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Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Opinions

OPINION

Students need to be invested in UB

My name is Jennifer Lewis, and I am a graduating senior at UB. This school year, I have served as one of your elected student delegates to the SUNY Student Assembly. In this final issue of The Spectrum, I wanted to tell you about what my experience has been like as a UB student.


OPINION

Thank you and goodbye

It's been five years since I left Wilson High School and went on to higher education. At times it's been the longest, most tedious challenge I've ever faced – and I've almost given up. Other times, it's the most fast paced, fun and exciting time of my life and I never want it to end.


OPINION

The end of the beginning

Well, here we are. My series finale, last episode, conclusion, end, fin. It's hard to describe the feelings that have been going through my head the last few weeks, and the flood of emotions that have been contained by a force weaker than New Orleans' levees. There is no doubt in my mind that the person who drove up to UB in a blue '05 Ford Escape three summers ago is not the same lanky, scruffy-haired kid with a somewhat overbearing personality who will be walking across the stage May 9. Nope, there have been more than a few detours and bumps in the road to get to this point. I've found myself, lost myself and found myself again. I've embraced my passion, pushed it away and gone crawling back to it like an unfaithful lover. I fell in love (twice), lust a thousand and one times more than that, and in chocolate a million times more when none of the above worked out. I've learned what it means to be a friend, and what it means for someone to be a friend to you. I've embraced the joy that comes with being around people that love you and truly care as well as the miseries of friendships that are one-sided, shallow and superficial. That being said, I am grateful today to be completely surrounded by the former. It has been a privilege to have worked with some of the best professors in English academia today – my thanks and regards go out to Professors Young and Bono in particular, and Professors Milletti and Antastasopoulos for the invaluable help with making me a better writer. It's also been a privilege to work at the best darn student publication on this campus – The Spectrum. A place I thought in the beginning would be a dreary obligation has become my rock, my home and my anchor. The beautiful, impassioned, intelligent and witty women I have had the pleasure of working closest with have given me some of the most memorable of good days, and gotten me through more than a few of the terribly bad ones. It would be a sin for me to bid UB and Buffalo farewell without giving recognition to the extremely unique living situations I've found myself in during my time here. To all of you crazy people I have had the pleasure of cohabitating with, thanks for the memories – and the stories. Don't be surprised if you see a few in the novel I plan to write one of these days. And of course, what kind of graduate would I be if I didn't give a shoutout to my most constant companion, my bipolar, temperamental dearest of dears and the most consistent woman in my life … the city of Buffalo. It's true we've been on and off more than Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, but I think in our time together we've grown quite fond of each other. Sure, she's not the prettiest girl on the block, or the most sophisticated, but Buffalo is without a doubt a place with heart. Ask any of the wonderful people I've met who grew up here and wouldn't live anywhere else. The winters may be cruel and certain parts of the city a little scary, but an afternoon on Elmwood Avenue gorging yourself at one of the local restaurants is an experience that is second to none. Looking through my volumes of diaries and pages of Facebook photo albums over the past three years, I realize that despite my rocky beginning and miserably dramatic middle, I have, in the end, managed to have a pretty good life here at UB. I'm leaving this university happier than I've ever been before and looking forward to a wonderful future full of many opportunities. There can never be enough words to express how grateful I am to this campus for giving me a real start in life; it makes all the years I lived in darkness almost worth it. Now, however, it's time to make the change, move on and recreate myself for the next chapter. Some people seem to think that college graduation means the end of something great, a meaningless milestone between high school, marriage and death. I disagree. For me, graduation is only the beginning of something greater. I don't know about anyone else, but I fully intend on having fun, enjoying life and staying fabulous, whether I'm travelling the world, earning my Ph.D. or raising a gaggle of children. All of which is on the agenda, in due time, of course. The end is near, everyone. And I'm ready for the next step. E-mail: shane.fallon@ubspectrum.com


OPINION

Adieu

As the ice over Lake LaSalle melted and last winter turned into the spring, reality set in. I was almost in my senior year of college.


