Opinion

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. ...

Leadership Requires Staying True to Both Voters and Personal Principles

Dear Littles and Germinates, I was in the Round Table courtyard last spring when they announced the winners of the A.S. elections. I remember watching many faces light up with the Aurora Borealis of the victor, or freeze into the sporting grin of the also-ran. I remember the indrawn breath, and the ripples of applause, and the handshakes. I remember Doc Khaleghi’s near aneurysm after his upset presidential victory. I remember Eugene Mahmoud’s solemn triumph, as he accepted the post of Vice President External with his head bowed and his arms raised high. Most of all, I remember Cassandra Williams’ shriek of joy, and her explosion of physical activity. I swear she jumped high enough to see right into the third-floor office that had just become hers. She landed spinning, thanking and hugging every one in arms’ reach. Forget that new Triton mascot. Who knew that the Tasmanian She-Devil went to our school? And whose bright idea was it to put her in charge of all A.S. events as our commissioner of programming? And who knew she would do so good a job? And how could we let her quit? If you missed last week’s A.S. Council Meeting — and most of you did — let me fill you in. I’ll start by giving you an idea of what A.S. Council meetings are like: lots of odd references and comments that might be inside jokes or absurd blather, with a few traces of phrases suggesting insight. You squint and peer through the bureaucratic murk of meaning, and suddenly, ahh, there! A sudden fountainhead erupts from the spry woman at the microphone: Williams says she cannot continue in her post due to irreconcilable conflicts between the realpolitik of A.S. events planning and the dictates of her religion and morality and conscience. In her own words: “”Officially resigning the position of programmer, I feel obliged to tell you the reasons for this decision. Since before I ran for this position, my family warned me that I would be alarmed about some of the things I saw and that I would either have to compromise my morals or compromise my duties to the office. Of course, I didn’t listen and I took the position.”” “”From the beginning, I was shown some of the darker sides of life. Many people in the industry have tried to sue me, breached contracts with me, harassed and abused me and my friends. This may seem as though I want to live in a bubble of purity, and honestly, I hope it does look that way. You may feel that this is stupid, but Fall Fest was the first time that I was ever exposed to marijuana while I was backstage. “”For months I have been having many personal conflicts between my job and my moral standards. As my mom warned me, one or the other would have to go. Even though I was a proponent of Club Ritmo, and I still hope that the students will enjoy weekend entertainment, I have many issues with the fact that alcohol is served at Porter’s Pub during the club’s operation. I’ve just been struggling for so long, and it has definitely resulted in me not desiring to go to my office, to have anything to do with programming at all.”” Lord Acton wrote that power tends to corrupt, but said nothing about how power tends to cling. Nobody likes leaving a job half finished, especially when it means giving up a significant amount of authority, extra-especially when that authority comes hand-in-hand with responsibilities to people who voted for you over somebody else. Holding power and staying uncorrupted pales in comparison to the challenge of letting go of the reins when the time comes. Williams faced both these challenges and prevailed. Don’t take it from me alone! Read what Matt Powell, our vice president of finance, had to say: “”A.S. is probably one of the most conflicted groups on campus. Members of A.S. regularly face the trial of living out their values in a system with political jockeying and duplicity. Some of the positions even force people into value judgments they never would have anticipated when running. Williams’ decision to step down was one of the best ways of dealing with this conflict that I have ever seen. This campus could use more leaders like Williams who are willing to stand firm in their convictions. Perhaps if more people were as strong as Williams, the support could have been there to actually change circumstances and prevent the loss of a great member of Associated Students. As it is, she has chosen the path that should command the respect of those who voted for her last spring.”” Some of you gossip-mongers may now be slathering for more details. You won’t get them from me. Go and seek her out, if you need to know Williams’ exact denomination, actual experiences or other particulars. I don’t think it’s any of our business. She made a statement of personal principles, standing firm on her own two feet, and it is this act that earns her my respect, admiration and praise. It’s not that I agree with her about the dangers of drug use. I’m not even sure that I do. Williams inspires me by her demonstrated willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of her principles. We all need a moral compass … we also all need to know how to follow it. Some attest that here at UCSD we stroll daily through a playground of sin. Maybe you don’t prescribe to such a concept, and maybe I don’t either, but the fact remains that ours is a community rifled with lax morality. When was the last time you stood up in a group and said “”I have no power to stop you, but I believe that act is wrong?”” When was the last time you witnessed a wrong, be it a tipsy drive to the store and back, a racist or sexist joke, or the kid next to you cheating off your exam, and took that leap of self confidence necessary to express your disapproval? Too many times I have looked the other way, knowing that this is San Diego, and nobody likes a fuss down here. None of us approves of apathy, none of us accepts the foolish notion that because this is the south (just as much as Texas) things are different here. And yet we do not stand up for our beliefs. To stand against the silent crowd of so many other unvoiced opinions requires a strength and purity of inner vision, a clarity that is hard to come by amid the collegiate chaos. Rabbi Lisa Goldstein, one of our campus ministers, notes another challenge students face. “”College years have such potential; often for the first time in their lives students are deeply confronted with different values systems and new ways of seeing the world. They have the opportunity to test the systems of morality in which they were raised and make decisions about the directions for their life paths. Whether those decisions are informed by thoughtful reflection or by peer pressure often depends on the individual’s level of awareness.”” If there’s anything you have learned from our recently resigned A.S. programming commissioner, it should be that we cannot underestimate the importance of awareness and clarity. Lacking them, you run in circles around yourself. Possessing them, you can match thought to deed and thus free (or save) your soul. Williams found them and took action. And so she is my hero. ...

