Category: Editorial

April 19, 2011 Editorial

Journalism should amplify the conversations that people are already having.  At The Northern Light, that’s what we try to do. Journalists often report on what they think people should know instead of what people actually want to know.  TNL reports on things that are relevant to the UAA campus.  And TNL tries to remember that their…

April 12, 2011 Editorial

On Thanksgiving morning 2004, I walked through Hallandale Beach, Florida, at two in the morning. The Dixie Highway was devoid of traffic, and the only other movement under the sea of streetlights was a group of locals making their way south.

As we approached one another, the tall, lanky kid in front, about my age, asked me if I had a quarter. I didn’t.

A couple of minutes later, a lonely car passed our little rendezvous. If the driver looked to his right, he would have seen five or six black men in a circle; taking turns at kicking a white kid around like he was a hacky sack.

Later that morning, I watched the sunrise from an IHOP corner booth, my table damp with coffee and blood. I was still wondering what had just happened.

When I told that story to a few natives of the area, their response stupefied me. Their reactions were filled with f- this and n- that. One person said that if I didn’t hate black people after that, what would it take to convince me?

Let’s take a step back, first, and for a few idyllic moments, pretend that America is a still an outpost of liberty and opportunity, and that this is a nation free of racism and bigotry.

In 1620, a band of English settlers pursued their religious freedom by fleeing to a place called America.

1787: A group of revolutionaries against the English crown proclaimed their independence. They declared their new nation free to speak, assemble, and worship however they liked.

It’s 2011, and we, the descendants of those traitors, allow radical ideas like individual freedom, responsibility, and tolerance to sway us when they’re challenged, and yet we persist in our ignorance, playing quick-draw with our six-guns, shooting our enemies with fear and loathing, but have the audacity to assert our position as the greatest nation on Earth.

Just imagine if America fulfilled those ideals we set out for her. If she never lost sight of her purpose, and kept it intact through love and war and tragedy, we’d be that place refugees still dreamt of retiring their status as burdens. We’d be that place composed of understanding, open-minded humans, free to practice peace as well as our religion.

Just imagine if America let human potential live up to human potential.

We’d be those people that world looked to when they needed guidance. We’d be standing next to every person in the world demanding their freedom, fists in the air, in every Tahrir Square across the Middle East, and we’d be the ones maintaining that if you don’t have a place to go, I’ve got an extra couch and an ear if you need it. I may not comprehend your story now, but I want to, so tell me, and we’ll write this history together.

The truth is that we demanded our freedom once, but we’ve forgotten what it’s like, so we need you to show us how to stand up for our rights as humans, because in the midst of this political madness, we’ve been dividing ourselves into little groups and factions, screaming at each other and slinging grenades, when all we need to do is sit down and listen.

One day, we’ll understand that it doesn’t matter what’s on our bookshelf, and it doesn’t matter what god we pray to, or whether we grew up in the desert, in the mountains, or the city. We’ll realize that we’re all in this together: that group of kids in Florida, you, me, and Muammar Qaddafi.

April 6, 2011 Editorial

Over the years childcare rules and regulations have changed immensely.

Some for the better, and now some are for the worse.

Research shows that children who start getting an education before the age of five will have a better chance of doing well in school. The opportunities for a child will have more success if education if enforced on a regular basis.

Although there is currently more emphasis on book smarts than on life skills for most children, the balance should be relatively even.

During this day and age it is almost impossible to raise a child without the help of daycare professionals. Life, as we have all learned, is expensive and most parents are forced to work full time, 40 hours a week, five days a week.

The struggle is even harder for single parent homes, which according to the 2011 US Census, includes 14 million American families.

These facts have demanded focus on one issue: when do we draw the line? When do the rules become ridiculous?

Parents are leaving their children in the hands of daycare professionals for forty hours a week.  Whether we like to admit it or not those daycare professionals help raise them during the hours the parents work to provide for their children financially.

And as most daycare providers can tell you, families of all kinds bring their children in, including those with difficult family situations, odd schedules, state assistance and foster care. For some of these children, daycare was the only form of stable adult contact.

According to OCS (Office of Children’s Services), on average 1,200 children each month are placed in foster care. The average stay in the foster home is 23 months. For these children, the need to be loved and nurtured is even more necessary than the average child.

The fact is children need to be loved and nurtured. Children at this age are learning how to deal with emotion, a process that most adults struggle with throughout their lives.

And now daycare classes around the Anchorage community are no longer allowed to say, “I love you.”  That phrase has now been changed to “I like you.”

Parents should be happy to know that the people who spend forty hours a week with their children love them.  Of course, there is nothing that can take away the love between a parent and child. But there are different types of love.

A daycare provider who spends 40 hours a week minimum with a child should love these kids. If not, these teachers are clearly in the wrong profession.

Children tend to have more faith in someone they know loves them than in someone they don’t feel loved by.

For a parent who is enforcing some form of punishment on a child, typically they still want the child to know that they love them. This is no different for a daycare provider. Timeout is the most common form of discipline for daycare providers, but when discussing the issue with a child the child still needs to know they are still loved, even if they did something wrong. How can this be expressed without the expressed balance of love and structure?

As a former daycare provider myself, I have seen the issue come up numerous times.

In one instance, a child was being disciplined and put in timeout. As the four-year cried and regretted her bad choice she asked if I still loved her, how was I supposed to tell her I didn’t, or that I just liked her?

Kids look for love; they need the reassurance that they are loved. If they don’t get it at home, they deserve to receive love from somewhere else.

Better loved from the background and fingerprint checked employees of your daycare, than a stranger.

My response to this the child, was “Of course I still love you.” It wasn’t a lie. Never could that love be anything compared to that of the parent, but I would do anything to help these children if they needed me – without one second’s doubt.

This is true of most daycare professionals and rest assured, the ones who don’t love your children are not the ones saying they love your children.

March 29, 2011 Editorial

Arizona is considering legislation that would further loosen gun laws in favor of the Second Amendment. Among the provisions is one that is already in place at UAA: the right for students to have a gun on campus as long as it remains locked in their vehicle. While Arizona contemplates catching up to the great state of Alaska, the real question is: are they going far enough? Having guns in locked vehicles helps, but it does not go far enough in increasing student’s safety. Anyone opposed to the open interpretation of the Second Amendment has heard the following arguments before.

March 22, 2011 Editorial

In the wake of a tragedy, people sometimes stop to reflect on their lives and think about the things that they could have done or could do differently.  That period of reflection often lasts anywhere from the length of a commercial break to as long as it takes to attend a funeral.

That isn’t to say people are uncompassionate or self-centered.  What it does say is that our busy lives slowly creep back in, until we are so distracted by the little things that we’ve forgotten the reflections we had in our temporarily vulnerable state.

For Americans, those moments of reflection often prompt charity.  Americans donated millions of dollars via text message in the first day after Red Cross announced its relief campaign for Haiti.  Within four days, the total donations from the American public and our nation’s corporations were $23 million.  Today, Americans are finding themselves again reaching across the world to offer aid to Japan and countries in the Middle East.

And when the tragedy is in our own community, similar charity results.  Last year, when a plane crash killed all four crewmembers aboard a C-17, the community both off and on Elmendorf Air Force Base came together to help the families by donating time, money and food, as well as other things.  Many stopped by the vigil at the air show to reflect on what happened, and to pay their respects.

But before long it’s back to the grind, and long forgotten is the reason why we cared so much in the first place.

