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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Monday morning quarterbacking: The Wildcat comments on the weekend’s news

    MySpace: The (firing) frontier

    Horror stories about online social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook abound on college campuses, especially now that universities across the country are starting to take stock of incriminating photos. Friday, the Lancaster, Pa., newspaper reported that Millersville University refused to issue a student her degree and teaching certificate after teaching advisers found a picture of her dressed as a pirate and drinking from a yellow cup. A caption under the photo read “”Drunken pirate.”” University officials cited the student’s “”unprofessional”” conduct as the reason for withholding the degree and certificate, but it should be clear to all that content on a social networking site has no bearing on a student’s professional competence. (The student, by the way, received only “”superior”” or “”competent”” ratings on her performance evaluations.) For reasons that have yet to be justified, it would appear that universities are comfortable eroding the line between students’ academic and private lives. But disciplinary action from college officials should be reactionary in nature (not proactive), and only then when a student’s online postings are detrimental to the safety or to the academic mission of a university.

    Arizona is the new Florida

    Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., hasn’t been in office long, but it would seem she’s made true on her promise to tackle realistic goals. Friday, Giffords announced an initiative to bolster the use of solar power in Arizona by combining sensible measures (like requiring homeowners’ associations to allow solar panels on rooftops) with more ambitious goals (like federal investment in solar technology) in an effort to make Arizona the “”Silicon Valley of solar energy.”” In an age that has seen more political grandstanding than actual results, Giffords’ approach is refreshing in its pragmatism and vision, and it’s good to see that at least one Arizona leader is prepared to make Arizona the new “”Sunshine State.””

    No trees for oil?

    It’s true that America has an addiction to foreign oil, but recent movements to shore up domestic production are equally harmful. In a little-noticed provision in a 2005 energy law, a loophole permits energy companies to drill on public lands before public review and comment periods. That’s created a wave of unrest in Colorado, and Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., wants to close the loophole. There are a slew of solutions to solving America’s oil crisis, but precluding ordinary citizens from participating in the process is not one of them. The loophole should be closed, and energy companies should be subject to the same public review other unpopular industries are.

    Changing qualifications

    While students might not realize it, their university’s accreditation status is important for their future – it affects everything from graduate school admission to future job prospects. So it’s nice to know that the U.S. Department of Education is moving to reform the criteria by which accreditation is judged. Friday, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that the Bush administration is pushing results-oriented criteria like graduation rates, job placement rates and state licensing pass rates instead of the quality of faculty or facilities. Hopefully, Bush’s plan will result in universities that are more highly qualified to graduate students effectively and with an eye toward competing in the global market.

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