Writers sound off on the 2003-04 school year

    The student-made sign posted in a first-floor Tioga Hall window read, “”Thank you for screwing us, ResLife.”” But screwed barely begins to describe the consequences of some bugs in John Muir College’s version of the new online-enrollment housing system. Glitches in the computer system completely defeated the purpose of the lottery; you’d really think a school that employs a similar method for 24,000 students each quarter would know to check whether a system was going to work. Conveniently enough, empty rooms were inaccessible during a one-and-a-half-hour period early in the morning, forcing students with early lottery times into their last-choice locations. This would’ve been a mere inconvenience had the students then been able to re-register once the rooms were fixed, but the powers that be decided instead to save this option for those who’d been too unlucky, or too lazy, to register early in the morning. Yes, thank you, ResLife. And here’s to checking for errors before establishing a program.

    — Kelly Gilbert, Staff Writer

    For months, a sign hung in the window of a campus apartment that read, “Support Ralphs: I need food, dammit!” Despite the vagueness of the phrase “support Ralphs” and the fact that Ralphs is by no means the only source of food in the area, the author of the sign expressed a common sentiment during the grocery workers’ strike of October 2003 to February 2004. Some of us appreciated the strike, though, for it highlighted the superiority of small nonunion grocery stores like Trader Joe’s, which have lower prices, comparable selections and infinitely happier and more helpful employees — and, lest we forget, delightful $1.99 Charles Shaw wine.

    — Marianne Madden, Associate Opinion Editor

    The co-ops, a collection of the last student-run businesses on this campus, are being forced to renew their Master Space Agreement with University Centers. Normally an agreement covering things such as rent or utilities, the new agreement removes student control from all facets of the co-ops, reducing independence to A.S. Council-like “”advisory”” whining rights. Not surprisingly, the co-ops do not wish to sign a document that gives administrators the right to shut them down or enter their facilities at will, and University Centers (not surprisingly) refuses to sign anything else.

    This situation could easily be resolved, if both sides could leave their hot-headed stupidity at the door and at least attempt compromise.

    — Brian Uiga, Staff Writer

    Many college campuses have a student-run radio station. UCSD is no different — OK, maybe it’s a little different, in that our student-run radio station, KSDT, has no AM or FM frequency to call its own, and instead broadcasts its eclectic mix of music through the Internet. The student government spends nearly $8,000 on this station each year, which performs a service most tech-savvy college students could provide from their desktop PCs. Contrast this with Student Run Television, a closed-circuit cable TV station that is also broadcast online, but gets $9,000 in the proposed 2004-05 budget. Student government should either cut KSDT entirely and double SRTV’s budget or somehow get the radio station an FM frequency so more students will actually listen to it.

    — Daniel Watts, Opinion Editor

    Although Mel Gibson believes himself to be a natural-born sinner, he couldn’t have made a more impressive show of faith by putting himself out for crucifixion by the media. It is only natural that when someone tries to tell a story that isn’t given clearance by the political-correctness police, they are sorely punished for their individuality with insinuations that their courage is actually anti-Semitism and bigotry in disguise. It’s also no surprise that the best documentary of the year, “The Fog of War,” failed to make a splash at the box office despite being the most important and relevant film to American history this century. Students flock to the theaters to hear Michael Moore beat up their society but aren’t interested when someone who actually lived through tragic and controversial events is giving an honest account of his experience.

    — Robin Averbeck, Staff Writer

    As Michael Moore’s Bush-bashing film “Fahrenheit 9/11” won the top award at the Cannes Film Festival, the controversial filmmaker has been validated once again. When in Europe, Moore’s deconstruction of America is driven by courage and truth; when in America, it’s driven by hubris and a thirst for publicity. Americans may love to hate Moore, but those who violently denounce him and his films simply add to his infamous appeal — and we still flock to his films with morbid fascination. Money talks, and it’s saying that Moore is a winner — nevermind film-festival accolades.

    — Marianne Madden, Associate Opinion Editor

    In less than a year, Arnold Schwarzenegger has rocketed from simple movie stardom to Governator of the most populous state in the Union. Congrats, Arnold, for bringing us out of the gray days of the Davis administration — and for using students as piggybanks, a move that could have many young Californians saying “hasta la vista” to affordable, quality education. It’s easy to squeeze much-needed government cash from students — but it’s not honorable, nor a good long-term policy. Even Davis realized that.

