Tag Archives: Editorial

Wireless Internet has strings attached

As Spring Semester gets into full swing, the torrent (no pun intended) of collegiate Internet use has begun anew. We, as college students, along with staff and faculty, rely heavily on the Internet. But, as some of you may have noticed, Linfield’s free Wi-Fi Internet has not been so reliable as of late.
In just the first week of school, there have been multiple accounts of students having problems with connections, using Clean Access Agent, checking e-mails, dealing with low speeds, finding a wireless signal and using Linfield Web pages.
You might recall the myriad of e-mails sent by Integrated Technology Services during the past two months explaining problems or delays in service from faulty equipment, server problems or otherwise. While we know ITS does its best to fix problems and let us know what is going on, it would be nice to have some more advanced awareness of problems.
As Chief Technology Officer Irv Wiswall describes in his e-mails, ITS workers certainly go out of their way to keep the Internet running smoothly. While we applaud ITS’ efforts to keep its finger in the dike, perhaps it’s time to fix the dike itself.
“When ever funds permit, ITS does what it can to increase redundancy and increase stability,” Wiswall said in an e-mail explaining past problems with cooling the server room. “Installing a redundant cooling system has both space and financial hurdles, but we’re examining possible solutions.”
If ITS does not have the money to maintain and/or increase stability, then we need more money going to ITS. As reliable Internet on campus proves to be more and more of a necessity, Linfield, in turn, must give ITS a higher priority on the college’s budget.
We recall an increase in bandwidth made last fall that was supposed to increase Internet speed. That boost certainly didn’t last long.
What happened? Was the bandwidth not utilized effectively? Was it immediately consumed by excessive illegal downloads on campus? What about legal downloads? Are the gamers eating it up? Is faculty given priority use of bandwidth?
Nobody wants to play the blame game (especially in the case of illegal file-sharing), but we need to figure out why adding more bandwidth somehow leads to a speed decrease.
The policies of ITS, as outlined on its Web page, maintain a distinction between primary and secondary uses of its services. Primary uses would be educational or in line with the scholarly nature of the school. Anything else is considered secondary.
“As such, they are not necessarily prohibited or even discouraged,” the policy statement said. “However, should such secondary activities in any way interfere with primary activities, they may be terminated immediately whether or not such activities are explicitly detailed in the information technology policy statements.”
If secondary uses are consuming the school’s extra bandwidth, though we’re not saying they are, then perhaps necessary action should be taken. While it is not the Review’s responsibility to make such decisions, we do feel that these issues must be addressed and debated so the school can reach a solution.
Linfield advertises itself as a school that offers free
Wi-Fi. Thus, it is unacceptable, and almost misleading, to have unreliable or unstable Internet capabilities. More and more professors use the Internet to aid teaching classes. They now often use resources such as the Blackboard Learning System, eReserve readings from Nicholson Library and e-mail.
In addition to professors, clubs and other student organizations use the Internet to help with planning and information sharing. The Review would not be the well-oiled machine it is without e-mail.
Given the importance we all place on Internet access, it should be a top priority of the campus. We think everyone on campus needs to be more aware of potential problems with Internet access, and we need to know what the school is doing about said problems, whether it be budget changes, network changes or otherwise.
The Review will do its best to find the facts affecting any Internet problems, but it is up to the school to deal with the facts.

-The Review Editorial Board

Hoax reflects power of media influence

-The Review Editorial Board
As most of us know, on the morning of Dec. 6, Linfield experienced nearly seven hours of lockdown while the Oregon State Police Bomb Squad and an FBI bomb technician unit investigated eight suspicious packages found on campus.
The next day, senior Melissa Davaz turned herself in to the McMinnville Police Department and was charged with five counts of first-degree disorderly conduct and five counts of possession of a hoax destruction device.
As we reported in the stories that appeared on our Web site and this issue’s front page, Davaz said she was inspired to act after reading a story in the News-Register about a suspicious package found in the Oak Grove on Nov. 29. She said she wanted to see how the school would react if more than one package were found.
Aside from obvious statements that can be made about lapses in judgment, this instance brings up an important side effect that comes with reporting the news.
What started as a small story in a few regional publications became a larger incident that has been covered in major state and out-of-state publications, as well as several evening news programs.
In other words, an item that the news media were obligated to report caused more trouble by the mere fact that it was covered.
Not to get too technical, but if anything, Davaz’s actions demonstrate the basis of many sociological and communications
theory-related debates.
For one, it brings up the question of the media’s influence.
This is not to say that the media brainwash their users or that people who read newspapers or watch TV are directly affected by them. By no means were Davaz’s actions beyond her control. Rather, they provide an another example of the fact that people truly do what they will with the information the media present.
This potential influence makes it more imperative for news media to recognize their social responsibilities.
For some, the possible consequences of news coverage may inspire feelings of reluctance. Instead, this authority should inspire reporters to provide the most complete information possible so readers can fully understand a situation and its results.
Despite the inconveniences and expenses that the latest suspicious packages incident accrued, Davaz demonstrated integrity in admitting her actions to the police. Obviously, she will face significant repercussions because of this. But we would hope that, if anyone else were involved, they would do the same.
With any luck, coverage of the incident and those similar to it will bring about some more positive results.
-The Review Editorial Board