The Spectrum
OPINION

Budget bedlam

It is never a good sign when a school district releases a worst-case scenario for its budget problems. The Buffalo public school system is really tightening its belt this week with its proposal of laying off nearly 700 employees. Money is hard to come by these days and school officials somehow need to close a $34 million gap in its operating budget for next year. It is a scary thought – not having enough teachers to keep class sizes small or enough bus aides to keep kids safe. A better thought to kick around is why districts immediately go to slashing cuts rather than finding creative solutions. The situation is dire for Buffalo – if nothing is done to close the gap, the city could see the budget gap widen to $63.1 million in 2011 and then $92.5 million in 2012. The saddest part of this plan is that it directly targets teachers. Buffalo teachers have been working without a pay raise in nearly three years and have without a contract for five. School board officials have proposed some creative solutions to help mitigate the loss of so many personnel, such as televised lectures, school closures and even renegotiating leases on property. Televised lectures may work in college, but not high school. Professors have enough difficulty getting students to keep up with lectures – how will 17-year-olds react when they no longer have to go to school? They won't. Other proposals could have merit, such as school closures, but only when done in a clear, logical way. It is possible that the public school system could use some downsizing. When a city has 46 different elementary schools, compared to 13 high schools, resources are spread out. By consolidating schools, the administration will allow for better teacher concentration and, quite possibly, having two teachers in larger classrooms. This, in turn, will allow the state to focus funding to give the remaining schools larger budgets. District officials will also be negotiating with the teacher's union as well. But union negotiations can turn ugly very quickly. Not to mention that teachers will be hesitant to begin paying for 20 percent of their health insurance and give back $19 million, as the plan calls for. Many teachers and administrators are dealing with similar issues across the country. Maybe it is time for creative solutions. There has been a long debate over whether or not states should legalize and tax gambling. Estimates have pegged illegal sports betting at $80 to $380 billion per year in the United States alone, according to a study done by Forbes Magazine in 2003. If other countries, like the United Kingdom and Australia, regulate betting, why shouldn't the United States? If only half of the illegal bets were to be placed legally, that could mean a new $12 billion industry, according to the same Forbes study. States would no longer have to worry about money. But sadly, it doesn't seem like any politician wants to actually find out the benefits. Instead, cutting from future generations' education seems like a better idea.


OPINION

Funding failure

I've had an epiphany. When I was younger, I would complain daily about how I hated my school and everything about it. My mom used to tell me that someday, I would really appreciate the school that I attended and the people who were there with me. Well, as much as I hate to admit it (really, I hate it), I guess she was right. I realize now that I was lucky to be a student in the school district that I attended for most of my teenage years. Growing up, my parents always wanted me to attend small, intimate schools where the teachers actually cared about their students and the class sizes were no bigger than 15 to 20 students. I had every opportunity available to me during elementary, middle and high school. Whether it was drama club or joining the volleyball team, I had the chance to do it all – and I took advantage of it. I was lucky enough to attend a school system that invested thousands into building a new high school for its 300 students, added a pool to the gym, and built a truly incredible addition to its elementary school. I was taught by the same teachers throughout my middle and high school years, and was able to develop a relationship with them that I don't think many people can say they had the chance to do. (I used to drink juice boxes and take naps at my English teacher's desk during class.) And with all that was provided to me at school, I never once thought about where the money came from to fund it all – until now. According to an article that was published on Tuesday in the New York Times, educational funding has never been as bad as it is today. On Monday during an interview, Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, estimated that state budget cuts put 100,000 to 300,000 public school jobs at risk for termination. He stated that the nation was undergoing an "educational catastrophe." "Districts in California have pink-slipped 22,000 teachers. Illinois authorities are predicting 17,000 public school job cuts. And New York has warned nearly 15,000 teachers that their jobs could disappear in June," the article said. And the cuts don't stop there. According to the article, the American Association of School Administrators conducted a survey and found that nine out of 10 superintendents expect to lay off their employees this fall. And sooner than you'd think, kids might have to say goodbye to a five-day school week. This same survey found an 11 percent increase in just one year of schools considering reducing the school week to just four days because of funding problems. I've only been out of high school for three years, and already school districts like mine might have to lay off teachers, cut athletic programs and possibly eliminate music and art programs all together. We have seriously skewed priorities. According to the article, the economic stimulus bill passed last February set aside $100 billion in education financing. However, states spent almost all of it this year to save 342,000 school jobs (only about 5.5 percent of school positions nationwide). It is estimated that states will spend another $36 billion of the stimulus money next year. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, this still leaves their budgets short by almost $144 million dollars. "Is the federal government going to try to prop up states and districts forever?" said Michael Petrilli, a previous member of the Education Department. "If not, we're just kicking the can down the road. Eventually, districts need to learn to live with less." So, why should we care? After all, UB students are currently suffering from a portion of the $90 million of SUNY budget cuts. But, think of it this way – does a 5-year-old deserve to deal with the same financial worries of a 21-year-old? For schools to be required to "live with less" is unimaginable to me. A solution to end the cuts to school programs and the layoffs of teachers needs to be a priority. Education is too important for it not to be. E-mail: adrian.finch@ubspectrum.com