Of course, there are times that tragedy hits much closer to home and it seems impossible to move on. Finding a way to move on from a tragedy, while still retaining the lessons that it has taught is among the most difficult challenges we face as humans.  Each tragedy certainly has something to teach us, but perhaps the single biggest lesson we can learn is to seize the day that we have before us.

Carpe Diem is Latin phrase meaning literally “seize the day,” and though it has permeated our popular culture, it often fails to do so in our daily living. The phrase was first used by the Roman poet Horace, who encouraged those of his time by writing: “Whether Jupiter has allotted to you many more winters or this final one… seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future.”

Since we can never predict when we might be the victims of tragedy ourselves, we should heed the words of Horace and make the best use of our time as we have it.

And to avoid the melancholy that could potentially catch us in old age, we must avoid the lethargy that threatens to catch us today.  Hopefully, when we are old and grey, we will have lived lives that can be looked back upon with pride and contentment.

Do something worth remembering each day. Maintain the relationships you have with your loved ones – call the relative you’ve been meaning to, but just haven’t had the time to, sooner rather than later.  Volunteer at the charity that appeals to you at your most basic human level.

Do it.  Be it.  Live it.  There is no time to waste. We only get one ride folks.

February 22, 2011 Editorial

U.S. colleges are the best in the world because they treat their students with respect. To a greater degree than high school, college centers around the student. This contributes to the less depressing, open environment–where leaning is valued more so than obedience.  Unlike high school, college asks for student input and allows mobile scheduling, among many other things.

High schools will not improve until they mimic the practices that have made U.S colleges great. These practices include extending respect toward their students.

Unfortunately, parents and legislators often vote in ways that move public education further from the college model. They take control away from students, trusting themselves to make better decisions, even though they don’t have to live with the consequences and have not experienced the high school atmosphere for decades. This arrogant stance results in the disrespectful attitude that encourages students to drop-out.

The latest misfire is Senate Bill 9. SB9 would raise the compulsory age of education to 18.  Alaska State Senator Betty Davis (D) provided a statement in defending the bill.

“By increasing the school attendance age to 18, this bill should discourage earlier dropouts and reduce juvenile crime, teen pregnancy and other at risk behaviors. Studies have found that students without a diploma earn less than 75% of those with a diploma; they are more likely to live in poverty, go to jail, and have health problems”.

If school has yet to discourage these behaviors by 16, what profound introspection and conversation will students experience in the next two years? The bill does not care about learning as much as pushing complacent students toward a diploma. It reflects an assumption that unfortunately shapes most public schools: the longer you stay, the more you learn. This attitude make schools resemble prisons more than grounds for personal growth: you earn a diploma because you served a certain term—if you learned anything at all is not of concern to law makers.

In fact, this bill does not even consider learning. Senators make no effort to hid this.

“The hope here is that as kids stay in school that more will graduate.  That’s the bottom line.  That’s what we’re all hoping,” Senator Kevin Mayor (R) said.

Elsewhere, the senators acknowledge the value of learning. They are trying to improve the prospects of people who would drop out of college by protecting them from a decision whose severe consequences seem far away. But there are better ways to serve would-be high school drop-outs.

One is to make passing the High School Qualifying Graduation Exam (HSQGE) a valuable achievement. A high school diploma—literally—signifies very little: just passing the HSGQE and completing 22.5 credits (unlike college there is no minimum GPA).  If the HSGQE represents 50 percent of a diploma, why not recognize this benchmark? If the only concern is to send drop-outs into the world with some formal document that stresses their worth, why not give students the option that the HSGQE be that document?

As is, SB9 will have serious backfire. Last year, Alaskan schools saved 15 million dollars when 1,400 students dropped out. If this bill is passed, educators will lose that money, which could be spent making public high school more enticing, so that student won’t want to leave in the first place.

Stories on the subject have framed it as raising the drop-out rate. It is actually raising the age where you are forced to stay in high school. According to this bill, if you earn a GED or gain all 22.5 credits by 16, you cannot leave for another two years. And if a student started school at four, and graduated at 17, he would have to provide parental consent to graduate.

This policy is another example of legislators and parents determining the rules that govern the daily atmosphere of high school life. Many would agree that high school is a miserable atmosphere compared to college, and that is due in part to who makes the decisions. High school students did not decide that school should begin five times a week precisely at 7:30 am, or that their actions should be directed by bells ringing in 55 minute intervals.

Unions, teachers, parents, and administrators have more say in selecting teachers than the high school students, though high school students daily interact with these teachers; their education depends on them. Asking student input in little matters can have a huge difference.  If high school students would only be asked, the high school environment would be less depressing and more stimulating: even to the point that students actually choose to attend.

February 15, 2011 Editorial

There are few issues more combustible than abortion.  Disagreements on fiscal policy or healthcare have entirely different consequences than do disagreements on abortion.  Abortion is an extremely personal issue that brings to surface extreme passions regarding an unborn child’s right to live as well as a woman’s right to govern her own body. Of late,…

February 8, 2011 Editorial

At least once every generation something profound happens that changes the tide of history. And by profound I mean even those of us nose deep in books and elbows deep in pizza look up to pay attention.

What we’ve been watching transpire in northeastern Africa and in the Middle East over the last few weeks has added another notch in the belt of a most familiar word: revolution.

Originally meaning “to revolve,” as in what the planets do, the term revolution has come to mean something else entirely. Something inspiring. Something powerful. Something consequential. And while we proudly carry that badge of honor, protesters across the planet are earning it now. Their revolution will also be listed in the history books.

Beyond the politics, there are some specific and particularly fascinating aspects to this revolution.

Probably the most phenomenal aspect of this revolution is way the protests have spread.  Although historians argue protests and revolutions have often been spread in similar fashion, this particular revolution has its own, unique story to tell.

Beginning in Tunisia last year after a businessman set himself on fire to protest police confiscation of his vegetable cart, the revolution spread to Egypt, Algeria and Yemen. Syria and Jordan are some of the most recent additions. Sure, the results remain questionable, but in many countries entire cabinets have been removed and several presidents have vowed not to seek reelection.

Another important part in the spread of this revolution is how it has been communicated.  From the beginning we saw how social media and the Internet were involved in this revolution. Many experts rightly argue that revolutions and protests happened before the Internet (Google Tiananmen Square for more information). Yet that comparison fails to see the true magic technology has created in the midst of these protests.

Twitter was a faster communicator than CNN. Pictures from smart phones let the entire world experience what was happening, unedited, raw and honest.  And even after the government shut down Internet service providers and phone companies, these desperate people found a way to communicate. The government cannot shut down this revolution; the people will be heard.  And read.  And Tweeted.  And YouTubed.

Finally, this revolution began in a relatively peaceful manner. Though not immune to the horrors of riot and revolution (ask Anderson Cooper for one), especially as of late, this particular event has shown amazing restraint from violence. Photos from Egypt flooded in showing citizens greeting army soldiers and even climbing on board tanks with them. Although they were not entirely successful, citizens and soldiers did their best to protect the Egyptian National Museum, a showing of extraordinary restraint and consideration in the midst of revolution. And in Bejaia, Algeria 10,000 protesters came, protested and left peacefully.

Of course, those images are relative to the numerous copy-cat instances of protesters setting themselves on fire throughout the region as well as the police officers who allegedly dressed as civilians and joined the riots.