Equality for all, or just for some?

The Review Editorial Board. In a heartbreaking defeat for gay rights advocates and a serious misrepresentation of the word “equality,” the New York State Senate defeated a bill Dec. 1 that would have legalized same-sex marriage with a 38-24 vote.
It is important to note, however, that this leaves the bill dead for the remainder of the year; the issue can be brought up again, and undoubtedly will be.
Last month, Maine became the 31st state to reject same-sex marriage laws, this time through a referendum. The Maine State Legislature voted to legalize same-sex unions earlier this year, but gay rights opponents gathered enough signatures to put the measure on a ballot.
Last year, California voters repealed same-sex marriage legislation that had resulted from the state’s highest court ruling that gay couples had the right to marry.
In Washington, the fight over a proposed same-sex marriage law heated up as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said that if the law were passed, the church would cut its social service programs, which assist residents with adoption, homelessness and health care.
This is an absolute travesty of fairness and equality. Gays should have the same privileges, including marriage, as everyone else.
To clarify, the debate is not just about marriage in the religious sense. Marriage in the United States offers a variety of monetary and governmental advantages. To deny those to same-sex couples is to deny them equality under the law, and to say that domestic partnerships and civil unions are the same is ignorant.
While some states grant nearly identical rights to same-sex and heterosexual couples, the majority does not, and neither does the federal government.
Most who campaign against same-sex marriage do so because of religious beliefs.
“While the Catholic Church rejects unjust discrimination against homosexual men and women, there is no question that marriage by its nature is the union of one man and one woman,” Richard E. Barnes, the executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, said in a New York Times story.
So, what does the church consider “unjust discrimination”?
Apparently, lobbying to prevent equality is not on that list. And, if we aren’t mistaken, isn’t there supposed to be a separation of church and state? It would be naïve of us to believe that religion does not influence government policy, but we can still dream, right?
Had the law passed, New York would have become the sixth state to allow marriage between same-sex couples. However, its repeal just serves as another scathing reminder of how equality is apparently meant for some, not all.
After the vote, Gov. David A. Paterson spoke on the Senate floor, a rarity for him, and said, “These victories come, and so do the losses, but you keep on trying.”
How right you are, governor. So keep on trying, New York. You’ll eventually get it right.
-The Review Editorial Board

