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Saturday, December 03, 2022
The independent student publication of The Unversity at Buffalo, since 1950

Opinions

The Spectrum
OPINION

UB2020 becomes UB2080

When college budgets are slashed, boy, do states know how to slash. In light of the most recent budget cuts from the SUNY system, UB officials are in scramble mode. Due to a strain in funding, the university officials will be delaying UB's expansion till the funding comes through, which, by their estimates, could be as early as 2050, and construction could be completed by 2080. The main focus of the UB 2080 plan would be to expand all three campuses and build a medical campus in downtown Buffalo, while at the same time expanding the student and teacher population on campus. The plan requires upwards of $5 billion in funding. Unfortunately, the global economic downturn and continuous cuts from the New York State government have made the procurement of funds that much harder. The delay will cause the expansion of new libraries and new dorms to be put on hold. Students will have to incur higher costs. But again, remember, these funds will make student life better for all. Now of course, the downside to all the expansion and the delays is that the project has already been set into motion. Construction that was begun on UB's North Campus near Bell Hall has led to greater traffic in the area. Another problem with the delay is that UB needs this change now, not in two decades. The libraries are inadequately equipped to benefit the student population – not to mention the rather dull design of campus. UB's facelift will launch the university as a premier research institution. The plan calls for North Campus to be the "intellectual core" of the university. The biggest additions will be a new strip along Lee Road filled with restaurants, off-campus apartments and retail stores. South Campus will be restructured within the guidelines of four disciplines — law, education, social work and architecture and planning. A series of strategically placed demolitions will allow the campus to be reshaped and more efficiently used. The campus population will rise above the 8,000 mark between faculty, staff and students. Although the actual expansion of South Campus will be smaller than those of the other campuses, it will receive no less attention. Its implementation will be done in phases to avoid hindering campus activities. Although the plan is still in its early stages, one thing remains clear: university officials must fight for every dollar and the execution of the plan. In fact, members of the administration should lobby the state legislature for the money immediately. If not, UB could fall dangerously behind other institutions that have better absorbed the economic downturn. The University at Buffalo can ill afford any delay to this plan. Pushing UB 2020 back to 2080 would be a dangerous thing; in fact, it could seriously damage the university. After all, the plan not only revitalizes the university, but could provide the jolt the greater Western New York area could use to revitalize itself as well. And everyone can agree – that is priceless.


The Spectrum
OPINION

Endorsement for UB Council

The last thing any UB student wants to talk about, much less read about is another election process. But this one is kind of a big deal. No, it isn't for a Student Association position but rather a job that exerts a tremendous influence on the inner workings of this university. Many students are unaware of what the UB Council actually does. The UB council acts as the primary oversight and advisory body to the president and senior officers here at UB. The body is charged with reviewing all major plans and activities of the university in areas from academics to buildings and grounds. The Council has some major pull. Joshua Boston represents the best candidate to represent the student population on the Council. Boston has served and excelled in every leadership position he has attained here at UB. As for his credentials, he has served as editor to both The Spectrum and Visions Magazine in addition to being the chairperson for SA's Election and Credentials committee. For full disclosure, Boston did work as a managing editor here at the The Spectrum. That link may discourage some from viewing the endorsement as unbiased, but it is not the case. Many of the editors currently on staff were not working with Joshua as he hasn't worked at the paper for two years. Nonetheless, we feel that he is the right guy for the job. Boston's campaign is not filled with an agenda but rather a promise to the student body to advocate for them. The decisions by this council significantly influences student's lives with every choice it makes. These are uncertain times for UB. The expansion plan UB 2020 has been delayed yet again. The incoming freshman class of 2014 will be one of the largest and highest scoring class ever to enroll at UB. Anyone paying attention to recent events has seen the schools budget cut, tuition raised and facility cuts and new building projects delayed. There is no one better to represent the needs of the student body on this Council then a recent graduate like Boston. Again this endorsement only serves as a recommendation to the student body. Students should go and learn about these candidates and make an informed choice. Voting for the council will occur April 6th to 8th at http://student-affairs.buffalo.edu/vote.