A Practice Exam for Valentine's Day

Just a friendly reminder: By the time you read this there will be less than two weeks between you and Valentine’s Day. What are you going to do about it? A: Run out and begin a cheap and meaningless six-week fling to avoid being alone? B: Stock up on chocolates, ramen and down comforters so you can hide out for a good week before and after the dreaded day of love? C: Look into the wide world of personal escorts? D: Binge, purge, binge, purge, binge? Or, hopefully, E: None of the above? This is where I come in. Believe me, I know the pressure of Valentine’s Day that hangs over the heads of those in and out of the blessed state of couplehood. No matter who you are, the big V-Day brings a challenge. For those with someone to call “”honey,”” it’s like a final exam — arbitrary, hard to study for, a huge source of performance anxiety and an easy way to screw up something you know how to do right. For those living la vida sola, “”el dia del gran corazon rojo”” — for those of you experiencing espanol deficiency syndrome, that’s “”day of the big red heart,”” often brings a case of the blues instead of a vase of flowers. No matter which end of it comes at you with a pointy stick, this day dedicated to the uplifting power of love can easily become a 24-hour, all-you-can-eat sour grapes special. And, to quote the guy who paraphrased the bard, “”that sucks.”” How do we avoid being one of “”les miserables”” — for those of you still struggling with francophobia, that’s “”frowny folks”” — when fateful Feb. 14 arrives? Do the same thing the stationery suppliers do: Take stock now and plan ahead. Maybe you’ve got no particular sweetie-sugar-pumpkin-cupcake-lover-dearest, and you’re in no rush to change your ways. Good for you! Spend the weeks to come contemplating the people in your life. Who are the joyful souls, who are the fast and firm friends, who are the blessings in human-guise you wake up looking forward to seeing? Thank yourself for finding these people, and thank them for being there to be found. When the time comes for hearts and Hallmark cards, be that cool kid who gives homemade cookies to everyone. Maybe you’ve got someone in mind to trade treats, or even swap spit with, but don’t know if you’re on that someone’s mind yet. Put yourself there! Send flowers this week, anonymously, asking for a date on the upcoming wishful Wednesday. Get an anonymous e-mail address and request a wish list for the perfect evening. Then make it so, Number One. If you don’t have the confidence for this maneuver, keep up the secret admirer front through V-day itself, and know you’ll be covertly making your crush’s day. In either event, make sure to shower affection on some other special people (Mom, Pop, sis, etc.) who you know will reciprocate. Not all the eggs in one basket, not all the candies in one envelope, eh? Maybe you already have that special somebody. People who don’t have such luck may think V-day is easier from the inside of a couple (or triple, quadruple or Darkstar sex cult, etc. This is a new millennium after all, and we are in college, in California no less). People who don’t have that special somebody do not understand the subtle hell that Valentine’s Day can become. It’s that final exam phenomenon. Except that in academia, sleeping with the person who writes the test usually bodes well (but it’s bad — very bad). In everyday life, dating/kissing/sleeping/whatevering with the person who’ll be grading you on your V-day performance only ups the ante. Here’s my best advice if you have a siggy — for those of you who aren’t masters of my personal made-up slang terms, that’s significant other: Take stock and plan ahead. Perhaps these words seem familiar. That’s because I’m an environmental columnist, so I always recycle. Take stock by thinking of what special tricks in your voluminous romantic repertoire you haven’t trotted out lately. Surprise your siggy. Do it a week in advance, thereby taking the pressure off, showing you can be spontaneous, and giving you a chance to say “”So what should we do on Valentine’s Day, together?”” This is the planning ahead part, of course. Valentine’s Day is tough all over, but it need not be a black mark on your calendar, folks, no matter who you are, no matter who you are or aren’t with. Let me leave you with two final bits of recycled wisdom: 1) Love is something that if you give it away, give it away, give it away … Love is something that if you give it away, you end up having more. 2) “”It’s the thought that counts,”” is only really applicable if you are schizophrenic. ...

