Archive for Opinion

The corruption of the SEIU: Beatings, embezzlment and intimidation

by   Posted on May 3rd, 2010 in Opinion

By Alan Moore, Staff Writer

As the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) continues to invade our campus, I thought it prudent to discuss some of the past transgressions of this evil organization. To the Sodexo workers attempting to unionize with them: you should first get to know your would-be master. It will make all the promises in the world but you’ll end up a patsy to its greed. Its laundry list of offenses includes embezzlement, beatings and intimidation.

The USC University Hospital employs 600 SEIU members. Recently, those workers were upset with the union’s treatment and filed decertification petitions so they could break away and affiliate with another union. But the SEIU filed charges to block their vote and is using money from worker dues to launch a public relations campaign to ban all unions from the hospital. If it can’t have the workers, no one can. SEIU seems to live by the code of the mafia — once you’re in, you’re in for life.

The SEIU is also connected to the Rod Blagojevich scandal. The disgraced former governor of Illinois attempted to trade a job with the SEIU-affiliated organization Change to Win for the appointment to President Obama’s former senate seat.

The SEIU is mentioned prominently in his criminal complaint as being central to the effort to engage in the pay-to-play scheme.

Beatings are commonplace for the SEIU. For example, last month a hospital worker was assaulted by an SEIU goon in Garden Grove, Fla. In April 2008, the union sent busloads of members to a labor conference in Michigan to violently interrupt a meeting of the California Nurses Association. Luckily, only one person had to go to the hospital even though there were several episodes of violence and intimidation.

In August of last year, two SEIU members were arrested for beating up Kenneth Gladney, who was peacefully protesting health care reform at a town hall meeting held by Missouri Representative Russ Carnahan (D-3rd).

Last November, Ken Hamidi, a cable access reporter, was severely beaten by local SEIU members at the behest of the union bosses for merely attending a union meeting. He was planning to write a story on union corruption.

Around the same time in Allentown, Pa., SEIU boss Nick Balzano violently ranted to the city council against 17-year-old Kevin Anderson for cleaning up a local park as part of his Eagle Scout project. Balzano claimed that union members were the only people allowed to do any work for the city. He told the council, “None of them can pick up a hoe. They can’t pick up a shovel. They can’t plant a flower. They can’t clear a bicycle path. They can’t do anything. Our people do that.”

That same month, SEIU representatives threatened to have their own immigrant members deported in Fresno, Calif. after outrage ensued when it was discovered that the SEIU tampered with ballots in a union election.

Also outrageous — union dues went to fund the equally corrupt Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). Among ACORN’s many dubious achievements, they were recently caught on video giving housing advice for a brothel to journalists pretending to be a prostitute and a pimp.

Other scandals regarding union dues include Tyrone Freeman in California, who in 2008 embezzled money to buy cars, cigars, alcohol and to play golf. National board member Byron Hobbs resigned after being caught stealing $9,000 for personal expenses. Both are under federal investigation.

The list of SEIU’s violations is too long to mention them all here. I highly encourage you to visit, and to learn more about the corruption of the SEIU.

So what is Mason doing about this problem? Nothing. Our campus is completely devoid of leadership. Our out of touch administration won’t lift a finger to combat the SEIU thuggery but they thought it necessary to send out a campus-wide e-mail, reprinted in Broadside, to give a platform to a couple of racist numbskulls for something that practically no one even knew about in the first place.

From threatening Boy Scouts to beating up peaceful protestors, the shamelessness of the SEIU rolls on. If you think they won’t resort to violence to get their way then think again. For those who believe the only issue here is wages and benefits, you are incredibly naïve. This struggle is about power, influence and money. The SEIU couldn’t care less about the Sodexo workers.

