Opinion

A Profitable Future Seen in Space Tourism

They say money can’t buy everything, but apparently $20 million can buy you a seat on a Russian rocket to the International Space Station Alpha. Of course, California millionaire Dennis Tito needed a lot of determination to finish the nine-month preparation course in Russia, which included training on Russian space equipment and a wilderness survival course. Of course, NASA was against it from the start. It maintained that Tito would present a danger to the space station and that the space program is not ready for amateurs in space. How else is Russia going to get the money, though? It’s a poor country that loves its space program, quite the opposite of the United States. Here, we won’t give the space program the time of day. God forbid we should give them more than enough money to make a robot out of Popsicle sticks to send to Mars. I think NASA should take a tip from Russia and start sending up its own tourists. That way, it can’t bitch about the tourists not having enough training. Money does make the world go ’round, but it’s also needed to explore other worlds. What better way to get it than by selling backstage passes to the missions? Once the space program is able to generate enough income, private companies will begin to see a cash incentive to join in and present competition to the government. Right now, the space program is like the U.S. Postal Service — it’s a money pit that no corporation would be stupid enough to take over. But if we can make it pay, oh boy, will the corporations be lining up to get their piece of the pie. There’ll be competition in space again, just like back when the Russians actually had a smattering of money. That would be enough to jumpstart the improvement of the technology. That’s what we need. I mean, if there were only one company that made computers, it would have no reason to improve them all that much. We’d probably all have 386s right now, and we’d think they were super fast. We know all about the capitalism vs. communism debate. Communism is a wonderful idea; it’s very beautiful. But it’s stagnant. Without Sega, we’d all still be playing Nintendo games. Once people want something better, they have to make it themselves. But right now, not enough people in this country care about wanting something better for the space program. Yeah, lots of people do, but not enough. All we need to do is make corporations care about wanting something better so they can offer a better product (and therefore gain more money) than their competitors. One of the reasons so many inventions and technological improvements are made during wartime is that there is a very real, palpable sense of competition. Tito himself is interested in this area as a business venture when he returns to Earth. When the Russians were going to send Tito to Mir, nobody objected. NASA, though it of course had no say in the matter, did not admonish against it. But with Mir gone, Russia felt the need to honor Tito’s contract with its space program and transfer Tito to the International Space Station. According to Tito, NASA didn’t begin objecting until a few months before the actual launch was scheduled. But finally, just in the past week, NASA agreed to let Tito into the American part of the space station on a limited basis — sort of like, “”OK, we’ll let you in, just play nice.”” One of the benefits resulting from this flight is that it will open up the minds of the astronauts and the public to allow amateurs in their midst. Tito said, “”I think private citizens from all walks of life will be able to take the experience … and relate it back to the common person.”” Right now, if Russia gets their way, all private citizens from the rich walks of life will be able to go to space given their determination and aptitude in the training program. But maybe some day, hopefully some day soon, the corporations will take hold of this idea and allow people like you and me to save up a few thousand dollars and hop on a shuttle to a hotel just outside of the earth’s atmosphere and spend a weekend there. Maybe I’ve been reading too many science fiction books. I certainly hope not — we have the technology, or something close to it, right now. All we need is the drive, the passion, the greed to get us there. And when we have it, I’m going to be one of the first up there. I’ll bring my camera and take some pictures for you. ...