A Hole in One For Equality

The Supreme Court has the duty to allow Casey Martin the right to use a cart in golf tournaments so that there will be an end to the exclusion and discrimination of the disabled. Courtney Takashima Guardian The controversy surrounding Martin’s landmark case is whether the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour has the right to exclude golfers with disabilities, or is required by law to make some reasonable accommodations. At stake is the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, which banned discrimination against the disabled in public accommodations, including golf courses and entertainment sites. The law requires “”reasonable modifications”” for disabled people unless such changes would fundamentally alter the nature of the place or event. Martin is unable to walk the entire length of the tournament’s course due to an incurable circulatory disorder in his right leg that makes walking painful and potentially dangerous to his health. In 1997, Martin sued the PGA Tour for not complying with the ADA, which gives him a right to use a cart during tour events. A federal district court in Oregon, along with a San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, agreed that the golf cart merely gave Martin an equal chance to play, not an unfair advantage. Yet, the PGA Tour could not accept having the court dictate how its sport should be played, so it appealed to the Supreme Court. The PGA Tour argues that allowing Martin to use a cart gives him an unfair advantage over the other players, who must walk. It is obvious that Martin has an inherent disadvantage from the onset because he cannot walk the course without injuring himself. Therefore, the game only becomes fair by allowing Martin to use a cart to get from hole to hole so that he has the chance to compete. Martin’s right to use a cart is not an advantage, but a way to give him equal opportunities as the other competitors. The PGA Tour also argues that the people who run the sport are the ones who should make the rules: Either a golfer walks the entire green or cannot play. No exceptions, no accommodations. These rules leave the sport of professional golf open exclusively to the able-bodied and closed to anyone with some sort of disability. Yet this arrogant attitude ignores the equality and inclusion principals of the ADA, and instead tries to supersede the PGA and any other sport above the law, subjecting the players to its arbitrary will. If the PGA Tour prevails in the Supreme Court, society will be split into the healthy and so-called able people, and the disabled and disease-ridden people who must accept their limitations and submit to the elimination of their civil rights. The argument that the disabled cannot compete with able-bodied people sets an ominous tone, the complete exclusion of the disabled from our society. We already have separate, special schools for some of the disabled. If Martin loses, there will be a complete separation of the disabled from mainstream sports. Next, society may segregate the disabled into specific jobs, separate from the rest. What’s next? Separate drinking fountains or restaurants for the disabled? It’s not so far-fetched, with a not-so-distant past of deeming African-Americans unequal under the law. If Martin loses, society is down the slippery slope, allowing all our rights to be compromised. Once the rights of one group in our society are compromised, it is only a matter of time before someone takes aim at everybody’s rights. Therefore, it is imperative that the Supreme Court rule in Martin’s favor in order to maintain equal opportunity and protection for all under the law. Otherwise, we might as well throw out our Constitution, Bill of Rights and all of our federal laws as obsolete and utterly useless. It is clear that all the PGA Tour wants to do is to protect its precious, elitist sport and its perfect image. What about the law? Isn’t it supposed to protect the strong and weak alike without favoritism or discrimination? The PGA Tour asks Martin and other golfers to play by the rules. Yet they are unwilling to play by the rules of human decency and equal protection for all. Congress specifically stated in the ADA that “”the Nation’s proper goals regarding individuals with disabilities are to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency for such individuals.”” Thus, it is clear that the ADA was made to end discrimination and to promote inclusion of disabled people into the mainstream, but it is obvious from this current controversy that the law did not do nearly enough. However, the underlying reason why discrimination persists is not really the law, for the law is on the books and ready to be properly enforced. The problem lies in society’s view of what a disabled person can and cannot do, which hasn’t changed much within the last decade. The Martin case is merely a reflection of society’s attitudes as a whole toward disabled people. Only if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Martin will the ADA finally be given the ultimate power to stamp out discrimination against disabled people. A decision to let Martin use a cart does not fundamentally alter the game of golf as his foes argue. Instead, it physically forces a change in the consciousness of the people who make the rules in sports to be as inclusive and nondiscriminatory as possible. By protecting the disabled from discriminatory practices, we are not only reaffirming our Constitutional truths of equal opportunity and protection under the law, also ensuring the preservation of the rights we hold dear. Thus, the only acceptable decision by the Supreme Court is that the use of a golf cart gives Martin an equal chance to compete, not an unfair advantage. Anything else would be a betrayal of our constitutional ideals. ...

