Archive for September, 2004

NFL Picks

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 | Jeff Novack

Jeff Novack:

With Rich Gannon out for six weeks with a broken vertebrae, Kerry Collins will take over as quarterback in Oakland. Oddly enough, Collins actually used to live in my hometown while playing for the Giants. Rumor had it that several recent graduates of my high school visited Collins’s house one day several years ago. When Collins answered the door, they asked if they could “chill with him.” Collins quickly answered no while the former students pleaded, “But come on man, I play as you in Madden all the time!” Unfortunately, their words did little to move Collins.

Game of the week:
Atlanta vs. Carolina

The division rivals square off as Carolina looks to move over .500 and send Atlanta to its first loss of the season. Any game with Michael Vick in it is a must-see.

Ashton Forbes:

“And in gridiron news. Little Johnny Gibson, a terminally ill eight-year-old boy, got his wish to be the quarterback for New England today thanks to the Make-A-Wish foundation. Gibbon takes the snap and fades back to pass. Here comes the rush. Oh. He’s sacked (instant replay) I guess Gibson should have wished for some blocking.” (The Family Guy) Kurt Warner collects concussions like they were baseball cards. I give him two more games before Eli takes the reins.

Game of the week:
Green Bay vs. New York Giants

Kurt-Good fight. Good night.

Joe Ciolli:

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recently announced that he will donate the Cadillac he won after being named Super Bowl MVP to a California school. But don’t feel sorry for the heartthrob signal-caller who once hosted the Miss America Pageant. There are plenty of women around the country who would be happy to give him a ride.

Game of the week:
Indianapolis at Jacksonville

Contrasting styles will collide this weekend as the league’s most explosive offensive meets one of its stingiest defenses. Who will win this battle of epic proportions? In the end it really doesn’t matter as long as the Patriots are still in the AFC.

Bears Fall to High-Powered North Central Offense

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 | Jeff Novack
Margaret Bauer

Despite the best efforts of senior quarterback Adam Meranda and junior wide receiver Brad Duesing, the Washington University football team came up short in their game Saturday night against North Central College. The Bears dropped the game, played in Naperville, Illinois, 38-28. Their season record now stands at 1-3.

Meranda passed for 305 yards in the loss. He attempted a school record 55 passes while completing 26 of those and throwing for four touchdowns. Duesing was the recipient of two of those touchdowns; he caught 9 passes for 154 yards on the day. Senior Kevin McCarthy powered the Bears ground game carrying 23 times for 98 yards. In the loss, Meranda and Duesing each inched their way up the University’s record books. Meranda is now seventh place on the all-time passing yards list while Duesing’s two touchdowns left him in seventh place on the all-time scoring list with 142 career points.

North Central began the game by scoring on a 7-play 72-yard touchdown drive. The Bears answered right back though by authoring their own touchdown drive, a 6 yard catch by senior Zak Clark. North Central kept the Bears on their heels, however, with scores on their next two possessions. The Bears matched North Central’s third score of the game with an 80-yard scoring drive at the beginning of the second quarter. The drive was capped off by a touchdown catch by senior Scott Armul. North Central scored one final time in the second quarter to lead 28-14 at the half.

The Bears scored again on their second drive of the second half to bring the game within seven points. On this score, the Bears capitalized on excellent field position; they began their drive on their own 45 yard line thanks to a North Central fumble forced by junior Jared Weis. Duesing finished the drive off with a 20 yard touchdown catch.

North Central scored their final touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter to bring its lead back to 14 points, 35-21. The Bears were promptly thwarted in their efforts to match North Central’s score, losing the ball on an interception and giving North Central outstanding field position in the process. With North Central on the Bears’ own 25 though, the Bears defense responded. Senior John Woock made an interception of his own and the Bears were able to regain the ball just as quickly as they had given it up. The Bears did not waster the opportunity as Meranda led the team on a 65-yard touchdown drive that was capped by Duesing’s second touchdown of the game, a 43-yard reception.