The Spectrum
OPINION

A sticky icky problem

Puff, puff, pass. The phrase may no longer be taboo in the state of California come next November. The state with medical marijuana may make it entirely legal for adults. The petition to legalize marijuana was signed by nearly 700,000 residents of California, grossly exceeding the required 433,971 signatures needed. If approved, the referendum would allow all those over 21 years old to possess an ounce of marijuana – more then enough to roll up a few joints. The initiative also allows residents to cultivate and harvest the plant in limited quantities. Local governments reversed the option to allow and tax marijuana sales. However, the proposal does take measures to keep it away from minors. Users would not be allowed to consume it in any form in the public arena or while minors are present. The proposal would also make it illegal to drive while under the influence or posses the drug on school grounds, measures that should be enforced to the fullest. Many opposed to the measure cite the fact that marijuana is a gateway drug, which can lead users down a rabbit hole to other illegal narcotics. Plus, with its legalization, the state law would be in a direct conflict with federal law. The current administration in Washington has decided to cease wasting federal resources on prosecuting marijuana cases. However, there is no indication that Washington would be supportive of this measure. Now many advocates of the legalization believe that the state can stand to profit upwards of $200 million. That money could be used to help solve the Californian budget crisis. The revenue could also be used to pay for public safety services as well. Now what will be the side effects of the legalization? The fact remains that between 33 percent and 50 percent of Americans use it daily, according to a study by Roger Roffman, a professor of social work at the University of Washington. As far as criminal matters are concerned, in 2009, the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice showed that arrests for other criminal offenses have decreased between 1990 and 2008. The arrests in California in cases with marijuana have gone up by 127 percent. During that same time, 60,000 violent crimes haven't been solved, according to the FBI. Marijuana has too many questions surrounding its legalization. There is no clear consensus on what the aftermath will be on marijuana legalization.


OPINION

Silenced voice

I had nightmares all weekend. I woke up sweating in the middle of the night screaming, "Leave me alone!" before I snapped out of it and realized it was just a dream. Except it wasn't. All last week I battled my way through the frenzy of Student Association elections in the Student Union. Between the Student Alliance and the ONE Party, if I had one more campaigner shove a flyer in my face urging me to vote, I would've taken regrettable actions. I don't have a problem casting my vote. After all, it is part of my student obligation to let my voice be heard. I do, however, have a problem with both parties' campaign slogans stating that they're "for the student population." Really? Because I beg to differ. After months of speculation, SA proudly announced that Three Days Grace will headline Spring Fest 2010 with opening acts N.E.R.D. and Lady Danville, in addition to two unnamed acts. Are. You. Kidding. Me? That's the best you could do? A '90s alternative rock band that took nearly 11 years to hit it big with a platinum album that only reached 69 on the US charts? They've had their fair share of gold hits with "I Hate Everything About You," "Animal I Have Become," "Pain" and "Never Too Late," but is it really enough to sign the band on to headline our spring concert series? Hardly. Spring Fest has always been a highly anticipated event on campus. It's the end of the year celebration – one last hoorah on campus before exams and senior commencement. You could even say it's a reward for students who've spent endless hours spent at Capen stressing over finals. Sorry to say, but this year students may end up opting to spend their Saturday night at Capen instead of Alumni Arena. This isn't the first time in the past four years that SA has dropped a goose egg on Spring Fest. Last year, the annual April concert featured punk rockers Rise Against, and The Roots headlined in 2007 – not too memorable. SA did reel in Akon and T-Pain in 2008 for a night to remember. T-Pain wasn't on stage long enough to make a lasting impression, but his over the top mascot opened eyes. Akon started off a bit rocky before his oddball DJ fell off the turntable, nearly breaking his neck and every piece of equipment on stage. The night was a success in my book. If you claim to be the voice of the students, then give the students the chance to be heard. There's no reason why we shouldn't have a say in who we want to headline our concert. Survey the student population on an ideal music genre or compile a list of possible headlining candidates. Take those results and hire an act that you know the students will be excited for. If that idea doesn't satisfy your minds, then do us all a favor and broaden your horizons. My patience has run out on the customary rotation of hip-hop to punk rock bands between the fall and spring concerts. I'm sick of having to watch rap and hip-hop artists run around stage while waving a towel in the air as they hold a firm grasp on their man-meat. I'm sick of hearing poor acoustics make a national rock band sound like underground rockers performing in Billy's basement for a kegger party. Didn't Lupe Fiasco's performance make you want to find a new playlist after he told UB students they suck? Here's an idea: play something country. Country music has taken the music business by storm in recent years. Its popularity is expanding vastly with country rockers Keith Urban, Brad Paisley and Toby Keith. If electric guitarists aren't your style, try Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood. How about mega-groups including Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum and The Zac Brown Band? Smaller acts from Darius Rucker to Jason Aldean and Gloriana can pack just as big a punch as the mainstream stars. Do you honestly believe outsiders will spend $35 on a ticket for this year's lineup? Country acts sell out venues around Buffalo and Western New York year-round (including UB's own country acoustics show at The Center for the Arts). A country act is going to draw a bigger crowd outside UB students, and we all know what that means – revenue. I'm not suggesting to specifically target a country music act. But I am suggesting that you give us something fresh and new to look to forward to. Stop choosing one of the recently played artists off your iPod to headline Spring Fest and give UB students a voice. Maybe then your crowd will exceed the attendance of a high school musical. E-mail: joe.paterno@ubspectrum.com