Wanted for UCSD: MBAs and LLDs

I have put my time in here at UCSD. I’ve shed my blood, tears and sweat. I’ve flunked my classes and I’ve aced my classes. I’ve felt heartache, headache, backache and knee ache … the list goes on. I’ve witnessed the glory of succeeding and the agony of defeat. And, as the Dimension of Cultures pin states: “”I Survived DOC.”” Now, with only one-and-a-half quarters left in my tour of duty here, I can look with unveiled eyes to the future and wish for something more for my soon-to-be alma mater. UCSD is a prestigious university, believe it or not. Nobel Prize winners in various fields have taught here and many currently do. You see all those names plastered on the buildings in Revelle? Most of them are Nobel Prize winners in physics and biology. Academically, our campus is best known for its biology, physics, fine arts and engineering departments. Our graduate schools include a top-ranked medical school across the street from Center Hall, and a world-renowned international relations school with a fine arts graduate school in the plans. Down by La Jolla Shores is the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, one of the best marine biology schools in the nation. Then there is also the Jonas Salk Institute across the street from North Parking. Yet, comparing UCSD to other top-ranked UCs, mainly UC Berkeley and UCLA, something seems to be missing from the landscape, and no, I’m not referring to beautiful women. What UCSD needs is a business school and a law school and we need both for several reasons. The main question that comes up is “”Why doesn’t UCSD have schools in business and law?”” I wish I could answer this. The reasons would certainly make this article much more interesting. In my opinion, UCSD seems to be in a perennial, uphill fight to be a legitimate prestigious school. We always seem to be on the fringe, almost crossing that line, joining UCLA and Berkeley as top-notch UCs. But the lack of a business school and the lack of a law school are the two stones that are weighing us down. And please note that UCLA and Berkeley are not the only UC campuses that offer these two schools. UC Irvine, UC Davis and UC Riverside all offer a business school, law school or a combination of both. If second-tier universities like UC Irvine or UC Riverside have these schools, why don’t we? By offering a Masters of Business Administration degree or a Doctorate of Law degree, or preferably both, UCSD can make that final leap and join the top 10 schools in the nation. We are all aware that our campus is known for its great biology programs and the No. 3-ranked medical school in the nation. However, few know about the excellence of the fine arts here or the school of engineering. By having a business school that rivals UCLA’s Anderson School of Business and a law school that rivals Berkeley’s Boalt Hall, UCSD can be known for more than just spitting out doctors and researchers. Another reason for having a business school is how well it would complement the renowned economics department here — and I’m not saying this just because I’m an economics major. Economics and management science are popular fields here, though about one-third of the students chose one of these two majors because they couldn’t hack it in computer science or engineering. I’m sure the economics and management science majors can hardly believe it, but “”U.S. News and World Report”” ranks the economics department in the top 15 in the nation. Though economics and business administration are different, the three majors could be incorporated into one school. With the building of a business school, new — more specialized — majors could be offered. Instead of a general degree such as economics or the slightly more specified management science or business administration, degrees in accounting or operations management could be offered. The same applies to a law school. Similar to the economics department, the political science graduate program is in the national top 10 and staffed by renowned professors. Besides famous profesors, the department currently has two world-renowned graduate schools in international relations: the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies and the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. While most political science majors here continue on to law schools on other campuses, it is high time the school started keeping these bright graduates. Why produce such bright students if we’re not going to keep them? And as most political science majors here wish to continue on to law school, it is only logical to have one. Obviously, these two schools cannot be built in the near future. But that does not mean plans should not be developed to start looking into the possibility of having such graduate schools. With the expansion of the university to include a sixth college and a rising student population, as well as rising prestige, it seems inevitable that UCSD should get a business school and law school. These are the only things that are keeping UCSD down. Having these schools would put UCSD on the map and guarantee that our campus would be considered seriously among the best in the nation. ...