Unfortunately for the Bears, their efforts proved to be too little, too late. North Central added a field goal later in the fourth quarter to send the game out of reach. Ultimately, the high-octane North Central offense was too much for the Bears-despite the fact that North Central played most of the game without Steve Holden, NCAA Division III’s leading rusher, who was injured in the early-going. Even without Holden, North Central showed plenty of firepower. Junior Tyke Spencer set a North Central record with 14 catches for 288 yards while catching three touchdowns.

The Bears will play next Saturday, October 2 against Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

Bears win two, LaBoskey nabs UAA honor

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 | Joe Ciolli
Margaret Bauer

If you’ve been following the Washington University men’s soccer team this season, you’re probably aware of junior forward Rob Weeks’ torrid scoring pace (six goals, two assists). And you’ve probably noticed senior goalkeeper Colin Robinson’s impressive number of shutouts. But what you might not have recognized is the monster season that senior defender Jeff LaBoskey is having.

But the secret is out. Recently named the University Athletic Association (UAA) Athlete of the Week, LaBoskey is finally getting the recognition he deserves. His feat is even more impressive if you consider that his only statistic on the season is a single assist. Operating with fierce efficiency, LaBoskey is easy to overlook because of how routine he makes his play look. Seeing him shut down opposing attackers is something the Bears have come to expect.

Coming in as freshmen, LaBoskey and fellow senior defender and captain Matt Twardowski caught the eye of Coach Joe Clarke right away. Thrown into the starting line-up from the beginning, the defensive duo impressed the team immediately and have been stalwarts at the back ever since. Two of the team’s most valuable players, LaBoskey and Twardowski are proof that players can make a very significant impact without filling up a score sheet.

The two senior standouts were at it again this past weekend as the Bears took on Westminster College on Friday and Millikin University on Sunday. Coach Clarke’s squad controlled play for the most part against the visibly weaker Westminster side. Weeks netted his fifth goal of the season in the 58th minute, recording what would prove to be his third game-winning goal of the season. The goal came as a result of a free kick from junior forward/midfielder Dave Borton, his second assist on the year. Freshman midfielder Brian San Francisco doubled the Bears’ lead one minute later on a breakaway, courtesy of a perfect pass from senior defender Andrew Dennis. After the flurry of scoring, the Bears settled and cruised to a 2-0 victory, improving their season record to 6-2.

On Sunday, the Bears were in for a steeper task against regional rival Millikin University. Having tied Millikin last season despite outplaying them, the Bears entered the game intense and ready. The team’s preparation showed in the early going as the Bears created numerous scoring chances in front of the Millikin goal. Senior Allen Gleckner applied a good deal of the Bears’ pressure in the first half while junior Sam Jacobs had a hard-driven shot tipped away at the last moment by the Millikin goalkeeper.

However, it was Weeks to the rescue once again in the 42nd minute as he pounded home his own rebound to put the Bears up 1-0. Following Weeks’ classic goal celebration, the team went into halftime with a crucial lead and a massive 13-1 advantage in shots. In the second half, the Bears were unable to add to their total, but the meager Millikin attack posed little threat against the team’s back line. As time expired, the Bears went home with an easy 1-0 victory and an improved record of 7-2.

Now with most of their non-conference schedule completed, the Bears are looking ahead to their tougher in-conference games. The UAA campaign kicks off this Sunday, Oct. 3, against the dangerous squad from Carnegie Mellon University. The defending conference champions finished last season 15-2 and were ranked in the top five nationally in the final 2003 poll. However, they could only muster a 1-0 defeat of the Bears last season. With an improved team that is playing its best soccer of the season, Coach Clarke has to feel good about his team’s chances this weekend.

Missouri’s colleges given ‘F’ for affordability

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 | John Ahlan
Margaret Bauer

The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education (NCPPHE) gave Missouri colleges the worst grade possible in its “affordability” category of a state report card released earlier this month, entitled “Measuring Up 2004.”

In hanging this proverbial dunce cap over Missouri’s head, the non-profit agency compared the average amount that American families earn each year to the average costs of community, two-year and four-year institutions of higher learning.

The report divides its affordability category into three subsections. “Family Ability to Pay,” for instance, counts for half of each state’s grade and takes into account the percentage of total income a family spends on higher education. A middle-class family in Missouri pays on average $16,205 after subtractions for financial aid for a private four-year university-and, according to the report, that’s one-third of the income that middle-class families earn on average.