OPINION

Give credit where credit is due

Be honest, Sabres fans. When you think back to the beginning of this NHL season, what were you saying about the Sabres? What type of predictions were you making? From what I remember, nobody had high expectations for the team. Everyone was saying that it was going to be another typical losing season and that the Sabres didn't have a roster solid enough to compete with star-studded teams like Pittsburgh and Washington. I'll admit it — I was right there with you, doubting the potential of the Buffalo blue and gold. Well, look at the Sabres now. On Saturday night, they clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2007, the year Chris Drury and Daniel Briere led the team to the NHL's best record. Here in 2010, the Sabres are in position to win the division, which would give them home-ice advantage in the postseason's first round (knock on wood — this is Buffalo, after all). Taking the preseason expectations into consideration, it seems to me like the Sabres have had a great season. So why isn't anybody giving this team any credit? Why are people still down on the Sabres after all they've accomplished this season? When I turn on WGR 550, Buffalo's sports talk radio station, I'm always hearing miserable Mike Schopp talking about how the Sabres have no chance of winning a Stanley Cup. When the Sabres lose two games in a row, everyone I run into suddenly has 10 reasons why the Sabres are terrible. I can't help but feel that they are undeserving of so much criticism. Call me foolish, but I'm an optimist. I'd like to commend the Sabres for the job they've done this season and give you a few reasons to root for them come playoff time. 1. Though this year's Sabres lack the 2007 team's offensive star power, head coach Lindy Ruff has promoted a team-first philosophy, and the goal scoring has been done by committee rather than by one or two stars. Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville have each scored 23 goals, leading the team. Right behind them are Derek Roy, whose hat trick on Saturday brought him up to 22 goals, and Jochen Hecht, who has 20 goals. 2. On the defensive end of the ice, six-foot-eight-inch Tyler Myers is a favorite to win the Calder Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the league's top rookie. He just turned 20 years old in February and has been dominant all season long. If I were Sabres general manager Darcy Regier, I'd sign Myers to a lifetime contract this summer. 3. Head coach Lindy Ruff is the longest tenured head coach in the NHL. He has seen it all and has become the face of the Sabres since he was hired in 1997 after playing here for most of his career in the 1980s. He will provide experience and toughness for his team when they need it most — in the postseason. Am I forgetting anything? Let's see ... offense, defense, coaching ... 4. Ryan Miller! Let's remember that Miller, the MVP of the Olympic men's hockey tournament, is considered by many to be the best goaltender in the league. He's had one of the best seasons of his career this year, and he has the ability to carry the Sabres on his back. The team will go as far as Miller takes them in the playoffs. Say what you want about the Sabres' offense, but the opposition can't beat them if they aren't beating Miller. So there you have it. From now on, whenever you're down on the Sabres, just think back to your expectations for the team in September. E-mail: luke.hammill@ubspectrum.com


The Spectrum
OPINION

Law left to fail

The American education system has been in trouble for quite a while. The first attempt to fix the weakening system was the No Child Left Behind Act enacted by President Bush. It failed. Now instead of being truly innovative and inspired, the current administration seeks to fix the gaping holes in the law. The new law is meant to give schools greater flexibility to meet standardized test scores, along with new ideas to assess teachers. The bill has support across the aisle. Not many politicians would actually bog down laws to help educate the future leaders of America. But why are America's leaders trying to fix a bill that already has failed? Anyone that has been following the American education system knows it needs a lot more then just reform. It needs a facelift. The answer isn't more funding; the amount of inputs going into the public education system in the past 40 years has been staggering. In an article entitled "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools" by Eric Hanushek, an expert in educational policy, Hanushek found that in the past 40 years, the United States has increased its spending for public schools from $18 billion in 1960 to $132.9 billion, while seeing tests scores drop like a rock. This means that as more money is spent per student, students actually do worse on standardized test scores. In fact, during that same time period, the number of teachers with master's degrees and at least four years of teaching experience has also risen. So let's think about this. If spending more on students and better-educated teachers leads to worse test results, then other factors are at play. One conclusion that can be drawn is that a better-educated teacher isn't necessarily a good teacher. When math and reading scores are falling behind, then schools should be trying to attract better teachers in those areas. In other industries, if a person is the best at his or her job, he or she is paid accordingly. If math and English teachers are in higher demand, they shouldn't be paid the same amount as, say, a gym teacher or social studies teacher. Comparing the United States students to those of the rest of the world shows the true flaw in our education system. According to another paper by Hanushek in 1998 titled "FRBY Economic Policy Review," the United States has almost always fallen below the median test score since the 1960s, no matter which group of countries is taking the test. The results should be shocking to most, considering the United States has a highly skilled labor force that has sustained the country's economic dominance. For the American education system, quality has been replaced by quantity. The United States had a labor force with more years of schooling than labor forces of other countries, but those years entail lower-quality education. The era of American dominance in the global economy due to a superior workforce is ending. There are things besides increasing spending that can be done to improve Americans' education level. Parents need to stress the importance of a good education, regardless of socioeconomic class. Education provides the foundation for opportunities to better a person's life. Great teaching must be encouraged and rewarded. If the government is serious about improving the quality of education in this country, then real steps must be taken to get the best from teachers. Lackluster efforts should no longer be tolerated. Lastly, the government's band-aid fix of the No Child Left Behind Act won't cut it. Having school districts operate with the threat of losing federal funding only makes that district teach to the exam rather then actually educating its students. America is sick of being an average student. Just passing doesn't cut it anymore.