Arrest of Milosevic Not the End

Since the two world wars last century, the Balkans have maintained a reputation as the “”powder keg of Europe,”” a reputation that is perpetuated into the 21st century. Although it seems like things are finally beginning to simmer down with the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic and his cronies, it is the start of much more controversy. Last October, there rang a certain hope in the air for those in Serbia. The supposedly unsinkable Milosevic had been arrested. Never in the last 50 years have people compared anyone to Adolf Hitler as much as they do Milosevic. Although the man, whom many believe single-handedly destroyed Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia, has been arrested, it is currently uncertain whether he will actually be charged for his crimes against humanity. Reconstruction has already started. Last year on April 26, Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica announced that initiatives were already being launched to foster understanding between Serbian and Montenegrin authorities. Election plans are already underway. Serbia, however, is still far from peace and healing. The future holds a tedious reconstructive process that most observers believe will be a great task for not only Serbia, but for all of the Balkan states and Europe. Tribal and political conflicts are still potential hindrances, and although the Balkans are more democratic now than they have ever been, it will take more than just the departure of Milosevic to erase the effects of the Communist dictatorship that they have all known. Today, armed Albanians in southern Kosovo still take refuge in NATO’s buffer zone while killing Serb policemen. On the other side, in Macedonia, there is still fighting over the multi-ethnic state. Killings have not slowed quite yet, as eight soldiers were shot in Macedonia two Saturdays ago. These killings are considered the highest death toll in a single attack since last February. The never-unified Bosnian Croats and Serbs do have one thing in common: the American-engineered federation. The United States is arranging to make agreements with Yugoslavia and the United Nations to renew the lease on the 9,000-acre American base in Kosovo for 75 years more. Many criticize the United States for their arbitrary and brutal methods of peace keeping. Some say this “”forced protection”” will soon breed violence among the Balkan states. Then, of course, the question of statehood comes to play. Will the Yugoslav federation continue to exist as one entity? Montenegro and Serbia are likely additions, as is Kosovo. Additionally, the Serbian Mafia threatens Serbian officials who are handling Milosevic’s charges. The future of these states will, indeed, prove a larger catastrophe than Milosevic himself if matters are not handled correctly. Many questions will be raised, and the extraction of Milosevic will not really provide a solution to the Balkans’ problems. While it is certain that his arrest has lifted some of the burden, it has not lifted all of it. Thousands of supporters are still demanding that Milosevic be released, and violence continues to plague the region as you read this article. While all we can do is sit and wait for events to unfold, it is certain that the people of the Balkans have yet to come to a point of relief. ...

A Few Paragraphs on Some Random Topics

I’ve decided that my attention span is so short that I can’t actually write approximately 800 words on any one topic. So, instead of writing on semi-related topics and badly joining them together with opening and closing transition sentences, I’ve decided to write about two random topics, dedicating a paragraph to each. Or rather, several paragraphs each, after my editors are done with it. Or maybe they’ll be done with that last sentence and this one as well. You see, the problem with writing one big paragraph, which I like to do, is that it looks like crap. And then you have to take into consideration that it’s a column. The very definition of a column is something that’s not very wide and rather skinny. And skinny text looks even longer when you print it in newspapers, because they print your words in columns. No one likes to read long strings of crap, but I suppose you do if you’ve gotten this far. But as I was saying, I’m writing on two topics. They are alarm clocks and Black Mountain Road, and they have nothing to do with each other. I hate alarm clocks. I have two in my room, and one on my cell phone. An interesting fact is that neither of the alarm clocks in my room are mine. They both belong to my girlfriend, and I’m holding on to all of her crap while she’s in Spain. My room is like Public Storage, but with lower monthly payments. The one on my desk is what I fondly refer to as “”the loud piece of crap.”” It has a nice, big, red LED and it’s louder than any alarm clock I’ve ever heard in my life. It sounds like a smoke detector. And the other alarm clock, the one on my bedside table, is a Powerpuff Girls alarm clock. Let me stress again that this is my girlfriend’s alarm clock. I think the fact that it is my girlfriend’s alarm clock counters the blatant homosexual implications of having it on my bedside table. Regardless, on regular nights, I set the loud piece of crap for around noon. I have class 1:25-ish, but I take long showers, which might imply that I masturbate in the shower, but I find that rather cold and uncomfortable. I find that places to masturbate are a lot like places to have sex — beds seem to be the best. On irregular nights — let’s say I have a lab at 9 a.m. — I’ll set the Powerpuff Girls clock for 7:30 a.m., the loud piece of crap for 7:45 a.m., and my cell phone for 8:40 a.m. This is what happens the next day: A quiet buzzing will emit from the Powerpuff Girls clock, I’ll wake up, laugh at the ridiculous thought of waking up at such an absurd hour, and turn it off. Then, around 7:45 a.m., a loud, piercing sound will go off, my eyes will shoot open, and I’ll get out of bed, walk over to it and hit snooze. 7:55 a.m.: Repeat, adding profanity. 8:05 a.m.: Similar, coincidentally, to 7:55 a.m., but with even more profanity. The process repeats until 8:25 a.m., when I get sick of the whole process and just turn it off. Then, at 8:40 a.m. my cell phone goes off, I yell some expletives, grab my keys and try to cut off enough people on Genessee to get to class on time. Once I hit campus, I pretty much assume that all driving laws are null and void. Stop signs are optional. I always have the right of way, much like a pedestrian, but in a moving car. Really, I could shorten the whole procedure and extend my sleeping time by at least 20 minutes by just setting my cell phone alarm, but that all seems pretty damn pessimistic, if you ask me. Black Mountain Road doesn’t have a lot going for it. It’s the other road we never talk about. It’s not “”don’t go down that road”” bad, but it’s not exactly Nobel, either. Nobel has a lot going for it: Tower Records, Ralph’s, Jamba Juice, apartment complexes and UPS drop-off locations. Black Mountain Road has street races and drug dealers. That’s right, I actually made a drug deal on Black Mountain Road. It was a real pain in the ass, because whenever you needed drugs you had to drive all the way out into the middle of nowhere. It really paid to buy in bulk after the first couple of times. But then you’d forget to buy in bulk, because you were smoking weed, and when you remembered, you’d buy weed in bulk. It was sort of a Catch-22. On the plus side, there’s a really good Indian place on Black Mountain Road, so if you time it right, you could be a part of a street race, smoke a lot of weed, and then eat the buffet at the Indian place. ...