OPINION

The blame game

Let's just blame it on the referees. It's a lot easier that way, isn't it? As adoring fans, we hate to think for even a second about our beloved team's inadequacies. If the referees make one questionable call, they become an easy scapegoat for the losing team and its fans. In Buffalo, we're used to resorting to such tactics. There are many Buffalo sports fans that are legitimately convinced that referees across all sports have an unwritten vendetta against the Queen City. Wednesday night's playoff game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Boston Bruins was the latest addition to the ever-growing sports statistical category of referee-induced Buffalo playoff failures. Although most of the hockey world will remember the contest because it went into double-overtime and featured two of the sport's best goaltenders at the top of their games, many in Buffalo will recall the crucial penalty call during the third period. With Buffalo leading two goals to none, Sabres center Cody McCormick went hard to the net through a crowd of Bruins defenders. He got pushed into the goal along with a player from Boston, unintentionally taking the goal off of its moorings as the Boston player took out his own goaltender, rookie Tuukka Rask. Inexplicably, McCormick was called for goaltender interference, giving the Bruins a power play. With the man advantage, Boston proceeded to score quickly, making the score 2-1. After that, it didn't take long for Buffalo to allow the Bruins to tie the game on a fluke goal by center Patrice Bergeron. The game went into overtime, and despite numerous "did-he-really-just-do-that" saves by Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, Boston prevailed and now leads the first-round playoff series three games to one. Sure, the Sabres had a much better chance at winning the game had the questionable penalty not been called. Sure, we're all getting sick of these tough breaks, and it makes sense to lump this into the same category as No Goal and the Music City Miracle (I'm sorry to those who just cringed). That's too easy, though. Yes, it was a bad call, but it didn't solely lose the game for the Sabres—after all, they were still winning even after the original power play goal. If certain embittered fans insist on blaming the officials, that's fine with me, but I'm sure of one thing: If the Sabres are thinking that way, they have no chance of coming back and pushing this series to seven games. Buffalo's players and coaches need to forget about the things that they cannot control and realize that they have now lost two games in this series after going into the third period with the lead – something that they did not do once during the regular season. They need to realize that if they played with consistent toughness and took advantage of precious offensive opportunities, this series could have been a sweep in their own favor. Instead, they are on the brink of elimination and need to win three games in a row against the only goaltender in the league with better statistics than Miller.It may not be likely, but it's certainly possible. Miller said it himself; if the Bruins can win three in a row, why can't the Sabres? They won't give up until they're officially eliminated. The key is to play mistake-free hockey and remain focused. Some better officiating wouldn't hurt though, either. E-mail: luke.hammill@ubspectrum.com