Careful Examination of Anti-Zionist Arguments Sheds Light on Movement

With all the controversy over Anti-Zionism Week, I felt a strong desire to abuse my status as a Guardian senior staff writer and completely tear apart the Anti-Zionism Week arguments. I wanted to prove anti-Zionism to be the anti-Semitic travesty that the Union of Jewish Students purports it to be. As an Israeli Jew, I didn’t see a difference between Zionism and Judaism, and Anti-Zionism Week seemed to be an event completely fueled by hatred — hatred of Jews, my people. I was astounded that my A.S. funds were going toward something so atrocious. As an opinion writer, I could have simply written an opinionated piece based on my own assumptions without doing any research at all, and I did. I wrote an eloquently designed article reiterating everything that you could read at the UJS booth on library walk. I even quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. But when Anti-Zionism Week was postponed, for whatever reason, I chose to do some research into the topics of Zionism and anti-Zionism. All of a sudden the controversy over Anti-Zionism Week took on a different nature … and so did this article. I am not going to trash Anti-Zionism Week as an anti-Semitic event, to the dismay of many Jewish students and the pleasure of many Muslim students. Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. It is a religiously motivated political movement against a religiously motivated political movement. Though many anti-Zionist proponents may be anti-Semitic, the foundation of the movement is not. As with most controversies, the heart of this one lies in a fundamental misunderstanding. In this case it is two differing interpretations of what anti-Zionism means. According to UCSD Muslim Cultural Club President Eahab Ibrahim, “”Anti-Zionism seeks to return the people of Palestine (Palestinian or otherwise) to the dignity that they had before the Zionists had taken over.”” If you ask UCSD UJS President Wade Strauss, Anti-Zionism Week is “”equivalent to having Anti-Semitism or Anti-Jew Week.”” To find the basis of this misunderstanding, I had to define Zionism. Prior to 1948, Zionism was defined as a desire amongst Jews for a return to the Jewish homeland in Palestine. Its roots can be traced back as far the sixth century B.C., when Jews were exiled from Palestine to Babylon. More recently, in the late 1800s, Theodor Herzl brought Zionism to the limelight in response to various Russian and European “”pogroms,”” or massacres of Jews. After the establishment of Israel, Zionism changed into a movement aimed at maintaining Israel’s status as a Jewish state, as well as making it possible for Jews all over the world to be welcome in their homeland. Anti-Zionism is more difficult to define concretely. Anti-Zionist sentiments have been around since before the Jews were exiled to Babylon and have seen a resurgence in popularity since 1948. Even before Israel was established, there was a strong anti-Zionist push to prevent Jews from attaining Israel as their own independent state. Modern anti-Zionism is thought of as a political movement seeking the return of Israel to its previous owners. Anti-Zionism is not particular to any religion, but it has a predominantly Muslim following due to the fact that Israel is located on land that was mostly inhabited by Muslims before 1948. Some argue that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism; let me dissuade those beliefs. Anti-Zionism calls for an end to Zionist activities, which may be considered racist against Arabs and the return of refugee Palestinians to their homeland, not the removal of Jews from their homeland. In the United States, we often pride ourselves on our separation of church and state. Israel may be the Jewish homeland, but that is not an excuse to give Arabs and non-Jews second-rate citizenship. Israeli Arabs are boycotting the upcoming Israeli election in order to make the statement that their vote means nothing. Having a Jewish homeland means a place to go where I can feel safe and at home among Jews, not a place where I want my non-Jewish friends to feel ostracized. I am not anti-Zionist. Zionists were essential in founding and building Israel, and I applaud that. But in more recent history, Zionism has played a role in creating a major schism in the Jewish population of Israel, and has been a stone around the neck for the peace process. When Yigal Amir killed Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin in 1995, many people could not believe it was a Jew that killed him. Not only is Amir a religious Jew who cited Jewish law as his reason for killing Rabin, he has been associated with many right-wing activities, activities that could be considered Zionist. Amir is an extremist, and I cannot say his views are expressed by all Zionists, but I will go so far as to say that many right-wing Israelis share similar, less militant views about the peace process. The faction between Zionists in Israel and those more willing to give land for peace grows continually. This upcoming election only exacerbates the problem. With the recent Palestinian uprising, many Israelis are losing faith in the possibility of a real peace treaty. This lack of faith has made Ariel Sharon, a right-wing Israeli, this election’s front-runner. Ironically, many consider Sharon the cause of this recent uprising. I would consider Sharon a Zionist. Zionists in Israel are generally those who are against land-for-peace treaties, especially when parts of Jerusalem are involved. Extreme Zionists are against any land-for-peace treaty, and in some cases against the whole peace process. Despite the rhetoric Sharon has spouted during the election, I firmly believe that once elected, he will revert to his historically right-wing views on the peace process. I fear that with Sharon as prime minister, years of effort toward peace will culminate in a war. I would never say Zionism is bad. Without it there wouldn’t be a Jewish homeland. But I don’t believe that any Arab should have been removed from his homeland to make room for a Jewish homeland. The decision to split Palestine into Israel and Palestine has been the cause of many deaths, and in this situation, I believe no one is right. Jews have lived in Israel for centuries, since before the time of Christ. But so have Muslims and other Arabs, and there is nothing that makes the Jewish claim to Israel more persuasive than the Palestinian claim. Muslims and Jews alike cite religious documents as proof of their claim to the Holy Land. I cannot accept those proofs; I live in the present. I would prefer it if Israel’s current status were examined. Anti-Zionism Week is intended to raise students’ awareness of the Palestinian/Muslim struggle for a homeland, much as Zionists must have done to help bring about the 1948 Israeli Declaration of Independence. There is nothing wrong with raising awareness, as long as it is not blatantly motivated by hate and does not perpetuate lies in order to sound sanctimonious. Take me, for example: Had this week not occurred, I would have never even considered the Muslim/Palestinian argument. I would have assumed it was completely anti-Semitic and brushed it aside. Instead I have learned a great deal about the Palestinians’ fight to regain their homeland in Palestine, because I looked beyond the rhetoric and found out the facts. I conclude by saying I am still pro-Israel but also pro-peace, and pro-land-for-peace. This isn’t just about an exchange of land for a halt in terrorism. Giving land back would be an acknowledgment of the former Palestinian homeland. If Jews deserve a homeland, so do the Palestinians, whose families have been there for centuries. Before I resign from this topic, I have one final message to the Muslim Cultural Club: The biggest problem with Anti-Zionism Week is its title. Why not “”Pro-Palestine Week,”” or something more positive, instead of an attack on a fundamental Jewish principle? ...

