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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat



    Graduation gains for UA athletics

    Good news from the UAathletics department: After being penalized by the NCAA for poor academic performance last year, Arizona’s student athletes are making modest gains. Graduation rates are down, and failing to meet the NCAA’s benchmark 60-percent graduation rate last year resulted in lost scholarships for an already struggling football team. Last semester, however, 24 percent fewer athletes were placed on academic probation, according to a report delivered by Jim Livengood, the UA athletics director, to the Arizona Board of Regents last Friday. In the future, UA athletics needs “”to focus on retaining an equilibrium between top athletic performance and academic achievement,”” Livengood said. It’s nice to have more academically inclined athletes, but maintaining that equilibrium does little more than perpetuate a perennial joke. College athletics is big business, great entertainment, and excellent training for future professional athletes – but it’s time to stop pretending that its foremost goal is encouraging academic excellence.

    Guns + Schools = Safety?

    In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy, legislatures across the nation passed a flurry of laws in an attempt to strengthen security at public universities. Arizona has been largely immune to that political reaction – until now. SB 1214, introduced to the Arizona State Senate last week by Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, would allow concealed-carry permit holders to carry deadly weapons on school grounds at any K-12 school, college or university in Arizona. The bill is at the tail end of the safety frenzy, but it continues a very important discussion about school safety and individual rights. There are certainly benefits to this proposal – concealed-carry permits entail an arduous approval process, and would allow for another (if slim) line of defense against criminals who are undeterred by “”Weapons Free Zone”” signs. In light of a school funding shortfall and a $1 billion budget deficit, however, this is hardly the time for such a discussion. Until Arizona can find a way to fund its schools, it can hardly pretend to protect them.

    Satellite fright

    Watch your heads: According to the Pentagon, a disabled American spy satellite is quickly descending out of orbit and could crash into Earth by late February or early March. The satellite, launched from California in 2006, has been in orbit ever since – but a power malfunction caused its untimely demise. Authorities are concerned because its fuel tank may contain Hydrazine, a highly toxic fuel fatal to humans. But the Pentagon is mum on the potential hazards or possible location of a crash, saying only that “”we are looking at potential options to mitigate any possible damage this satellite may cause.”” We think we might as well make the best of a bad situation – let’s see if the Chinese can use their recently tested anti-satellite system to get rid of it. Who says we can’t make friends by militarizing space?

    Obama’s South Carolina surge

    Presidential hopeful Barack Obama won Saturday’s Democratic primary in South Carolina by a healthy margin, with 55 percent of the vote. Comparatively, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards had the support of only 27 percent and 18 percent of South Carolina’s voters. Part of Obama’s victory is being attributed to support from black voters, who make up a larger than average percentage of the Democratic voting bloc in South Carolina, and young voters, who turned out in droves for Obama. Regardless of the demographics of his support, however, Obama’s win ensures that the primaries continue to remain interesting – always a positive change in a nation where political battles appear increasingly predetermined each year.

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