Letters | Some deaths are better


Some deaths are better

I remember seeing images of large crowds of Middle Eastern people celebrating the destruction of the Twin Towers, chanting, singing, the waving of flags. Now I see images of large crowds of American people celebrating the death of bin Laden, chanting, singing, the waving of flags. I see little difference.

Let us all celebrate death. Let us all celebrate destruction. Let us all, in our mindless chauvinistic zeal, bask in the virtues of intolerance and the glory of never-ending war. God bless us all.

K.J. Dennis/Nederland

No politics in CU elections

(Re: “The elephant in the classroom,” cover story, April 21.) Ideology was not the deciding factor for student voting during CU’s recent student election. The real story is one of social ties and networks.

I’ve seen several student elections in my three years at CU. However, party politics is never mentioned — nobody really thinks that way. The student campaigns are based on social power and gathering votes — not the issues. It’s all about the network you’re a part of.

When we consider the voting behavior of the Greek system at CU we start to understand the election results. By telling the Greek community as a whole to vote for their ticket (often denoted by official support from various Pan- Hellenic organizations — in this case, INVEST) they effectively have a political machine that secures an unrepresentative number of votes.

Additionally, modern campus elections are decided on Facebook, not in the debate room. As the week of voting drew near, our Facebook pages were inundated with requests for votes and support. Whether via Facebook “groups,” the “like” button, or personal “status” updates, Facebook is the new means of drawing votes. In other words, elections are determined by voter proximity to candidates (via friendship or Facebook network).

In fact, when speaking with an INVEST ticket representative, he said that when they were evaluating prospective candidates they were sure to check their Facebook pages to see if they had enough friends to be worthy candidates — equating Facebook “friends’” with votes. He also said their ticket took no public stance on the major issue of the day because they “didn’t want to lose votes one way or the other” (i.e. “Buffup-the-Rec.” — an expensive student proposition to remodel CU’s recreation center via hefty student fees — a split and contentious issue for many students). It’s not encouraging to see the so-called “future leaders of America” so readily taking to the ancient political tactic of equivocation.

The university has had major issues with these Greek-backed tickets. Whether forcing students to vote for their ticket by browbeating or shouting hateful and prejudiced remarks to competing candidates, these candidates do not demonstrate the character deserving of a university like CU.

In sum, the election went to the so-called “conservative” ticket because of the social network of the Greek system, not because of some mythological right-left ideological contest.

Colin MacMurtrie/Boulder

I came across a link to your article on Facebook. The comments about it are negative, which is why I write this letter, not as a derision, but a constructive criticism. While my regular news sources most certainly do not include the Boulder Weekly, I now know this list will remain conspicuously devoid of your publication for some time to come. That is, until I see a fair and balanced reporting of happenings at the University of Colorado at Boulder. This would not merely be ethical reporting, you may increase your readership, something I feel is becoming a greater and greater necessity in your industry.

Having attended a Leadership Institute training, over three days and two nights, free of charge, I was well-immersed in the program. The insinuation that it is an intrusion into UCB politics is seriously without cause. While the program is mainly attended by conservative-minded students, it is their choice to attend. It is a service offered to all at CU-Boulder, and those who attend do so freely. Therefore, your article is in fact an indictment of me and my peers who attend those events. It is an accusation against the student population itself.

There is no wrong in hoping that our student fees, many of which go to organizations we do not benefit from nor do we support on moral, interested, or ideological grounds, will be reduced. You fail to report that under past leadership, student fees have far outpaced college tuition and inflation. Personally, those student fees would be much better going towards my transportation costs so that I might actually afford to attend the more limited and focused events that arise from trimming the fat from groups that cannot support themselves through ticket sales or fundraising.

Many students struggle to attend this university, and your effort might be better focused on areas of waste, fraud and needless use of our money. An insightful article into how our student fees have risen so high and so quickly, would garner you many more readers than stories about why some people failed to win the office they sought. Those articles might educate them on how to run a more effective campaign in the future, should they wish to represent the student population responsibly.

Gabriel Sullice/Golden

In response to “The Elephant in the Classroom,” I wanted to share that the “INVEST” ticket is completely unrelated to the INVST Community Leadership Program, a social justice training program that has been at CU since 1990.

The INVST Community Leadership Program is an academic opportunity for CU undergraduates interested in working for positive social and environmental change. “INVST” stands for “International & National Voluntary Service Training.” We went by this name when we were founded 21 years ago.