OPINION

College days

All this debate about whether or not UB should observe Good Friday as a holiday got me thinking: Why should we get any religious holidays off? Particularly when UB doesn't even observe most federal holidays — like Columbus Day. Banks and the post office are closed, but we're in school. UB claims it follows a secular calendar, but I beg to differ. Giving a majority of Jewish holidays off and neglecting other religions is not exactly secular. As a Roman Catholic, personally, I couldn't care less if we got Good Friday off. How I observe my religion is my own business. What does irritate me is the fact that we do get religious holidays off. We're a public university and we shouldn't get any religious holidays off. UB professors should make exceptions for students who need to miss class for religious reasons, but it should not be a university mandate. We're college kids at a state school — we should adopt this secular, college-friendly calendar for the 2010-2011 academic year by observing "college" holidays. And before the non-drinking crowd rises in protest, think of it this way: it's win-win. The hungover kids get to stay home, and the studious one don't have to deal with the nonsense. So, UB, this is my proposal: Throw out the current academic calendar and adopt my new one. Oktoberfest — Comparable to spring break, but at the end of October where everyone pretends they're German, sports lederhosen and drinks some beer. Think Friedrich from The Sound of Music. Oh, and don't forget the Bratwurst. Valentine's Day —Whether you're going out to dinner with your significant other or sitting alone in your dorm room drowning your sorrows in a bottle of Barton's finest, everyone enjoys V-day. Either you're going to drink alone, or you're going to celebrate your blossoming relationship with a few bottles of bubbly. Take the day off. St. Patrick's Day — If you're truly Irish, St. Paddy's Day is often considered one of the high holy days where Jameson drives brain cells out like St. Patrick did to the snakes in Ireland. Munch on some corned beef and cabbage while dropping some car bombs and enjoying an ice cold Harp. Erin Go Bragh. Mardi Gras — Fat Tuesday lets bored college students bring a little New Orleans to Buffalo. Grab some beads, learn Creole and kick things up a notch with a variety of mixed drinks before the self-inflicted abstinence of the Lenten season kicks in. Columbus Day — I like to celebrate the merciless slaughter of millions of my ancestors by staying home and watching the history channel replay specials about Columbus's many failures with a Molson in hand (it's also the Canadian Thanksgiving; I need to represent.) Halloween — Oct. 31 is more a weeklong event here in Buffalo and should be observed with reverence. Why not? What other holiday lets you eat, drink and be merry with Michael Jackson, slutty pirates, Superman and sexy cops? Cinco de Mayo — No finals on May 5, please. Don't do that to us, UB. April 20 — Get your Bob Marley on. Roots, rock, reggae. And lastly, every college student's favorite holiday: Thursday. Asher Roth loves it; so do silly frat boys and bar owners. Thursday is a great way to blow off steam so you can fully enjoy the rest of your real weekend. UB — this is a real secular calendar. I'm just throwing it out there. Let me know if you wish to discuss further. E-mail: caitlin.tremblay@ubspectrum.com


