- Letters to the Editor
I wish to applaud the efforts of Pittsburg State’s coaches and players after the recent announcement that 51 of our football players have qualified for the MIAA Honor Roll.
This is a continuation of a history of excellence for Pitt State’s athletes.
Russ Jewett, cross country head coach, and Ibraheem Suberu, volleyball head coach, have consistently had an extraordinarily high percentage of their teams make the Honor Roll and earn Scholar-Athlete Awards with a 3.5 GPA or better.
Besides good coaching, this is clearly exceptional mentoring.
Paul C. Smith is a professor and chair emeritus of modern languages and literatures. He is an alumnus of the University of Arizona, where he was a four-year varsity letterman.
Editor’s Note: Suberu announced his retirement as volleyball head coach on Thursday, Nov. 21, Jenny Mueller was announced to replace him.
The ‘real meaning of Christmas’
Why has the American Church lost sight of why we even celebrate Christmas?
Each year, as Christmas-time rolls around, we all go straight to making lists of what we want to see under the tree (an iPad, if you were wondering what I want) and how we can score the best deals on Black Friday.
Christmas used to be a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ; now it’s about our selfish wants.
I remember when I came to realize the meaning of Christmas, when I learned that it wasn’t about Santa and presents.
That’s when you realize you’ve outgrown childhood – thanks, parents – or even being gathered with family. I know. The realization is staggering.
Jesus may not have been born on Dec. 25. Still, it is a time to remember His birth and the reason for it.
We have set aside this day to be thankful for His coming to Earth and saving us from our sins. Jesus is our only true and perfect gift!
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” - James 1:17
Blake Weaver is a member of Campus Christians and a sophomore in nursing.
- Sharing some holiday humble pie
Marcus Clem | editor in chief
As we come to the halfway point of the year, I would just like to take some time to reflect on how far we’ve come and what we’ve accomplished in spite of my leadership.
Thanks are due to too many names to list, but gratitude isn’t good enough for a community that deserves everything we’ve accomplished.
First, as always, are the students. The Collegio serves the entire Pittsburg State community, but student fee dollars pay for our existence.
That’s more valuable than raw money or simply giving me a job, though I appreciate it.
Students walk into 210 Whitesitt Hall and volunteer their time and effort, sometimes for no pay, only to have what’s essentially extra homework plastered over 5,000 issues for everyone to judge.
I want to emphasize my heartfelt appreciation for those who have written for us as volunteers. It takes special dedication and character, all my cajoling aside, and you’ve made this opinion page.
The rest of you provide the gorilla’s share of inter-communal discussion that forms the basis of any good news outlet.
You respond to our questions and contribute the criticism we need to learn, including the angry voicemail messages that I need to stay entertained in the late nights and early mornings.
I hope that more of you decide to write for us and give that invaluable feedback in the future.
Our faculty and staff are the foundation for all of this.
That’s first true with Gerard Attoun, director of student publications. We are, bottom line, learners, and he’s our teacher.
Novice newsies need someone, preferably an irascible, nettlesome, “expert” journalist to proudly tear the paper to shreds and fuel us to do better, if only to shut him up. Instead we have Gerard, but he’ll do.
The faculty and instructors of campus are our resident experts, who for some reason spend all day sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience and then do it all over for the reporter who didn’t pay attention.
Everyone else on campus plays an even more critical part, from the police who protect us and update us as promptly as possible when unfortunate things happen, to the custodial staff who somehow keep our office in order.
Seventeen issues are done. Fourteen are in the works. We won’t be able to do it without you all, especially so long as I’m in charge, so thank you again for the best that I hope is yet to come.
- Promote funding ‘priorities’ to control fees
Michael Giffin | guest writer
As most students are aware, tuition and fees have increased and are set to increase again here at Pittsburg State. There seems to be no end in sight.
The main problem comes from the state continuing to cut funding for higher education. This is done under the excuse that they are lowering taxes, but at what cost to students?
The burden of the cost of tuition is now effectively half on students and half on the state, as opposed to the far different 70/30 split that existed in students’ favor in 2003.
State universities were instituted for the good of the state because an educated populace is a more productive one.
I hope that students will pay attention to Kansas’ senators and representatives as they consider higher education issues, particularly those related to funding, and encourage them to make an informed vote.
Next November we will have another opportunity to elect representatives who will stand for higher education. Far too often, we focus on the national representatives. Lately, it’s been state legislation that has hurt higher education, and we as voters should not stand for this.