So while the entire situation is much more complex and much less idealized than this short article can explain, a macro look demonstrates the very impressive and defining factors in this particular revolution.

February 1, 2011 Editorial

History is subjective.  Our university, like most, offers a history degree as part of the College of Arts and Sciences.  Many history professors would agree that history is more like an art, constantly evolving with new discoveries and theories.

History requires critical thinking.  As most students can attest to the after hours of history lectures and research papers, there never seems to be an easy explanation for questions about history.

With these ideas in mind, we watched our nation’s politicians and journalists argue over history last week as if there is one simple answer.  This latest left versus right battle was between all the usual suspects including Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and MSNBC host Chris Matthews, among others. At issue was a statement Bachmann made claiming that our founding fathers “worked tirelessly” to end slavery.  Matthews responded by saying she was profoundly ignorant as well as a balloon head.

As always, there is truth in what both sides were claiming.  Some of the founding fathers did not have slaves and even those who did worked toward ending slavery as early as the First Continental Congress.  Of course, there was opposition in ending slavery and many of the founding fathers did have slaves.  Furthermore, slavery was not abolished until 1865.

The point is that history is not simple.  That point seems to be lost on this country’s politicians as well as the media.  As there is no compromise, there usually are no concessions in intellectual conversations either.

Last week, however, was only one example in which people try to oversimplify history for their advantage. Most recently, issues such as building an Islamic Community Center, the Israeli and Palestinian conflict and the significance of electing our first black President have been oversimplified by both sides trying to make an argument.

Hopefully the public is smart enough to see beyond those arguments and recognize the complexity of these issues. The fact is it’s never that simple.  Ask a history professor what caused the fall of Rome if you are curious for an example.

In another example, recall former President George W. Bush’s claim that history would look kindly upon him.  While it seemed an audacious pronouncement at the time, try this exercise to reveal the possibility of it’s truth.  How many bad presidents can you name?

Understanding history requires critical thinking with an open and informed mind, which probably explains why those usual suspects seem to fail at it so often.  But here at UAA two of the goals listed by the history department themselves are to produce students who are able to complete historical research and perform critical thinking.  Remember that next time you enter into a debate.

January 25, 2011 Editorial

There is this idea that America has somehow lost some of its magic.

There is this idea out there, put out by both sides of the political spectrum, that our country is headed in the wrong direction.  You’ve probably heard it.  Maybe you’ve been on the receiving of a well-meaning lecture from your parents or grandparents about what’s wrong with the world today. They often add that things just aren’t what they used to be.  And if you don’t hear a similar berating from older family members, you need look no further than your local politician or pundit.  Most of them make a living telling you what is wrong with the country.

Yet it is our parents and their parents and our politicians that have been and continue to steer this country.  It was not our generation that made the decision to launch (and continue to fund) two wars, or outsource jobs overseas.  We don’t even know what hedge fund investments are.  And as awesome as we are at all things technical, we didn’t start that either.

No, those items are on the tab of the older generation that has been running this country.  That generation, loosely defined as baby boomers, characterizes those born from around 1946 to 1964.  That generation, led by those on Capitol Hill, has taken this country to the place it is now, stricken with political polarization and an almost complete lack of civility.  When you consider the average age of Congress, about 57, you really start to visualize that the generation that is complaining is the generation that is maintaining.

The most tragic part is that our generation is being held hostage by the stigma and past actions of the older generation.  Although we can acknowledge the issues and events that plagued them, we’ve moved on.  Many of the things they fight over so vigorously are not even on the radar of our generation.

For instance, as the issue of race has been brought up repeatedly since President Obama’s election, there has been sustained conversation about how the way things used to be and whether we’ve come far enough in our effort to fix the problems of the past. Race is no longer an issue for our generation, however.  Sure, there are some fringe folks who might disagree, but for the most part our generation sees race as inconsequential.

The older generation can remember a time where the color of their skin meant social inequality and injustice, but they don’t seem to realize that all of their hard work has paid off.  Our generation does hold the phrase  “all men are created equal” as true and self-evident.  To make matters worse, the older generation’s continual bickering over the matter has a way of smudging our generation’s rose-colored glasses.

Speaking of equality, another example of a generational difference is equal rights for the gay and lesbian community.  Although this debate is a hot issue for the older generations, for us it is not.  Polls and research studies have consistently shown that 18 to 29 year olds support gay marriage more than they oppose it.  And the difference of support between generations accounts for at least ten percent across the polls.  There are different reasons that may be true, but the simplest is that our generation has been much more exposed to homosexuality, much of that exposure void of any negative connotations.

A final example one might see comes from the military. The older generation lived through the Vietnam War, some as kids and many old enough to be eligible for the draft.  The Vietnam War had many tragic consequences, one of which was a stigma on the military that those on Capitol Hill still remember.  Whatever their feelings for the military are, what is more interesting is when, just every once and a while, they throw out the word draft.  It’s almost laughable if you consider that recruitment rates have been at or above the needs of the military for the last decade.  And, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center, more than 50 percent of each branch’s population is under 30 with the average age of the entire military coming in at 28.  Our generation has taken the call to serve very seriously.

In the end, the older generation continues to argue and fight about issues that our generation considers almost non-issues.  We’ve moved on.  And it would be nice if they joined us.

January 18, 2011 Editorial

Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream: an end to discrimination and racial equality for all Americans. The prominent activist’s famous 17-minute speech was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement, and our country has changed for the better because of its powerful impact.

Men and women who strove to improve the United States live eternally through chosen days of remembrance. These days are meant to be spent reflecting on how far we have come as a nation due to the valiant efforts of such heroes.

Instead, students tend to view Martin Luther King Day as nothing more than a day away from school. It is humiliating to think that many college-aged individuals view the day as a brief vacation rather than a day to honor Dr. King’s legacy.

There may be several reasons for this occurrence. Students no longer recognize the importance of memorial do to constant everyday worries, or it may simply be a general lack of interest.

Could it be that dwelling on segregation is no longer needed or that segregation is no longer a concern?

Thousands of young Americans took a stand against the embedded opinions of many of our ancestors back in 2008 by exercising one of their most fundamental freedoms: voting. Between 22 and 24 million young Americans ages 18 to 29 voted in 2008, resulting in an estimated youth voter turnout of between 49.3 and 54.5 percent, according to an exit poll analysis done by CIRCLE, a nonpartisan research center at Tufts University. This is an increase of 1 to 6 percentage points over the estimated youth turnout in 2004, and an increase of between 8 and 13 percentage points over the turnout in the 2000 election.

American society has drastically changed since King’s days of activism, but his dream has yet to truly be fulfilled. King’s past contribution to equality should be recognized and celebrated, but it should also serve as a reminder to everyone of present and future needs.

King did all he could to make others recognize that “all men are created equal.” Students should persist in keeping such an effort going, and there are a number of ways UAA students can do so. Partaking in an event of Civil Rights Week on campus can help with the spreading of ideas, such as tolerance and acceptance.

Anchorage and the University campus are truly a melting pot. There are a plethora of different races each with their own unique cultures sprinkled throughout the city. This abundance of cultures causes further realization of King’s impact on society.

As stated earlier, it is discouraging to think about how little recognition King receives, but in a way the younger generation is worthy of great strides toward societal improvement. It is safe to say, we keep the dream alive 365.

Simply uttering the word race at times can cause negative connotations of segregation to surface. Many youth, however, no longer see race as a factor at all, opting for a model of acceptance. Growing up in a diverse city like Anchorage results in growing into maturity in an environment of immediate exposure to people historically from all corners of the globe.