History Through a Paper: Over 40 years of journalism that helped shape a university

by   Posted on May 3rd, 2010 in Opinion

By William Curtis, Opinion Editor

It was with a comical obituary notice and a cover letter that read more like a call to arms in the October 06, 1969 issue that The Gunston Ledger became the paper we all read now, Broadside. Mason was nothing more than another college in Virginia; university status was only a dream at the time, but even some back in 1969 knew where the college was destined. In an article entitled “GMC’s Growth to Mushroom,” James Clarke, the director of Planning at Mason at the time said: “GMC would eventually become a cluster of colleges within a college. Each individual college would have its own student union building and administrative offices.” He went on to also say, “Eventually, George Mason would become one of the largest, if not the largest, colleges in the Washington area.” Little did anyone know that this assumption made by Clark in 1969 would be a reality 40 years later. And for all of this — the burning of draft cards, the changing of names, the construction of new and innovative measures for the campus — Broadside was there, doing what it has done and will continue to do even after I leave this office as this issue is printed: bringing the truth to the students of George Mason College and University.

When I first began working for Broadside, I was informed of the history of its name. The story I was told was that the name was changed to Broadside because of the size of paper we used for each issue, which is called “broadside.” While I understood the context for this name, most readers would never. Then I read the cover of the issue in which George Mason’s newspaper The Gunston Ledger became Broadside. The staff of the newly named newspaper publication made their decision to rename the paper very apparent with, “The George Mason College Newspaper staff has decided that the title of our publication [The Gunston Ledger] no longer represents the things which we want it to stand for.” For those who didn’t understand the meaning or importance of the change, the staff even decided to include the definition of “broadside” from the Dictionary of American History, which stated: “In 17th century America, broadsides were used for poetical effusions, news items and political propaganda.” The renamed staff included such historical facts to continue to give evidence and reason for the name change. They explained that this name was used for works that were handed out faster and in larger circulation before the revolution. Also, that they were important for the sole purpose of getting pertinent information for the foundation of democracy in America.

“We feel that in these important times, the name Broadside not only symbolizes the effort on our part to reach the students with the news, but also continues the tie with the history of this country that our school maintains. Thus to us, the new name will also become a new pledge to keep the students of George Mason informed with the truth.” And with these final words, the newly named Broadside gave way to a new generation and method for the delivery of its news.

This pledge has stood the test of time. As editors and staff came and went, Broadside maintained its pledge to the dispersal of the truth regarding George Mason. Even during times of war, the staff of Broadside was there to record history in the making.

Broadside was present when the draft cards of the 1969 Selective Services involuntary draft were burned. In fact, during the year of 1969, Broadside printed many different articles regarding this subject. In the September 23, 1969 issue of The Gunston Ledger, a philosophy professor, James M. Shea, was being charged with being an “accessory after the fact” in a case involving a student who was AWOL and who had stolen a car because he was told that a felony charge would keep him from being eligible to be drafted into the Vietnam War. When the student showed up at Shea’s house with the car, Shea informed him that this act would not keep him from being drafted. The only reason Shea was charged was because he never reported the student’s name in regards to the stolen car.

In an article in the same September issue, “Draft Cards Burn as Resistance Mounts,” teachers and students alike came together to show their disapproval of the war in Vietnam, and like many others around the country at the time, they burned cards to show their disdain for the direction the country was taking. Four professors made their claims of disapproval of this war, and Broadside was there to record and print in their pages the opinions of each of the five professors who opposed the war that day.

Not much has changed since then, and Broadside continues to follow the original creed of bringing the truth to its readership. And while we may use computers and technology to write our stories now, we still manage to make typos, we still forget things and we even still miss deadlines — some things will always transcend the barriers of time. The accurate and truthful news that is printed here still holds the message and motives that the trail blazers of yesteryear believed in. They felt that George Mason’s newspaper needed more than just a name; it needed a purpose.

Broadside has shown us a glimpse into the past, a portrait not many will ever notice or care about. Almost as if it was a time capsule, it has shared with us the thoughts and desires of Mason’s past students who came here for the same ideals we are here for now, yet they experienced different things. They viewed the world through acid rain drops and rose-colored glasses. They saw a more violent world then we can ever imagine. Working for Broadside has brought this world alive in my eyes, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to be the voice of Mason’s opinions. It has been a wonderful experience that has taught me multitudes of life lessons, and has helped shape me into a more humble and compassionate person, as well as a skilled editor and writer.

