on top of it.

Furthermore, how can a television possibly be a bigger fire hazard than the microwaves many of us have in our rooms? To my knowledge, more fires have been started by unattended microwaves than by unattended televisions.

How can Revelle possibly justify its claim? None of the other colleges have this absurd rule. I called the provost's office to find out, and was told that someone would call back with information. Unfortunately, no one returned my call, so one can only speculate about the rationale being applied here.

The fact that televisions are electric will not fly; we have electric lights bolted to the walls. Worried about water dripping on it? No, I think that an electrical outlet placed within a foot of the bathroom sinks is a bit more dangerous. Worried about tripping on the power cord? Come on, if you panic during a fire, you're more likely to get your foot stuck in the wastebasket than trip over that. Spontaneous combustion? A television is about as likely to spontaneously combust as a bowl of corn flakes.

Then what can it be? The lack of a sprinkler system? If the school thinks these buildings would be seriously endangered in the case of a fire, we should not be living in them.

While we do not need to have a television in our suites to survive, it would definitely make life a bit easier. Besides, what is so wrong with leaving a small television in our suite? Yes, there is a risk of theft, but if that is a risk the owner is willing to take, then so be it. It is neither the school's responsibility nor its jurisdiction to tell students where they can or cannot leave their televisions.

Keep in mind that these are freshmen students living in the residence halls. Does the administration want us to feel like this is truly our home or like we are guests? A 13-inch television really is not that great a safety risk, and if no one is bothered by it, then why not allow us to leave it in our suites?

Leaving La Jolla is not the magic antidote to rising cost of living

If you think you could save a lot on rent by moving out of La Jolla, you're right. But if you think that by doing that, you could save a lot overall, think again.

Everyone knows that rent in La Jolla is expensive, but you're paying for a prime location. You may have already noticed that the UCSD area is much prettier than, for example, El Cajon.

Rent is usually a person's biggest monthly expense, so many assume that a lower housing cost equals a lower cost of living overall. On the surface, cheap rent can look like a great deal. In reality, it may be an expensive mistake.

It's easy to be lured to an area because it has rock bottom rent. Most people have a psychological fear of spending a large amount of money at one time. Given a choice, most people would rather spend $300 instead of $700 at once, if the apparent item -- in this instance, an apartment -- were the same. But you need to look at more than just rent to know if you are living as cheaply as you think you are. You need to look at time as money, and vice versa.

When you live farther away from La Jolla, rent becomes less expensive, but driving here gets more expensive. Everything else -- groceries, entertainment, clothing -- costs about the same no matter where you live, so we only need to look at the factors with the biggest differences: rent and transportation. For the sake of simplicity, the transportation costs only include the cost of driving to and from school, not your trips to the store, to work or to the mall.

A typical three-bedroom apartment in La Jolla goes for $2,100 per month. If you want your own room, you pay $700 per month. You then drive about four miles round-trip to campus each day, or about 80 miles per month. At 50 cents per mile -- accounting for maintenance, insurance, fuel and car payments -- you pay about $40 per month to drive to school and $50 per month to park there. Your total cost for rent and transportation in La Jolla: $790 per month.

The lowest price you'll find for a single bedroom in El Cajon is about $300 -- many places are more expensive than that, but very few are cheaper -- in a $900 per month three-bedroom residence. Here, you drive about 40 miles round-trip to campus each day, or about 800 miles per month. At 35 cents per mile (driving gets more economical over longer distances), you pay $280 per month driving to school, and $50 parking. Your total cost in El Cajon: $630 per month. At first glance, this seems nice: You have saved $160 per month by moving to El Cajon.

But at what cost?

If you're lucky and you have a job that pays $10 per hour, you would need to work 79 hours every month (70 of them to pay for rent, nine to pay for your trips to school) to live in La Jolla. Your 80 miles of driving to and from campus takes a total of about seven hours. So you would spend 86 hours every month to live in La Jolla, two miles away from campus.

Working at that same $10 per hour job, you would need to work only 63 hours every month (30 of it to pay rent, 33 to pay for your trips to school) to live in El Cajon. But your 800 miles of driving every month tends to take about 33 more hours of your time. You spend 99 hours every month to live in El Cajon, 20 miles away from campus. By living in El Cajon, you have saved $160 per month at a cost of 13 hours of your time. You are effectively compensated for that extra 13 hours at a rate of $12.31 per hour.

If you hate your job but love sitting in traffic, El Cajon could be right for you. If your job is so great that you actually enjoy working there and would rather not waste 33 hours sitting in traffic, La Jolla might be a better bet.

Let's return to location: La Jolla is close to the beach and its weather is temperate. El Cajon is 20 miles away from the beach and in the desert, where it is often 80 degrees during the day and 40 degrees the same night. If you live in La Jolla, you might go to the beach or just exercise more often, since it's more convenient and comfortable to do so. At the very least, you'll save money on utilities, since you won't be air-conditioning your apartment as often. Your savings can diminish rapidly thanks to extra utility costs.