OPINION

Election missed the point

It felt like State of Play 2: Student Association Election. Not on the same level of politics as Washington, but with all the drama and hearsay. Student elections: where overdramatic lives. Bias. Relationships between overseers and candidates. Unequal punishments among parties. Possible bribery. Rumors galore. This SA election was characterized by everything an election shouldn't be about, and it further tainted my already negative view of student politics. In a competitive time where Latin honors and bulky résumés are most important, it seemed that personal gains were the biggest incentive for candidates, supporters and election officials. There were pure souls that did run ethically sound campaigns, while others made sure the integrity of the election was not compromised, but these participants were overshadowed by the "he said, she said" allegations of the election. An ugly and rough election at an inappropriate time. A slashed budget, cut classes and professors, and a dwindling student trust of campus leadership are affecting the University at Buffalo, and the ones that should be vowing to make UB a better place should put their actions behind their words. We need strong leaders in Albany and in 350 Student Union more than ever. I trust the officials elected to follow up on their promises. But this election, for the most part, wasn't about rehearsing platforms or answering the questions of the student body. Instead, attacks from each party flooded the Student Union, which was a sea that drowned every student brave enough to walk through it with purple and green flyers. There's nothing that'll get students more amped up about UB than corrupt student politics shoved down their throats. Elections bring the ugly out in people. The thought of a position of power can make a candidate forget the initial reasons he or she ran. This is especially true in such a popularity contest that we all try to believe is about the best candidates. I'm sure the people involved in this process had good hearts. They entered this election for a reason: they saw flaws at UB and wanted to fix them for future students. But politics can be a screwy thing. Paranoia infiltrated the minds of each party's candidates, and these students sometimes reacted without much thought. This election shouldn't have been about the allegations against each party, or the questionable expenditure reports. The Student-Wide Judiciary shouldn't have had the microscope zoomed in on its off-the-book punishment procedure. The trial-and-error use of punishments was viewed as screwy, but considering the circumstance (this was the first election SWJ was involved in), it did what it could to maintain an ethical election. In the end, although every candidate gave the rehearsed answer that working toward the betterment of UB was most important, there was a lot of crying, complaining and bickering done by every member of each party. The future of UB is looking bleak. UB 2020 is in the process of being pushed back, and we need strong delegates to advocate for our school in Albany. We need a strong president with a magna cum laude-worthy character to make sure ethics are preserved and the student body gets every opportunity to enjoy this school. We need a strong treasurer to make sure funds are used correctly. We need to forget this election and focus our attention on making UB better. E-mail: david.sanchirico@ubspectrum.com


The Spectrum
OPINION

Election results have been finalized

In a fast and furious three-day election cycle, the 2,293 votes have been counted and tallied. The results are in: The Student Alliance party won every position in this year's Student Association election except one. Congratulations. Sadly, this campaign has left a terrible taste in the student body's mouths. There have been enough rumors and allegations to make a new reality television show for MTV. To the winners: remember that your job as elected officials is to serve the student body. Advocate for them. Really care about every student's issues. Accomplishing only one issue on your party's platform is simply not enough. The students of this school deserve a better, more transparent and responsible student government. Incoming president Nischal Vasant and vice president Shervin Stoney – follow through on your campaign promises. All of them. Expanding the involvement of SA's clubs is also a must. Holding mandatory club fairs is the best way to have clubs interact with the student population. Never forget that SA represents all students. Increase transparency within SA. Continue to push for better connections with students living the dorms and commuter students. Foster a better relationship between the student body and athletes on campus. There are so many issues that need attention and not enough space to list them here. Leave the actions of the campaign in the past. Focusing on them will only further alienate the masses from the SA. To all involved with the organization – first and foremost, review the election rules. Close the holes in them and eliminate any potential gray areas. A more streamlined process is a must. The penalties for campaign violations must be laid out in a clear, conscience manner. Work with the Election and Credentials committee to better restructure the rules that govern elections. Clearly, the events of the previous three days have shown the limitations of the system in place. It is a brand new system that needs to be addressed. Work with the Student-Wide Judiciary to minimize miscommunication of the rulings by the E&C committee and candidates during the process. In the future, any and all cases filed must be heard and ruled on in the same day, given the time constraints of the election period. Never should a chief justice go home with a full plate on the table. The SWJ needs to have more transparency as well. A clear line of logic must be established for the penalties handed out. The SWJ was easily in over its head in handling the sheer amount of cases. The process needs adjustment. Antonio Roman, as treasurer, it is imperative to follow through on your promises as well. Increase description in the SA operating budget, as well as transparency for the organization as a whole. Make it easily accessible through the SA Web site in a user-friendly model. Currently, it is far too confusing to access. As for the delegates, Amanda Horn, Franklin Ramirez, Amanda Jonas and Marcus Catlin – work tirelessly in advocating for the improvement of the SUNY system as a whole. With that being said, Jonas has verbalized the decision to not take the office. However, nothing is official in that a vacancy for the position must be submitted in writing. There is no doubt that the events of this campaign will have effects that will ripple through this community for a long time. But one question remains. Will the student population further be disillusioned by this week's events? Only time will tell. All those elected must be ready to work hard and endlessly for the overall student population. So many on this campus are fed up with SA and its actions. SA is in need of some major changes and needs a facelift after recent events have clouded the student organization. Hopefully, this coalition government can bring the necessary changes.