There is one more aspect of collegiate costs that students can have a major effect on: student fees. These fees pay for many of the computer labs, athletics programs, tutor services and even most of the amenities of Overman Student Center.
I will not say that student fees are not necessary, but they also continue to increase with time at a rate that is far greater than natural inflation would account for.
There is a process on how these are allocated: A committee composed of Student Government Association (SGA) senators and university administrators listens to presentations on why certain groups need student fee dollars.
Then, a recommendation for that particular fee goes to the whole SGA senate. The number may be amended if an alternative suggestion is proposed.
Ultimately, Steve Scott, university president, gets the final say in what number is chosen. For example: Last year, the Athletic Fee Council proposed a $6 fee increase. SGA recommended a $3 increase, but Scott chose a $5 increase.
The voting record of SGA senators is now being posted outside of the SGA office and I encourage students to check the record and vote for people with your priorities on funding.
Better yet, run for office if you disagree with how fees are being distributed.
Sen. Michael Giffin of SGA is a junior in physics and chemistry.
- Letters to the Editor
MLL situation imporving
In September, students were handed a letter stating that the Spanish and French majors were being cut from Pittsburg State’s curriculum.
Since then, students have been able to have a Q&A session with Karl Kunkel, dean of arts and sciences. Now that students are properly informed of the situation, how shall it be addressed?
This letter is to let the student body know that Student Government Association (SGA) has taken action to help in the development of the Department of Modern Languages and Literature (MLL).
SGA has formed an outside committee of five MLL students to be the voices of campus, who will work with Kunkel’s administrative task force that he convened to plot the department’s future.
The first step for the MLL student committee was to request permission to have student representatives present on the task force.
Kunkel sent a prompt reply to arrange a meeting with Taylor Gravett, SGA president, and me to discuss that request.
Kunkel told me that he is very supportive of student involvement, but encourages the committee to consider other ways to have student input.
If a student representative was to be part of the task force, he said, then they would be expected to commit to the work and curriculum research required from other administrative and staff members.
Other options are being explored to sponsor student representation. I believe this is in the best interest of both parties.
The future of the MLL Department is not looking as bleak as it was the day the student letter was sent out.
Now that both faculty and students are working together toward a solution, there is hope for a better and more efficient MLL Department for Pittsburg State University.
I ask our fellow students to continue to follow information on the situation as it develops, and support the work being done with the task force.
Sen. Lynzee Flores is the chair of SGA’s MLL committee and a sophomore in Spanish and political science.
Moral questions of abortion
Pittsburg State has a large percentage of students who are pro-life, and support the right to life for all human beings.
In a survey I helped conduct, 144 people said “No” and 59 people said “Yes,” in response to the question, “Should abortion be legal?”
I had a couple of people question my own stance, since I’m a man. I have always seen this issue as a moral issue, not a sexual one.
Our society protects children no matter what once they are born. We find a way to give them a good home if their parents aren’t a good fit.
We don’t let parents kill infants because the child is inconvenient, and we don’t kill elderly because they might suffer.
During pregnancy the baby simply needs to be fed and given a safe environment inside the womb, to be able to grow and develop all on his or her own.
Those basic requirements really don’t change much outside the womb until the child becomes an adult. The child simply needs to have the chance to grow up.
At conception, that child is a unique human being with his or her own set of DNA; he or she is not a part of the mother.
I believe that a child’s right to life extends all the way to conception. I don’t believe that the right to life is granted at an arbitrary point during pregnancy.
Our society has been able to dehumanize unborn children in order to justify terminating them.
Size, stage in development, or number of human characteristics are not what make us human beings, and the right to life should apply at all stages of development.
J. Fred Fox is a senior in accounting.
Right-wing ‘Crazy Train’
In listening to Ozzy Osborne’s “Crazy Train,” I’ve come to realize that aside from yelling strings of unintelligible “words” at his family on syndicated television shows, Ozzy has a talent for writing songs that have a remarkable retention of relevancy, even decades after their release.
“Crazy Train” is a social commentary on how we as a society live by rules created by people with outdated thinking; that we are set up to accept their hatred as our own.
I suppose it could have just been the ramblings of a drug-addled mind, but I’ll give Ozzy the benefit of the doubt.
How does this message affect us as college students? Well, if you hadn’t noticed by now, we don’t live in some progressive utopia. In fact, it’s fair to say that in Kansas, the inmates are running the asylum.