Fortunately, while the art form that is printed journalism slowly comes to its death in the very near future, we can still see a more vivid past because of what Broadside has done in previous issues and what it will continue to do in the future. This recognition, this acknowledgment of what life was like for college students back then, may help current students in their pursuit for a better education at Mason today. The clichéd expression of being doomed to repeat history because its lessons were never learned is more than appropriate in this context. These historical volumes tell us what George Mason used to be like, what its dreams and goals for growth were back when it was freshly titled as a university and how a small college became an amazing university . . . with the help of one newspaper.

My final words to the student body as your opinion editor: Keep growing and learning from not only your college education, but from the lessons you learn in life. Looking back on your past experiences are what will guide you in the right direction in life and keep you from making mistakes in the future.

And one last thing: When referring to our paper, it’s not “The” Broadside, it’s just Broadside.

William Curtis
Opinion Editor
March 2009 – May 2010

To believe or not to believe: The role of religion in politics

by   Posted on May 3rd, 2010 in Opinion

By Justin Lalputan, Staff Writer

One of the principles that America is founded on is freedom of religion. People are free to believe in whatever they want. In addition, we also have a separation of church and state, but in reality, I think that’s a joke. We have raging debates about things like gay rights, abortion and stem cell research because of religious preferences; if we had a true separation of church and state, topics like these wouldn’t be a debate at all.

I was reading the news online when I noticed an article by CNN philosopher Sam Harris entitled “Why we should ditch religion.” I feel that he is dead-on with his article. Harris essentially feels the same way that I do. He says that it’s ridiculous for people to do things (in political office) because of what God wants or doesn’t want, which is completely true. I feel that religion shouldn’t play a part in any decisions that a person makes while in political office. Instead, morality should play a larger role. Then, however, the debate arises whether or not morality is possible without religion.

In a religion class that I took in the fall, we had a discussion about whether or not it was possible to have a sense of morality and justice without religion. I came to the conclusion that it was entirely possible. For example, when a pedophile molests a young girl, regardless of the religion that a person follows, that’s wrong. This is not the same thing as gay marriage, which honestly, many people wouldn’t view as wrong if religion didn’t tell them otherwise. I think that if someone was an atheist, or didn’t associate him or herself with any specific religion, he or she would make great decisions in office, because he or she wouldn’t feel that it is necessary have to cater to what any specific religion dictates.

That isn’t to say that I dislike leaders who have strong religious foundations. While it is true that religion is not required for morality, often times a strong religious foundation can endow strong moral values within individuals, and we all know that some of our politicians could use some of those values in their lives.

There are a lot of issues in today’s society that aren’t heavily influenced by religion. The problems of poverty, environmental pollution and medical illnesses are all issues that plague our world, and they are all issues that have almost nothing to do with religion. In cases like these, it doesn’t matter what religion someone follows, they all have different ideas and solutions for these problems. The only time religion causes conflicts is when the issue is something like abortion, where religions have a clear stance on the issue.

In an ideal world, elected leaders would be able to put aside their religions and personal biases to make the best possible decisions for their constituents, but that’s not the case. Everyone who gets elected to political office brings his or her baggage with him or her, and religion is included in that baggage. Still, politicians and their constituents should strive to not push their beliefs on other people. I’m a Muslim, so according to my religion, I should be against gay rights, but I’m completely for them. Why?

My answer is simple: This is America. What I personally think shouldn’t matter when it comes to other people. Yes, I may personally not want gay marriage or abortions, but once I start preaching my beliefs and trying to make them into law, then I’m crossing a line that shouldn’t be crossed. Religion is important, but knowing when to reference it is even more important. We have separation of church and state for a reason, so let’s try to uphold it.

Lab science requirements are too much

by   Posted on April 26th, 2010 in Opinion

By Martin Lemaitre

University and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) lab science requirements drive students senselessly far away from their interests.

As we all know, it is crucial that we get a diverse education during our college careers, meaning that we get some insight into all kinds of different courses that might be useful tools at some point in our lives. That is why every university and college has a set of general education requirements for the students to take no matter what their major may be. I happen to be a student in the CHSS, where those requirements are naturally present in the curriculum.