Looking back on previous reports produces even more disheartening news. In 2002 Missouri received a “D” instead of the “F” it received this year. The study claims things aren’t improving despite financial aid programs. The federal government shoulders much of the burden. For every dollar the federal government contributes to aiding families with college costs, the average state matches only 18 cents.

At Washington University, tuition increased 3.9 percent this year. If tuition continues to increase at this rate, this year’s freshmen class will pay $82,597.54 in 2031 when they are 45 and sending their children to their alma mater.

“College affordability measured in terms of efforts families must make has declined even when student financial aid is taken into account,” said James Hunt, chairman of the Board of Directors for the NCPPHE and former governor of North Carolina, when he released the report card to the public. “That just can’t be right.”

Started on March 17, 1998, the NCPPHE strives to gather information most useful to education leaders and distribute it to said leaders and the public. The Center’s distinguishing characteristic is that they evaluate states and the nation as a whole, rather than focusing on specific colleges and universities. They believe this idea makes their data more valuable to government leaders. With this report, leaders can make statements about the state instead of an individual institution.

Emphasizing the outcome of the study, Hunt said he expected the results of the report would “come as a surprise” to many.

Students educate peers on terror in Sudan

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 | John Hewitt
KRT Campus

Washington University’s Mallinckrodt Center became the scene of mass education this past Wednesday as students presided over collection tables and posters presenting facts about the Darfur conflict. Strategically placed collection sites on both floors of Mallinckrodt, along with the obligatory mountain of candy, ensured that the information would be noticed by passersby who might or might not decide to toss money into water-cooler bottles to help displaced Sudanese.

For the past week, members of the University community have been working to raise awareness of the refugee crisis and ethnic cleansing in the Darfur region of Sudan and to collect money to aid refugees and internally displaced persons in The Republic Chad. To date, an estimated 30,000 civilians have been killed and 1.2 million civilians have fled their homes to date, and a projected 10,000 civilians or more are expected to die each month due to famine, disease and violence, according to Amnesty International.

The goal of the campaign-called Change for Change-is to raise a total of $1,000 by the end of today. The money will go towards the Amnesty International Darfur relief fund and toward educating the community about the Darfur crisis. While the tabling campaign is over, certain residential advisors are still collecting money for the relief fund.

“A lot of people are very interested and very generous,” said senior Danielle Silber, who is a part of the University’s chapter of Amnesty International and ran the group’s tabling effort. “Also, a fair amount of people donate but aren’t interested in what’s going on. They say that it’s too depressing, and they don’t want to know anything about it. Others just walk by with blinders on.”

Darfur is a region of desert and savannah on the western edge of Sudan. It’s about the size of Texas, five to six million people live there and the central African nation of Chad borders it to the west. The civil war between the Sudanese government and rebel forces in southern Sudan has cooled after a peace agreement in May between the feuding parties, which followed pressure for talks applied by the United States. Peace in Sudan has become a greater concern for the U.S. government following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, as Sudan was a known place of residence for such terrorists as Osama bin Laden and Carlos the Jackal.

However, since early 2003 rebel groups have been conduct raids on government installations, which have been used as justification by the government for a brutal counterinsurgency campaign that has had negative results for civilians.

While the Sudanese government in the capital of Khartoum denies it, evidence collected by many human rights organizations and independent journalists indicates that the Sudanese government is conducting a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Africans living in the Darfur region. Arab militias known as the “janjaweed” (“evil horseman” in Arabic) have been supported by the government in a targeted scorched-earth campaign against black farmers. While the antiquated Sudanese air force has proven ineffective at conducting precision strikes against rebel forces, the bombs from its helicopters and airplanes have destroyed many Darfurian villages.

The crisis in Sudan is becoming more acute. Refugees continue to scatter throughout Sudan and eastern Chad, where tensions are beginning to rise between the local population and refugees following an unusually light rainy season and gross overpopulation. The government has hampered the efforts of journalists and human rights workers trying to enter the country, preventing them from acquiring visas. The Sudanese government continues to deny their support of the “janjaweed” to the international community, claiming that they are attempting to put an end to the regional violence.