OPINION

Buffalo boys

Buffalo is a sports town. In between the chicken wing grease and slices of beef on weck, Buffalonians live for the pigskin and die for the puck. Nowhere else can you find a sold out stadium of 80,000-plus in the dead of winter cheer on a perennial last place team. But who knew that our city has become a production factory for up and coming professional athletes? Buffalo has already spit out NHLers including Patrick Kane, Pat Kaleta, Tim Kennedy, Brooks Orpik and Todd Marchant. NBA Rookie of the Year candidate, Jonny Flynn, joined the list of NBA stars including Christian Laettner, Greg Oden and Bob Lanier that once called Buffalo home. With this year's NFL Draft looming, the time has come for Buffalo to add more aspiring stars to the list. The 2010 draft class will feature six athletes born and raised in Buffalo, and every guy in the group is likely to get a phone call from the National Football League come April 22. Headlining the group is UB's own James Starks. Despite missing his senior season, the Niagara Falls native left UB as the school's all-time leading rusher with 3,140 yards and 34 touchdowns in three seasons. Starks is currently projected to go off the board anywhere between the third and sixth rounds. The 6-foot 2-inch running back is on NFL teams' radars after boasting a time of 4.50 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 9-foot 11-inch broad jump and 36-inch vertical jump. Since joining Buffalo, he has evolved into a unique mold for a professional running back and I love what he brings to the table. St. Josephs graduate Naaman Roosevelt is another Bull looking to make his mark. At 6-feet tall, UB's all-time leading receiver is projected to find a new home in the later rounds of the draft. The agile receiver possesses soft hands, sharp route running, quickness and the intelligence needed to become an ideal slot receiver. Roosevelt lacks ideal size and struggles in blocking. Injuries have also hurt him in the past, but his versatility as a kick returner will help him draw interest. If he can stay healthy, the Buffalo native could add good depth to a receiving corp. as a rookie. Former Syracuse Orange wide receiver Mike Williams joins Starks and Roosevelt with hopes of making an impact on offense come 2010. The Riverside High finished with 60 receptions for 837 yards and 10 touchdowns his sophomore season at Cuse. Williams has the frame and the tools to grow into a starting NFL wideout, but has already drawn comparisons to Pacman Jones and Charles Rogers. He was suspended by the Orange for the 2008 season for academic reasons and quit the team halfway through last season. Despite these problems, one team will take a chance on Williams. Tight end Rob Gronkowski of Williamsville and St. Francis graduate Doug Worthington will both be heading to NFL training camps as well. Gronkowski is one of the top tight ends in the draft and could become a valuable starter if he can stay healthy. Worthington figures to be a late round pick, but the 6-foot 5-inch defensive lineman has the versatility to add good depth to a defensive line. Rounding out the Buffalo boys is James Mallory. Wait, who? From Central Connecticut State, Mallory runs with a chip on his shoulder despite his 5-foot 10-inch stature. The two-year starter with the Blue Devils caught scouts' eyes after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons that combined for 31 touchdowns. The Kenmore native is a burner with the ball in his hands. He has the vision to find the hole, quickness and power to hit it and breakaway speed to get into the open field. What stands out, however, is his special teams play. Mallory blocked three punts as a senior and excelled in punt and kickoff coverage. There's no single player I'm pulling for more to get a phone call in April. Having shared the hallways of Kenmore West High School, I watched Mallory grow into the player he is today. He has the heart of a lion and the attitude every coach would love to have on his roster. I'm crossing my fingers that he'll be dawning the red, white and blue next season at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Goodluck, gentleman. Here's to one day hoping each of you will bring the Lombardi trophy back to Buffalo – no matter what team you play for. E-mail: joe.paterno@ubspectrum.com


The Spectrum
OPINION

Deficit busting through reform

For the first time since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the United States Congress has passed progressive legislation. After a year of strenuous debate, the House of Representatives passed the Senate's health reform into law. Everyone agrees that health care costs are rising and actions must be taken to keep costs from spiraling out of control. Americans want results. Many in America are displeased with such action. Millions of Americans don't want to provide health care to people who can't afford it. The United States government is mandating every citizen to have health insurance regardless of whether or not Americans want it. Other arguments against the bill include moving resources from the private sector that tends to be more efficient to the public that is less efficient. But the biggest argument against the bill is the cost. Many Americans are familiar with how to purchase insurance rather then reforming the complex way health care is administered in this country. But the bill isn't all that bad either. It does some very good things as well. For example, it allows young Americans to stay on their parent's health insurance plans until the age of 26. Young Americans from the age range of 19 to 29 make up nearly one third of the uninsured population and have the highest uninsured rate of any other age group according to a study done by the Center for Disease Control in 2008. The major part of the country's most controversial law is exactly how it will keep costs in check. The Congressional Budget Office, the official scorekeeper projects that the new law will save one trillion dollars over 20 years. Here is how the new law proposes to do it. 1.) Create a competitive insurance market There is little competition in the insurance market. For most part insurance companies avoid the sick and only insure the healthiest of potential customers. Offering the best plans isn't a real priority, since many Americans don't know which coverage is best. Insurers can no longer discriminate against pre-existing conditions. Companies will have to answer to regulators if they increase premiums, in addition to allow customers to rate their insurance company for other consumers to see. As any advocate of the "magic" of the free market these steps should drive costs down and quality up. In addition the law stipulates that even government officials must partake in this. 2.) Taxing "Cadillac" plans This is definitely the least popular part of the new law. The average employer pays for about 70 percent of a workers premium, which happens to be tax-free. Many workers who receive employer provided coverage have no idea how much their plans cost. Imagine how workers would feel if they actually saw the amount come out of their pocket rather than their paychecks. So what the law calls for is by 2018 a tax is put on such plans which costs are above $27,500 annually. So if American's current plan is worth $27,600 that last $100 would be taxed. But the thought process behind this part isn't for people to actually pay that tax. The goal is to make employers choose plans under that threshold to hold down costs more aggressively. In turn, it allows insurance companies who adhere to this policy, a competitive advantage over those who don't. 3.) Bundling programs The single biggest problem within the health care system is American's pay doctors like they pay car salesman. The more product sold the more they get paid. And lets be honest America, Americans will disagree with car salesmen but not their doctors. Instead of getting paid for everything doctors do to treat a cancer patient, the hospitals would be paid once for treating that patient's cancer and all related conditions over an extended period of time. If this leads to lower costs and doesn't harm the treatment patients receive the program will be expanded. This would usher in a new era of quality health care versus quantity health care. The simple truth hasn't changed when it comes to health care reform. America needs results. The law is passed. And regardless of political ideology, every American should hope this reform allows for a healthier, richer, more solvent United States.