The Spectrum
OPINION

Financial terror or buyer's remorse

Bad press can just be deadly in certain situations. This week must be such a pleasure for Goldman Sachs. The 141-year-old financial services giant has been handed a complaint from the SEC, which has set the nation's headlines on fire. If Goldman misled investors, then it should be punished. But going after the entire financial industry is just wrong. Millions have been hurt by the latest financial meltdown, but hunting the bankers is a waste of time. In the current system, bankers play an integral role in the United States economy Let's take a look at the situation. Goldman Sachs had been working with hedge fund investor John Paulson, allowing him to place a bet on the decline of the subprime mortgage market. Paulson became famous by betting against the housing market, making billions. The SEC believes that Paulson's company helped pick the certain mortgages in the collateralized debt obligation and withheld the fact that Paulson bet against it from investors. This is the whole case – whether or not Goldman committed fraud by not disclosing Paulson's position to other investors. A CDO of this kind is not an investment security, but rather an instrument for betting against the housing market. Its value was tied to a series of mortgage bonds. If the bonds declined, one set of investors, "shorts," would make money; if the bonds strengthened, another set of investors, "longs," would make money. Paulson's hedge fund suggested 123 mortgages to be included in the CDO. But to create more interest in the CDO, Goldman got an independent third party to select the bonds in the CDO. ACA Management, which, according to its own website, specializes in the mortgage market, was picked to select the bonds. ACA rejected 68 of the original 123 bonds selected by Paulson. Paulson made $1 billion in the deal, while other investors lost $1 billion. But the problem here is that a CDO transaction, by definition, is a bet for and against securities backed by subprime mortgages. The existence of the short bet shouldn't have mattered to investors. More importantly, at the time, Paulson was just another trader; no long investor would think anything of it. Goldman's standard procedure never reveals buyers' and sellers' identities to one another. The issue at play here is not whether a fraud was perpetrated, but rather revolves around a moral question. Many Americans remember Wall Street as intermediary of capital, helping to direct society's savings to productive uses. Today, these firms navigate the markets for themselves and their clients for maximum gain. The business has shifted away from advising clients to creating trading opportunities for its clients. The irony here is that Goldman took losses on the deal. It did receive a $15 million fee for putting the deal together, but according to Goldman, it lost $90 million by placing a long bet on the CDO. The SEC is painting the picture that Goldman wanted to defraud itself. It may very well be the case that the SEC has more evidence than listed in the initial complaint. But the government seems to be experiencing some hindsight bias. Nobody was outraged when all the subprime betting was going on. After a financial collapse, the government wants to find an explanation for why the markets tanked. But it doesn't seem like the government has found much evil.


OPINION

NFL: Never Fear the Law

Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League, has done just about everything he can to better the NFL. Maybe he needs to start kicking players out of the league to set an example for the rest of the knuckleheads who we religiously watch on Sundays for seven months of the year. Or maybe we should just stop looking at professional athletes as role models. I'm not sure what it is, but recently something has gone terribly wrong with NFL players. Every week there seems to be another meathead familiarizing himself with the justice system. I'm convinced that either (1) the police are out to get all professional football players (2) playing with pigskin makes you innately dumber (3) NFL stars see that concussions pose a serious threat and they want to familiarize themselves with the law in case they have to make a career change or (4) these super-rich athletes just don't care about their role as community figures anymore. I know that scenario one can't be the case. I wrote an entire column on how Donte Stallworth killed a man and only served 24 days in jail and that's not to mention that the recent Ben Roethlisberger debacle proves that some police officers would rather buddy-up with pro athletes than do their job. Option two – playing football lowers your IQ – doesn't seem too plausible, but we can't entirely rule it out. Many NFL players spend three-to-four years in college, and although they probably don't take the most rigorous courses, they do receive some sort of education. Plus, according to a Sports Illustrated survey, offensive tackles, centers, quarterbacks, guards and tight ends all have IQs higher than 100. Sure, the NFL may not be home to the next Albert Einstein, but at least we know there is some brainpower in the league. Still, football is a hard-hitting game and too many shots to the head may finally be catching up to some of these players. With all of the concussions that have plagued the league recently, having a back-up profession would seem like a good idea. Going to jail, however, is probably not the wisest way to familiarize one's self with the judicial process. They have law school for that. Option three, therefore, is completely implausible. This leaves us with choice four – selfish athletes ignore their young fans and arrogantly live above the law. This has to be the case. It's almost embarrassing how many NFL players have had run-ins with the law lately. Roethlisberger has been accused of rape and all signs – plaintiff's testimony, resignation of the police officer who was at the bar and Big Ben's less-than genuine apology – lead me to believe he's guilty. Oh yeah, and the quarterback from Miami (Ohio) was previously sacked with a sexual assault lawsuit in Nevada. Weird. Santonio Holmes will be missing the first four games of the season without pay for violating the leagues substance abuse policy. It's a good thing the Jets stacked their roster in the offseason and can do without the 2009 Super Bowl MVP for a quarter of the season. Defensive tackle Shaun Rogers tried to sneak a loaded gun through an airport. Linebacker Joey Porter was recently suspected of driving under the influence. Wide receiver Marvin Harrison may be involved in setting up a murder. Across the board, NFL athletes are flat-out screwing up. They either can't keep it in their pants, don't know what a designated driver is, or assault their wife/ girlfriend/ baby's mama/ or random guy at the club. It's the same sad story and I'm sick of it. Most recently, Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman Eric Foster allegedly committed a sexual assault in the team's hotel in the early morning before the AFC Championship game. It's good to know players take their jobs seriously. What more can Goodell do? Do players need to be kicked off teams, or worse, out of the league? I think the answer is simpler. Instead of holding professional athletes to higher standards because they're celebrity figures, we should lower our expectations and assume every pro will screw up. This way, when a Peyton Manning comes along, we really have some one to look up to. E-mail: andrew.wiktor@ubspectrum.com