The United Nations (UN) and most western countries have backed down from calling the violence in Darfur genocide, but Secretary of State Colin Powell called it just that in a U.S. proposal to the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Sudan, specifically upon its fledgling oil industry. The proposal would also provide for international peacekeepers stationed in Darfur and create an international aid package to help stave off famine and disease in the region.

While Amnesty International itself has not yet called the violence in Sudan genocide, Silber says the University’s chapter agrees with Powell’s assessment. Templates for letters thanking Powell for his declaration to the Security Council were being handed out at the Change for Change tabling event.

“For the most part, people in Khartoum don’t care about what goes on outside their own lives,” said freshman Mohamed Abdel-Razig. Abdel-Razig visits Sudan regularly and will be returning over the winter vacation. “But maybe when I go back, they’ll be talking about it. I see what the administration is doing is helping awareness.”

Campaigns still have option to pull out of debate

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 | Jonathan Greenberger

The saga continues.

With just nine days until Washington University hosts the town-hall debate between President Bush and Senator Kerry, the meeting remains in a limbo of sorts.

Both candidates have agreed to participate in the debate, but because the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has refused to sign the campaigns’ agreement, either candidate could pull out at any time.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that the Bush-Cheney campaign is considering doing just that. The Post and the New York Times reported that if the campaign does withdraw from a debate, it would likely be from either the one at Washington University or the third debate, which is to be held at Arizona State University.

The CPD refused to sign the candidates’ debate agreement, but in a statement posted to its Web site on Monday, the commission committed to enforcing the debate rules largely as outlined in the memo. The CPD wrote that no changes to the rules in the memo will be made “without prior consultation with and approval by the appropriate campaign representatives.”

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that one area where the commission may want to change the rules agreed to by the campaigns is in the selection of the participants in the University’s town-hall debate. The CPD had originally proposed that all audience members be undecided voters, while the campaigns demanded that the participants be composed of 50 percent “soft Kerry” supporters and 50 percent “soft Bush” supporters.

Regardless of what the CPD might like, Steven Smith, a professor of political science, said he doubts the method of selecting participants is likely to cause the debate’s cancellation.

“I think if either candidate backed out over this issue, it would not look good,” he said. “I think that this issue will be successfully negotiated.”

Steve Givens, who is chairing the University’s debate planning committee, said Tuesday afternoon that he had still heard nothing official from the CPD about the status of the debate.

Students get their ‘Political Bearings’

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 | Greg Lercher
Student Life Archives

Students can now get a firmer grip on politics with WUTV’s newest show, “Political Bearings.” The student-run production aims to present issues fairly and with a campus focus.

“We’re hoping that this semester, with the election, the show will appeal to students who are politically interested-not only people who are involved with political organizations, but also people who are casually interested or less active,” said sophomore Evan Susser, the show’s producer.

The premiere is scheduled to coincide with the week of the presidential debate to be held at Washington University. WUTV modeled “Political Bearings” after the format of “Meet the Press” and other Sunday-morning political programming. According to Susser, the show has a unique “Wash U. spin” and will combine interviews and debates.

After the presidential debate and election, “Political Bearings” will continue to run in its 3 p.m. time slot on Sundays. By presenting issues of concern to college voters, the staff of “Political Bearings” hopes to help educate students about making conscious decisions in the political arena, especially when choosing the next commander-in-chief.

Politically active students expressed excitement for the show, while those with other interests grumbled about the Sunday afternoon time slot.

“I think it’s exciting and it gives students another opportunity to get involved in not only political science but in journalism and news production,” said junior Jackie Graves, president of College Republicans. “It’s a great way for students to get involved in the media.”

Freshman Jon Wolff also noted the show’s potential to introduce students to non-mainstream politicians.

“I would watch a show like this,” said Wolff. “I love argumentation, and I love politics, and I can’t think of a better combination of the two for a Sunday afternoon. I feel it will be very insightful-yet as the campus maintains a very liberal attitude, it may not overcome the bias held by the viewers. I would like to see Michael Badnarik, the libertarian candidate for president, as one of the guests on the show.”