As a result, many young people view a difference in skin color as just that and nothing more.

It is impossible to state that everyone feels this way, but improvement has certainly occurred. It is change that MLK would be proud of, and UAA students can certainly take solace in that.

December 8, 2010 Editorial

For what may very well have been the first time ever, student leaders are making serious efforts to work together for the benefit of the University and its students.

Projects and discussions undertaken have been, for the most part, around how to get students interested and involved.

For those of you that consistently read TNL’s editorial, many of them are calls to action for students to get involved in whatever way they can. Whether it is by way of voting or taking part in one of the many organizations around campus, we cannot stress enough how important it is for students to invest themselves in their campus and help it make a turn for the better.

Staff and faculty do their best to get students to care about what happens on campus and to hopefully become a part of it. But there is only so much that a staff or faculty member can do. At some point, the responsibility is on you, the student.

USUAA is a very important part of UAA. The decisions they make should generate a lot more interest from the student body than is actually generated, but this is really no fault of student government. With a student body that appears to care so little about the fate of the University and, for that matter themselves, the amount that can be accomplished by those who are heavily involved remains quite limited.

Students do not appear hesitant to complain, but they seem to be averse to taking it upon themselves to see that something is done to remedy their complaint. Those who do are forced to handle these complaints and do their best to undertake projects that address these problems. The fact remains, however, that the students working to better the campus are just that – students. Everyone gets busy with school and other life responsibilities, but those who find time to make their University better for everyone are the ones who really set themselves apart.

Do you think you have some valuable input in regards to The Northern Light or KRUA? Find out what you have to do to be a part of media board!

Do you have a problem with or have some ideas about which performers should be brought to UAA? Join concert board!

Do you have any interest in politics or just how things are done around campus and believe you can make some valuable contributions to the campus?  Join USUAA!

This only names a very limited amount of the organizations around campus, but there are many more that you may have some interest in. Meeting times are typically once a week at most and the actual time commitment is pretty limited. But those few hours that you can contribute will help the campus atmosphere more than you can possibly imagine as an outsider looking in.

Summarily, if you have problems with what goes on around campus or question the importance of any organization around UAA, you should find a way to get involved and put your effort into changing or at least understanding it rather than sitting on the sidelines, unable to really do anything.

November 30, 2010 Editorial

The Student Union is open later and most people are focusing on finals – or should be at least. But, there are a few who are still a little more than upset with the way that registration went a few weeks ago.

Once a semester, the ritual of logging onto UAOnline on Sunday night at around 11:30 p.m., thinking that you might be among the lucky few who get to register for classes after the theoretical registration time after midnight.

Unfortunately, even if you are one of those who logs on early, you may very well still be trying to register at 1:00, 2:00 or even 3:00 a.m. This has been the case for what seems like forever, or since online registration has come about.

This problem is unacceptable and is something that should have been fully addressed years ago.

With everyone attempting to register for classes at the same time, it overloads the servers so badly that they all but shut down, and even crashes in some circumstances.

UAA registration needs to go the way of, what seems like, most other colleges – especially those who have upwards of 20,000 students.

At the very least, it would be in everyone’s best interest if there were staggered registration times. On the first day of registration, only seniors should be allowed to register and have first pick at the classes, since they typically only have a few classes that they absolutely need in order to graduate.

The next day, juniors should be allowed to begin registering.

On day three, sophomores should be able to start registering.

Finally, on the fourth day, freshmen could begin their registration.

A system like this, one based off of seniority, would make the most sense. Since freshmen need a much wider range of classes to graduate, they should not be registering at the same time as seniors, who only have those three or four classes that they must take before graduating. Getting into those classes should only be a competition between seniors, not between all students.

Also, a system such as this would lighten the load on the servers considerably, so we don’t have any more incidents like the one in Fall ’09 where the servers crashed for about a week, though there were more factors involved in that crash besides an overload.

This problem has done nothing but add tension to the already stressful environment of college. As we were beginning to transfer our focus from the run-of-the-mill semester to the final push to get final papers and projects done as well as really actually begin studying for tests we have another wrench thrown into the mix – registration.

A new system using seniority as a way to determine who can register when may be inconvenient for some – like freshmen, it is better than being inconvenient and unworkable for everyone.

It would probably also put an end to the Facebook status barrage of, “I hate UAOnline.”

November 9, 2010 Editorial

Even though election season is over, the battle for Alaska’s U.S. Senate seat has seemingly only just begun.

After the Tuesday-night madness that is Election Day, at the top of the leader board was the ambiguous “write-in,” which was in front by a fairly significant margin.

Lisa Murkowski, by far the most prominent write-in candidate during the general election, mounted an extremely ambitious campaign and fought the uphill battle has all but claimed victory.

Declaring her and her campaign’s efforts a success may seem legitimate, but as it stands, the battle is far from over. Both Murkowski’s and Republican candidate Joe Miller’s campaigns are digging in – so it’s apparent that they do expect a serious amount of controversy before this is all said and done.

The Lieutenant Governor also threw a couple wrenches in the mix, which do not settle particularly well with either campaign.

First, the date for counting the write-in votes has been moved up, leaving a bad taste in the Miller campaign, and understandably so. It potentially puts his campaign a somewhat of a disadvantage when it comes to putting people on the ground in Juneau and putting together a legal team to deal with what looks to be inevitable litigation.

Second, it has been decided that write-in ballots with Miller’s name on them will be counted, assuming they are filled out correctly, as is the case with Murkowski as well. One can’t help but think that this has made her campaign unhappy.

Whether those decisions were correct or not is not really an issue, they are decisions that both campaigns will have to deal with in the coming weeks.

But, one thing definitely is not for certain; was Murkowski too quick to declare victory, despite the promising numbers generated by write-in votes?

Sure, the odds are probably in her favor since she was the only candidate to run an intense campaign, educating voters on the finer points of writing in a candidate – i.e. spell the name correctly and don’t forget to fill in the bubble – but, as of the day of the election, there were around 160 other write-in candidates on the ballot as well.

This leaves a lot of variables that have yet to be determined, including the as-of-yet undetermined number of ballots that will be thrown out because of misspellings, not filling in that ominous bubble and who knows how many other things.

Even though the count did get moved up considerably, it seems likely that it will not be completely figured out for quite awhile.

No matter what happens in the end, this election was a good thing for Alaskans. Apart from Palin’s run alongside John McCain in 2008, for Vice President and President respectively, this one has appeared to get Alaskans involved more so than most others.

But, one can’t help but wonder whether or not Murkowski has called it a tad early with so many unknowns remaining. One thing is for sure, however; the next few weeks should be pretty interesting in regards to this race.

November 3, 2010 Editorial

In the gubernatorial candidates’ final debate before the general election, Governor and Republican candidate Sean Parnell brought up a very good topic for discussion – civility in campaigns and the current lack thereof.

This particular issue was brought up because of a comment made by Congressman Don Young when Parnell ran against him in the Republican primary for U.S. House awhile back.

During the campaign, Young referred to Parnell as “Captain Zero.” Young went on to win the campaign by only a few hundred votes, but in a recent debate between Young and Democratic candidate Harry Crawford, Young said that Parnell should kiss him, because Parnell is now governor.