The Spectrum
OPINION

Ashy delays

What event can shutdown thousands of commercial flights over Europe and even make the President of the United States avoid air travel? Eyjafjallajökull. This isn't gibberish but rather a volcano in the southern part of Iceland. The skies over Europe have been absent airplanes since late last week. Plumes of volcanic ash have billowed into the sky and many commercial flights have been cancelled since March 16th. The scary part is that on Monday, a group of European airlines asked the European Union for compensation for losses suffered because of the cancellation of 22,000 flights, according to Bloomberg News. The airlines cite that because the EU didn't consult with them about closing down the air space, they feel that they have the right to be compensated. It almost seems that the airlines wanted to fly into dangerous ash, risking the lives of thousands of paying customers. Here is a crazy thought, how about if the airlines knew how much dangerous volcanic ash there is? Currently the European Aviation Safety Agency doesn't have a clue. And if flights were to occur and crash there would be a lot more damage done than just flowers going bad. Many carriers, such as British Airways, Lufthansa and Air France, have reportedly lost close to $200 million a day. But airlines aren't the only groups losing money as a result of the no fly zone. Kenya has had to destroy 400 tons of flowers to be sold in England. Pharmaceutical companies have had to dispose of medications that have a very short self-life due to the restrictions in shipping. The reason why this volcanic ash is so dangerous is because the eruption took place under a glacier. The cold water from the melting ice cooled the lava down too quickly, causing the water to fragment into very small pieces of glass and ash that was sent into the atmosphere. The particles disrupt a jet engine's turbine from spinning, causing engine failure. Ships, rather than airfreight, transport 98 percent of the world's goods. Many of the airlines are citing the United States government bailout of its airlines after 9/11. And it is a pretty safe bet that cargo ships are available because of the global downturn. It seems like a money grab by the airlines. Things haven't been going well for the airline industry. After all, when companies need to start charging for pillows and blankets things cannot be good. The major issue at play here is that neither the governments nor airlines had any idea of what to do in case a scenario should occur. Not much else is known about how to deal with such situations. Only theories. The last big eruption from Eyjafjallajokull, in 1821, spewed ash for over a year. But the bigger problem may be Kalta, Eyjafjallaokull's neighbor volcano, which could erupt as well. Archeological evidence shows that Kalta has been even more destructive. The impact of the eruption has been small, except for its effect on the airlines and travelers. But if a prolonged shutdown occurs, Europe's economy will slowly grind to a halt. Tourists will fail to arrive, business meetings will be delayed and supplies will dwindle since airfreight cannot arrive. Airlines have been struggling for years, due to mismanagement and poor business models. Not because of events like this.