However, when I transferred to George Mason University last fall, there was something specific within this curriculum that caught my attention — the eight credits of Laboratory Sciences. I completely understand that every student should take one lab science course in college (four credits) to gain some general knowledge, but eight credits? Are those really necessary? The university alone requires seven credits for all students, which is still a lot for people who do not plan to major in science-related fields.

As a communication major who aspires to one day work in the television and film industries, or in the printed media industry, I do not see how taking two long lab courses of studying the stars and planets is going to help me at all. I certainly did enjoy my first lab science course because it was something completely new to me, but the second one was just a bit of a stretch, which became a dead end routine that I know I have to complete in order to graduate.

Some people might argue that science is important in every field. I do not disagree, as long as this scientific knowledge is general and informative. Having to go deeper into scientific studies after having taken one lab science course can be interesting to some, but completely burdensome to others. This is why the option of continuing to explore science should be left as an elective option after four credits have been completed.

As far as I am aware, the CHSS is composed of exactly that: majors that encompass the studies of human sciences, not laboratory sciences. I am quite sure that I speak for many students at this college when I say that the eight credit requirement (and also the university’s seven credit requirement) can be unnecessary and only force students to pay a lot of money for credits they do not really need. I want to reiterate that I am not against having a broad set of courses for all students to take regardless of their majors, but I do believe that these should be reanalyzed based on their usefulness according to the different colleges that students belong to.

This would help students to save time, money and maybe even allow them to explore other kinds of courses that broaden their insight into different fields, which is what college provides to everyone. Getting students closer to their personal interests, while tasting different fields, is important.

Preventing students from being insightful because they are stuck in repetitive requirements that are likely to not be taken seriously, and that they might just pass to get a grade without any actual learning intentions — is that what we came here for?

Martin Lemaitre

‘You don’t represent me’

by   Posted on April 26th, 2010 in Opinion

By Robert W Gehl

Dear Student Government Administrative Subcommittee on Dining Services,

In your recent letter “April Sodexo strike,” which can be found on, you close by stating, “We, the representatives of the George Mason University student body, strongly condemn the false claims and accusations leveled against Sodexo and Mason Dining by the SEIU [Service Employees International Union].”

You don’t represent me. I am willing to bet that you don’t represent many students. You see, the impositions you endured, where you lost your “ability to have [our] regularly provided services,” pales in comparison to the actual struggle of workers trying to live on low wages in one of the most expensive regions in the country. You speak of rights: “When we (the Taco Bell-deprived) are paying thousands of dollars a year for a meal plan, it is our right to have these regular services provided to us.” You speak of suffering: “When that right is infringed upon, someone must look out for the students, because ultimately we are the ones who suffer.”

Take a deep breath and count the ways in which your lack of Jazzman’s coffee for a few hours on a weekday compares to a family’s lack of health care and benefits. Measure your suffering with that of others for a moment.

Consider the gap between the college-bound and career-bound and those bound for low-wage work. You don’t represent us. We stand with SEIU. But if you’re really having trouble, let me know and I will buy you a Gordita Supreme.

Robert W Gehl
Graduate Student
Cultural Studies

‘This is about unfair labor practices’

by   Posted on April 26th, 2010 in Opinion

By Kenny Reyna

I am writing today in support of the Sodexo workers who have been mobilizing on campus and had a strike last week in response to unfair labor practices at George Mason University. The letter that the Dining Services Committee of Student Government released claims that workers are lying about what has happened to them. How can you sleep with yourself making such bold, unsubstantiated remarks?

That letter is an obvious response from a subcommittee that is not interested in representing students. Instead they have taken a clear stance, without speaking to students or workers, in support of Sodexo management. By going against workers and representing the company of Sodexo, they are taking an administrative stance, and not one for students. Anti-union fliers have also been given to workers, which is clearly nothing but an obvious attempt to manipulate Sodexo workers and the public, to thus deviate and discredit the claims, efforts and stories that employees came forth with. After examining the letter, one can tell that panic and alarm were the driving forces to this childish response and that it is not a letter of valid concern over the well-being of their workers.