It's All Just Greek to Me

In a sense, I can understand why some people might turn against a requirement for foreign languages in college. In an age dominated by technology, and by the pidgin English language that comes with it, why should we, one might ask, waste our time learning Spanish or Russian? Wouldn’t that time be more sensibly used learning yet another computer language or some Internet skills? Jennifer Myer Guardian This opinion (which, believe me, is far from hypothetical) reveals some serious misconceptions about the role of education and its place in today’s society. An example of these misconceptions is the confusion between education and job training, and the reduction of the former to the latter. To assume that one’s goal in college is only to learn the skills necessary to find a well-paying job is a common, but hopelessly narrow statement. Education is, or should be, a way of creating curious, open-minded, critical people with a decent amount of cultural awareness and the capacity to acquire more. This distinction is more important than it might look at first. This country ostensibly professes freedom, but freedom entails choice, and choice entails the capacity to critically analyze the cultural and economic messages that society sends us, lest freedom be reduced to an empty shell in which we only choose what we are brainwashed to choose. To the extent that culture is necessary for freedom, so is education in a sense that transcends job training. This consideration brings my somewhat lengthy preamble to the point of the study of foreign languages. For it is true that job training, especially in technical fields, would not require the knowledge of any foreign language (it doesn’t even require a real knowledge of the English language), but it is also true that our cultural environment is sending us increasingly multicultural and fragmented signals that can only be analyzed using sophisticated cultural instruments, many of which are multilingual. To the extent that college education should be primarily cultural, it is fitting that society acknowledges the changed cultural landscape and imposes some language requirements as part of the normal educational process. There will certainly be a legitimate desire to know why, of all the forms that multiculturalism is taking, universities should privilege the linguistic. After all, 20th century media have been primarily visual, and even now the race toward anything multimedia is favoring visual (and, maybe, in a near future, haptic) modes of expression. We can expect that the intercultural influence will often take the form of visual arts, like paintings, cinema, or video; can’t we be just as well-immersed in the multicultural flow without having to learn any languages? I will surmise that language is not just another medium through which a certain type of content is delivered. Language is the social construction par excellence, and it is the matrix in which cultural artifacts, even visual ones, are created. It is not just that without Spanish one will be unable to fully enjoy a Garcia Marquez novel; it is that without Spanish and the knowledge of Hispanic culture that comes with it, one will only be able to have a partial understanding even of the visual work of Diego Rivera. It is not just that without French one will be unable to appreciate a Chabrol film; it is also that without knowing a little French, one will find it hard to understand the environment in which surrealism flourished. The list could go on indefinitely and, of course, one cannot learn all of the languages spoken in the world. Tough choices are necessary, but one has to start somewhere. To be an attentive, critical and aware actor in today’s world, the horizon of one nation or one culture is too short. Universities would give students a disservice if they didn’t include the knowledge of languages with basic requirements like knowing English and mathematics. In a few words: A multilingual culture has become a de facto requirement for any educated person, and it is time to include it as an essential requirement of any college career. The possibility of talking to people using their own language makes life in a multi-ethnic environment such as San Diego much more stimulating, and I must admit that my Spanish-speaking friends were a large part of my initial impulse to study Spanish. This is not to mention the deliciously useless pleasure of knowing, for instance, that the French word for “”man”” is “”homme,”” which comes from the Latin “”humus,”” meaning “”earth,”” signaling the earthly essence of man as opposed to the spiritual essence of the divinity. These factoids will not help me in my job and will not make any money for me, but I find them fascinating. The question, if anything, is this: Why wait as late as college to impose a foreign language requirement at a time when most developed countries are introducing foreign languages as early as first grade? French, German and Dutch students leave high school with seven to 10 years of exposure to one or two foreign languages. Given the condition of American high schools, I doubt that such a solution would be feasible here. So, as a temporary solution, it makes sense to postpone the language requirement until college. Finally, if I can have the presumption to give some advice to UCSD administrators, I would suggest that they make the requirement particularly pressing for science and engineering majors. Whether we like it, engineering activities have a great weight in this technology-dominated society. At the same time, American engineers are singularly absent from the cultural and political debate around technology and the choices that it entails, due, at least in part, to the narrow education that they receive. I am not saying that learning a foreign language, per se, will provide engineers with the necessary cultural preparation, but with languages comes the appreciation of a different social structure, and that will help a lot. It is probably not a coincidence that engineers and scientists in the countries I have mentioned above are much more involved than their American counterparts in the cultural and political life of their respective countries, and that none of the corresponding languages has a word for “”geek”” or “”nerd.”” We can have techno-geeks enamored with their gizmos and happy to spend the night in a lab, or critical, open-minded individuals. Learning a language will not bring us from one to the other, but it will at least be a step in the right direction. ...