The Spectrum
OPINION

"Right idea, wrong implementation"

The recent Supreme Court rulings are starting to become troubling. On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court annulled a federal law that made it a crime to create or profit from dog fighting videos and other animal cruelty acts by a vote of 8 to 1. The Supreme Court has gotten it all wrong yet again. First, it was corporations have rights as everyday citizens, and now videos of dog fighting aren't illegal. What a country America is. The case comes from the prosecution of Robert J. Stevens, an author and film producer who presented himself as an expert on pit bulls. Although he maintains that he never participated in dogfights, he did compile and sell videotapes showing dog fighting. Isn't that still participation? It would be like saying that the guy who is driving the getaway car during a bank robbery didn't rob the bank. The federal law bans all profiting from dog fighting. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, "The law created a criminal prohibition of alarming breadth … the government's defense of the law was both startling and dangerous." The assumption is that the United States Congress would pass a law with a more focused scope that would be allowed under the Constitution. But with Congress seeming more like a traffic jam on Interstate 290 everyday, that is a pretty big assumption. The government argued that such depictions are of minimal social worth and that they receive no First Amendment protection. The rulings of the Supreme Court are troubling. The chief justice, during his vetting by the United States Senate, called himself merely an umpire of the law. The umpire is blowing the game. Dog fighting and other forms of animal cruelty are illegal in all 50 states. The law applies to any recording where a living animal is intentionally maimed, harmed or tortured. The intent of the law is pretty clear, regardless of what role the accused had in the video, if it depicted illegal cruelty. The government even tried to make the analogy that animal cruelty is similar to child pornography, which gets no First Amendment protection as ruled by the Supreme Court in 1982. The chief justice responded that child pornography is a "special case because the underlying market is intrinsically related to underlying abuse." But animal cruelty videos are related to underlying abuse. This Supreme Court has been making horrible decisions recently. A few months ago, the Court ruled that corporations have the same rights and privileges as ordinary citizens. The only dissenter is Justice Samuel Alito, writing the minority opinion, "The majority's opinion was filled with hypotheticals and serves to protect depraved entertainment." The First Amendment was created to allow the free exchange of ideas, not promote depraved acts. The scope of the federal law is not too broad; in fact, it's pretty explicit. The majority in this case is plain wrong.


OPINION

"The true meaning of ""Happy Birthday"""

Lay down the red carpet and hold the doors open for me. Bow down to the ground I walk upon and treat me like a king because today is my day. Today is my birthday. Clear you schedules and meet me at the bar. Line up the food platters, buy me drinks and feed me cake. I expect to be treated like President Simpson and be loved like Dennis Black. While most 22 year olds automatically tune into this egotistical mindset when the clock strikes midnight on their birthday, I have a different frame of mind. To be honest, I could care less that it's my birthday. Today symbolizes nothing more than that I've successfully made it through the last 365 days, thus leaving me with one less year to live. The only thing that makes today special for me is that I share it with my dad – who ironically was born on the same day 30 years prior to my existence. Happy Birthday, Dad. Birthdays give your most despised enemies a reason to wish you an insincere wish. They give old friends a reason to say hello and strangers a reason to post on your Facebook wall. They give ex-girlfriends a reason to remember why she hates you so much and new girlfriends a reason to shower you in gifts and get you in bed. Damn, it's too bad I'm single. So what does a birthday really mean? From the hospital to the cemetery, I introduce to you the true meaning of the birthday. The Past Day of birth: Congratulations, you've made it to life's starting line. It's the happiest day in your family's life as you exit your mother's womb and receive your very own birth certificate. For the next few months, your annoyance of crying, puking and pooping will make mom and dad regret that fateful day they failed to use protection. Age 1: You made it through your first 12 months and are no longer considered an infant. You're on your way to taking your first steps and speaking a few small words, but you continue to puke and poop freely. The best part of it all is that you have absolutely no recollection of your first few years on Earth. Age 4: Say goodbye to life inside the confines of your home because it's time to go to school. Shove your face full of cake and have fun with your latest toy, but at the end of the day, kindergarten is calling your name. Get use to the feeling of imprisonment because for the next 12-plus years, the classroom is your holding cell. Enjoy. Ages 5-12: For the next eight years you don't have a worry in the world. Make some friends and learn life's basics. Be a kid. It's that easy. Age 13: Here we go, let the rebellion begin – you're a teenager. Time to ignore the rules, disobey your parents and cause some ruckus. Let the hormones run wild because you're about to discover the opposite sex. Pitch your first tent and if you just so happen to wake up in the middle of the night to a wet, sticky mess – don't fret. It's natural. Age 16: You've made it to the life's first true milestone. Make your way to the DMV, get your permit and be rewarded with a license shortly thereafter. It's time to take control of the wheel and hit the open road. It's not all fun and games, however. Grab a dictionary and look up the meaning of "responsibility." For the first time in your life, it's time you take it into your own hands. Age 17: Hit the snooze button. There's not much to be excited for. Age 18: You're a legal American and it's time to experience the beginnings of adulthood. Remember when you turned 13 and immature was your middle name? Not anymore. It's time to grow up. Age 19: Oh Canada, your new best friend. For those living along the border of our friends to the north, it's time to cross the border and get crazy. Order your first legal beer and take a stroll into your first strip club. For those without access to Canada, hit snooze. The Present