It is up to us, the students, to write to Broadside, Mason’s president, Sodexo and anyone else we can think of about how we feel. We are the consumers and thus the most important part of this. We need to diplomatically and respectfully go to Sodexo with humble dignity and talk to them about what morals, ethics and values should be applicable in their mission as a company.

Rather than accusations and criticism towards workers, the stories of the workers must be uncovered. For instance, employees told me about a lady working for Sodexo who is now in a full back brace because she was hurt on the job. Instead of supporting her, Sodexo is now illegally stealing her vacation to pay for her workman’s compensation. I met another worker who received a really bad first-degree burn and when she asked to be taken to the hospital, her manger coldly told her that if she wanted to go, she could walk. When she indicated she was unable to do this, he then made her work for another hour and a half. There are many more workers I met who have stories of their own to tell. It is obvious that because many workers struggle to speak English or come from other countries where there aren’t strong labor laws, they do not understand their rights in the U.S. and are afraid to say anything. What if this was your mother? What if this was your sister? Sodexo is using tools of fear on their own workers.

People: aside from the politics, aside from the press, the coloration, the smoke and mirrors, this is very real. This is happening and by standing by idly, we are letting it happen. This is not about being a liberal or a conservative; it’s not about immigration status or budget cuts. This is about unfair labor practices to those who came into this country legally like all Americans did at one time. We must remind ourselves again that we have more power than we think. We must remind ourselves that strength in numbers will prevail. We must show once again what a promised land does.

Kenny Reyna
Economics Major

The workers’ union must be stopped: Unions are ‘employing scare tactics and intimidation’

by   Posted on April 26th, 2010 in Opinion

By Alan Moore, Staff Writer

The casual observer can see that the campus is currently embroiled in a labor dispute between Sodexo and its employees. At its heart is a disgraceful and thuggish attempt by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to expand its membership by any means necessary. It is time that these disgruntled employees need to quit their jobs or get back to work, thumbing the eye of this brutish union.

The Administrative Subcommittee on Dining Services recently made a statement on the situation: “These protests have disrupted the peace of George Mason University with noise that has affected the academic setting. In addition, several dining employees and SEIU officials left students feeling uneasy entering Southside when these protesters illegally marched into the building, employing scare tactics and intimidation.”

Last week, Mason spokesman Dan Walsch told the Washington Business Journal, “George Mason University is monitoring the current dispute between Sodexo and members of its workforce. Mason views this as an internal matter for Sodexo. The university hopes the points of disagreement within Sodexo are resolved quickly and in a manner that is beneficial to all concerned. Presently, the dispute has not resulted in any disruption of services to our students and employees. Mason remains committed to ensuring that these services continue.”

Unions are “employing scare tactics and intimidation” and the Mason administration thinks it’s much ado about nothing? University policy # 1407, section II states, “George Mason University is responsible for maintaining a reasonably safe and healthy environment for its faculty, staff, students, visitors and surrounding community members.” If illegal entry and student intimidation is considered “a reasonably safe” environment then I’d hate to see what they consider unreasonable.

The fact is that ignoring this issue is a severe dereliction of duty. The SEIU has its hands on a number of public officials, including the president of the United States, so it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that they have a stranglehold on administrators at Mason.

Someone needs to stand up to this union thuggery if the school administration is too cowardly to act. Furthermore, I applaud the brave Sodexo employees who distributed fliers opposing the attempted SEIU coup.

Also, I was greatly saddened to see that the College Democrats stand behind these vicious tactics in their statement last week. Make no mistake, if anyone gets hurt because of these protests then they will be complicit, and the blood will be on their hands.

The problem I have with unions is that their leaders never seem to be really all that interested in improving working conditions for their members. They seem more consumed with expanding their power, influence and financial base.

I have a message for all the workers who have been brainwashed by the SEIU: If you are not happy with your job then please quit. This is America; you can probably find another job in the service industry within a week.

The employee-employer relationship is symbiotic, meaning employers need employees just as much as employees need employers.

