One Of Our Own
Slain alumna loss for entire campus
In an e-mail to the TCU faculty and staff, Don Mills, vice chancellor for student affairs, said the shooting at Wedgwood Baptist Church "is really not a TCU story."
He said the media are "working very hard to make a TCU connection with the tragedy last night."
Mills later said he should not have written the statement, and his intention was to protect the victims' families and grieving students.
We understand that sometimes the media can be an uncaring entity.
Maybe Mills' intentions were right in protecting students from this intrusive media probing, but perhaps his reasoning was off.
To say that TCU has no connection is to ignore the fact that many TCU students were affected by the shooting that occurred just a few miles away.
There should have never been any doubt in anyone's mind whether an incident like this affects our campus.
As the story unfolds, TCU students are finding a closer connection to the tragedy. Our students attended the church, and some have friends who go there.
But the closest connection comes with the death of TCU alumna Kim Jones.
One of our own, an alumna that less than a year ago sat next to us in class, was taken during the shooting in Wedgwood.
She was a close friend, and she was a mentor.
Jones graduated from TCU in December 1998. She was a speech communication major, and she was a member of Delta Gamma sorority.
To her friends Jones was "part angel. There was something about her that was not part of this world. When you saw her, you saw something different."
When she was at TCU, Jones began laying the foundation for what was to become her life work. As a DG, she started a Bible study in her chapter. It started with her and one other. Today, it attracts about 20 women from several sororities.
The sisters in her Bible study said Jones had a incredible impact on them. They said no one who met her went away unchanged.
She developed herself here on campus. Then she went into the community to share herself with others.
One of her sisters asked: "Why would God take someone who would touch so many lives? But then again, I think her death will touch so many lives."
It certainly has touched ours.
Messenger causes addiction
Don't get sucked into 'meaningless void' of chatting program
I believe the apocalypse is upon us. And I believe there's lots of proof to back up this claim. One of the more recent events that have led me to this conclusion was the news that Britney Spears and one of those faceless, forgettable members of 'NSync, are currently dating.
Yes, these two powerhouses of musical prowess and talent are actually en route to a serious relationship, reveling in the bonds of being boyfriend and girlfriend. But I for one know that this evil union of corporate musical puppets will undoubtedly lead to a child who will deceive mankind through the epitome of mass-marketed, cheesy pop music and eventually become the Antichrist. I'm pretty sure that's in Revelations somewhere.
So while I stave off the inevitable Armageddon, I keep my eyes peeled for signs the world is headed for destruction. My latest vigil has been over the advent of something so distracting, so captivating and so devious I know it subliminally plans to undermine society as we know it. It even sucked me into its meaningless void for a short time. I speak of the harmless invention known simply as "Instant Messenger."
For those of you lucky enough not to have Instant Messenger, be aware it is the latest trend in communication on the Internet through America Online. Once you register and have a screen name, you have the freedom to send instant messages to anyone else in the system, anywhere, anytime. Sounds great, right? Well, I wish I had never taken the first message.
Hello, my name is Kevin D., and I'm an Instant Messengeraholic.
It takes a lot to admit it, but I sure feel better now it's out in the open. The first step is to get past the denial and let the healing process begin. Early on in my IM daze, some of my friends saw me worsening but they didn't know how to intervene. What started out as a harmless message to my friend at Miami University (Ohio) turned into all-night binges of "IMs." I began frantically writing people I knew all across the country, only to emerge from my room days later swollen-eyed and sore-fingered, not remembering where I'd been or with whom I'd talked.
It got worse as the downward spiral continued. I began envisioning screen names for myself like "omnipotentkev," and I even started dabbling in IM lingo. Sure, I told myself it would only be a harmless slang word or two, but soon I was into "LOLs" and "J 's," maybe as much as three or four times a day. I wanted all the best options IM had to offer, even going as far to personalize my font, color and sound. I rationalized, "Hey, IM has done wonders for my typing skills, which are a vital necessity to be a good journalist." If only I could've seen how lost I was.
I hit rock bottom when I began IM-ing people in the dorms and, I'm ashamed to say, rooms right next to me. Here's a portion of one conversation I had with my friend Aubrey in Moncrief Hall during my latter stages of messengeraholism.
Kevin: "Hey! What's up?"
Aubrey: "Um Kevin, why don't you call me or just walk over here or something?"
Kevin: "I I don't know. I can't help myself. Talk to me please! Just type! Anything!"
Aubrey: "You need help."
Thank God summer came. My computer was locked away in storage, and I went through withdrawal cold turkey. It was a gruesome sight of cold sweats, fingers flailing wildly at the nothingness in the air and those little IM chimes echoing endlessly in my brain. Eventually though, I recovered and was free from the IM demons that had plagued me for so long.
I began to realize life was better actually interacting with the world and not hiding behind the façade of a screen. I was missing out on the creativeness of life by cowering under the illusory, lazy comfort of my computer. Now I finally could start healing and join the rest of the breathing realm.
So now I can help others. I can be a beacon for them in their deluding cloud of Instant Messenger darkness. I was there but now I'm out. I was at the bottom, but I'm climbing my way back to the top. I am an Instant Messenger success story, and I feel free to live a normal life in society and really communicate with people on a regular basis.
