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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, May 27, 2024

Opinion | Editorial

The Setonian
Editorial

Health Class, 2.0

"Gonorrhea": a word many of us probably haven't heard since ninth grade, and chances are haven't given a second thought since. But that vague disease, up there with chlamydia and syphilis in the pantheon of mythical ailments that everyone knows about but no one ever seems to have, is suddenly a harsh reality to at least a few Tufts students.


The Setonian
Editorial

Family matters

"Our responsibility to the children comes first." Those words, spoken recently by Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with regard to same-sex adoptions, might be the most dubious yet in his long career in politics. For if Romney's true concern is for the parentless children, why is he seeking to allow one of Massachusetts' largest adoption agencies, Boston Archdiocese's Catholic Charities, to bar same-sex couples from its adoption services?



The Setonian
Editorial

Higher education shouldn't get 'test'-y

Recently, the Bush Administration appointed a commission to consider implementing standardized testing in colleges and universities across the nation. Proponents of the system say that implementing standardized testing in colleges will enable informed comparison among schools.



The Setonian
Editorial

It's time for some parameters

The development of e-mail was one of the most fundamental shifts in communication since the telephone. The ability to quickly send concise messages from any computer draws people closer. However, all sorts of communications - business, academic, personal, even commercial messages - flood inboxes everywhere.



The Setonian
Editorial

Free speech does not mandate, it enables

The controversial cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammed, which were originally published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and have been the object of global protest, were re-printed in Wednesday's issue of the Primary Source under the heading: "The SOURCE must stand in solidarity with the free press of the world, and print these cartoons as a symbol of defiance against oppression and fear."



The Setonian
Editorial

On crime and common sense

After a string of car break-ins last week, as well as the Brown & Brew burglary and robberies behind Curtis Hall that occurred earlier this semester, many students might be wondering whether they are still enrolled in the same school.


The Setonian
Editorial

Europe should keep hands off of energy market

It is only slightly ironic that as Europe proceeds on its own path towards opening up energy markets, the man who spearheaded the initiative in the United States, former Enron CEO Ken Lay, is sitting on trial.


The Setonian
Editorial

Wrong man for the job

Lawrence Summers has been a lightning rod for controversy his entire career. Since his time as treasury secretary of the World Bank, and currently finishing his recently resigned position as Harvard University's president, Summers has managed to be more divisive than uniting.


The Setonian
Editorial

Don't avoid 'the politics of fear'

Have no fear - all right, have a little. Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship (EPIIC), the Institute for Global Leadership's signature program, presents its annual symposium beginning tomorrow night.


The Setonian
Editorial

Something rare: a response

In recent days, fractures have emerged between Congressional Republicans and President Bush over the president's support of the National Security Agency's controversial wiretapping program. The program - which allows interception without warrants of the international communications of U.S. citizens suspected of al-Qaeda links - has prompted concern among many Congressional Democrats, but had been widely supported by Republicans.