Since George W. Bush’s presidency, the Republican Party has evolved from a thorn in the Democratic Party’s side, to a force seemingly dedicated to bringing on the apocalypse.
Forty right wing extremists shut down the government, just because the idea of poor people living longer scares the crap out of them.
Their insanity isn’t limited to just those 40 people: The Kansas State Assembly has become, essentially, a Tea Party equivalent of an Al Qaeda training camp.
The constant refusal of the Tea Party to support commonsense legislation, in favor of a worldview that lists America as “God’s country” and Jesus as the first Republican, is holding back the nation.
They wish to deny basic freedom to marry, to reject equal treatment in employment regardless of sexual orientation and to block a fairer system of healthcare, all on the basis of religious extremism.
These positions are proof positive that today’s Republicans are “going off the rails.” We should stop their drive to take us all with them.
Christopher Mick Munday is Secular Student Alliance club president and a senior in justice studies.
Kansas reps’ leading charge to nowhere | Immigration reform gummed up yet again in Washington
When President Barack Obama won re-election just over a year ago by a convincing margin, he did so with the overwhelming support of a rapidly growing bloc of Latino voters.
Demoralized in the election’s wake, the Republican Party commissioned an extensive study of what went wrong on their side.
They found an obvious truth: Latinos are forming into a Democratic voting bloc, motivated by how Republicans tend to balk at any real solution for the nation’s millions of undocumented residents.
“We must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform,” the party’s “Growth and Opportunity Project Report” reads. “If we do not, our party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only.”
In more direct terms, that means the report’s authors think they’re going to lose elections, and continue to lose them for the foreseeable future, if something doesn’t change.
Kansas’ representatives in the U.S. Congress, all Republicans, are part of a broader bloc of conservatives nationwide that insist on ignoring or flat-out rejecting that advice.
Reps. Lynn Jenkins, Tim Huelskamp, Kevin Yoder and Mike Pompeo, in tandem with Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, have consistently disregarded the need for this reform.
Jenkins’ district includes Southeast Kansas.
Earlier this week, Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced that his party shall suspend all sponsorship of efforts to resolve the immigration issue this year.
Boehner has himself been on-again, off-again about reform, constantly conflicted between his sense of political pragmatism and the hardcore conservatives of his caucus that regard any reform effort as “amnesty.”
We ask Jenkins, who is vice chair of the U.S. House Republican caucus, to use this opportunity to take the lead, show a little political courage, and accomplish something the nation desperately needs.
While the welfare of Southeast Kansas’ Latino residents and their families is a very important concern, what’s at stake affects all of us.
Experts everywhere agree that the immigration status quo carries harmful effects in the realms of national security, crime, education and healthcare, just to name a few.
In June, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive reform package that probably is far from perfect both in what it seeks to do and what it will actually accomplish.
Yet Moran and Roberts, who is up for re-election in the coming year, contributed no significant part to that effort, and voted against it.
Our representatives in the House all reject it, and it remains stalled in Congress with an uncertain future.
For both political and practical reasons, Republicans can’t be expected to simply bend over and accept the Senate bill as is, as Obama, for one, would surely be glad for them to do.
Yet inaction is no answer either, and that message needs to be sent loud and clear to our elected leaders, especially those who will seek Kansans’ renewed confidence in midterm elections next year.
- SEK’s poor will suffer
Outrageous inaction tightens needed food aid
Who can live on $1.40 per meal?
Sadly, Southeast Kansas is about to find out. On Nov. 1, decreases in federal funding for food-stamp benefits to the tune of $5 billion in 2014 and a projected $6 billion for 2015 took effect.
The decreases are a broken promise, because in 2009, recognizing that the nation’s poor are in particular need of help in an era of recession, Congress raised food assistance.
That raise, part of a broader law, should have been continued. It was meant to be, if needed.
Anyone who questions that need in this community, or who would suggest that others are capable of filling the gap, is operating on bad information.
Readers may refer to The Collegio’s news story on this topic this week for the details, but in short, the area’s charities were struggling with above-capacity demand before this cut.
The fact is, this is really about hatred for “moochers” and a false perception that people on government assistance really don’t need it, and if they wanted, could just work harder and earn their way out of it.
On the contrary, the vast majority of the people on food stamps have used that assistance to keep their families fed despite working as much as they can.