The “Captain Zero” and kissing comments resurfaced in the gubernatorial debate, which prompted Parnell to express his, and most likely other candidates’, disdain for the personal attack campaigns that are waged and have become increasingly prominent during election season.

What is troubling about this is that calling someone “Captain Zero” does not even rank among the worst things said in campaign ads.

Take write-in candidate and incumbent Lisa Murkowski’s recent ad that contains interviews with people from Sitka who will not be voting for Democratic candidate Scott McAdams, which essentially trashes him, speaking about his character, experience and whatever else that might destabilize his campaign.

Though nothing extremely derogatory is said in the ad, it is still a personal attack that really does not focus on the issues, which all candidates seem to say they focus on, but really do not.

Most candidates express that they want to focus more on the issues and less on the personal attacks. But, what happens every election is that exceedingly few candidates are actually willing to take the high road and veer away from these attack campaigns.

Crawford’s campaign for U.S. House has basically been built on attempts to trash Young. Sure, a couple of ads have mentioned his issues, and his issues have also been brought up in debates and interviews. But, if one is to judge campaigns based solely on the advertising, the real issues would be difficult to discern from the attacks.

This is definitely not saying that Crawford’s is the only campaign to take up this style of campaigning, but during this election season, it is among the most prominent.

It’s apparent in people’s decision making, at least in many cases, that they don’t necessarily vote for a particular candidate. Instead, they are voting against other candidates.

An attack campaign ends up dragging both candidates through the mud, so to speak, because if one candidate attacks another, it is only natural to respond. This is not really a new problem. It has been going on in one aspect or another essentially since the country was founded. But, campaigns need to take a turn towards addressing the actual issues, rather than the opposition.

Sure, there will probably always be attack ads of one kind or another, but it would probably be in everyone’s best interests to minimize that and especially not base entire campaigns on it.

All this is really resulting in is uninformed voters and also contributes to the general lack of confidence in the government in America.

These vicious battles don’t tell voters why we should vote for a particular candidate, they tell voters why they shouldn’t vo

October 26, 2010 Editorial

Freedom of the press is a liberty all aspiring reporters stand behind. We—journalists—do not approve of any form of censorship that hampers the dissemination of valuable information. It is the job of the press to deliver information vital to a free society.

Editors at the Northern Light, and around the nation, are appalled by the action of Tea Party Senatorial Candidate Joe Miller and his refusal to speak with members of the local press.

The dilemma started when Miller announced he would no longer answer questions about his personal life; specifically questions regarding actions he carried out during his occupation as a Fairbanks North Star Bureau lawyer.

The dilemma escalated tenfold when Miller’s hired bodyguards — working for the firm Drop Zone Security — detained local news site editor and founder of Alaska Dispatch Tony Hopfinger.

After probing Miller to answer some difficult questions, Hopfinger was in a mild scuffle and handcuffed. This all occurred following a public town hall meeting at Central Middle School.

Miller and his personal security violated this crucial liberty. His campaign asserts the incident is distracting from the real issues.

Issues, such as government spending, which Miller aims to restore by prescribing limits set out by the Constitution.

This selling point of Miller’s campaign is contradictory to the recent detainment of Hopfinger. Miller, a graduate of Yale’s law school, surely knows that the First Amendment protects the freedom of the press.

It is a journalist’s job to seek the truth and deliver his or her findings to the public. People argue the press is being too pushy, unfair or going over the line, but information on a public official’s past is very important.

By examining and analyzing past decisions, the public can clearly determine the character of a political candidate. Miller sees the press as an enemy because he wishes to keep his past private.

The question to pop up in any curious journalist’s mind is, “Why?” Thus, we start asking tough questions.

Alaska residents can only benefit from meticulous investigative reporting on any political candidate. The press is focusing more on Miller than Murkowski or McAdams. This is true. It is Miller himself, however, which has perpetuated the level of coverage he is receiving to a whole new level.

Search the Internet for articles about Miller. Read “Left-Wing Blogger Starts Fight at a Joe Miller Rally” at Redstate.com and then read an article on Alaska Dispatch.

Make the decision for yourself, and keep in mind that any journalist who has vowed to stick by the established ethics of the profession will aim for nothing but the objective truth. The information is out there.

Other information has been harder to obtain. Journalists asking critical questions of Miller at a public town meeting somehow instantly became trespassers on private property when exercising their freedom as members of the press.

Journalists need to be forceful in certain situations if we are to deliver our social service.

October 19, 2010 Editorial

As you all know, or should know, each student pays a hefty amount of student fees every semester.

If you look closely at your bill, you might notice that one of those fees is an $11 media fee. This particular constitutes a large portion of both The Northern Light’s and KRUA’s yearly budget.

There is one problem, however. The fee is split and distributed unevenly, with The Northern Light receiving $5.75 and KRUA receiving $5.25.

Does this seem a little lopsided to you? Because it looks lopsided to us – us being The Northern Light and KRUA. Well, this year both organizations are making an effort to change the distribution of that fee, we are seeking to instate an equal split.

But, in order to make this happen, we need your help. On the elections ballot in November, there will be a proposal that outlines the proposed change in the distribution of funds; and we need you, the students, to vote in favor of the proposition.

It is important to realize that this is not an increase, the media fee will remain at $11 if this proposal is passed by the student body, it will only equalize the funding that TNL and KRUA receives from the fee.

A $.25 change really does not seem like a whole lot, but, in actuality, it would total up to approximately $6,400 annually if the projected enrollments hold true. In a student organization, $6,400 is quite a large chunk of change and can go a very long way toward the betterment of the organization.

The reason that the fee was originally split the way it is, is because printing the paper costs a lot of money, and that extra couple of quarters was meant to offset that cost. It’s true, printing does cost quite a bit; this year printing costs have been projected at $41,935.

Printing costs have gone down, however. So, that influx of cash is no longer needed for The Northern Light to make ends meet.

On the other hand, KRUA’s costs have gone up substantially since this fee was first introduced. Almost everything that goes on at a radio station is dependent on technology to some extent, and I think we can all sympathize, knowing that technology is expensive – especially the specialized and very technical equipment that is needed at KRUA.

Bringing it back to the issue of voting; we need your vote on this issue. The approval of this fee would pave the way for the betterment of student media on campus as a whole.

If passed, the new split in funds would likely begin in the Fall 2011 semester, and though it may not directly affect all of us involved in student media now, it will have an indisputably positive effect on the future of student media at UAA.

So, this is our plea; please vote in favor of this proposal in November.

October 12, 2010 Editorial

As many students don’t know, UAA is just finishing up a lengthy reaccreditation process. The process is important because if all of the colleges at UAA are once again accredited, it indicates to students and the public that the university is providing a quality education.

On Monday and Tuesday of last week, an evaluation team of two meant with faculty and staff to determine how the colleges have improved and how they have earned their reaccreditation. There was a student forum scheduled, but none attended. It wasn’t highly publicized, however, and it begs certain questions, such as do students care about the reaccreditation and why should students care?

It is important to note that every student’s future rides on reaccreditation, because if your college fails to receive it than the degree you earn is useless.

The evaluation team had planned to ask to students if they are satisfied with their colleges. Over the past decade, UAA has built a level of credibility when it comes to education, but whether Alaska students would recommend it to friends and family is uncertain.

The main complaints with colleges tend to be the following: course curriculums of some colleges do not fully educate the students and do not benefit to their prospective careers, enough courses are not being offered for students to graduate in a timely manner, and there is not enough advisors in the departments to handle all of the students needs. In addition, concerns have been raised about the effectiveness of general advisors. The general advisors do undertake a larger workload having to deal with a copious amount of new students, a number that is growing every year.