While some were concerned with the show’s timing, junior Quinton Lucas brushed aside the conflict with NFL Sunday football.

“Some may complain about its timing opposite NFL football, but I think it could be a great addition to our campus dialogue,” said Quinton. “I think it would greatly enhance their current lineup and I’d enjoy seeing them get opinions from the average student [and] not just the politically informed.”

Students with access to cable television can tune in for “Political Bearings” on WUTV Channel 22.

WU burned by fire ranking

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 | Shannon Petry
Shannon Petry

Failed a test recently? You’re not alone. In a recently released ranking, Washington University scored a 50 percent in the “Fire Safety” category of The Princeton Review’s 2004-2005 survey of campus life.

The University scored an 80 on a scale of 60 to 99 points. The questions dealt with statistics such as the percentage of rooms equipped with a supervised fire alarm system, the percentage of rooms equipped with an automatic sprinkler system, the number of hours of student fire-safety training provided by the school and the procedures that campus security and the fire department employ when responding to activated fire alarms.

The Princeton Review developed the survey in conjunction with the Center for Campus Fire Safety (CCFS), a watchdog group that collects and publishes data on campus fire statistics.

Steve Hoffner, director of operations at the University, expressed dissatisfaction with the University’s fire safety results.

“I would certainly hope that we would be ranked better,” said Hoffner.

The fire safety ranking is a new addition this year to The Princeton Review’s wide variety of surveys. According to Eric Olson, the company’s director of guidebook publications, the point of the fire safety analysis is to help prospective students distinguish between institutions in an area that many don’t necessarily consider when selecting a college.

“[We] want to ask questions that you may not want to ask or know to ask when you visit,” said Olson. “This is another way students should compare schools.”

According to the CCFS website, 66 people have died in college-related fires since January 2000. Ed Comeau, director of the CCFS, recommends that students investigate a school’s fire safety record before making a decision about which school to attend. Posting rankings on The Princeton Review’s Web site will make the data easily available to a large number of prospective college students.

“The more information people have when they’re trying to select a fire-safe school, obviously the better it is,” Comeau said.

In comparison to the University’s 80 points, other area schools such as Saint Louis University and Webster University received 92 and 90 points, respectively. The University of Missouri-St. Louis did not submit a completed survey for publication, and thus scored the minimum 60 points. According to Olson, about 700 schools provided data in this category.

Student Life was unable to obtain a copy of the University’s completed survey. Keith Steinbrueck, an admissions analyst responsible for submitting the University’s surveys to The Princeton Review, was not able to locate the name of the person who filled out the fire safety form.

According to Ralph Thaman, associate vice chancellor for facilities planning and management at the University, nobody came to ask for the technical information that would have been required to complete the survey. None of the safety or facilities officials contacted by Student Life were aware that such an evaluation had occurred.

Safety Coordinator Paul Landgraf and Thaman agreed that a possible reason for the University’s low score was that the survey covered all University-owned housing, from freshman residence halls on the South 40 to off-campus apartments.

The University now owns more than 1,000 beds in off-campus housing. Thaman said that these off-campus apartments are not connected to a supervised fire alarm system, meaning that the students living in the building are responsible for reporting a fire. One of the questions in the survey clearly referred to the number of fire alarms able to automatically notify a central station of an incident.

“I guess we feel that the smoke detector in the ceiling alerts the resident, who can then make the call,” said Thaman, adding that the University is “in the process of doing upgrades,” although no timeline has been set for their completion because the apartments are “acceptable for living.”

Hoffner said that the preexisting conditions of the off-campus buildings also make it difficult to bring the housing up to the standards of the newer residence halls.

“Some of the buildings are very old and probably aren’t suitable for sprinkling without considerable expense,” said Hoffner.

According to the CCFS Web site, the lack of automatic sprinkling systems is a common link between many fatal fires in student housing. Other frequent problems include smoking, missing or nonfunctioning smoke alarms and the consumption of alcohol.

Senior Martin Repinecz is a resident of the on-campus Millbrook Apartments. Like the off-campus apartments, the Millbrook buildings are not equipped with automatic sprinkler systems.