Employees work to make a living and provide for themselves and their families. Employers work to build better lives for their investors while providing needed services to the community. There is nothing wrong with either side — that is simply how our economy works.

If the employee is doing a terrible job, then the employer has the right to fire them. If the employer does not take care of their employees then they have the right to quit. So instead of creating havoc on our campus, please leave immediately. I wish you well and I hope you soon find a job with conditions that you find more satisfactory.

What is unsatisfactory is the SEIU pushing around people on this campus. It’s time for you to go back under whatever rock you crawled out from and leave us alone.

College Dems support workers: ‘Workers went on strike to send a message to Sodexo’

by   Posted on April 26th, 2010 in Opinion

By Pakiza Nasher and Frank Anderson, Co-Presidents, Kenton Ngo, Vice President

The George Mason University College Democrats are disappointed with the irresponsible statements made by the Student Government’s Dining Committee against our food service workers. It is unfortunate that these members have chosen to make claims about the working conditions of our food service workers without even speaking with them.

We have spoken with the workers. They want nothing more than a decent wage, affordable health insurance and justice in the workplace. They love George Mason University, its faculty and its students. Their complaint is with the upper management of Sodexo Corporation and its unfair working conditions.

These conditions are not imaginary. One employee suffered a severe burn on her arm. She asked her manager if she could go to the hospital, but was told that if she wanted to go, she could walk. Another elderly worker was injured in a fall while unplugging an oven.

Payment for her back brace was taken out of her vacation pay. These conditions are unacceptable, even before considering the low wages.

The Dining Committee states that wages of $8.50 per hour are “competitive” because they are higher than the Virginia minimum wage.

That is not saying much. $8.50 cannot be considered anywhere near a living wage. In Fairfax County, the living wage has been calculated at about $44,000 per year. We spoke to one worker who had been with Sodexo for 10 years, but only received a $1 raise during that period. The real wages that our food service workers take home are actually far lower because of the excessive cost of health insurance that Sodexo offers its employees. The insurance cost is one of the reasons that the workers told us they were protesting.

Although the Dining Committee used the seals of the Student Government and the university on their letterhead, we don’t think they speak for the entire campus. Instead of supporting the workers’ right to unionize, the committee accused them of throwing around “frivolous claims” without asking the workers what they thought of their conditions. We believe that the Sodexo team on campus treats the students in the Dining Committee with respect and is attentive to their claims, but the company behaves very differently with workers.

The decision to walk off the job is not one that workers take lightly, and the large number of workers wouldn’t have done it unless there were real issues with Sodexo’s unfair treatment. Low pay and high health care costs are an unnecessary reality that these workers face.

Despite what the management says, Sodexo workers around the country have been met with intimidation, surveillance, interrogations and even termination when they voiced their desire to improve their lives and their jobs. Workers went on strike to send a message to Sodexo: workers want to raise their families out of poverty, and intimidation and harassment won’t be tolerated.

The College Democrats fully support the Sodexo workers as they fight for their right to form a union and seek better working conditions.

Pakiza Nasher and Frank Anderson, Co-Presidents
Kenton Ngo, Vice President

Social media vs. social responsibility: Are we agents of change?

by   Posted on April 26th, 2010 in Opinion

By Dr. Peter Stearns, Provost, Dr. Sandy Scherrens, Vice President University Life, Corey Jackson, Assistant to the President/Director of Office of Equity & Diversity Services

It is no secret that George Mason University benefits from our tremendous diversity within the student body. Although diversity is often characterized in terms of the legally protected categories — gender, disability, sexual orientation, race, age, national origin and religion — the diversity of thought that exists is also an important and essential component to our educational success. However, not everyone appreciates the diversity that exists at Mason.

Recently, there were some anonymous racist blog postings on a non-university website submitted by members of the Mason community as well as some homophobic graffiti scribbled on a wall in Thompson Hall. In a multicultural society, we can all expect to be offended at some point by the language and deeds of others. That fact, along with broad First Amendment protections within the U.S. Constitution, does not mean that our university should excuse or condone the anonymous rants solely intended to degrade a person or group of people.

Our community is smarter than that. Our community is stronger than that.