First Hundred Days Spell Mediocrity for President Bush

Someone once said that “”history is a harsh mistress.”” George W. Bush, sitting in his office at the White House, must be contemplating those words. At the end of his first 100 days, everyone is giving him a failing grade: economists, environmentalists, Europe, China — even sectors of the Republican party. Bush is discovering that it is one thing to say “”I will be a leader”” in an electoral campaign and a completely different thing to actually be one. These first 100 days have shown several telltale signs of things to come, and none of them are good. It was clear by Bush’s choice of cabinet members that the time of the campaign had ended, and “”compassionate conservatism”” had ended with it. The Bush administration is possibly even more politically extreme and ideologically driven than the Reagan cabinet was, with the additional complication that 2001 is not 1980 and the world is no longer ready to put up with almost everything that comes out of the White House. The Soviet Union is gone, taking with it a good deal of the American grip on the West. The decision of the new administration not to regulate carbon dioxide emissions made it clear that Bush’s industrial backers expect a lot in exchange for their support. This move also gives us some indication of how Bush will value his electoral promises and of what meaning the term “”lying”” will have in the new administration. As late as March 4, Christine Whitman, the new Environmental Protection Agency administrator, had made it rather clear that Bush would fulfill his promises, describing the carbon dioxide policy as if it were already implemented. Only 10 days later, Bush announced that he had “”changed his mind.”” Of course, the fact that the energy lobby group was one of his major financial backers had nothing to do with the decision. It is hard not to notice that the party that conducted a ruthless campaign against former President Bill Clinton on the ethical basis that he “”lied to the American people”” (the legal case had a different basis) helped elect a president who, technically, has already done the same thing. Since the president is Bush, the Republicans have the useful excuse that he was not really lying — he simply didn’t know what he was talking about. Still, Democratic congressmen might want to take notice. We might be getting close to grounds for impeachment. It is clear from looking at Bush’s attitude toward the McCain-Feingold campaign reform bill that he intends to perpetuate the kind of exchange of political favors for money that characterizes his policy. Recently the White House supported a bill sponsored by Senator Hagel as a viable alternative to the McCain-Feingold bill. Hagel’s bill contains so many loopholes that it would virtually institutionalize soft money. The bill would place a cap of $60,000 per year on soft money to national candidates, lift every cap on hard money and allow unlimited soft money donations to state parties. If this is the kind of reform that Bush supports, his benefactors can rest reassured. His behavior in the face of current stock market problems illustrates the fact that Bush and his administration don’t understand the way the economy has evolved in the last 10 years. For the last few months, the United States has lived through the absurd situation of the “”recession that wouldn’t happen.”” The forecasts were gloomy, the stock market was falling, but now inflation is low, the growth, however small, continues and unemployment is under control. Yet when an authoritative and reassuring voice in the administration would have helped restore confidence, our acting president was quoted blurting ominous warnings that made an already nervous economy even more jittery. All this was a cold-blooded political calculation; Bush knows that the only hope his party has of winning the midterm elections is to have all the relatively wealthy, moderate Republicans go vote with fatter tax return checks in their pockets. Clearly Bush is willing to do whatever it takes to pass his huge tax cut for the wealthy, even if it means even deeper cuts to social programs like Medicaid, which the Bush administration is basically wiping out. If the economy is really going to be as bad as the president says, he should be busy reinforcing the safety net for those who will be hit the hardest, not dismantling what little net is in place. With the Bush administration completely unprepared to deal with contemporary foreign policy, the Chinese were able to capitalize on their capture of the American spy plane and get pretty much everything that they wanted. American policy is completely determined by a domestic agenda. Bush should take a more realistic approach and, if nothing else, ask himself what would have happened if a Chinese plane had been forced to land on U.S. territory while spying on us. And why do we expect the Chinese to act differently from the way we would have acted? Every country spies on other countries and, occasionally, somebody is caught with his hand in the cookie jar. In this case, the rules of diplomacy suggest that you apologize like a good boy and go home. The administration only managed to give the Chinese a huge image boost in the diplomatic scene, all because the domestic political agenda of the Bush administration requires an external enemy to justify military build-up. No wonder the international stature of the American president is at a historical low. Judging by the general tone of his first 100 days in office, Bush’s political personality is only a pale shadow of Clinton’s and can be summarized in the word “”de-Clintonization.”” It seems like the main activity of the Bush administration is to reverse Clinton’s executive orders; from privacy protection, the Kyoto protocols and patients’ rights to the presence of arsenic in drinking water, the Bush administration is dismantling everything the Clinton administration did to protect consumer rights, health rights and privacy rights. If this can be expected from a business friendly, right-wing president, the beginning of such a presidency begs the question of whether Bush has a political personality. Will he be able to have a personality after his “”de-Clintonization”” program is over? What will become of a president that can only define himself politically in relation to his predecessor? Many presidents have a rough beginning. The good ones learn from their mistakes, the bad ones keep repeating them. We’ll see what kind of president Bush is. Unfortunately for him, this time Dad’s influence won’t be enough to help him graduate. ...