Programs are addressing these problems, such as the Office of Student Affair’s MAP-Works program that focuses on student aid and retention, but the outlets for voicing deeper concerns with the colleges are underwhelming to say the least.

If students had taken the time to step before the evaluation team last week, it is questionable as to whether or not comments would be taken into full consideration. Students may have more of a chance bringing their complaints to their colleges’ professors. The faculty could then present those grievances to the accreditation committee, but students have filled out the teacher evaluation forms semester after semester to see little to no change.

The deans and faculty present to the committee what they have improved upon since the previous accreditation, so students’ criticisms hold little merit behind closed doors. Our professors were taught through the tried and true methods they are now using to teach their own classes. While students view the current methods of instruction with a critical eye, the ingrained system will take much more effort from the student body if change is to occur.

Another outlet of getting your voice heard is student government. Lack of student interest, however, keeps students from using this tool that is, and always has been, at their disposal.

Therein lies the biggest hurdle to students seeing the change they want in the university. General lack of interest was probably the largest indicator that the reaccreditation committee took from the open forums. Not one student felt strongly enough to take the time and offer comments, good or bad. Instead, students were busy worrying about passing their next exam in order to keep their federal aid intact.

October 5, 2010 Editorial

The University of Alaska Southeast’s Juneau campus is small compared to the UAA campus, but to say that it is not equipped to properly educate and accommodate the attending student body is a misstatement. The campus is beautiful. The main congregation of buildings rests on the edge of Auke Lake, which receives its waters from…

September 21, 2010 Editorial

Students walking through the halls pass stands containing copies of The Northern Light. It is not an uncommon sight. Many students do not bother to pay attention to the affairs of the student newspaper. They feel as if they have no relation to the publication.

The staff at TNL would like to inform the student body that they are largely what make the paper possible. Students from all the colleges are involved on one level or another. Whether they are quoted in stories, profiled in an article or help establish an event the Northern Light covers, students are involved.

“Why should I care about any of this?” a lot of you are most likely thinking. You have no reason not to get involved on campus for one thing. Many of you will be spending four to six years here, or have already spent a few semesters walking the corridors of UAA, and through the paper you can learn important university info. It helps students to be informed members of the campus community.

Students may consider The Northern Light to be free of charge. Well, it’s not. The university media fee that you pay every semester funds this weekly publication. Students, in actuality, do pay for the paper. The media fee, while only totaling $11 a semester, can add up over four years. By the time students graduate they will have paid anywhere from $80 to $120.

The Northern Light receives only $5.75 of this fee per semester, with the other half going to KRUA. The staff at The Northern Light thanks you for your fine contribution, whether intentional or not.

Students’ thoughts are held within the pages of the weekly paper. We feature campus news stories frequently, and for every article we produce there are students behind the covered events.

For example, the article on Miles C. Brookes highlighted the student government’s aims for the academic year, while the article on Harry Crawford showcased a democratic politician that was actually able to get students to gather in a large group on campus.

Our news section has its finger on the pulse of university affairs.

Our sports section highlights the outstanding efforts of our numerous athletic teams and addresses national sports interests as well.

Our features section delves into general interest topics that will perk any curious student’s attention.

Our arts and entertainment section highlights unique local crafts, profiles local bands and reviews movies, music, beer and games. I would like to meet a college student who does not like movies and music. That would be impossible, however, as that college student is non-existent.

Lastly, our opinion section serves as an outlet for student viewpoints.

So, seeing that you do pay for paper, it is up to you to tell us what you would like to see within the pages of The Northern Light. If you don’t like a certain article or would like to see a follow up to an article you enjoyed, send us an email or drop a comment on our website and let us know. Students have the power to shape the material of The Northern Light.

Our website – yet another aspect of the paper that your hard-earned tuition money is poured into. The staff will be working diligently this semester to update the site regularly, as we understand most people now get their news online. Even off campus, you can stay informed.

Pick up a paper, check out the website and inform yourself about the university. It is your money that makes these things possible.

September 3, 2010 Josh Edge

School has started and people have begun flooding back to campus. After summer when the Student Union tends to be a ghost town, it is a welcome change.

But, perhaps more importantly, food is back on campus.

During the summer, all of the University’s food options have a terrible tendency to be closed. It is understandable since business is definitely not the busiest or most profitable during that time of the year; but, it leaves all of the summer employees in a pinch.

With the summer sessions slowly gaining enrollment, it would seem like it might be a good option to open at least one dining option on campus for students and employees alike.

Granted, by the end of the school year, we all feel like we have had enough Subway to last us until the end of August. But, despite our original feelings, once June rolls around, there really aren’t any dining options nearby, except places like Thai Kitchen or Quiznos over on Tudor.

Of course there are drinks and snacks available at the Info Desk upstairs in the Student Union, but someone can only eat so many granola bars or fruit snacks before he craves a real meal.

We aren’t asking for the full plethora of dining services that are available during the fall and spring semesters, but at least humor us with one on-campus option for food. Whether it’s opening up Subway for a couple hours a day or maybe the Cuddy.

Open them with limited hours, people can probably adjust their schedules enough to be able to run over and grab a sub or a burger between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

Heck, just give us a 30-minute window and we can probably figure something out.

But, since summer is over, this is either a late or an extremely early request.

In the meantime, since school has started up again, the dining options have been fantastic – and have even expanded a little bit.

Subway is fantastic and fast as always. Mein Bowl offers something different for those who need a break from the typical six-inch or foot-long sandwich and are too lazy or busy to meander over to the Cuddy. The Cuddy still offers a good variety of food, from burgers to pizza to Mexican food.

The expansion in food options comes in the form of the Amenities Building, located between the ConocoPhilips Science Building and the new parking garage. The currently unnamed coffee shop offers some great Paninis, which you can get as a meal with a bag of chips and a fountain drink for an affordable price.

Though back to the original point. We need summer dining options on campus. It doesn’t really matter what it is or what times, it just needs to be on campus.

July 29, 2010 Josh Edge

UAA, and the rest of the University of Alaska campuses for that matter, are viewed in a negative light, which is unfair.

A lot of students complain about how lame UAA is and how boring it is to go to school here. Some that stay in state do nothing but talk about how they wish they had gone out of state for school instead of staying in Alaska.

This view is pretty ridiculous. You only get out of college what you put into it and this doesn’t apply only to the academic aspect of school. The social aspect of college may actually be affected more by this view than the academic aspect.

When students go out of state to an unfamiliar environment in a new place, they find it necessary to get involved in some aspect of campus life, whether it’s a sorority, student government, club or even just living in the dorms. Unfortunately, when you go to a school like UAA, locals don’t need to be involved in student life.

It seems like the majority of students that are from Anchorage are only on campus for as long as they class lasts. They drive onto campus five minutes before class starts and are back in their car 30 seconds after the class is over, leaving no time to really acclimate yourself into the college environment. It is usually these people that are the complainers, wishing they had gone elsewhere.

Breaking news: there are opportunities to get involved around campus that will definitely make your college stay much more enjoyable.

Doing something as simple as sitting down in the Student Union between classes is a good start. Sit at a table in there for 15 minutes during the day and you will probably meet someone new, and at some point that person will probably introduce you to other people that he or she knows.

