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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Pulse of the Pac: Jan. 31

    Daily Utah Chronicle
    University of Utah

    “LDS Church’s role in politics legal, disproportionately influential”

    When people outside of Utah think of the state, one of the first words that comes to mind is “Mormon.” The history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is inextricably tied to the history of the state, and as a result, many aspects of LDS and Utah culture are inseparable. With nearly two-thirds of the state identifying themselves as LDS, the word association is entirely understandable. Anyone who is familiar with Utah’s liquor laws or lack of a lottery can tell you that even the politics in Utah are strongly influenced by the LDS Church.

    The involvement of the LDS Church in Utah politics has recently been brought up by the ongoing lawsuit the Utah Hospitality Association brought against the state regarding certain liquor laws.

    To be in violation of the current laws, “The [LDS] Church would have to be doing more than just influencing. It would have to be playing a role in the decision-making process,” said law professor Wayne McCormack.

    Because a majority of the electorate and Legislature are members of the LDS Church, LDS opinions are going to dominate state politics. As frustrating as those who claim that the LDS Church possesses too much political influence might find this, the organization is legally within its rights to express its preferences and lobby for certain initiatives.

    Even if they reach a more specific definition of what constitutes “interfering” in the function of the state, it seems unlikely that this approach will accomplish anything for those hoping to lessen the influence of the LDS Church in Utah politics.

    — Michael Ukkestad, Jan 30 issue.

    Daily Trojan

    “Laptop-free classrooms need to go”

    When was the last time you used a laptop?

    Whether students type an essay in Microsoft Word, scroll through an article in PDF form or compile notes in Google Docs, technology serves as an integral part of our day-to-day college lives.

    Naturally, when professors issue a “no laptops allowed” classroom policy, many students become discouraged.

    Many professors argue that laptops are distracting. But let’s consider why students become tempted to hop on Facebook or to chat with friends in the first place — in many cases, they simply aren’t engaged in class.

    Two-hour-long oral lectures and 50-slide PowerPoint decks full of black-and-white text do not keep students’ attention.

    A recent study by the Southern Cross University in Australia found that Twitter helps shy students share their ideas in the classroom and encourages class participation.

    In the study, students anonymously tweeted their comments on class material and those comments showed up on their professors’ laptops via PowerPoint. In this manner, professors used laptops to engage students rather than distract them.

    Twitter is a great example, but it’s only a starting point. Professors can brainstorm other ways to engage students through the use of online collaboration and technology tools.

    If professors look to technology as a potential medium for improving the classroom experience rather than hampering it, both parties will benefit.

    — Jasmine Ako, Jan. 29 issue.

    The Daily Californian
    UC Berkeley

    “Stopping smokeless statism”

    I am a sanctimonious non-smoker. I have never smoked a cigarette in my life, nor do I ever intend to. I guess you can call me a nicotine buzz killer.

    But despite my fervent anti-smoking attitude, I would never dare to snatch a cigarette out of some unexpecting soul’s mouth in a fit of self-righteousness. While I may detest the unhealthy habit, I understand that it would be grossly inappropriate to enforce my values upon others. Live and let live is my motto, and if someone chooses to “live” by hastening his or her march to the grave, then so be it.

    Unfortunately, our university’s busybody bureaucrats haven’t learned this rule of common courtesy. Just earlier this month, UC President Mark Yudof mandated that all 10 campuses of our university ban tobacco consumption completely by 2014.

    That’s right, fellow Berkeleyans, the administration doesn’t just want to prevent you from harming other students’ bodies — they want to control yours.

    So, I call on my fellow students — smokers and non-smokers alike — to stand up to this atrocious intrusion on our personal freedom. An unenforceable law like this broad tobacco ban should be no law at all. We as taxpayers, students and human beings should have the freedom to live our lives peacefully without some nanny state do-gooders breathing down our necks.

    But, if all else fails, there’s always that hidden spot behind Stephens Hall to light up.

    ­— Casey Given, Jan. 23 issue.

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