Capitalism's Ugly Effects Felt at UCSD

Some people seem to view the concept of a university as something that is untouched by the evils of society. Upon closer examination, however, it is clear that universities — especially public universities — are one of the sectors most influenced by the state and its bureaucracy. This is not to say that I equate the evils of society to the state and its bureaucracy. The topic at hand is a more general one: capitalism. We hate to love it, and we love to hate it. It brings us the lifestyle we have been brainwashed to desire while firmly planting guilty consciences in many of our liberal “”bleeding hearts.”” In the words of Marx, it allows us as the bourgeoisie to control the proletariat “”enslaved”” in many of the world’s lesser-developed countries. Overall, there is no way to get away from capitalism.The United States has used the power of capitalism’s message to create a consumer culture which is becoming worldwide. Through radio and TV waves, capitalism was able to break down the Berlin Wall in the eyes of many, and it is now softening the Chinese defense against it. Imagine the potential financial benefits American multinational corporations will have if they are able to transform 1.2 billion Chinese into loyal consumers of American products or services. I can see the dollar signs in the eyes of CEOs across the country. Clearly capitalism is overt on an international scale, but the most interesting data is how evident it is here on our cute La Jolla campus. The ruthlessness of capitalism, which is equivalent to financial Darwinism, here at UCSD? Let’s think for a second. I’m sure many have noticed the current buildings going up around campus. Let’s see: an engineering building, two new parking structures and, as a typically uninformed, fairly apathetic UCSD student, I cannot even say what the other buildings going up will be. And for further thought: I know of two huge engineering buildings already in place here on campus, adjacent to each other. The third being built looks to be of a similar size. These three enormous buildings will dwarf the Literature Building to their right. Some of you might not flinch to know that resources on campus are split up so unevenly. We have three massive complexes for engineering and one medium-sized building for literature, another popular major. The reasons for this particular financial distribution can be attributed to the effect of capitalism on our campus. Engineering is the major of the future. Literature is a major that maintains a certain academic tradition, in which graduates usually pursue teaching credentials of some sort. The donors who made this project possible, whether they be related to Dynes’ 100 million shares of Qualcomm or not, have been brainwashed by capitalism’s consumer- and producer-oriented culture. What does literature produce? Only open-minded individuals, many of them teachers and writers. These people will make a difference in influencing how people will think in the next generation. What will engineering majors produce? People who are controlled by multinational corporations and the state, constructing buildings, computer networks, etc. This is not to say that engineering majors are not valuable. I just think their value is inflated because of the emphasis that capitalism puts on them and their work. Now let’s discuss the other buildings being constructed: parking structures. Three will have been built on campus by the end of the year. What is the objective of parking structures? To provide parking, right? For whom, specifically? One might think parking would be provided for the majority of the people responsible for the success and day-to-day operations of the school: the students. But it is now common knowledge that the construction of all these new parking structures has not increased the amount of parking available to students, but instead decreased it. I was actually unaware of how much of a problem parking on campus is until this morning. It took me half an hour to find a place, and then 10 minutes to catch and take the shuttle back to campus from East parking. Keep in mind I live on campus, at Matthews. This familiar situation of students getting shafted is a common theme here at UCSD. To again paraphrase Marx, it is often the case that the ones producing do not reap the results of their own production. I know we at UCSD are nothing close to the toddlers working in the Nike factories in Southeast Asia, but the relative priorities of those in control of the capital remain the same. In this case, the capital is the university. Without us, UCSD is nothing. But we are held in the grips of capitalism. We have been brainwashed, whether the information is true or not, to seek education at the best university possible. Then we as students will obtain our degree and continue our quest to be upwardly mobile and continue to rise through the elitist classes of society. It is interesting how many (vital word here: many, not all) of my Asian peers who have parents that are first-generation immigrants have adapted to American society so quickly and moved up the social classes so fast. Many of them have, intentionally or not, sold out to capitalism by becoming producers instead of critical thinkers. Funny how there is a disproportionate amount of whities at this school (including me) that are liberal arts majors and therefore nonconformists. Maybe we have lived in this country longer and our choice of major is a subconscious rebellion against capitalistic society. Or maybe I have been at UCSD too long and have been brainwashed to think that I should be a science major. But to get back to my point. We, the students of UCSD, are the producers of the university; society is the consumer of our successful college because they continue to send their kids here. However, the regents own the capital, so although UCSD owes its existence to us, we continue to get shafted in administrative decisions such as those discussed in this article. Only in capitalism could nine people control nine large universities, and, through the camouflaging techniques of bureaucracy, frequently screw over those to whom they owe their jobs to and continue to keep the money rolling in. The regents know the system is too far developed to be changed dramatically. Scheiskopf! It’s a Catch-22! ...

