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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


A semester of sorrows

The end is near, and good riddance. No one appreciates a Debbie Downer mentality, but this semester has seen too many disappointments to ignore. It’s only fitting to recognize the issues of this semester and hope that spring 2010 will not have a similar fate.

The semester got off to a negative start around the time that UA faculty and staff created the “”UA Defender”” blog, an open forum that brought attention to concerns about abuses of power at the UA. The blog called for a vote of no confidence in President Robert Shelton and Provost Meredith Hay, and many bloggers expressed a fear of dismissal for speaking out against Shelton and Hay. A poll, taken by 30 percent of faculty members, revealed “”high distrust and low confidence”” in Hay and Shelton, according to an Oct. 6 Wildcat report. The two went on to host a Faculty Senate in response to the poll results. The issue as a whole faded into oblivion after the meeting. Toward the second half of the semester, the “”UA Defender”” saw a decrease in blog posts, and more speech-related issues swept across the UA campus.

In September, one student was detained and another was arrested for chalk drawings on the UA campus. After the arrest of graduate student Jacob Miller, who started chalking up the campus to advertise a rally protesting budget cuts, Evan Lisull was cited after writing messages like “”chalk is speech”” around campus. In the following days, chalk could be found all over the UA, and many students joined Facebook groups in support of the chalkers. Students called UAPD out for abuses of power and selective punishment. President Shelton ended the debacle when he asked UAPD to drop the charges against Lisull and Miller. Still, a bad taste remained in the mouths of UA students.

On October 8, approximately 10,000 issues of the Daily Wildcat were stolen from newsstands. Due to many contributing factors, Phi Kappa Psi fraternity was suspected to be responsible for the theft. The Wildcat reported finding the homework of Phi Kappa Psi members Alex Cornell and Nick Kovaleski with piles of the missing newspapers on West Anklam Road, and many students stepped forward with information about Phi Kappa Psi’s involvement. Despite this, the Greek Standards Board found Phi Kappa Psi not responsible for the theft. It’s unfortunate that the thieves, whoever they are, got off scot-free and silenced the press.

Finally, Shelton said at a recent Faculty Senate meeting that in-state tuition could rise by almost $4,000 in the next two years. It could go up to $9,920 annually by 2012, and it will surely increase long after that. The increases are meant to make up for the massive budget cuts the UA has suffered in the last two years, and sadly, students will have to pay for this major loss. Who knew having intellectual curiosity could have such a high price tag? Students wouldn’t be crazy to predict further increases as soon as next semester.

In spite of the episodic troubles this semester has seen, there were a handful of positive events that took place. The Fray concert, which was held on Nov. 18 in Centennial Hall, completely sold out. The campus community bonded together to defend the chalk drawers, and the charges were in turn dropped. But the downsides overshadow the upsides, and it’s a shame that so much has been done to censor free speech this semester. The newspaper case remains a mystery and a huge loss for the Wildcat, the chalkers were penalized for voicing their opinions, staff and faculty raised concern about the Shelton and Hay administration, and tuition is inevitably on the rise. Here’s to hoping for a better spring semester as well as a positive start to 2010.

— Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They include Alex Dalenberg, Laura Donovan, Justyn Dillingham and Heather Price-Wright.


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