The Setonian
Editorial

TCI must publicize withing the Tufts community

Since the spring of 1999, when President John DiBiaggio committed Tufts to the Kyoto Protocol guidelines, promising to drastically reduce the University's carbon dioxide emissions, Tufts has shown unparalleled leadership in the fight against global warming. The Tufts Climate Initiative (TCI) and student efforts to promote energy conservation should be commended. Two years later, it seems Tufts is on its way toward meeting its goals; specifically, reducing carbon dioxide levels to seven percent below 1990 levels by 2012. But Tufts is first and foremost in the business of education - in this case, promoting the cause of environmentalism in the University community and throughout American academia - a role that TCI should not overlook in its continued efforts to conform to the Kyoto Protocol standards. Programs already in place at Tufts have the potential to educate an entire generation of environmental advocates. By capitalizing on campus-wide interest and activism, Tufts could graduate students prepared to take an active role in conserving energy into their adult life. A contest sponsored by Tufts' ECO to encourage electricity conservation in dormitories is an encouraging sign. TCI should likewise increase its outreach. Tufts' commitment to protecting the atmosphere should serve as an example outside of Medford and Somerville as well. The US is the leading producer of greenhouse gases worldwide, but has thus far taken few steps to address its profligate polluting. In fact, America has yet to even ratify the Kyoto agreement it helped create. Change, therefore, must come from the grassroots level. The US environmental community has recognized TCI as a leader, as have a small group of students on the Tufts campus. But widespread publicizing of University initiatives has not been undertaken. Massachusetts schools should follow Tufts' precedent. With a broad base of student knowledge concerning TCI, Tufts students can spread the message, and other local universities can use Tufts as a model to design their own energy conservation programs. Likely, if cost-conscious Boston area schools would adopt a similar program, they could eventually save over $1 million annually. But before Tufts sells TCI to all of America, it must sell it to its own student body. Despite its impressive accomplishments, TCI has not spent nearly enough time or money publicizing its efforts within the Tufts community. And although program directors have renewed the goal to engage Tufts' student body, the results are not yet evident. The TCI/ECO coordination must only mark a starting point if Tufts is truly to be a civic-minded institution committed to both the practice and teaching of environmentalism.


The Setonian
Editorial

No conflict of interest for Powell at Tufts

The controversy surrounding Colin Powell's speech at Tufts last November questions the ethical judgment of one of America's most respected military and civilian leaders. Allegations made in The Jerusalem Post - that the deputy prime minister of Lebanon and former Tufts trustee Issam Fares paid Powell $200,000 to participate in Fares' lecture series in an attempt to buy influence - are unfairly accusatory and will rightfully have little impact on Powell's confirmation as President-elect George W. Bush's secretary of state. Fares' response to the Post report, however, was severely undiplomatic, couched in anti-Zionist and possibly anti-Semitic sentiment, and unbecoming a member of the Tufts community.Although the exact amount Fares, through Tufts, paid Powell for the lecture remains undisclosed, all parties involved estimate the honorarium at or around $80,000, far less than the Post figure; it was generous remuneration for a day's work, but not out of the ordinary for a Powell speech, and comparable to that paid to past participants in the Fares series. Furthermore, at the time of the lecture, Powell held no government position, and his presumed secretary of state appointment was far from official. There is no doubt that Issam Fares the businessman and Issam Fares the politician value ties with American government officials. But Issam Fares the philanthropist, former Tufts trustee, and father of Fares Fares (LA '93), has been unselfishly generous to this university; it would be hard to identify an ulterior political motive for the Fares Equine Research Center at Tufts' veterinary school, one of two buildings at Tufts that bears the prime minister's name. "In my association with Tufts, I hope to be helpful to Tufts, not to derive benefit for myself," Fares told the Daily before the Powell lecture. Past speeches also give little merit to The Jerusalem Post's implication that the Fares Lecture Series is a conduit for the Lebanese geopolitical agenda. Speakers have included politicians Margaret Thatcher and George Mitchell, who are rarely accused of holding an anti-Israel bias. Powell himself hardly touched on the Middle East in his speech, and when he did, the general affirmed the US commitment to Israel.But Fares' indignant response to the Post article was not beyond reproach. "If the Zionist lobby or those revolving in its orbit are displeased with this relationship, it's their own business. Anyway, envy is a killer," Fares wrote in a statement from Beirut. Tufts celebrates internationalism and should caution its various spokespeople from issuing spiteful statements about any nation or people around the globe. Fares' words were suspiciously defensive and spiteful, and while not issued on Tufts' stationary, Fares was a former trustee speaking about his Tufts affiliation and about a Tufts event. In other words, he was speaking for Tufts, and the University should respectfully, but publicly, distance itself from his comments.


