Parties, Politics, Year-End Issues Engage Student Press Corps

Glenn Ricketts

1.  Republicans got their lumps from a number of campus political analysts, who think the GOP has painted itself into a corner.  That’s the view of one writer at UCal/Irvine’s New University, who thinks that Republicans don’t realize how they’ve turned people off of politics.  Ditto for a colleague at the Michigan Daily, where a columnist says that the party is dominated by “extreme conservatives,” and another at the Indiana Daily Student, who argues that Republicans’ campaign tactics have made them the “party of rabies.”   Similarly, a political commentator at the U of Las Vegas Rebel Yell urges readers to take note of the GOP’s “war on women.”  Perhaps that’s why another writer at the JHU Newsletter sees the November election as especially critical, and urges readers to participate in “shaping history.”  By contrast, though, a staffer for the LSU Reveille says to watch out for the GOP’s presidential standard bearer Mitt Romney, who beat the odds and will challenge Barack Obama in November. 

2.      Wealth, taxes and class are sure to be central issues in the upcoming campaigns, and two writers for the USC Daily Trojan squared off recently on the merits of the Buffett Rule: this one thought the idea had substance, but her colleague disagreed, and argued that it’s unfair to penalize those who worked hard for the wealth they’ve accumulated.  At any rate, if you really doubt that we have a genuine class war in this country, a regular for the Maine Student suggests that you do some simple arithmetic. One of his colleagues at the paper addresses the same topic, but leaves readers uncertain of his meaning…. He’s joking, right?  Or is he?  Be that as it may, a columnist for the Rutgers Daily Targum agrees that there’s a class war, but thinks that it’s a bit more complicated than most people realize. 

3.      Academic issues usually get some space, somewhere, and a freshman guest columnist for the Yale Daily News laments that American students everywhere can’t write and need a very stiff dose of traditional grammar.  Here, here, says his counter part at the Daily Iowan, who was shocked to hear a roommate declare that “writing is dead.”  Oh, really?  Not so fast.  At the University of Connecticut’s Daily Campus, a staffer pens some somber thoughts on the rapidly approaching demise of the printed word.  Elsewhere, the editors of the Minnesota Daily see a grave threat to academic freedom in Arizona’s withdrawal of a Mexican Studies curriculum, while a staffer for the Rutgers Daily Targum concludes that, while there may indeed be some ideological bias in some college courses, it’s not as widespread or pervasive as some people are inclined to believe.  At MIT, The Tech offered its readers two views on the relationship between science and religious belief: one writer argued that the two are complementary and need not be in conflict, while his respondent found far less common ground. Finally, a columnist at the UCLA Daily Bruin thinks that LGBT students would benefit from identifying themselves as such on SIR forms, similar to information already routinely collected with regard to race or gender. 

4.      Although he’s not in the least enamored of the ideas propounded the Westboro Baptist Church, an anticipated visit by the group to Central Michigan University compels him to remind readers of the CMU Life that WBC members have the right of free speech.  That right sometimes comes at a price, he notes, but he’s willing to pay.  A colleague at the Independent Florida Alligator ponders a far more subtle and possibly more insidious threat, that’s largely unnoticed:  the increasingly invasive and pervasive information gathering capacities of social media, especially Facebook

5.      Other issues beyond presidential politics often get coverage and commentary.  In the Stanford Daily, one regular writer argues that every person has a fundamental right to eat, and believes that government must be proactive in securing that right.  A colleague takes on another international issue, and concludes that former British PM Tony Blair, scheduled to speak on campus, is a war criminal and should be asked some tough questions during his visit.  Elsewhere, a visiting Chinese student at Smith College wonders how relations can be improved between her native country and the US, in the pages of the Sophian, while a colleague at the Harvard Crimson found merit in a proposal to reform Britain’s House of Lords.  At the same paper, another columnist  offers a comparative analysis of sex scandals in the US and France. 

6.      For many senior editors and writers, May is their last hurrah, and an occasion to reflect on their college careers and journalistic experiences.  One such offers his parting thoughts to readers of the Emory Wheel, while a departing managing editor reminisces in the Notre Dame Observer.  It’s a bit different for a senior editor at the PSU Collegian, as she looks back on the scandal that engulfed her school last autumn.  But there’s also plenty of non-nostalgia, and a couple of guest writers stir up an angry comments thread in the Emory Wheel by arguing that it’s time to allow ROTC back on campus.  No comments yet, but a guest columnist for the SIU Daily Egyptian marvels at how the simple narrative of a children’s book enabled him to envisage useful limits to environmental activism, while an editor at the Denver University Clarion notes the high price you’ll pay if you get caught padding your cv with phony credentials.  Finally, a regular staffer for the UC Berkeley Daily Californian presents the first of four articles slated to examine the campus hook-up culture.












































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