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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

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    University money shouldn’t fund abortion training

    Recently, the ASUA Appropriations Board was accused of ruling based on personal beliefs because it denied funding to Medical Students for Choice (“”ASUA shoots down board decision””). Yet it can be argued that the decision of ASUA President Erin Hertzog to veto the ruling is equally charged with personal beliefs.

    In the article, Hertzog called MSFC “”Something that we should fund. It is a worthy cause.”” Doesn’t the statement “”a worthy cause”” send a clear signal that the latter decision to veto, though justified by legalities, is backed by a clear pro-choice conviction? Clearly, motivation plays a huge role in this decision. Yet, it is unfair to only accuse the Appropriations Board of having ulterior motives, when the other side is guilty of the same.

    No one assumes the members of ASUA or the Appropriations Board are void of personal beliefs. Yet, the game at play here is who can wrap theirs more masterfully in bylaws.

    Let’s be honest. It is clear that the money recently appropriated to MSFC will be used to directly sponsor abortions. Guised as strict academic training, Gabriel Sarah expressed the true intentions of MSFC in last Wednesday’s front-page article. Sarah said, “”We are the only medical school in the state, and we need to be able to find and train doctors to provide abortions.””

    Sarah gives the impression that the training is not merely for personal development. Rather, it reveals MSFC’s broader agenda, which is one of activism. If the University Medical Center does not conduct abortions now, why would the MSFC pursue training in abortion? If a farmer does not expect rain, why would he plant seed and prepare his field? Such futile preparation just doesn’t make sense.

    Similarly, training medical students to conduct abortions for a university medical center that does not allow abortions is equally futile. Sarah’s comment exposes the true intent of this so-called “”academic activity.””

    Lastly, as a student of this university I am appalled to learn about how my student fees are being used. Abortion is a horrible crime against defenseless human beings.

    Laura AviÇña public administration graduate student

    Meaning of ‘conservative’ subject to change

    In his column “”Conservatives? Not in America,”” Justyn Dillingham spent over 700 words bemoaning the lack of conservatives in our government. To those 700 words, I have two: words change.

    It’s no secret that as time goes on, meanings change, especially when we’re looking at labels – if there’s a label attached to a group of people, is the definition of the word more likely to change or are the people more likely to change? Modern American political conservatism, as nearly anyone can tell, deviates greatly from the original definition of conservatism.

    Self-proclaimed conservatives, if you ask them, will tell you that they’re talking about the new variety. If you asked Newt Gingrich what he thought American conservatism stands for, do you think he’d tell you that it is “”The strong adherence to tradition”” or “”A desire for small government, capitalism, and individualism?”” Sure, there are plenty of old-school conservatives who still call themselves conservatives, but this is a far cry from evidence of some “”smokescreen.””

    These new meanings of old words aren’t evil tricks; they’re called connotations. The fact is, seeing political ideologies as directions on the time line really isn’t going to do anyone any good. Besides, does anyone see Kim Jong II sharing like a Marxist? Are American leftists at all “”liberal”” in the definitive sense or even slightly related to the liberals of the Enlightenment? Hardly.

    Here’s some advice: rather than getting cramps because Republicans don’t fit your preconceived notions of “”true”” definitions, just go with the flow.

    Dan Greenberg political science freshman

    More grad students not necessarily desirable

    I am writing in response to Friday’s Wildcat story “”Federal funding cuts hurt grad enrollment.”” Contrary to the principal assertion of this story, this year’s precipitous decrease in graduate student enrollment is not explained by federal funding cuts.

    I will not go into the details here, but I can say that the reporter for the story would have had better information if she had spoken with the dean of the Graduate College and graduate student representatives from the Graduate and Professional Student Council, instead of Erin Hertzog, the ASUA president.

    Outside of the preceding complaint, I would have liked to have seen better coverage of the issue of whether increased grad student enrollments are desirable. Certainly, a respectable graduate to undergraduate student ratio is a benchmark by which universities may be evaluated. Nevertheless, it may be that increasing or maintaining grad student enrollments at the UA is not in the interests of graduate students.

    In the majority of disciplines, graduate students are funded through teaching or research assistantships, and enrollment in programs in such disciplines is tied to the ability of such programs to employ graduate students. But as the funding available to employ graduate students is relatively fixed, the pay and employment benefits of graduate students are inversely proportional to enrollments (in most programs). While increasing grad student enrollments may be an important institutional goal, achieving the goal could come at a price of limiting the pay and employment benefits of thousands of UA graduate students.

    That said, the UA has already fallen behind its peers in the area of graduate student employee compensation. This fact may bode favorably for UA grad student employees, as the UA will need to improve pay and employment benefits if the institution is to remain competitive in attracting promising graduate student instructors and researchers.

    Paul Thorn president, Graduate and Professional Student Council

    ‘Advocacy’ bill threatens quality of education

    The anti-education camp is at it again. Sen. Verschoor is taking aim at academic freedom by proposing a bill that bans educators from taking sides in any “”partisan controversy”” (“”Bill would ban teacher ‘advocacy'””).

    What are matters of partisan controversy? Certainly there are obvious issues: abortion, Iraq, evolution, gay marriage. But what else? If I’m in a history class, we’d best avoid studying the Spanish Inquisition; we shouldn’t take a stand on the morality of religious torture, considering the debate over Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

    How about the Louisiana Purchase? Was it constitutional for Jefferson to buy territory despite no enumerated power to that effect? There’s controversy over presidential authority today, so let’s cut that from the syllabus; we don’t want to advocate for any side.

    The scientists should be all right though – as long as they avoid Galileo. His conflict with the Catholic Church might remind people of the debate over evolution. We can’t take a side in the science vs. religion debate, so skip that chapter.

    What about Shakespeare? The most prominent author in English literature is definitely safe territory. Except for his sonnets, that is; they express a bit too much affection toward another man. If we teach them, are we advocating male-male love? Are we supporting gay marriage?

    Certainly everyone should learn about the greatest moment in American history: the American Revolution. But wait, we received assistance from (gasp) the French?! I hear that they aren’t too popular in Washington, D.C. cafeterias. Cut it!

    These may seem far-fetched, but that’s my point. Nearly every subject can be construed as controversial by someone. A university’s primary duties are to teach students critical thinking and to challenge them to articulate and defend themselves and their beliefs. Students can’t do those things if they aren’t taught how to engage with complex and controversial subjects.

    A bill such as this is nothing more than a gag order and a threat to the quality of education in Arizona. Everyone who values learning should ask their state representatives to oppose this inane bill.

    Ryan Paul English doctoral student

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