OPINION

Digital dollars

Ten thousand years ago, our ancestors would have never dreamed of paying for dinner with little pieces of paper. A hundred years ago, our great grandparents never thought about purchasing concert tickets with plastic cards. Twenty years ago, our parents couldn't have guessed they'd be buying movies from eBay using Internet-based accounts to settle the debt with an overseas supplier. And now, I can't believe where ecommerce has gone. PayPal now has an iPhone application, Twitter users can acquire funds from friends and co-workers through Twitpay and online banking has made handling digital money all too easy. The Internet is home to millions of vendors and companies selling anything and everything. The problem with the Internet is trust. I don't trust a single site or user of eBay with my credit card information, which is where PayPal comes in. PayPal is "the safer, easier way to pay" as the site claims, and allows users to pay for goods through the site keeping their banking and credit card information safe. The downfall and dangers to this site, along with all ecommerce, is the ease of use. When you have your credit card linked up to your PayPal account, its easy to get carried away, it's easy to believe you have more money available than you actually do and its very easy to get behind on your bills. Shopping online requires only a few clicks, a password and sometimes a confirmation e-mail. It never actually feels like money is being spent. The balance from one account gets lower, another account gets larger and a few days later a new video game arrives in the mail. Without the feel of money, the handling of cash, I think it's much easier to get into to debt. Whenever I have cash, I'm much more careful with how I spend it, I can watch as a 10 or 20-dollar bill leaves my pocket, and how much change comes back. With a credit card, it doesn't matter the cost of something, just swipe – or enter the numbers – and it's yours. During my first job back in the early 2000s, I would actually receive a paycheck. I'd have to take it to the bank, cash it and then have currency to prove I washed dishes for 20 hours. Now, with both of my jobs I have direct deposit, and can't remember the last time I've visited a bank – or had lots of cash around. Direct deposit has made it so money holds almost no value to me, and with online banking, I can manage those digital dollars whenever and wherever I find it convenient. I hardly ever handle mass amounts of cash, it's been years since I cut a check and even longer since I sent a bill through the mail – a great advantage to online payments and Internet banking. Just imagine how many tons of paper we would save if everyone switched to e-payments. I've switched every one of my credit card bills, car insurance and all banking statements to e-mail only. It's a small part to help the environment, but it makes a difference not receiving five bills every month. We've come a long way since trading sea shells and cows for goods, but with the advancements in all the technology, banking has become simple as has purchasing, but just be careful how you spend, before you know it, you'll wish we were still trading farm animals. E-mail: matt.mosher@ubspectrum.com