Sacrifices Pay Off With Honors

There is an indescribable excitement experienced when a letter is received in the mail. So, naturally, I was thrilled the other day to see an envelope not resembling any sort of bill in my mailbox. Examining the outside of the envelope, I saw my name printed in thick black calligraphy, and in the corner I noticed the graphic on the return address label: a black graduation cap with gold and silver tassels hanging from it. Then I read the name of the sender: Christine Rose Carrier. I had received a college graduation announcement from my beautiful 39-year-old mother. Opening the envelope, I was overcome with a feeling of pride, yet at the same time, a feeling of regret. I am proud of the years of effort and dedication that she has committed to her schooling, despite other conflicts she faced, which would have forced any other individual to give up. Not only was she a student, but she was a mother, a wife, a working woman and recently became a grandmother. Her responsibilities include more than deciding between studying on Friday night or going to a party. My regret lies in all that she gave up by putting off her attainment of higher education for so long. She was the top of her class in high school, the student body president, active in both sports and academics — but she did not attend her own graduation. She listened to the graduation ceremony from her home across the street. The sweet voice of her friend singing the graduation song came across as she stood alone and apart from the ceremony cradling a new baby boy in her arms. Less than two years later, that little boy of hers had a new sister. This girl was faced with all the opportunities her mother before her had, but she had to stay focused and realize how fortunate she was. Part of my drive to excel academically in high school was because my mother had given up the chance to attend a university because she decided to start a family. I had the ability to do what my mother would have, and I felt I owed it to her because she had sacrificed so I could exist. I would not be here today if it weren’t for my mother and father. The values they instilled in me are my foundation, and I strive to do well for their sakes and for myself. I have to try hard not to forget that fact among distractions. The past two years have been host to staunch competition between my mother and me in our schooling. She attends classes at night and on weekends at University of the Pacific, while I am here at UCSD. We have the same amount of work, but somehow she continues to soar above me in the GPA category. It is ridiculous to say that I have it harder here at this university, because my only responsibility is myself. I don’t have to take care of a family or manage a local business, but I do stay up late at night reading and writing papers for my classes, as my mother does. I often forget how fortunate I am to be at a university now and to be able to graduate in the usual four years. I regret not working hard enough in classes, sleeping through lectures and never cracking the cover to texts, when so many people would give all they have to have the opportunity to attend a university straight out of high school. I neglect to realize how very lucky I am, something many others neglect as well, I am sure. I will forever admire my mother’s courage to sacrifice her college education after high school to have a baby and marry my father. She could have easily chosen other paths, but she did not. I know for a fact that many students couldn’t fathom leaving their education on the back burner, but there are some things more important and eternal, such as a new life and family. My mother is one of the individuals I most admire because she has endured a plight while others would have easily given up. She has persisted with determination and endurance and will be graduating as one of her university’s top students. So I proudly pinned the graduation announcement next to my calendar, anticipating the day I will see my mother walk down the aisle in her graduation cap and gown decorated with honors to receive her much-deserved college diploma. ...