Ever since 1990, we have been offering courses at CU, structuring community service opportunities and providing leadership skills training to students interested in civic engagement, social justice and environmental leadership.

The students who ran on the INVEST ticket in the CU Student Government elections were not enrolled in INVST classes or programs, nor does their platform represent the views or values of INVST in any way.

The INVST Community Leadership Program does not endorse any candidate in CUSG elections, and INVST hopes the similarity of names has not confused the community. If Boulderites would like to learn more about INVST or get involved by volunteering or donating, we warmly invite you to join us and be part of our mission! And if readers who are CU students would like to take our courses, please join us. Give us a call.

For even more information on the social justice training offered at CU by INVST, visit www.colorado.edu/communitystudies, or call us at 303-492-8045.

Sabrina Sideris/Boulder

Forever Ayn

It is no surprise that conservatives, who see themselves as part of a plutocratic elite destined to power would find affinity with the Superman myths of Ayn Rand’s writing.

However, while heroic individualism is one part of human survival, a successful culture is one with a social contract that balances the needs of society with those of the individual.

Ben Franklin can be called a hero for establishing the U.S. Postal Service as an institution that benefited all of America. Under Ms. Rand’s generally sociopathic philosophy, he was a fool for not doing it for his own profit. Then again, maybe if the Post Office issued a “Forever Stamp” honoring Ayn Rand, Republicans might start supporting our postal workers.

Robert Porath/Boulder

Students, don’t trash that

I was talking with a friend about how dumpster-diving in Boulder during  graduation weekend is the best string of days all year to soup up your home with brand new, hardly used, or perhaps “gently used” belongings. With the right eye, we rejoiced, it won’t cost you a penny. At that point, someone at the table next to us interjected to remind us that dumpster-diving is now technically illegal around campus in Boulder, carrying with it the possibility of a $1,000 fine if caught.

But that got me thinking about waste and recycling and why it is that Boulder is considered one of the most environmentally conscious towns in America, and, yet, ironically, also one of the more wasteful. According to Eco- Cycle, in 2010 alone, Boulder County sent 221,000 tons of waste to local landfills (that’s almost the exact weight of the world’s largest cruise ship, according to Mid-atlantic Solid Waste Consultants, 2010). While I wondered how much of that waste comes from graduation weekend, my first thoughts were not to criticize the students or the school, but instead to brainstorm about what sorts of alternatives there are that might be options.

I thought about how this weekend, CU will provide a massive number of dumpsters to help students discard what they no longer want or need, but should the focus be more on recycling bins? What about a designated “Free for the Taking” drop zone for those things that would otherwise be dumped? Or a program with local thrift stores where trucks are waiting to collect any materials ripe for consignment? These are all ideas that obviously can’t be implemented in the next three or four days, but it’s the discussion of future possibilities that I’m interested in. In the meantime, I decided to look into alternative options that members of our community are already developing, and that’s when I learned about the Hill Flea (www.thehillflea.com) and its role in the CU and Boulder communities as an alternative to dumpster-diving. Involved in it is a CU graduating senior who is actively working to implement changes like these, even as I write this.

His name is Jesse Hudson, and he is organizing the Student Bazaar section of the Hill Flea that will be located between Half Fast Subs and Buchanan’s Coffee Shop and Pub. What he is providing is a forum where all students can come to consign their reusable belongings, so instead of sending them to landfills, they can actually make some pocket cash off of them, as well as get a chance to engage more with the community around them. What’s more, he’s working with the Environmental Center of CU (www.ecenter.colorado.edu) to advertise his project, so it’s not a matter of defying the school, but instead collaborating in order to make  real change. The project, he told me, is really about the idea of “upcycling.” Old belongings can be resold, recycled or turned into something innovative, beautiful and useful — that is to say, upcycled and given new life, for profit. In fact, that’s the philosophy of the entire Hill Flea, which, beyond offering a forum for buying and selling used and upcycled goods, will have DIY demonstrations and performances as well. It’s all about community engagement to create a more sustainable future for Boulder.

So, to all the students over whelmed by the chaos and stress of moving out this weekend, perhaps you can stop and take a breath on Saturday, and instead of throwing away a semester’s worth of your life, you can head to the Hill Flea and meet Jesse and make a little money while interacting with the Boulder community. Maybe this is only a small step in the right direction, but it seems to me an incredibly important one. And until we change our infrastructure towards a more sustainable system, which will take time and a lot of energy, we have a wonderful option at our fingertips.

Check it out this Saturday, May 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on The Hill.

Travis Moe/Boulder

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