    — Marianne Madden, Associate Opinion Editor

    “”Morality”” has become a catch phrase with negative connotations. It is many times associated with Christian or other religious fundamentalists, with those who are supposedly rigid in their beliefs and uncompromisingly narrow-minded. In the age of gay marriage, continuing abortion debates, stem cell research, “”wardrobe malfunctions”” and daily Iraq tragedies, it is abhorrent to stay on the sidelines without searching oneself for a stance. It’s important to know what we stand for. As a deeply moral country that is more than ever seeming to eat away at its own moral heart, we can’t condemn others for suppressing our beliefs when we don’t even know what to believe. The only thing worse than being immoral is being amoral.

    — Evelyn Hsieh, Senior Staff Writer

    It’s ironic and unfortunate that State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell chose this spring to unveil his radical college-prep-for-all proposal. He announced in March his support for a bill that would require all California high school students, regardless of their past academic history or future career plans, to complete the University of California’s “”a-g”” requirements. If this could be accomplished, it would make California the nation’s educational leader. There is no reason that it cannot happen — except, of course, for the state’s empty coffers. Getting California’s underperforming students up to speed will not be cheap, unfortunately. And ironically, O’Connell’s push comes as more than 10,000 students who completed the “a-g” requirements have been turned away from UC schools due to, you guessed it, budget cuts. Planning to prepare more students for college and then denying them the high-quality public education you’ve been dangling in front of them for decades? That’s just cruel.

    — Claire J. Vannette, Senior Staff Writer

    Iraq is not a “Mission Accomplished””: It is a war in which both sides have lost. The people of Iraq have lost: They are dead, injured, homeless, more anti-American than ever and no more democratic than they were before Saddam Hussein was deposed. Meanwhile, America has lost many billions of dollars, respect in the eyes of the world and over 800 brave soldiers. The only conclusion to this sad string of losses is President Bush losing his job come November.

    — Marianne Madden, Associate Opinion Editor

    Iraq is not a “Mission Accomplished””: It is a war in which both sides have lost. The people of Iraq have lost: They are dead, injured, homeless, more anti-American than ever and no more democratic than they were before Saddam Hussein was deposed. Meanwhile, America has lost many billions of dollars, respect in the eyes of the world and over 800 brave soldiers. The only conclusion to this sad string of losses is President Bush losing his job come November.

    — Marianne Madden, Associate Opinion Editor

    Sometimes, UCSD’s student politicians just need to sit back, take a deep breath and remember that they are college students. Thurgood Marshall College Student Council wages an unending war against all forms of “offensive” conduct on this campus, usually manifested in the form of the latest issue of The Koala. The A.S. Council spends its time trying to influence national politics by passing resolutions criticizing proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Hours are spent debating the minutiae of documents over which the student officials have no control. Student government should focus on improving the lives of all students, not the complaints of the lonely few who take offense easily.

    — Daniel Watts, Opinion Editor

    With her alleged passion for sports, we can only hope that the new UCSD chancellor, Marye Anne Fox, will keep the annual Chancellor’s 5K Run alive — and possibly breathe new life into Triton sports while she’s at it. Surely she can give us some tips on how to scare up some school spirit around here, and I volunteer to give her tips on eliminating extraneous letters from her name. Marianne is more literary, Mary Ann more biblical; but Marye Anne is just a waste of letters.

    — Marianne Madden, Associate Opinion Editor

    Are lecture halls supposed to be places of higher learning — the endless pursuit of academic truth — or ideological training camps, where we’re taught what to think, rather than how to think? Given the fact that liberal-arts professors are more often liberal than not — and the ever-so-remote chance that they might be wrong — it’s only fair to their students that they provide all major theories surrounding the material. As a proud American, I cannot begrudge a person for having a differing opinion, but professional educators should be capable of presenting theories outside of their own. We attend universities to learn how to think for ourselves; what will we do when we’re out in the real world, without the ivory tower there to think for us?

    — Ryan Darby, Senior Staff Writer

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