There are also student jobs. Work at the info desk, in the computer lab, or many other places on campus and you will be surrounded primarily by people that are in the same situation as you – trying to make it through classes and making friends along the way.

Get involved in USUAA. Be a leader of the student body who makes decisions that affect the rest of the students during their entire college career.

Sororities and fraternities are great as well. They are a great networking tool and can help you become an integral and helpful part of the community.

Of course, student media is another great way to get involved and become knowledgeable about the inner workings of the University.

There are many other clubs and organizations around UAA that we just don’t have space for in this editorial that are also fantastic ways to get involved in campus activities.

Historically, there has not been a huge amount of school spirit surrounding this school, but that is slowly changing. The only way that we can continue to break the trend of apathy that is typical of UAA is to become involved, even if it is only in a small way.

It will also make your time at UAA a much better experience.

June 30, 2010 Josh Edge

A changing of the guard has taken place at the University of Alaska.

As has been reported on extensively since former-President Mark Hamilton announced his retirement, those at UAA, and throughout the system, have kept a close eye on the selection of a new president.

That new president is Patrick Gamble.

With new blood that has been introduced into the UA system, we can only hope that it will play out in UAA’s favor. Sure, the president needs to work in the best interest of the entire University system, but let’s face it – the effects of the new president on UAA is probably the biggest point of interest among TNL readers.

It is the time to let President Gamble know what means the most to us at UAA – let him know what we need.

Something that was getting a lot of attention during the previous academic semester is the changing of the anti-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation. Though it is doubtful that this issue has been forgotten so soon, it is imperative that the regents do not move this particular issue to the back burner while they feel out the new UA president.

Though the particulars of changing the anti-discrimination policy may be slightly more complicated than just taking a simple vote, it needs to be addressed soon. It has been put off for too long already.

Another thing that needs to be fought for is a new sports complex for UAA. It seems that we keep banging the same drum while calling for this sports complex, but the plans that have been formulated over the last couple years need to come to fruition.

UAA’s sports programs have been extremely successful overall during the last few seasons and they, as well as the students, should be rewarded. Athletics, especially successful teams, can potentially attract a lot of students and make a lot of money for the University. Our athletic teams also tend to cultivate a lot of school spirit and pride – something that is sadly lacking at UAA, minus a handful of students.

Students, staff, faculty: do not sit idle in these first few months of President Gamble’s time at the head of UA. Instead, let the regents and the president know what is wanted, what is needed.

Whether you believe that the anti-discrimination policy needs addressing or that UAA is in dire need of a new sports complex – or if you believe that UAA needs something completely different, because the list can go on and on – let President Gamble know.

Make your voices heard and become an active part of this University. One or two people might be able to make a difference, but the best chance that UA has to attain the things it needs is if many people speak up and let the regents know that what we need instead of letting them try to figure it out themselves.

April 20, 2010 Editorial

After what has seemed like years of apathy, UAA students finally seem to care about something. Sure, there are always the few vocal students who attempt to make a difference, but with so few of those students in the past, the efforts have been futile.

All it took was a proposed 15 percent increase in tuition, which was then announced as a possible 22 percent increase over the next few years. If there is one thing that students have an opinion about, it is the cost of school.

Students expect tuition increases, but this ballooning increase over a three-year period is unacceptable. There will be no decision about this until the September 2010 Board of Regents meeting, which will be held in Juneau. If passed, this would not go into effect until the Fall 2011 semester.

UA President Mark Hamilton proposed this massive increase because of the tough economical times and students’ want of new, costly academic programs.

Hamilton is correct; times are tough and academic programs are costly. Still, this increase seems to be some kind of shoot-from-the-hip response to this dilemma. What is even more troublesome is that the discussions about this, at least the preliminary discussions, are being held without the allowance of speakerphone testimony. This particular meeting is being held in Dillingham, out of reach of most students and of the main campuses.

The meeting was held in Dillingham this time because there had not been a meeting held there for 13 years. It is important for the Regents to have an understanding of how the entire University system works and not just the portions that are in urban areas like Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau.

This is great, but the fact that they were not accepting speakerphone input during the meeting where they are first addressing this issue is completely unacceptable. Because they are holding the meeting in a place that does not typically get the attention that the main campuses get, the Regents decided to tune out the concerns of the main campuses. It is bogus.

Granted, this issue is not one that will be decided upon for a few more months, but students need to start taking action now. The protest that was held on April 15 was a great start and it got all three main campuses involved, but this cannot be the end.

Do not tolerate this type of attitude and conduct from our Regents. It is our money at stake and, in a sense, we are all shareholders in this University. Everything that they do affects us, the students. We do not have to accept this increase or lack of communication about this proposition. We can take action.

April 13, 2010 Editorial

Voting is a right, not a privilege; it is a privilege that can be suspended, or even revoked in the event that a person is convicted of a felony.

There have been some questions about that policy, though. Does this policy violate an ex-con’s rights? Some say yes, this does violate their rights and should be changed – granting ex-con’s the right to vote, no matter what state they reside in. Among the most major cases was in the Farrakhan V. Gregoire case.

This case took into account Washington State’s felon disenfranchisement law. The argument was that in denying ex-convicted felons the right to vote resulted in a race-based denial of the vote.

Even though some of the claims in the trial were found to be correct, judges did not find that the plaintiffs had established a violation of the Voting Rights Act, because the violation was in the justice system and not the disenfranchisement statute, according to according to a recent article written by Deborah Periman, published in the Alaska Justice Forum.

The Alaska Constitution states that, “No person may vote who has been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude unless his civil rights have been restored.” This made over 10,000 Alaskans unable to vote in 2009, according to Periman’s article.

The determination of whether a convicted felon’s right to vote should be discontinued indefinitely should be determined by the crime that they committed. Most people tend to look on non-violent crimes, whether they are a felony or not, to be less detrimental to society. That is an argument that can go either way, but most people seem to agree that those who commit and are convicted of violent crimes are far more detrimental to society.

If people commit a non-violent crime and serve their time in prison, or on parole or probation, then they should have the opportunity to have their voting rights reinstated. The prison system should be one of rehabilitation and if the prisoners are successfully rehabilitated, then they should regain their rights.

If someone commits a violent crime, however, then their rights should not be reinstated, even after they serve their time in prison. Some of the crimes that are committed are so heinous in nature that it is unlikely that they could possibly be rehabilitated and put back into society. Even if they are put back into the general population, their right to vote should be no more.

If a ex-con can prove that they are going to be a productive member of society, their voting rights should be restored. Otherwise, the voting population of Alaska, and America for that matter, is being unnecessarily lowered.

April 7, 2010 Editorial

Governor Parnell’s proposed performance scholarship is in danger of being shot down by the Legislature.

This is bad news for both Alaska’s youth as well as the UA system.

This always seems to be the case when new programs, and even old programs, are being considered for funding.

Legislators have questioned the $400 million price tag that is attached to the scholarship, most likely because the $400 million may have to be budgeted each year in order to keep the scholarship funded each year.

“Establishing the scholarship program is one step,” Senate President Gary Stevens said, R-Kodiak, in a recent article in the Juneau Empire. “Paying for it is the second step, which is bigger.”

Most legislators seem to support the goal of this proposed scholarship, but figuring out how to fund it is proving to be difficult.

The endowment, which Gov. Parnell originally intended to be the primary means of funding the scholarship, has been amended out by the House and it seems likely that the Senate will remain opposed to using such an endowment as a means to fund the program.