Turkey day is too far away

As this is the Review’s last issue before Thanksgiving Break, let us take time to discuss all the joys of the holidays.
After all, ‘tis the season to be exhausted, sickly and overstressed.
School has been in session for 11 weeks. Eleven weeks without rest, apart from Labor Day, that is. And we have one more week to get through before we can take a breath.
Yes, the question of scheduling a weeklong Thanksgiving Break instead of a Fall Break has come and gone, but, considering the effects that three straight months of studying have had on students these past two years, it is relevant all the same.
With any luck, this answer isn’t set in stone, because, from our point of view, the negatives outweigh the positives in this case.
A week at Thanksgiving may provide those students who live outside of Oregon more travel time, and students in general get to spend more time with their families, but personal well-being during the months preceding should still be considered.
For one thing, only three weeks separate the end of Thanksgiving Break and the beginning of Winter Break; that isn’t much time to wait for a few extra days off.
In the working world, employees don’t get summers or Fall Breaks off; the majority of these workers, however, aren’t full-time students who are presented with loads of knowledge that they are expected to comprehend.
Toward the end of the semester, whether through their own procrastination or the nature of their courses, students are faced with an increase in exams, readings, papers, etc. As the days get shorter, the hours seem to quicken.
Not to have too much of a “Days of Our Lives” “sands-through-the-hourglass” moment, but time really does fly during the last few weeks of the semester, raising stress levels right along with them.
We are all taught that sleep is essential for learning because it allows the brain to make connections between bits of information and, therefore, increases our ability to comprehend.
On a larger scale, Fall Break accomplishes the same thing. More than just a time to play catch-up, it allows for better understanding, and isn’t that what education is about?
Yes, we only have one break during Spring Semester, but Spring Break falls in the middle of the term, not at the end. Its rejuvenating effects are much better placed.
Aside from mental exhaustion, the threat of both H1N1 and seasonal flu strains is higher this time of year. Without this respite, student are more likely to wear their bodies down to the point that they are more susceptible to illness.
On an interpersonal level, stress, sickness and friendships certainly don’t mix well, and this buildup of tension can take its toll outside the classroom, as well — intentionally or not.
As relationships can also be a point of stress in themselves, once again the vicious cycle continues.
Looking across campus, the increase in class absences is certainly evidence that students are run-down, even if it is too soon to tell if this calendar switch has had any adverse effects on grades themselves.
This is not to say that students weren’t stressed when there was a Fall Break, but, for now, we think it was a better solution.
So enjoy your break, because it’s been a long time coming.

-The Review Editorial Board

Using colorful language isn’t black and white

Last week, the Review printed its second Post Secret double-truck feature, which divulged anonymous secrets from students on personally designed postcards. One such postcard, picturing former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, used the f— word in its message.
The editorial board saw no problem with running this postcard because it was an expression of opinion from a student, which was what the feature (note: not a news story) intended.
However, it has come to our attention that not everyone was pleased with this decision.
Review editors have received e-mails, both to personal inboxes and to the Review, and have been personally spoken to about the matter. Most who complained expressed disgust with the use of the word.
Other objections also surfaced regarding past opinion pieces that have contained uncensored profanity.
The Review Editorial Board wants to make something clear: While it agrees that the use of profanity in the newspaper may not always be kosher with everyone or in the best interest of the publication in its entirety, this profanity normally serves a greater purpose.
In the Post Secret instance, it represented a student’s opinion regarding his or her particular secret. While the Review would have preferred to run the postcard without the obscenity, there was no compelling reason not to, and so it was printed.
Certain students and faculty members have deemed that the Review should not use profanity at all. If we are not mistaken, that’s censorship, and that has no place on a college campus.
In 2007, the Oregon Daily Emerald, the University of Oregon’s student-run newspaper, ran a front-page editorial with the headline
“F— censorship.” The editorial was written in response to the bold headline “Taser this F— BUSH” that ran in Colorado State University’s student paper, the Rocky Mountain Collegian. This headline was a reaction to the Sept. 17, 2007, arrest and use of a Taser on University of Florida student Andrew Meyer. Then editor-in-chief of the Collegian, J. David McSwane, used the phrase as his editorial, forgoing any sort of supporting statement or additional commentary.
Both editorials garnered national attention, along with both praise and criticism.
As was stated in the Review’s Nov. 2, 2007, editorial, “Free speech justifies profanity,” “We at the Review support the student editor’s choice to express his beliefs in an opinion piece and take advantage of his right to free speech. Likewise, on our editorial pages, we do not limit or censor the speech of our staff.”
This year’s editorial board agrees with this statement. When staff writers have wanted to use profanity in their opinion pieces in the past, they were asked why. If a justifiable reason was given, the story ran unaltered. When the use of the obscenity was unwarranted, however, the profanity was removed. The Review doesn’t just throw the f— word around.
In the few instances profanity has been used in the Review this year, it was meant to make a point, not to be sensational.
Last week’s postcard didn’t run because it contained an obscenity or because it did so alongside a picture of Palin; it ran because it was protected under the Review’s right of freedom of expression.
Free speech cannot be stifled unless it endangers the immediate safety of its audience. The Review doubts that this one postcard elicited any clear or present danger.
The Review publishes letters to the editor that have profanity in them, and, so long as these words serve a purpose, the editorial board does not censor them. So why should the Review censor itself? Do staff writers not deserve the same treatment and privileges guaranteed by the First Amendment as non-staff writers?
The Review believes they do.

-The Review Editorial Board