Loss of Counselor Frustrates Students

Megan Cunningham is the counselor for the Visual Arts department here at UCSD. She deals with more than 650 students, helping them chose the right classes and make tough decisions about their majors. She basically helps each student in deciding his or her future. Her job is definitely not easy. Not only must she deal with the frustrations and confusion of over 650 artists, she has to do it all by herself. If anyone were to visit Megan’s office, they would find a long line of students outside her door. She is available for just 3 hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 6 hours on Tuesdays and Fridays. That might not seem too bad, but if you think about it, you’d change your mind. For example, say she was able to crank out a session every 10 minutes. That would mean that she would be able to see 18 students on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and twice that on Tuesday and Friday. That’s 126 students a week. That’s with no breaks and no leeway, which is pretty impossible because some students need more help. No one can work like a robot (although Megan comes pretty close at times). Besides, there are over 650 students! (I do realize that in reality not all 650 show up at once, but it sure does feel that way when you’re waiting all afternoon for an appointment.) Cindy Fang, a second year ICAM major, said that she once waited 30 minutes in line, went to class, came back, and waited until the end of the day, and still was not able to see Megan. There are many stories of frustration and angst from the ICAM and VA students concerning the lack of accessibility. Megan is well aware of the problem herself and has talked to her employers but to no avail. Now she has left and art students will have to go to someone who does not possess the 16 years of experience that Megan does, for guidance. This ticks me off. I am a third year, tuition-paying student majoring in Media, and I expect the university to keep my best interests in mind. I believe that, just as I am responsible for going to class and doing the work, the university has a responsibility to provide me with adequate and competent counselors to advise me on the best way in which to go about graduating. I do not believe that by refusing to hire someone to help Megan and letting her leave was beneficial to the students in the least. It does not make me feel secure knowing that for the remainder of this year and the next, I will be going to someone who is new to Megan’s job (since she was the only one doing it before) and is learning as he or she goes. After all, who’s going to train him or her with Megan gone? Maybe I’m overreacting, which is doubtful, but it just doesn’t make sense to me why the Art Department would refuse to hire someone whom Megan can train to help her. You would think that they’d be tired of the throngs of students that congregate in the cramped courtyard in front of the Visual Arts office, but apparently not. Although they might not mind the long lines, the students certainly do, and a new-be at the desk won’t help to shorten them anytime soon. Think about that. Here we are paying all this tuition, (and overpriced material fees if you’ve ever taken any VIS or ICAM classes), and they refuse to hire another advisor to alleviate not only Megan’s suffering, but the students’ as well. Does this sound stupid to anyone else? ...

