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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat



    Ezekiel’s vision

    After James Pennington-McQueen gave the Associated Students of the University of Arizona the Eric Cartman treatment last month, student body president Tommy Bruce had to go out and find a new Senator, as if finding candidates for this election wasn’t enough. While he could have opted for any one of ASUA’s many lackeys, Bruce widely reached to a relative outsider, Ezekiel Gebrekidane. The Daily Wildcat endorsed Gebrekidane when he ran for the ASUA Senate in 2007, and while his personal narrative as an Eritrean refugee was impressive enough, it was his “”energy and vision”” along with his “”quiet wisdom”” in striving toward increased ASUA scholarships and transparency that led to high support from the opinions board. It goes without saying Gebrekidane will not be able to achieve such lofty goals in a mere five week period; however, his mere presence in the chamber provides a fresh face in an organization that often reeks in its own stagnation. For giving Gebrekidane a chance to (briefly) challenge the status quo, ASUA has earned a Pass.

    October revolution

    This week, an Arizona regulatory review panel approved new rules to give health insurance coverage to domestic partners of Arizona state employees – including those here at the UA. Although the rule change – which technically modified an executive policy rather than a law – could be challenged in court, it’s likely to take effect Oct. 1 of this year. Data suggest that anywhere between 317 and 853 partners will need to be covered by the law, at a maximum cost of about $4.25 million. But the benefits of the new rule far outweigh those costs, especially here at the UA. As UA President Robert Shelton said in a Daily Wildcat article earlier this week, the university’s inability to give health insurance to same-sex couples has been a “”significant issue”” when it comes to hiring. More important, the rule is a victory for equality under the law (or at least, the rules). For respecting the rights of same-sex couples and making hiring much easier for the UA, the new rules get a Pass.

    Lies from Lute

    When UA men’s basketball coach Lute Olson announced his sudden leave of absence last November, he chose to “”reassure everyone”” that the absence “”isn’t a health scare, but rather a personal matter that needs my undivided attention.”” Then this March, he claimed it was a “”medical condition that was not life-threatening, but serious enough to require time away.”” This week, in a press conference announcing his return to the basketball program, Lute said “”there were things going on in my life that did create some health issues that I needed time to address. But it was not a health scare.”” It’s time for the volte-faces from the Silver Fox to end: As one of the highest-paid state employees in Arizona, Lute owes the public an explanation for his absence. For resisting every opportunity to give us one, Lute deserves a Fail.

    Do not abuse

    Lawyers in Sacramento, Calif. are saddling up to battle the police department over their unwitting collection of DNA from Rolando Gallego, a suspect in several area rapes and murders. While police delicately refer to the practice of covert DNA snatching as “”surreptitious sampling,”” lawyers and civil liberties advocates argue it is a violation of privacy, as well as of the defendants’ Fourth Amendment right to avoid unreasonable search and seizure. DNA evidence is used increasingly to implicate suspects, and has also resulted in the exoneration of 128 death row inmates since 1973. While DNA has helped nab the guilty and free the presumed-guilty, the potential for degradation of typical search and seizure procedures is extremely high. Sergeant Micki Links from the Sacramento Police Department told The New York Times on April 3, “”It’s a great tool … our hands are tied on a lot of things … so when we find something that’s within the law, we’re going to use it.”” Yikes. DNA often helps exonerate the innocent and punish the guilty, but the potential for abuse by law enforcement is enormous. For these reasons, we give “”surreptitious sampling”” an Incomplete.

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