Repinecz said he finds the University’s low fire safety rating “a little disturbing,” and expressed interest in receiving more instructions on how to operate first-response equipment such as a fire extinguisher-an interest amplified by a recent brush with flames.

“We had a small fire in the suite the other day [involving the toaster],” said Repinecz. “My roommate tried to get the fire extinguisher, but the fire extinguisher would not come off the wall.”

Landgraf says that while students do receive fire safety training from a variety of sources, the administration recognizes that not all students retain the information presented to them.

Hoffner echoed Landgraf’s views about student participation in the fire education process.

“We can talk about fire safety and urge people to do the right thing, but too often it doesn’t get the attention it deserves,” Hoffner said. “I think overall we have a good fire safety program.”

Another key factor in the University’s fire safety policy is the once-a-year fire drill required by the fire code. This year’s set of drills occurred during the third week of September. Landgraf worked with members of the maintenance staff and the Clayton Fire Department to evaluate student response to the activated fire alarms. During the drills, Landgraf paced the buildings, looking for code violations. In one dorm, he removed a set of doorstops that prevented the fire doors from automatically swinging shut when the alarm was activated.

Overall, said Landgraf, “we had exceptionally good fire safety and evacuation drills in all the buildings.”

The number of fire evacuation drills conducted was another component of The Princeton Review’s fire safety survey. Because the University conducts the minimum required number of planned drills, it is likely that this is one part of the questionnaire that would have unfavorably affected the final score.

Ultimately, Thaman sees a positive side to the University’s low score.

“The good thing about [the ranking] is that you can take steps to improve it,” said Thaman. “We are going to put together a plan.”

Don’t make me shush you

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 | Molly Antos

Ok, imagine this. You’re in a discussion-based class talking about a work of … I don’t know, say literature. Everyone around you is making the same basic clich‚ observations that barely warrant the effort of speaking, but for once in your (ok let’s be honest, this story is about me) my pathetic existence as a student, I came up with a slightly innovative, not yet voiced reflection on the reading.

The teacher looked surprised, perhaps by my ability to deviate from my normally mind numbingly stupid pattern of thought and applauded my efforts. In my euphoric state, I sort of stopped listening to the conversation, reviewing my stellar performance in my mind, but that thought process was abruptly halted when I heard a surprisingly similar theory being voiced by another member of the class.

I wasn’t really surprised, not just because I would expect people to want to steal my great ideas, but also because it happens to everyone all the time. I say it’s time to stand up to these comment vultures and put an end to this verbal thievery. It is a common classroom courtesy that people just ignore in order to elicit praise and the hope of a higher grade from the professor. But the truth is, we’re in college now, and big boys and girls need to learn to think for themselves.

There is, in fact a certain set of rules for classroom etiquette, which most people choose to ignore. One frequently violated tenet of these unspoken regulations is the quiet rule. Everyone talks in class at one time or another. But what’s really annoying is Sir and Lady Chatsalot that talk quite loudly on a fairly consistent basis, but still continue to sit in the second row.

It’s a major distraction in a prominent section of the lecture hall-if you’re going to talk, don’t come to class, but if you’re hell-bent on coming to class and talking the whole time you’re there, sit in the back. People sitting in the front of the room often are interested in getting something out of the class, and at least for me, one reason to sit so close is so I can hear. It’s a lot harder to do that when I’m forced to hear about how Susie and Johnny were up late last night engaging in a rousing round of Dance Dance Revolution in Beaumont.

Also, if you have a question, is it really so hard to raise your hand and ask the teacher as opposed to whispering loudly to the person next to you, who has to whisper loudly back to explain the answer that’s probably wrong and distracting me while I’m attempting to pay attention to factual information?

Along that same “noise” vein, could everyone please stop leaving five minutes before class gets out? I mean, if you’re going to make the effort to come to class and stay the whole time, you can make it through another five minutes. I know it’s hard, knowing you’re missing the credits of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” but try to contain yourself.

Also, something that I’ve learned in my years here, professors often disclose important information about homework, papers, exams, etc. at the end of class, so the shuffling at the end of every class hour is completely inappropriate. By packing up your stuff while the professor is talking, you’re only going to get out a maximum of 2.3 seconds faster.