Of course, there are those who are prepared to abuse the program.
Anyone who would argue that we shouldn’t do anything or have a conversation about combating abuse is also out of touch with the needs of Southeast Kansas.
But when the risk of depriving children of enough to eat is real and easy to understand, pushing to harm the entire program betrays an extremist agenda, not concern.
The fact that all of Kansas’ delegates in the U.S. Congress have cast at least one vote in the last year to cut food stamps beyond the recent cuts shows as much.
There’s also a pall of hypocrisy in play that is so disgusting it is difficult to comprehend: Leaders of the conservative faction that demand food-stamp cuts nationwide broadly benefit from other forms of federal assistance that they do not oppose.
The most local example is Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Wichita, whose family farm has raked in millions of federal dollars since 1995.
That has to stop. Members of Congress who want to vote for food-stamp cuts may have perfectly legitimate reasons to do so, but that vote should also deprive them of all federal subsidies.
At the end of the day, as always, it’s up to the electorate. If you want to feed your neighbor when he or she is in need, vote these guys out of office.
The community’s got to get behind it together, because the folks who must cut corners to feed their kids can’t do it alone.
Food stamps need stricter rules
Alyssa Marsh | guest writer
Our generation expects too many handouts from the government. We consistently stand around wanting more, with no intention or plan to work for the money we receive as the majority of the people in our society should do.
Huge food aid expansion
As our generation moves into the realm of adult life and takes on the fiscal and economical responsibilities that come with age, one of the most pressing issues we will have to face is our nation’s crushing debt.
Although numerous facets feed into the money spent by our government, one of the largest benefactors are social programs, including the food stamp and welfare programs.
As of June, over 15 percent of the entire American population remains on food stamps. Nearly 15.8 million people have been added to the program since President Barack Obama took office.
The latest figures are showing a 49.3 percent increase since Obama first took office. That is a very large increase and quite frankly, our country cannot afford it.
I understand that our citizens need help, and I am not against government funding for these programs.
Significant abuse exists
However I feel that there needs to be stricter rules and regulations on who is able to receive government funding, the amounts they are receiving, and for how long.
For example, if you are an unemployed single mother with five children living in your household. You should receive government assistance.
However, in the case of a child who has left the home and is now supporting his or her own lifestyle and living as an adult, that person should not receive the same amount of government assistance.
I recently read an article about an illegal immigrant mother of seven who is currently collecting $250 in food stamps, child support, government funded housing, medication, and $700 a month in Social Security.
That is a guaranteed $950 a month being handed to her with no work or effort necessary whatsoever. This woman’s entire lifestyle is being supported by the government and our country’s taxpayers.
This particular person has been receiving this amount of government help for the past 20 years.
Unfair to rest of us
As a college graduate in the spring of 2014, having a bachelor’s degree with three minors in hand, I will not make anything close to that amount monthly.
I do not feel that our country was based and built on a society that takes from some to give to others who do not wish to work.
We are a nation built on hard working citizens who build their own accomplishments and goals.
I feel that the budget cut to government funding for food stamps and other programs is an abrupt and large amount that may seem shocking to the nation.
However, our country is in a massive amount of debt and the funds have to come from somewhere.
This funding is something that has been treated too lightheartedly in the past and it is time that our government finally take a second look at who exactly it is we are giving our citizens’ tax dollars to.
Alyssa Marsh, senior in fashion merchandising and marketing, is Student Government Association community affairs director.
Letter to the Editor
In today’s dismal economy, nearly 11 percent of Kansas residents receive food stamp assistance, while 19 percent of children in Kansas live in poverty.
These numbers are simply unacceptable, and should be alarming to each and every Kansan. If you are fortunate enough to be an individual who does not fit into these statistics, consider yourself lucky.
Behind these numbers are real people; hurting people. In my meager 21 years as a Kansan, I have learned a few things. Kansans are hard working, they are determined, and they want to work.
As with any government program, there will be abuse to a certain extent, but we must not let a small number of people that abuse the system bring down everyone else who needs help.
Kansas must create good paying jobs for its citizens, and help people lift themselves out of poverty. We cannot do this by starving those who need jobs or live in poverty.
We must make it a priority to continue to fund programs that help the most vulnerable in our state, while striving to create good paying jobs.
Ad astra per aspera. To the stars, through difficulties.
Sen. Ethan Spurling is a member of Student Government Association and a sophomore in political science and communication.