OPINION

Pay your way to a higher GPA?

On Monday, the New York Times released an article based on a study that stated that students who go to a private college receive a higher GPA. According to the article, the study tested 160 private and public schools and found that their 80-year historical data claimed an average of a 3.3 GPA at private schools, compared to an average of a 3.0 at public schools. Although I don't doubt these numbers, I find them to be misleading. One point to consider is the class sizes at colleges. For example, public schools, such as UB, have a current undergraduate student enrollment of 19,022, while Canisius, a nearby private university, has a student enrollment of 3,196. Everyone affiliated with UB knows that lectures, which students are required to take at least a few times here, can go up to almost 500 students. Canisius's average class size is 17, as confirmed by the Office of Student Records at Canisius College. It's much easier for students in a class size of 17 to get a better grade than in a class size of over 600. First of all, the professor actually knows your name. Secondly, I'm sure that it's much easier to get an appointment with your professor if you need help when the professor has a few hundred less students to deal with. The admissions requirements for incoming freshmen are lower for Canisius than UB: Canisius's scores are an 87-94 GPA, 1020-1220 SAT score and 22-27 ACT score, whereas UB's are 89-95, 1100-1240 and 24-28, respectively, according to each college's website. Even assuming that the article's statistics are correct, it's a fact that private schools charge much more money to attend than public schools do. For example Canisius charges $29,512 for one semester. UB charges $4,970 for in-state students and $12,870 for out-of-state students. Therefore, UB students are assumedly more intelligent when they enter the university (based on GPA and SAT scores), but pay far less to go to a public school. I fully believe that students can have an equally high GPA and get the same quality of education if they attend a public school than if they attend a private one. Maybe the greatest example of this is Rutgers University. Many people know that Rutgers is the public state university of New Jersey. What many people do not know is that the school turned down an invitation to join the Ivy League. Twice. In an article by Rutger's official student newspaper The Daily Targum, the school was most likely in negotiations to join the League, but turned it down because Rutgers wanted to remain an outstanding, yet cheap and accessible school for college students. That being said, students applying to Rutgers University are expected to have an 1130-1360 SAT score, and according to the college website, more than one-third of students are ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating classes. This statistic is far higher than Canisius's records. Furthermore, both Rutgers and UB are members of the Association of American Universities, which rank the top U.S. research universities. Harvard, Yale and Princeton are also in this list, but out of the colleges listed on the official AAU website, 34 are public universities, whereas 26 are private. In short, although the study says otherwise, there is no need for students to spend more money to go to a private school when they can get the same quality, or better, education at a public school. UB is the flagship university of the SUNY system, with incredible research labs and a very bright student population, plus a next-to-nothing tuition. Take advantage of all that this public school has to offer at a fraction of the price. E-mail: rachel.lamb@ubspectrum.com


OPINION

Fallen star

I took a ride in my mental time machine over the weekend and lamented a basketball player that I grew up watching.





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