The Setonian
Editorial

Editorial

A constitutional amendment granting voting power to Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate culture representatives would diminish the democratic process of campus elections by granting voting privileges to non-elected representatives and promoting unequal representation of class years. The amendment, which students can vote on in the April 25 election, would for all intents and purposes negate the difference between elected senators and culture group representatives. Culture representatives serve an important function on the Senate - they voice concerns of individual communities within the greater student body. But they do not run in a campus-wide election and thus are not spokespersons for their classes. Under no circumstances, then, should they be afforded the same voting rights as elected senators. Four culture groups - the Tufts Transgendered Lesbian Gay Bisexual Collective, the Association of Latin American Students, the Pan-African Alliance, and the Asian Community at Tufts - either elect or appoint a representative to the Senate. Democratic systems such as the TCU Senate inherently ensure the voices of all peoples will be heard, and Tufts' system of culture representatives only furthers this ideal. But to grant voting rights to non-elected individuals based simply on their membership in a culture group is to infringe on the rights of the student body to select its representatives. Members of culture groups, like all other students, should be represented by the senators they elect. If cultural issues do indeed need to play a prominent role in student government decisions, those running for Senate should include these issues in their platforms. If there exists a lack of cultural representation, the fix must be democratic. And while some might argue that voting for the amendment makes for a democratic solution, future Tufts students who did not play a part in making this decision will deal with its unfair repercussions. Additionally, culture representatives are often upperclassmen. Under the current system, each class is afforded equal representation in the Senate and receives an equal number of votes. Allowing culture representatives to vote would disturb the equal representation. Students who win their Senate seats through elections, contested or not, are held accountable because they may face re-election the following year. If a senator is not meeting the desires of various cultural constituencies, he or she may not be re-elected. To mandate that specific cultures be given voting rights on the Senate is tantamount to setting quotas for the makeup of student government. Furthermore, to randomly give certain groups - but not others - voting rights, is to say that certain cultures should be given a stronger voice than their counterparts. The Senate is a forum for student voices, and culture reps fulfill an important role in that discourse. Senate meetings are open to all students, and different groups should be encouraged to attend meetings and speak their positions. But the student body must maintain the right to elect its own leaders, and granting voting power to culture reps would destroy a system of democratic representation essential to Tufts student government.


The Setonian
Editorial

Editorial

Tufts was justifiably uncomfortable when reporters from The Boston Herald, FOX news, and other media outlets arrived on campus yesterday afternoon. At the time, protesting students were occupying the Bendetson hall. But Ballou's draconian handling of the situation made Tufts appear unnecessarily aggressive before the news media and only exacerbated the conflict. In today's news articles and television reports, Tufts will pay the price for its defensive posture. As the protest wore on, Tufts closed Bendetson, barring students and the national media from entering the building. Tufts dismissed its employees, arguing that they could no longer function amidst the noise. Members of the Tufts Office of Public Relations pounced on reporters and photographers as they took to the patio, prohibiting them from conducting interviews or taking pictures inside the building. The non-violent demonstration took on an ominous air, as Police Detective Lieutenant Charles Lonero refused admittance to news reporters and members of TSAD, the event's sponsor. By closing Bendetson to interested students and reporters, outsiders were given a misleading impression of the situation. Rumors of a police "crack-down" circulated. Perhaps most damaging to the University was its treatment of the off-campus press. Reporters, left out of the action, interviewed hovering students with well-established antipathies toward Tufts, while witnessing firsthand what may have seemed like bully tactics by the administration. In general, news stories exaggerate conflict and favor the "victim," so when the Herald goes to print, don't be surprised to find anti-Tufts sentiments dominating the story. The reality was far less romantic. Quarantined sit-in participants passed most of the day lounging on Bendetson couches, or in the conference room strategizing. They played loud music through open windows, but were hardly a militant lot. Likewise, the atmosphere in front of the columns was subdued. There was little anger and even less threat of violence. But the University - seemingly represented by Admission's officers and Dean of Students Bruce Reitman, who stood behind the police in the building's antechamber - seemed surprised, frustrated, and overly defensive. The protest drew modest student support, but that fact was overshadowed by the large police presence. It was crowd control over what was hardly a crowd. In the future, the University should permit interested student protestors, journalists, and the news media unfettered access to peaceful demonstrations. If general safety is assured, Tufts can avoid unnecessarily damaging press by tempering its police and faculty. Instead, yesterday, it chose to make a bad situation worse.