Editorial

A public university such as ours should not allow its students to have their rights yanked out from under them. Vice Chancellor Joe Watson’s decision to refuse to sign legislation that would allow for increased membership to the United States Student Association and the University of California Student Association is an infringement on our power as students. Students approved raising fees to fund the increased membership earlier this quarter, although the referendum will now never take effect. The Guardian feels that the university should follow the lead of other UC campuses, specifically Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, who sent similar legislation to the UC Regents for their approval. Although the Guardian did not endorse the passage of this fee increase, we don’t believe that Watson should unilaterally usurp students’ rights to voice their views to the regents. Since last year, the USSA has given UCSD a grant to hire extra staff to increase voter turnout on election day and has helped staff the Students of Color Conference in February. The Guardian understands Watson’s argument that this is not a UC-controlled organization and therefore we should not sponsor it through referendums. However, students should be able to spend their money any way they please. The students have voted to increase their tuition by $6 next year to increase the school’s participation in the organizations. This money represents additional aid to USSA on top of what the A.S. Council currently gives to them. This means that the administration would not have to pay an extra cent for the added benefits of increased participation. In a school criticized for its apathetic students, the Guardian thinks the administration should want to do everything in its power to increase involvement and quality of the school’s events. By not signing this legislation, Watson is endorsing just the opposite. The $6 per year is not a lot to most students, but it matters dramatically when multiplied by the total number of students at UCSD. This money would do a lot of great things for campuses like ours that are in need of help. The students have definitively expressed what they want and now it is time to fight for it. The Guardian feels that the members of the student body should not accept Watson’s decision and lobby to protect their rights as students. A precedent needs to be set — that we will not allow the administration to act this way on matters that only affect the students. Watson would be wise to consider that the students see potential in this referendum and to follow the lead of other UC campuses and by signing the bill. Although the bill still needs to be passed by Chancellor Robert Dynes, the UC Regents and UC President Richard Atkinson, it will never even be read by any of these individuals without Watson’s approval. ...

