Currents

    RIAA continues file-sharing lawsuits

    The Recording Industry Association of America announced another round of lawsuits against students at 17 different colleges for copyright infringement.

    As was the case earlier this year, the RIAA is targeting network users of the i2hub application on the Internet2 network infrastructure. In addition, the association cited illegal student use of copyrighted music in distribution through the Internet using peer-to-peer services such as eDonkey, Grokster, Kazaa and LimeWire, according to an RIAA press release.

    So far, the RIAA has filed 560 lawsuits at 39 campuses this year. Eight UCSD students are included in the latest series of RIAA litigations.

    College students’ debt growing

    The number of students that rely on student loans is growing, up about 40 percent from the 1970s, according to a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

    CEPR reports that almost two-thirds of college students attending four-year public colleges take out loans, with an average debt of $17,600 for graduating seniors. The study also found a higher rate of debt among students from lower-income families. Students of families in the lowest income quartile who graduated in 2003-04 were found to have an average of $16,438 in loans, while students from families in the highest quartile had an average of $15,253. CEPR compared the numbers to 1989-90, and found a 116-percent increase for lower-quartile students and 28-percent increase for higher-quartile students, adjusted for inflation. The study also reported that students from low-income families who attend public schools are one-third more likely to take on debt than students from high-income families.

    Since 1990, expenses for public four-year colleges have increased almost 60 percent, a figure CEPR attaches to rising university costs and public policy due to increased loan opportunities but not grant aid for students.

    “American students are graduating with more debt than ever,” the study’s author Heather Boushey stated in a press release. “We are handing college graduates a bill for more than $17,000 when they receive their diploma. Working your way through college is no longer possible with such a low minimum wage and few grants available to students.”

    Study reports same-sex couple trends

    Data from the 2000 U.S. Census revealed trends about homosexual couples, compiled in a study done by the Williams Project, a think tank from the UCLA School of Law.Titled “Same-sex Couples and Same-sex Couples Raising Children in the United States: Data from Census 2000,” the study found that, among other things, members of same-sex couples are more likely than those in married couples to be employed and have college degrees. The study also estimated that same-sex couples in the United States are raising approximately 250,000 children, with 60 percent of those families made up of two female parents.

    In addition, homosexual couples that raise children are more likely to be an ethnic minority, which “may mean that these parents are more likely to face discrimination in employment or the housing and rental markets,” according to the study.

    Same-sex households with children generally have fewer economic resources, the study stated. The study reported that same-sex parents have lower levels of education than heterosexual parents, resulting in a lower household income. The average household income for same-sex couples with a child is $11,000 lower than the median household income for heterosexual couples with children.

    Campus dedicates new building

    A ceremony opened the new Computer Science and Engineering building this past week, with UCSD alumni, faculty, staff, students and community members in tow. The new CSE structure houses 200 offices, 44 graduate and research laboratories, 11 conference rooms and an auditorium, according to university spokeswoman Denine Hagen. The CSE department will share the five-story, 148,000 square-foot space with Earl Warren College administration.

    The structure will accommodate the increasing number of CSE students, which has inflated almost 60 percent in the past decade. CSE undergraduates will put the building’s seven computing labs to use through course projects such as image rendering, computer gaming and wireless mobile systems, all which require specialized hardware. Architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson designed the building, which was funded by $41 million from the state.

    In the building’s courtyard is “Bear,” a new sculpture by Tim Hawkinson that is part of the Stuart Collection. The 370,000-pound natural-granite sculptured beast was finished this summer, and was dedicated by Joan Jacobs, co-chair of the Friends of the Stuart Collection, on Sept. 30.

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