in case you missed it | A $50K reminder of how far we haven’t come

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A $50K reminder of how far we haven’t come

We may have elected our first black president, but it wasn’t very long ago that we were committing unspeakable acts of racism. Just this week, a state-appointed task force in North Carolina recommended that every living person who was sterilized against their will as part of the state-run eugenics program should be financially compensated for their pain and suffering. As a matter of perspective, this program was not terminated until 1977, well into the Carter administration.

The stated purpose of the eugenics program was to improve society by forcibly sterilizing people deemed to be undesirable breeders. As with most programs that would have been popular among the Nazis, race and class were the biggest determinants of who should not be allowed to have children.

In total, more than 60,000 mostly poor black women in the U.S. were sterilized without their permission, some as young as 10 years old, including one whose only negative quality was reported as an inability to get along with her classmates.

While several states have apologized for their racist sterilization programs, only North Carolina has gone so far as to suggest compensation to its 7,600 victims. When approved, every victim of the program will receive $50,000 for his or her trouble. It redefines pittance.

And another reminder

Happy birthday Guantanamo. The military detention center designed to hold people who have not been found guilty of any crime for as long as we want turned 10 years old on Wednesday, Jan. 11.

And if that doesn’t make you proud enough, just consider that about half of those who have been held for a decade have already been found to have committed no crime but are still being held due to restrictions on transfers.

It has now been two years since the deadline President Obama set for closing Guantanamo came and went. How about that American exceptionalism?

Your higher ed dollars hard at work

Newsflash: The state of Colorado is broke. The budget is continuously being slashed, and higher education in particular has been hard hit. That’s what makes the recent announcement that CU will be hiring a full-time “campus alcohol agent” at an annual salary of between $40,000 and $56,000 seem more than a little out of touch and bordering on downright crazy.

The justification for this expenditure is that there are quite a few gatherings on campus, such as wine and cheese tastings, and it has been noted that the rules for drinking on university property seem a bit tricky to understand. The rules are things like “stop serving drinks an hour before the event ends unless it’s a less-than-two-hour event, in which case stop serving drinks 30 minutes before the end.” Another is “don’t let anyone buy more than two drinks at a time.” You get the point. It’s not rocket science, which, by the way, these same people seem to understand just find without a “rocket science agent.”

CU is not allowed to spend taxpayer dollars on alcohol. So it seems even more absurd that taxpayer money is allowed to be spent on an employee whose only job is to help explain how to drink properly on campus. All this while actual educators are being shown the door and tuition is being hiked through the roof.