Supreme Court’s Health Care Decision, Campus Issues, Engage Student Press Corps

Glenn Ricketts

1. The US Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding the Obama administration’s Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act generated a wide response from student editorialists and staff writers. Most of the commentary was favorable, along the lines of  this piece from the editorial staff of the Daily Californian.  But there were some dissenting critiques as well, especially in the comments threads and surveys of student opinions.  For the summer editors of The Dartmouth, the court’s ruling was nothing short of “momentous,” although some correspondents heatedly disputed their reasoning and familiarity with constitutional jurisprudence. Their counterparts at the Michigan Daily also applaud the outcome, but emphasize that this is only the beginning of a long process.  But at the same paper, a staff columnist agrees that the US health care system needs an overhaul, but doesn’t think that the Obama plan will fly, especially in view of its lack of public support.  At the Daily Pennsylvanian, the editorial board endorse the decision, but also approve the fact that it leaves the final say with the voters, come November.  That’s also the view at the Harvard Crimson, where this columnist wrote on behalf the editors.  A writer for the University of SC Gamecock urges citizens to take the initiative, and hopefully realize that there are non-federal health care alternatives. At the MSU State News, the editors note approvingly the benefits that will accrue directly to college students, while a scrappy staffer at the LSU Reveille thinks that the law is just dandy, and suggests that if you don’t want to buy health insurance just pay the fine and quit griping.   

2. But not everyone was elated by the SC’s ruling, and an impromptu survey in the U of M Diamondback found only lukewarm support among those interviewed  At the Indiana Daily Student, a staff commentator sticks to his guns, and insists that, notwithstanding the court’s verdict, the law is unconstitutional, and a huge power grab by the Congress. A colleague writing for the University Daily Kansan also thinks that the law should have been struck down, but finds a silver lining in the majority’s restrictions on the regulatory reach of the commerce clause.  Elsewhere in Kansas, a political writer for the KSU Collegian registers his disappointment with the SC’s decision, but is dismayed by the vitriolic attacks on Chief Justice Roberts, and asks everyone to tone down the partisan rhetoric.  And aside from the constitutional issues, a correspondent for the Iowa State Daily thinks that the health care law carries some major hidden costs, as does a colleague at the UNM Daily Lobo, who gets some spirited comments in response.  Back at the LSU Reveille, another political analyst wishes the SC had done something really useful by reviewing its disastrous 2010 ruling on campaign finances and corporations.

3. In international news, a number of undergraduate journalists provided travel logs and assorted commentary from abroad, depending on what part of the world they happened to visit.  One such gave an account of her American-sponsored visit to Israel, and the complex issues she was compelled to consider as a result.  Writing in the Duke Chronicle, a couple of colleagues conveyed their impressions of travels in Middle East, one spending some time in Egypt, another as an English instructor in Jordan.  A third Chronicle traveler describes his bewildering culture shock in India, especially with regard to gender roles and the locals’ view of Americans.  But even in England, as a summer intern at Cambridge tells readers of the MSU State News, there are some surprising cultural adjustments that visiting Americans can expect to encounter. A week later he notes how he’s really taken to the local custom of afternoon tea. Closer to home, the editors of the Iowa State Daily are dismayed by corporate involvement in a cooperative university program with Tanzania.  By all means, facilitate agricultural development in that country or any other, but keep big business out of it.  Elsewhere, a regular for the Indiana Daily Student thinks that the Obama administration’s Mexican gun-running gambit backfired big time, while his counterpart at the LSU Reveille concludes that the single biggest obstacle to democratization in Egypt is the country’s military, which is much more interested in its dominant position than it is democracy. 

4. Campus odds and ends:  The editors of the Daily Mississippian don’t like the idea of a smoke-free campus.  Whatever your views on tobacco use, it’s micro-regulation gone bananas.  Meanwhile, a staffer for the OSU Lantern just can’t believe that someone has actually invented, and others have actually marketed, a spray concoction that creates instant, short-term intoxication. Just the thing most college students need, right? An unsigned column in the PSU Collegian offers some reflections on the sex crimes conviction of a former assistant football coach, while the editorial board express the hope that the issue of sexual abuse won't now disappear as a public issue. They also announce a bit of internal housecleaning acknowledging that an unnamed former staffer had been dismissed for plagiarizing a couple of movie reviews.  On the opposite coast, the editors of the UC/Berkeley Daily Californian denounce a proposal to bring an armored police vehicle to the campus where the 1960s student Free Speech Movement originated; it just doesn’t compute at all.  They also explain why the summer print edition has to be reduced from three days to two, since the economic reality leaves them no alternative.  Meantime, a writer for the Indiana Daily Student follows up a previous column with additional suggestions for summer reading, while her colleague complains that student journalists don’t get paid nearly enough to make ends meet.  On the subject of what students read, a regular columnist for the Tulane Hullabaloo laments the overwhelming ideological imbalance on his campus: most students will pass through their college years without encountering any conservative ideas at all, and he’s resolved to correct that deficiency by means of his journalism.  At UCLA, the editorial board of the Daily Bruin pondered the implications of the faculty’s rejection of a proposed undergraduate “diversity” requirement, while their colleagues at the Purdue Exponent took pointed exception to a recent low rating given to their school’s undergraduate core curricular requirements.  Marriage also got some traction, and a summer staffer for The Dartmouth supports not only gay marriage, but just about every other variety as well.  By contrast, a columnist for the Minnesota Daily looks at current social trends and wonders if there’s any longer a point to getting married, since so many people don’t seem to bother.  And the sparks really flew in the pages of the Daily Texan, where a news item described a UT/Austin professor’s research conclusions on gay parenting.  The comments thread indicates that it’s a rather live issue. 

5. As the 4th of July approached, a columnist for the U of M Diamondback ponders the meaning of patriotism at the present time.  On the West coast, a summer writer for the Stanford Daily thought it high time to show some appreciation for those who have served in uniform, something he and most of his fellow undergraduates can’t fathom.  One who served describes summers at Stanford.  

6. Finally, a regular for the UT/Knoxville Beacon departs from his usual beat of writing about politics, and instead proposes four amendments to the Constitution.  Real change will never happen if we leave it up to the two major parties.

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