Temptation Island Fails to Survive the TV Wars

The Germans have a word, “”Schadenfreude,”” which has been adopted into the English language. It means “”pleasure from someone else’s pain,”” and it describes the only reason I can think of that someone would want to watch the new FOX show “”Temptation Island.”” The plot of the show is this: Four couples, each of whom have been together for several years, go to Ambergris Caye, an island in Belize, for two weeks. Once there, the couples meet up with 13 single men and women. The men in relationships choose a single man to vote off in “”Survivor””-like fashion, and likewise the involved women choose a single woman to give the boot. Next, each contestant chooses a single member of the same sex and blocks their partner from formally dating this person. Of course, this heightens the attraction between the pair of blocked people. After this, the couples separate for two weeks straight, only communicating through occasional video messages delivered the next morning. The men stay in Captain Morgan’s Retreat, and the women stay on the other side of the island, across a jungle, in a hotel aptly named “”Mata Chica,”” Spanish for “”girl kills.”” While apart, the couples can do whatever they please. Prearranged dates with singles are common, visiting places like the Maruba Jungle Spa for “”intimate mud massages,”” or going to secluded beaches for picnic lunches, speed boating or scuba diving with sharks. This, at least, is what the show’s producers tell you on the Web site and in the promos. They make it sound like a nice place, like somewhere I wouldn’t mind going with my boyfriend. But when the single women start betting odds for who can “”hook it up”” with a coupled guy, and when the host smiles that much, you know there’s something wrong. The dates the couples go on are recorded on camera, and the night after each date, one person from each couple gets to choose whether he or she wants to see their partner’s dates. The catch is, if they choose to watch, their partner is forced to watch theirs. And if they choose not to watch, their partner cannot watch theirs. This “”highlight”” video of each date is chosen by the producers and is usually the raciest part. The partners use this arrangement to spy on, hide from, or get revenge upon their mates. The dates themselves seem arranged to generate risque, or “”Belize-style”” shots as the producers put it. Upon entering the Maruba Jungle Spa, one pair is told, “”This is disposable underwear. This is what you’re going to wear. This and only this.”” As the girl of the pair put it, “”It was hard to relax completely knowing that we’re basically wearing close to nothing.”” This is not my idea of a first date. I’m not sure I’d want to know the kind of person who’d want to be next to naked with someone they’d barely met before. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I think of first dates as dinner some place — McDonald’s, even — followed by a movie or play, the girl and guy talking most of the rest of the time about who they are, trying to figure out if the other is the kind of person they wouldn’t mind getting naked in front of. The people involved in this whole mess ooze hypocrisy. One of the couples lied on their application papers, claiming that they had no children together when they had one, placing the child’s life in turmoil. The show’s host admits this, yet claims extensive background checks were done. On the first day after dating, the girls “”feel worried about the states of their relationships with their partners.”” To help cheer themselves up, they have a “”boisterous Jacuzzi party and a romp in the ocean”” with the single guys, helping the destruction of their relationships further along. After one girl, Mandy, sees her boyfriend’s first date, she cries, upset at seeing someone else showing affection for him, despite her reason for going on the show: “”She believes she needs to see other girls wanting Billy because it will strengthen her devotion to him.”” After being so hurt, her next date — perhaps coincidentally, perhaps arranged by the producers — is at the Maruba Jungle Spa with a singer and poet who ends the date by rubbing his bare nipple with watermelon chunks and licking rum off Mandy’s stomach. Again, not my idea of a reasonable first date. Billy, who encouraged Mandy with his video communication to have a good time, cannot finish watching the highlight video of Mandy’s date and turns away in anguish. OK, I know you’re saying, “”These people chose to come to this island. It’s their own fault.”” You’re right on the first count, but I seriously doubted any of them saw the call for cast members and thought, “”Hey, that sounds like fun! I’m looking forward to humiliating myself and causing terrible pain to a person I love dearly!”” Accused of causing the demise of American morals on an Internet chat, the show’s host Mark Walberg said, “”I would much rather know if I am with the one I am supposed to be with before I get married than after.”” Asked if he would participate in something like the show, Walberg said, “”No way.”” When prompted for an explanation, he said, “”For me, personally, that is not the way I would want to find out the answers about my relationship.”” I’ll agree that the show doesn’t diminish American morality. The show wouldn’t be as popular if the public thought it was immoral. The producers are simply caught up in the “”Survivor/Big Brother/Truman Show”” ideas, mixing it with a bit of Jerry Springer and soap opera for attraction value. They’re riding the wave of “”reality television,”” creating a show where there are no real winners, no prize for staying together or breaking up. Yeah, just like reality, only there are six black people, one or two Asians and around 32 rich people out of 34 total. Walberg blows off the fact that they all have to be attractive by saying, “”After all, it is Temptation Island!”” I’ll believe it’s reality TV when they bring a few homosexuals, more ethnic groups, some old people, some children, and some average-looking people to a public place like a park, and tape what happens. That is reality. That is what we live. Only when we admit that, we can start improving interpersonal relationships and dealing with our prejudices and preconceptions in mature way. ...