Some more on location: If you live in El Cajon, you have no practical choice but to drive to UCSD. Even with a car, 20 miles is a long way. If your car breaks down, you can't get to school very easily. Even a die-hard transit rider or bicyclist won't do a 40-mile round-trip to and from campus.

If you live two miles away, you can choose from driving, taking the bus -- UCSD provides a free bus pass for routes near campus -- or riding your bike. You could even walk to the Regents parking shuttle and take that the rest of the way to campus. You could also save $50 per month on a parking permit -- or more, if your car ever gets ticketed -- by walking or bicycling.

What if you forget something important at home or you realize you need to study at Geisel Library on a Saturday? From La Jolla, the extra drive costs you $2; from El Cajon it costs $14. Also, the shorter trip only requires one hour of your time instead of three -- remember that you need to account for the time spent driving and the time you work to pay for the trip.

On environmental impact: Driving those extra 720 miles per month really hurts the environment. We're not just talking about your tree-hugging, dirt-worshipper definition of ""environment"" here. Obviously, more driving creates more pollution. But the extra traffic generated by thousands of people who think it's a great idea to live 20 miles away from work or school also clogs San Diego's streets, creates more noise, devours land for more streets and parking lots, and increases the number of vehicle collisions. In short, when so many people do it, it sharply decreases the city's quality of life.

The earlier examples assumed that you were paying for a single room. If you live in a shared room, slash the rent figures in half so that you pay $350 per month in La Jolla and $150 per month in El Cajon. The rent is cheaper, but the driving costs stay the same.

Living in La Jolla now costs just $440 per month. Get ready for a shock: Living in El Cajon now costs $480 per month. You're not only spending more money to live there, but also spending four extra hours at work and 26 extra hours in traffic to do it. Suddenly, paying $150 a month for rent doesn't look so great.

Living far away for ""cheap rent"" does not always save time or money, often ends up costing you more of both, and always ends up costing society more.

The bottom line is that you really need to do the math before deciding where to live. Calculate all your expenses, not just rent, and calculate the cost to society, not just your own.

UCSD Committee Strips Students of Essential Rights

As of this academic year, UCSD students are prohibited from retaining legal representation in administrative hearings of misconduct. By revising section 22.17.16.13 of the Student Code of Conduct, the Student Regulations Revision Committee -- which, despite its name, is composed largely of administrators and staff -- has struck a blow to the rights we have as students to defend ourselves against any university accusation of wrongdoing.

The Guardian condemns any practice of restricting the ways in which students can affect potentially pivotal events in their academic lives. In a process that can have a significant negative impact on people's lives, a process in which students' academic futures can be at stake, no option should be denied students for their own defense.

After the university got burned by the American Civil Liberties Union and its March 1999 lawsuit on behalf of UCSD student Ben Shapiro to revise the campus posting policy, the university took over a year-and-a-half to actually change the policy despite a federal court order to do so.

Despite the university's ""oversight"" in enforcing a federal court order protecting students' freedom of speech, it certainly did not fail to promptly thereafter rescind UCSD students' right to have legal representation in administrative reviews allowed them since 1978, when the Student Code of Conduct was drafted. It seems the university is more concerned with curtailing students' rights than it is with defending them.

It is clear to the Guardian that students' rights are not getting the priority they deserve at UCSD. The new policy certainly does not benefit students, in that students accused of wrongdoing will not be permitted to have professionally trained representation protecting their rights. Student advocates -- who are valuable resources in these situations -- simply have not been through the years of schooling attorneys have, and they should not be the only option the accused have.

It is the view of the Guardian that nobody should dictate to students who are being accused of an offense how they should go about defending their own rights and interests.

Leave Stress and Your Big Ego at the Door

Stress is that Type A devil on our shoulders, whose presence we’ve tacitly decided to accept in our lives. We’ve all silently acquiesced to the fact that meeting deadlines, due dates and major requirements will trump our other personal obligations, like sleeping. As the author of a wellness column, and a self-processed “health nut,” I’ll admit that this description is just as fitting for me as it is the average bio-chem major.

Defense of Anonymous Xenophobic and Racist Statements as ‘Political’ Tarnishes First Amendment

For the second time this quarter, statements in support of Donald Trump have been found scrawled, sprayed and plastered throughout UCSD the Friday night before Tritons-to-be came to visit the campus on Triton Transfer...

Hurdles to Clear: The Student Athlete

I’ve gotten this question more than once. It’s always carefully worded, with the asker’s head tilted in curiosity: “So, if you don’t plan on going pro, then why spend so much time and energy doing a sport?”

Getting and Keeping the Kids Voting

Millennials get a bad rap. We are called lazy, self-absorbed and technology-obsessed. We spend too much time on Facebook, take too many pictures of ourselves and are too involved with the lives of celebrities....

Cram Session

The 2015 addition of social science and critical thinking sections to the MCAT is a well-intentioned move to make admissions more holistic, but the changes will put too much emphasis on non-medical topics.