An additional memo on this topic, if there’s an hour long class, and you’re not going to get there until 25+ minutes after the hour, just don’t show up. It’s not worth it, and you’re bothering the people who cared enough about the class to show up. If you absolutely must show up late, there is no need to slam the door to announce your presence to everyone. If the class started without you, you’re probably not important enough to make such a grand entrance. (Note to professors: If we promise to do this stuff, could you please start letting my classes out on time? I have other stuff to do and often other classes to get to. Thanks.)

There are a whole slew of things people do in classrooms that are annoying and downright unacceptable. Those people that make everyone in the class wait for a year and a half while they search for the exact quote that proves the point they want to make which isn’t relevant to the conversation anyway and also the people that don’t bother to do the reading, but like to speak in class like they have.

I’m sure that this insignificant piece of reading won’t change anything, but from now on, maybe people will at least think about who else they’re affecting before they do these things.

Mugged at gunpoint? Not if I’m packing

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004 | Gregg Keithley
Max Cooper

Many of the responses to my last article “The trouble with University gun policy” cited the apparent rarity of campus crime (particularly violent rape, though that is not the topic at hand in this article) as witness against the various points I made about the necessity of allowing students to carry firearms in self-defense. Some argued that police were sufficient to stop crime, and that nothing more than that would be necessary.

Last Friday, of course, the front page of Student Life carried a story that weighs against the first point, and flatly contradicts the second. Crime does happen, and the police did nothing to stop it. I don’t claim to know very specific details about the mugging, but nonetheless, it’s a relatively safe bet that the perpetrators will see no real negative consequences come out of their action (“The case is being investigated, but we haven’t gotten anywhere as of yet.”).

Reading through this story, there are several very obvious points at which a gun would have prevented or stopped the crime. The most obvious, of course, is that if the perpetrators knew that their potential victims might be armed, they would probably think twice about attempting such a robbery-two college students’ wallets are hardly worth the risk of serious injury or death at the end of a firearm. Even if these particular students had decided not to carry, they would be safer because other students would.

Also, the female student in the story had the time and opportunity to pull out a cell phone from her purse. If she had had a handgun in her glove box, say, she would presumably have been able to use that to stop the thugs who were robbing them from punching and beating her friend. (Of course, per Washington University gun policy, she would not be able to have a gun in her car if it were on campus.)

Would anyone honestly say that she should not be able to use force, or the threat of force, to stop a group of apparently physically superior men from assaulting and battering her friend? Note that the robbers had a gun themselves-if things had gone differently, her friend may very well have been murdered for his disobedience to their demands. I would suspect these two students are responsible ones, at least as much as most other Washington University students are. Why should they be prohibited from the means of defending themselves in such situations?

Now, one might object that even if such a thing does happen occasionally, it does not happen frequently enough to justify allowing students to carry weapons. This seems to be a very upside-down claim. For something as important as, potentially, saving my own life, it seems negligent and cruel to deny me the means of doing so, simply on the grounds that it isn’t likely to occur. It doesn’t seem that the defense of my very life by the responsible owning and carrying of a small firearm should be trumped by considerations of the uneasiness of other students on campus, or simply that it’s not worth the trouble, or any such argument.

Second, one might object that an increased amount of firearms would simply increase the amount of violent crime occurring on campus. However, would anyone seriously doubt that the gun-if it was real-used by the assailant in the mugging was obtained illegally? For criminals who thrive off of using violence and intimidation, having such an enormous advantage over victims is worth the relatively small amount of trouble necessary to obtain an illegal weapon. Responsible citizens, however, tend to follow the law and remain disarmed. So, gun control will tend to keep guns in the hands of criminals, and out of the hands of their victims. Why is this a good policy?

The final point I’d like to repeat and emphasize is that police simply are not effective at stopping crimes in progress. We cannot rely on them to save us from attackers. They won’t get there in time, and they probably won’t find the aggressor to bring to justice when they do. I would honestly be very surprised if the police even did further investigation into this mugging, let alone actually track down the perpetrators. We cannot rely on them to save us.

Violence and crime are unfortunate circumstances of our lives and we must meet them by defending ourselves. But first, we have to let that be an option.