Employers' Rush to Judgement Leads to Job Discrimination

Unfortunately, I now know how a person who has been falsely accused of a crime feels when the guilty judgment comes in. Though my situation is not the conventional experience in which a judge, jury and jail are involved, the feelings when that life-changing decision is imposed are almost identical in many ways. Helplessness, utter despair, anger and frustration reverberate through your mind as the guilty sentence replays like a broken record again and again, or in my case, the decision to deny me a job because I have lupus. Not unlike how a prosecutor may view a pile of prior convictions as enough evidence to substantiate an arrest on new and unrelated charges, my potential employers’ doctors looked at my medical history of hand pain and made the assumption that since I have the “”big, bad lupus,”” I couldn’t do the job. Funny, though, that no one questioned my abilities before my 10-minute physical exam in which I disclosed I had mild lupus. I had passed the required background investigation, interview and polygraph test without any problem. But with the mere mention of lupus, bam, all my abilities and qualifications went out the window, and all that flashed in my potential employers’ heads most likely was: Proceed with extreme caution — risk, risk, risk! This “”rush to judgment”” decision was made without any effort to collect the necessary evidence of my current medical condition of improved health over the past couple of months. It was almost as if once they knew I had lupus, that’s all they needed to know about me. So due to this “”rush to judgment,”” it wasn’t surprising that I was denied the job in which I had so many hopes. The only upside to this unfair experience is that it has given me a new-found empathy with those who have been falsely accused and convicted for a crime they did not commit. I agree that my situation is really nothing compared to that of people who have lost their freedom in a miscarriage of justice — for once the guilty verdict is in, the life as a person knows it is gone. Yet that rush to judgment, the discrimination on the part of my potential employers, cost me a job that would have provided money for tuition and the needed jump-start to begin my trek into the legal field. But most of all, that discrimination cost me the right to choose my own destiny. For I was instead arbitrarily deemed not capable to do the job of researching on the computer the backgrounds of alleged felons and preparing reports for the court. So I pose these questions: So what if I have a chronic illness? Does that fact automatically disqualify me from the right to make a living? Isn’t it my right to choose the course of my destiny, and by extension any job that I qualify for as long as I hold up my end of the bargain and do the job to my highest ability? Franklin Roosevelt had a physical disability, yet it did not affect the job he did for our country. He led our country through the two major crises of the 20th century, the Depression and World War II. Would we even dare to try and tell Roosevelt that he couldn’t be president because he had a disability? Maybe the better question to ask is: Did that disability deter Roosevelt from leading our country successfully through those two major crises? The answer is an unequivocal no. He is arguably the most influential president, and he did it all from a wheelchair. Disability and illness do not define a person, not if that person doesn’t let them. So why, then, do employers choose to see people in terms of a disability rather than by their qualifications and abilities? I submit that it’s less of a risk to hire someone who is supposedly healthy than someone who has a disclosed problem — it’s an easy and convenient cop-out to our American ideals. Yet I have always envisioned an America where a person is first judged by his abilities and qualities rather than any disability. I have always thought America the great champion of the underdog, to give that underdog a fair chance. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I expect from my country based on our Bill of Rights. So here is my plea. All I ask is that the same standards that are used to judge disease- or disability- free people are likewise used for my evaluation. View my case for employment based on its merits, not by any personal preconceived notions or by the so-called weight of the preponderance of evidence. I have the right to determine my own destiny, so take warning: I will not let discrimination stop me. I will not go down without a fight. After all, I have the law on my side. ...

Nuclear Missile Defense Shield is an Unrealistic Goal

President George W. Bush did not waste much time in affirming that a nuclear defense shield would be one of his priorities during his administration. Nuclear defense was brought to prominance during the Reagan years under the title of the Strategic Defense Initiative, later deemed “”Star Wars.”” Many claim that the money that Reagan spent on this pipe dream forced the Soviet Union to attempt to keep up financially, an action that eventually broke Mikhail Gorbechev’s nation and led to its downfall. Giving credit to the SDI for the fall of the Soviet Union may not be justified, but the Guardian feels that attempting to finish the plans that the SDI started would be a mistake of catastrophic proportions. It is now estimated that a nuclear shield would cost American taxpayers a dollar amount numbering in the trillions. Considering the fact that every trillion dollars that the federal government spends costs the average American about $3,500, the Guardian feels that this exhorbitant sum of money could be better spent elsewhere in the budget. Moreover, we are not certain if all our money and expertise can build a missile shield that would work properly. Tests have been less than successful so far, and most of these tests were done under conditions that make the shield more likely to succeed. Success in life-like situations could be decades away or more. Another point to consider is the reaction from other countries to the building of such a weapon. All great nuclear powers now live under the shadow of M.A.D., meaning “”mutual assured destruction.”” No nuclear country is likely to attack another because of its opponent’s ability to fire back. Due to this system’s implementation, no country has used a nuclear warhead in combat since the United States did in World War II. With the building of a missile shield, the U.S. government would essentially be counting down the seconds left in the life of M.A.D., and entice other countries to bomb the United States before they lose the chance. Even if the U.S. government plans to use the shield strictly as a defense mechanism, the major nuclear opponents of the United States will no doubt see this measure as a way of defeating a second strike, and therefore a way to make a first strike possible. This instability is another important reason why it should not be built. There is no doubt that Bush has some of the finest political minds in the world working for him. It is because of this that his decision to push forward with the missile shield is curious. Whether he is simply trying to make Americans feel more secure, raise his popularity levels from their current meager levels, or he thinks this plan will actually work, the Guardian feels he should reconsider his decision before he makes things worse. ...