The original $400 million that Gov. Parnell is requesting would ideally be set aside as the initial funding for the scholarship fund and would remain there as a means of keeping money available to the qualified applicants even if the state encountered economic trouble in the future.

Legislators have not given up on the scholarship entirely, but it seems as though they are looking to look at the bill over the next few months and take on the question of funding next year.

Luckily, Gov. Parnell has not given up on getting the scholarship approved before the lawmakers call it quits for the year on April 18, but it looks like he needs as much community support as he can get.

Students, staff, faculty, high school students and concerned members of the community, call or write your state representatives and voice your support of this scholarship.

It is not only in the best interest of our elected officials to take heed of the community’s concerns and act on them, it also is their job.

More scholarships that are given to Alaska students in order to encourage them to remain in the state and go to a school in the UA system are definitely in the best interests of the UA system.

If more students enroll at UAA, it should mean that academic programs will expand and more money provided by tuition and student fees means more money for the University to work with.

Everyone needs to support this scholarship; it is in the best interests of Alaska’s future. Take an active roll in advocating for what is best.

March 31, 2010 Editorial

Both citizens and assembly members are pushing for a new bike plan to be instituted in Anchorage.

This new bike plan could potentially introduce numerous additional bike paths throughout the city and would aim to reduce both the number of cars on the roads as well as collisions between bicyclists and motor vehicles.

This is a great idea and it is fantastic that most people have been so supportive of it, regardless of whether they bike to work or not.
The only real concern is the price tag, but in the current economic time every dollar seems to be under scrutiny – so this concern is not a new one.

Obviously, things will not change overnight, or even over a summer, but this is a piece of legislation that everyone should push for. With gas prices so high, the city is seeing more and more people riding their bikes as a major means of transportation.

Regardless of where people stand on the issue, they should support, or continue to support, the plan.

Everything from liability to a person’s efficiency in getting around town could be affected by the new trails, paths and bike lanes that would be added by passing this measure.

For those who are against cycling as a primary means of transportation or are against bikes being allowed on the roadways with automobile traffic, support of the legislation should not even be a question.

Building more bike lanes and bike paths around Anchorage would mean that there would be fewer bicyclists on the roads, therefore reducing the chances of vehicle against bicycle collisions and also reducing the time that those driving cars or trucks may lose if they get stuck behind one of those pesky cyclists.

If you are among those who do use a bike as a primary means of transportation, you probably do not need to be convinced that this is a good thing. Biking in Anchorage can be a dangerous endeavor. Drivers here are not typically very cyclist, or pedestrian, friendly. There are constantly cars stopped in the crosswalk at red lights while waiting for their chance to turn right, or maybe just for the light to turn green, which is hazardous for cyclists.

If this measure is passed, it will be a breath of relief for cyclists everywhere and would also be a good thing for drivers. But, the city of Anchorage needs to be vigilant as well, because new bike paths will not do any good if they are not cleared off in a timely manner during the winter.

Over the last few years, Anchorage has done a much better job of clearing sidewalks and bike paths, but there is still a lot of room for improvement, and improvement is imperative if this plan is going to work.

This plan is in the best interest of the community and needs all the support it can get

March 24, 2010 Editorial

The search for a new president for the University of Alaska has come to an end.

The Board of Regents have chosen Patrick Gamble to take over for the retiring Mark Hamilton. The transition is expected to take place in June.

Gamble is definitely a solid choice and proved himself to be a strong candidate. But, some have some reservations about hiring someone without a primarily business-based background instead of extensive experience education.

Though these doubts are not without reason, there are some things that he has done in the business world that should transfer over to the University, but there are still some things that have yet to be seen.

During his visit to UAA, Gamble expressed that one of his main goals would be to keep UA as stable as possible and help it come through the recession while keeping loses to a minimum.

This could either be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on people’s points of view. It means that the amount of programs at the University will, hopefully, not decrease; and also that the chances of adding new programs has definitely diminished.

People who are looking for growth, and – lets face it – the hope for most of the students, staff and faculty is that the University will grow. Growth means more jobs, more students and hopefully more recognition for the University.

Gamble is suggesting that now is not necessarily a time for growth, but instead a time for sustaining what we already have until the country finds its way out of the current economic funk that it is in.

In some ways it is difficult to argue with this goal because it makes fiscal sense, but on the other hand it is hard to accept because expansion is typically viewed as a sign of success and prosperity.

His leadership experience is probably his biggest asset. As Commander of the Pacific Air Forces, Gamble was in charge of 45,000 people. This experience will prove to be very valuable while he is at the top of the entire UA system.

He is good at managing both people and budgets, which will be a huge part of his responsibilities as UA president. More importantly, Gamble has said that he will be looking towards the chancellors and other officials to come up with plans and policies that are in the best interest of the Universities.

This makes it appear that even though he is planning on keeping UA stable, he may still be open to expansion if the different University officials come up with a solid plan.

Gamble certainly has promise, and the University system has definitely seen prosperity under its current president and it will be hard to come to terms with a sudden drop in expansion. Even though his business experience will help UA keep making its way through the recession, Gamble needs to be sure to think like an academic.

UA is an academic system and its first priority should be the well being of the students and the academic programs.

March 3, 2010 Editorial

The University of Alaska’s nondiscrimination policy needs to be ushered into the 21st century.

What will bring this policy up-to-date is the addition of LGBT individuals in the stipulations of nondiscrimination.

The Board of Regents has expressed that it intends to deal with this issue within the year – which is great, but does not change the perception that UA is lagging behind the times.

The current policy prohibits the discrimination of people based on a person’s race, religion, color, national origin, citizenship, age, sex, disability, marital status, changes in marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions or parenthood.

Thankfully, the Regents are finally looking to addressing this issue in the foreseeable future.

There is really no reason for the Regents to not approve this addition into policy. LGBT individuals are generally accepted, or tolerated at the very least.

Unfortunately, the city of Anchorage was unable to pass Ordinance 64, which would have changed the city’s nondiscrimination law. There is always hope that since the UA system is such a major player in the city, and even the state, that its decision will ultimately influence the decision-making of both the city and the state in regards to this issue.

A number of student groups around the state are extremely active in advocating for the addition of sexual orientation into the bylaws.

One of these groups is the UAF Gay-Straight Alliance. This group has been among the most-active groups in encouraging the Board of Regents, asking them several times in the past year to update this policy, stating that the UA system is lagging behind other state universities around the country.

Other groups have also made pleas to UA Regents, including the Juneau GSA. In their appeal to the Regents, the Juneau GSA made Valentine cards for the Regents, urging them to take action on this issue.

There is also a fairly active Facebook group that is dedicated to this issue. The creators of the page usually update the page prior and during Board of Regents meetings, encouraging its followers to e-mail the Regents or attend the meetings if possible.

It is efforts like these that will ultimately determine the Regents’ decision. If the Regents do not hear about the issue that students, staff and faculty have with the current nondiscrimination policy, they are not likely to change it.

Students, staff and faculty need to come together and e-mail the Regents and attend the meetings if at all possible. If the UA community shows those that make the rules and regulations that this is an important issue, it will be addressed and it will likely leave the Regents little recourse but to change its policy.

The search for a new President for the UA system and now a new chancellor for UAA, things may get a little bogged down, but this issue can no longer be put on the back burner.

Changes take time, but now is the time for change in UA’s nondiscrimination policy.