I can't wait to tell everyone how I'm ready to return to the normalcy of facetoface conversations. I can't wait to tell them how I beat my Instant Messenger addiction, and I can't wait to tell them how I realized that life is just a computer power switch away. And I can't wait to tell them all these things just as soon as I remember how to do group messages on my e-mail.
Kevin Dunleavy is a junior advertising and public relations major from Spring, Texas.
He can be reached at (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Hopwood decision should stand
Affirmative action policies do more harm than good
Texas Attorney General John Cornyn's reinterpretation of the Hopwood decision has opened a new can of worms regarding affirmative action in Texas. Actually, it is more like a can of maggots because it stinks.
His predecessor, Dan Morales, left no room for confusion about the role race should play in admission, scholarship and financial aid decisions. The role was absolutely none.
But Cornyn's rescinding of the decision gives public universities in Texas the option to bring back affirmative action policies regarding financial aid and scholarship decisions.
If schools like Texas A&M, the University of Texas and Texas Tech University change their policies, they will be painting huge bull's-eyes on themselves, becoming targets for reverse-discrimination lawsuits and for outspoken minority power groups.
Cornyn's idea is a step backward on the road to racial equality. His reinterpretation is based on the same argument that UT used in its court case. The university defended affirmative action on the grounds that it is "needed to compensate for past discrimination and to ensure diversity." It is true that minorities were wronged in the past because of discrimination in scholarship and financial aid applications.
But the solution should not be to give minorities an advantage over white applicants as "compensation" for past injustices. If race returns as a determining factor in financial aid and scholarship applications, there will always be discrimination - either against white applicants who lose out coveted spots to minorities with easier entrance requirements or against minorities who might lose spots due to racism.
In such a society, everyone loses. It will only be a matter of time before a white student who applied for a scholarship sues a university for losing out to a Hispanic student who is not as qualified.
And like Cheryl Hopwood, this student has every right to sue and win.
And it is not just white students who should get riled up about Cornyn's decision. Affirmative action policies are strange phenomena in this way - they are discriminatory to both the majority and minority.
Any self-respecting minority student ought to be offended at the idea that just because of their race, the standards to get a scholarship or financial aid are being lowered for them. Even if it improves minority's chances to get money, it is at the cost of being singled out from the rest of the applicants and never knowing if the reward was truly earned or if it was just to fill a quota.
Another argument for Cornyn's reinterpretation is that having a diverse campus is more important than having every student score above a certain SAT grade. This idea is also severely flawed. It is wrong to artificially make Texas public schools diverse.
Scholarships are designed to aid and reward students for involvement and academic excellence during high school, not for being a certain color.
If school officials truly believe a diverse campus is a better campus, then they should take the initiative to make it happen. Public universities can become diverse without lowering standards.
Of course it is easier to admit second-class minority students than to go around and actively recruit top minority scholars from Texas and the rest of the nation. But that does not justify undoing what the Hopwood case settled.
Besides, the effects of the Hopwood decision that drove Cornyn to change it have been blown out of proportion. Since the 1996 decision, advocates of affirmative action have claimed campuses became less diverse.
However, enrollment of African-Americans at UT only went down one percent and Hispanic enrollment barely fell from 14 percent to 12 percent.
Morales did not take his power too far, as some claim, when he banished affirmative action. He was totally in his jurisdiction to interpret the court's ruling as he did. As tempting as the anti-Hopwood ideas sound, they are unfair to all parties involved.
Mariano Castillo is a columnist for The Battalion at Texas A&M University.
This column is from University Wire.
Bush history ironic
Being a cokehead 25 years ago has nothing to do with one's qualifications for the presidency - being a hypocrite as the current governor of Texas does.
George W. Bush's "youthful indiscretions" are innately a private matter, but combined with his Draconian drug policies as governor, they take on a public relevance. In 1997, Bush signed into law a harsh measure that provides for jail time for nonviolent first-time offenders convicted of possessing less than 1/28 of an ounce of cocaine. Previously, those offenders were sentenced to mandatory probation.
Even worse, the governor gutted a successful drug rehabilitation program for inmates begun under Gov. Ann Richards, slashing the program from 14,000 slots to 5,300. Bush stated, "Incarceration is rehabilitation."
Under the "compassionate conservatism" of Bush's five-year stint as governor, taxpayers have spent $1.45 million each day incarcerating adult drug offenders. The number of juveniles incarcerated for drug offenses has skyrocketed. Under Bush's administration, funds for drug treatment were taken away from the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and given to prison system administrators to spend as they pleased.
Bush's drug policies as governor speak far more about his character than his private behavior ever could.
Instead, Bush should have used his personal experiences with alcohol, and perhaps cocaine, to guide a fair and intelligent drug policy for those who don't have rich, influential fathers to guard them from potential prosecution.
As the presidential campaign heats up, it's important to draw a clear distinction between private and public morality. Bush's failings in the former area aren't the issue; his hypocrisy in the latter is.
Brian Dupre is a columnist at the University of Texas-Austin.
This column is from University Wire.
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