Referendum's Proposed Funds Shortchange Some Organizations

I hope it’s not too late by the time you read this. For this entire week, the students of UCSD have had the opportunity to affect the future of this campus. Doc Khaleghi, the A.S. president, wrote in an article earlier this week in the Guardian that the future of this university hangs in the balance. And I have to admit, for better or for worse, our president is correct. But I hope that by the time you read this article, be it at Espresso Roma, the blocks on Library Walk or during a political science 112A class, you have not made the grave mistake of voting “”Yes”” on this referendum. To state it simply, this referendum is bad for UCSD and bad for students. It is positive, but for the wrong groups. The immense costs (and I am not referring only to monetary costs) that will be borne by students outweigh the minute benefits. Do not jump to the conclusion that I am against expanding the Price Center or renovating the Student Center. After all, I have to work in the dingy offices of the Guardian, which are located in the Student Center. But perhaps what I say will open your eyes to how detrimental this referendum is, if I — someone who could gain so much from it — could still actually be against it. I agree that student organizations need to be better funded, that O.A.S.I.S. needs more funding, etc. However, this referendum is not the way to bring about such changes. Admittedly, the extra fee of $71.40 per quarter is worth bringing about positive changes to the campus. What I have against this increase is how the money will be allocated and what I see as a waste of our dollars. According to the Special Election Voting Guide, $19 of the $71.40 will be distributed to intercollegiate sports, while the LGBT Resource Office receives a measly $0.50. The International Center is allocated $0.25, while the Women’s Center gets $0.50. O.A.S.I.S., which is integral to students, receives $2.50. The list goes on. What I see here is a serious misallocation of funds that strays away from what this university holds most important: academics. Just between you and me (and I do not intend to insult the athletes on campus), sports are far from important to the overall life of this school. Yes, we are in Division II, but let’s get serious. This is a school set on academics, and simply throwing money at the sports teams will not change that. It is only the mentality of the student body that can change that fact; wasting our money will not. Another part of this referendum is the prospect of placing synthetic turf on Muir Field. Really now, what the hell is this about? A person just has to ask, “”Why?”” Another drawback to this expansion plan is that it would hardly change campus life here, despite the name of the referendum. This referendum allows for what seems like another Price Center to be built. The expanded Price Center will offer nothing new to students. Will building more ballrooms make your weekends any less boring? Will more student lounges really be useful in keeping you entertained? Perhaps the administration simply wants to keep students bored so they’ll use the expanded study lounges on the weekends. Why not use the funds to build a student union? For god’s sake, CSU Long Beach has a student union, complete with several bowling lanes. The funds should actually be used to help make student life less bland rather than wasting it with more ballrooms and bigger offices for the A.S. Council members. Furthermore, and on a personal note, the way the proponents of the referendum are promoting it is simply annoying and insulting. On Monday, several students approached me while I was quietly munching on my fries. In their hands were stacks of voting guides, which offer statements favoring and opposing the fee increase, trying to seem bipartisan about the issue. However, like Jehovah’s Witnesses, these proponents come up to students, shoving their literature into people’s faces. They preach their values, trying to shepherd students to vote “”Yes.”” They try to capture the apathetic student (which is the majority at UCSD) so they can obtain their 20 percent of students necessary to pass the amendment. They dangle treats such as sodas and cookies in front of students who vote, like a farmer dangling carrots or apples in front of a mule. They try to imitate the political machines of Richard Daley or Bill Thompson by offering promises of greater opportunities if we vote their way. The referendum, however, will not bring greater opportunities. Instead, the referendum will waste student funds. It is a half-hearted attempt at bringing about change on campus, and does so badly. The funds are badly misallocated, not focusing on what is most important to the school and to its students. It offers nothing that would make the weekends of students living on campus any better. The laundry list of promises provided in the voting guide is nothing more than a veil over students’ eyes to keep them from seeing how poorly the money will be spent. Students must take the good with the bad. I admit that not all of the referendum is bad. The increased funds are going to the right places, though not in the right proportions. I agree with the concept that financial aid covers the increased fees for students that qualify. I agree that the two centers need to be able to accommodate more students. Yes, the student organizations need better funding. However, this current plan is not the way to bring about this much-needed expansion. In previous years, students have rejected similar proposals and should do so again this year. Students should continue to reject these proposals as long as they do not serve the greater population of the campus, not just some small minority such as the frats and sororities, or athletes. This is, after all, our campus, and, as Khaleghi wrote, its future is in our hands. Only we, the students, can know what is best for it. ...

Campus Newsletter Manufactures Consent

Editor: While many of the services mentioned in the fee referendum would be great, the referendum is the wrong way to bring those services about. The university and other corporations (for example, fast food chains) stand to make substantial profits from the expansions suggested. What is going to happen with those profits? Since we have paid in full for the construction of the place, shouldn’t the university’s profits (and percentages of the stores’ profits) go toward reducing the student fees once construction is completed? Not only am I disappointed with the content of the referendum, but I am incensed by the costly and deceptive way it is being promoted by the University Centers Advisory Board. For example, what a glorious coincidence that two weeks before the vote, the University Centers Marketing Department released the very first issue of its eight-page “”newsletter,”” Centerpiece. In fact, Centerpiece is nothing more than a thinly veiled advertisement promoting the fee hike. The only reason Centerpiece was not marked “”advertisement”” in bold letters is because it was deceptively marketed as an informative newsletter for students. Perhaps worse than mislabeled propaganda, there are people who are actively suppressing the views of the opposition. Last Monday night, walking through the Price Center, I saw at least 20 signs posted bringing up reasons to vote “”No”” on the fee hike. The next morning, walking to class, I noticed that the signs had all been removed, but about the same number of “”Vote Yes”” signs had mysteriously appeared in their place! Because UCAB is so desperately trying to manufacture student consent by controlling access to information about the referendum, we students should be extremely suspicious of this fee. We should not only be suspicious, but insulted because the University of California is blithely ignoring the fact that for the past two years, similar referendums failed to pass in campuswide elections! Many similar issues are raised at http://www.freeucsd.org. Vote “”No”” on the administration’s unwarranted fee hike. — Eric Thomson Graduate student, Department of Neuroscience ...