The Spectrum
OPINION

The Spectrum's official endorsement

After a meeting with all the Student Association candidates, asking them the tough questions on what is best for students, The Spectrum's editorial board voted by paper ballot to endorse the Student Alliance party for the positions of president, vice president and treasurer for this week's upcoming Student Association elections. Leading the ticket for the Student Alliance party are Nischal Vasant for president and Shervin Stoney for vice president, as well as treasurer Antonio Roman. As for the SUNY delegate positions, Amanda Horn from the Student Alliance party joins ONE Party candidates Jennifer Harb, Amanda Jonas and Yazan Alsaadeh. However, Yanco Escano, an independent SUNY delegate candidate, was tied with Alsaadeh for the fourth and final delegate post. The tie was broken after a runoff vote by the editorial board. ONE Party delegate hopeful Amanda Jonas was the only candidate to win unanimous support of the paper's editorial board. As a SUNY delegate this year, Jonas brings a tremendous amount of seniority and experience to SUNY's ever-changing relationship with the state government of New York. Vasant and Stoney represent not only the experience necessary to close the gap between SA and the student body, but also innovative and creative ideas to make campus a better place. As stated in their platform, they seek to continue the transparency of SA to the student body and make themselves more available to the student body as well. They will accomplish this by allowing greater access to SA's operating budget, along with greater detail so students understand exactly where their mandatory student activity fee is going. The Student Alliance party will also mandate SA clubs to have more table hours in the Student Union and provide incentives for clubs to reach out to the student population on South Campus. Both Vasant and Stoney plan to practice what they preach in having their own tabling hours in the Student Union. Furthermore, they wish to create a new fundraising and community service database for all SA clubs to use. The pair also supports the UBreathe Free policy to designate smoking areas on campus. As for making UB more green, they plan to reuse the printing cover sheets for SA and club printing. Potential treasurer Antonio Roman of the Student Alliance party hopes to seek even greater financial transparency of SA if elected. For next year's budget, Roman would like to include greater descriptive lines in the budget. Roman also intends to inspect the current SA budget for unneeded spending, so students' funds will be used rather than going to waste. In addition, he is already in talks with campus officials to allow credit card and debit card use on campus. As for the SA delegates, Jonas, Harb, Horn and Alsaadeh are competent, diverse and incredibly enthusiastic about their respective causes. Harb seeks to solve parking and transportation issues here on campus. Jonas plans to continue advocating against SUNY budget cuts by New York as well as increases of tuition. Alsaadeh is promoting greater involvement of international students within the SUNY system. Horn, the only Student Alliance delegate, will champion environmental issues facing all of SUNY. Horn plans to encourage other campuses within the SUNY system to adopt UB's climate neutral plan. All these delegates must prepare themselves and work together to take on New York State legislators. Effective change can only come through hard work and dedication. There is no doubt about how far SA has come in a year. All these candidates seek to continue the current trend of repairing the relationship with the student body. Each party has big, ambitious plans. But only the end results matter. Regardless of personal preference for the candidates, all of them seek to better UB at every level. The only difference is their vision of how to accomplish this. These endorsements are only recommendations to the student body. In spite of of personal preference, the key is to join the process and go vote.


OPINION

...Or are you just happy to see me?

You may not have noticed, but there has been something popping up on campus. The giant snow phallus of the University at Buffalo, or Sir Richard Johnson III, Esq. as the Facebook group tells me, has been the largest thing to hit campus since a fake gunman or a girl who replied to the entire financial aid listserv. Now, there are skeptics out there who don't understand why a giant snow penis is so important. Sure, it was funny for a day or two, but college students are surely above childish things like a snow penis, right? I could have possibly believed that explanation – before the second one was erected. Snow phalluses, penis drawings in bathroom stalls, punching people in the testicles – each bring out a certain amount of uneasy humor. Is it just human nature to laugh when we see penis humor in socially unacceptable places? One day I decided I would pay Sir Richard Johnson a visit to find an answer. I knelt in front of him, gave a small offering and waited for a little divine inspiration. I would not sleep until I realized the truth. Why is the snow phallus so … awesome? The first step I took involved me throwing my heterosexuality to the wind and Google searching penises. To my shock, I learned that there is an art behind the madness of the snow phallus. The ancient Egyptians actually told a legend of a godly penis. The story goes that Osiris was once dismembered into 14 parts. 13 of the parts were able to be recovered. The missing piece … well, you could probably guess what part that was. Unfortunately for Osiris, his phallus was eaten by the god Set. Thankfully, another god named Isis crafted him a new soldier, but the legend of the phallus was growing (no pun intended). So, is the snow phallus awesome because it's godly? In Rome, people would wear phallus amulets because it defended them from the evil eye. Romans believed that these kinds of amulets, called "fascinums," would keep them safe. Awkward penis humor has been scaring people for millennia. The English word "fascinating" is based on the Latin word "fascinum." I want to know who the guy is in history that made that decision. He must have been fascinated by phalluses. So is the snow phallus awesome just because it scares away evil people? By the time this will be printed, Sir Richard Johnson III, Esq. will be long gone. Western New York is warm for a change, so the snow penis will definitely be having a hard time avoiding shrinkage. However, that doesn't mean that we need to forget all the great memories that a big penis in the middle of a field caused us to experience. I believe that the snow phallus was awesome because it was universally enjoyed (even by straight guys). Some people like to say that music is the universal language, but giant snow penises must be a close second. No matter what language people speak, everybody knows what's up when there's a penis around. So to the anonymous creators of the snow phallus, I applaud you. You are the reason that UB is awesome, and if you had a snow offering area like Sir Richard Johnson III, Esq., I would tithe for you. Thank you. E-mail: sneilans@buffalo.edu





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