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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

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    Terror suspects deserve the civil liberties that make U.S. worth protecting

    The Bush administration is right. Giving prisoners held in the war on terror constitutional rights probably will “”severely impair the military’s ability to defend”” America, as Justice Department officials declared Monday. However, if we refuse to extend these rights, if we allow secret trials, if we don’t allow suspects to challenge their detentions, then what is the military really defending? Not allowing the military to carpet bomb Iraq and Afghanistan – and North Korea and Iran for that matter – probably also impairs the military’s ability to defend America. But there is a reason we don’t do that. That is not who we are, and that is not how we wage war. There are ideals that we strive to uphold, and among them are the rule of law and the protection of basic human rights.

    International law requires that persons tried in connection to armed conflict must be afforded certain minimum rights, regardless of their status as combatants or their affiliation with a national military that is a party to the Geneva Conventions. Those rights include a trial before an impartial court, held under recognized judicial standards and practices. The administration’s military commissions violate this important standard.

    Bush has expressed an interest in spreading democracy around the world. What does it say about us as a nation if we are willing to corrupt those ideals in the name of bringing them to others? The terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay deserve to have their cases reviewed in civilian courts. The soul of a nation is found not in how it treats those it likes, but in how it treats those it hates. Those held by our government without formal charges and with limited access to attorneys may very well be heinous murderers. Or they may be innocent men guilty only of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, of being the wrong nationality or of reading the wrong books. But let the courts review their cases individually and make independent judgments on them.

    The Bush administration is afraid public trials in civilian courts will inhibit the military’s ability to defend us. That may be so, but if we suppress civil liberties and human rights in the name of freedom, we have already lost that freedom we hold so dear.

    Brandon Dow
    senior majoring in political science and philosophy

    UA needs to adopt more practical use of resources

    Being accepted to the U of A was an exciting time for me, but I became less enchanted when I began registration. I discovered that in numerous ways the university was unfriendly to taxpayers and adult learners in our state. For example, I discovered that there were practically no courses held after 5 p.m., and nothing was available on the weekend. This presents an insurmountable barrier for working people in our state. Specifically, the UA is a state institution, which means that it receives a good deal of funding from the Arizona State Treasury, which is funded primarily by tax dollars paid by Arizonans. Because the vast majority of people who work in Arizona do so on Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the very people who fund the university are precluded from attending it.

    I also discovered that most courses meet two or more times per week for 50 to 75 minutes per session. I find this astounding on several levels. It generally takes about 15 minutes to find a parking place and march across campus to class. Many people also have to drive to and from the university, and parking is not free. It is hard to understand why the university would have a single class meet several times a week for such short durations of time. People who work may get one day a week off to go to school but probably not two or more. The only legitimate reason I can see for this practice is that memory retention rates may be higher in shorter sessions. I think this is more than outweighed by the increased efficiency of meeting one day per week. It also seems silly to spend more time getting to and from class than one spends in class.

    I find it completely irrational to seek funding for further construction when we leave the buildings we have empty for 16 hours a day. We continue to pay for utilities and loans even when the buildings are not used. With weekends factored in, our buildings sit empty 76 percent of the time. Using these buildings during this time would be the equivalent of expending a one-square-mile campus to more than four square miles. In other words, we could quadruple the size of our campus at a cost of practically nothing by simply making better use of what we already have.

    Were more courses offered at least in the evening, the seats would surely be quickly filled with working people who cannot attend class during the daytime. The increased tuition revenue of just opening the campus on weekends and until 9 p.m. midweek would be staggering. None of the existing courses or staff need to be affected much by such a change aside from some shuffling around and administrative rearranging. As it stands, most working people really cannot go to school here.

    The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution calls for equal protection to be provided in institutions that receive state funding. Unfortunately in this case, being employed does not constitute a protected class of people. Were people being excluded based on factors like race or religion, the university would have been legally compelled to include them. It seems to me that as a progressive university, litigation should be unnecessary for it to open its arms and embrace more of the community that supports it. The result of this would be a furtherance of the cause of higher education, and ultimately, a better society.

    Gary Austin
    special education and rehabilitation senior

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