It would be easy to condemn the racist and homophobic language and actions by merely stating that their choices do not reflect the values and principles of our university. However, history has shown us that real change does not come from condemnation alone and hardly addresses the source of the problem. The Mason community must exercise community engagement through campus dialogues, taking advantage of multicultural trainings offered on campus, and, most importantly, exercising personal responsibility. As students, staff and faculty, we must look at ourselves and ask, “Am I an agent of change?” or “Am I just going through the motions because it doesn’t affect me?”

The true intentions of those who wrote the hate language will truly never be known because no one is accountable when the author’s name is Anonymous. The question then becomes, who are we as an institution? We must, as a university community, support an environment in which all of our students, faculty and staff thrive and interact with one another. Further, we must continue to educate our university community regarding how stereotypes and assumptions may harm individuals and affect how we treat one another.

Our mission as a first class university is to provide an excellent education that recognizes the importance of preparing diverse students, faculty and staff for full participation in a global society while preserving and perpetuating the free exchange of ideas.

Our university has a long history of celebrating the dignity, worth and contribution of our diverse communities. We examine and critique our difference through academic and co-curricular education. Mason has both Safe Zone and National Coalition Building Institute prejudice reduction-training teams, which offer opportunities to participate in dialogues that prepare our community to address stereotypes and other misinformation about our diversity.

The Office of Equity and Diversity Services ( and other offices within University Life, such as the Office of Diversity Programs and Services, Multicultural Research and Resource Center and LGBTQ Resources are available for individuals seeking additional consultation, support and training resources (

Finally, Mason’s Campus Climate Committee meets throughout the year to monitor and address challenging occurrences. You can contact Dr. Dennis Webster, the associate dean for University Life ( to report additional information or similar concerns.

As reflected in the Mission Statement, George Mason University is committed to ensuring an environment that values diversity and promotes a culture of inclusion that extends to all members of the University community. We proudly work to make it happen, as we sustain a diverse educational environment where innovation is tradition.

Dr. Peter Stearns, Provost

Dr. Sandy Scherrens, Vice President University Life

Corey Jackson, Assistant to the President/Director of Office of Equity & Diversity Services

Out of control spending: Obama splurging over 30 percent of our GDP

by   Posted on April 19th, 2010 in Opinion

By Alan Moore, Staff Writer

With the massive amount of spending by the federal government, it is clear that we are on an unsustainable path to destruction.

The Obama Administration has been spending money like a freshman with his first credit card; unbeknownst to him, he will have to pay it back in the very near future with interest.

The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) used by the past Bush Administration infused public money into private enterprise, and the floodgates were opened to a range of big spending.

TARP set the stage for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, simply referred to as the “economic stimulus plan.” $989 billion was shelled out to create and expand government programs and workforce, and it helped increase the federal deficit to almost $1.8 trillion.

So who are the United States’ primary creditors? China owns $877.5 billion of our debt. Japan owns the next highest amount at $768.5 billion. Britain owns $321.7 billion, and Hong Kong owns $152.4 billion.

Paul Volcker, former Federal Reserve chairman and White House economic adviser recently said, “If at the end of the day we need to raise taxes, we should raise taxes.” Do not take those comments lightly; Volcker is the man running the fiscal policies of this administration.

Current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently was quoted saying, “The current path of fiscal policy is a serious long-term threat to the health of the national economy. There is no single issue that is more worthy of political sacrifice from elected representatives than this one.”

But why should a college student care? Obama has been pretty adamant that the government is going to tax the rich and leave the middle class alone. He’s been tossing around that mantra since the campaign trail. So we have nothing to worry about, right?

Wrong. Taxing the rich won’t pay for this spending free-for-all. As The Wall Street Journal poignantly pointed out April 8, “In recent decades, the current tax code has yielded revenue on average of 18.5 percent or so of GDP, whether tax rates go up or down.

The wealthy adjust their behavior or shield more income via loopholes, so income-tax increases never gain as much revenue as politicians claim.

With spending as a share of GDP now at 25 percent, Democrats have to soak the middle class because that’s where the real money is.”

Volcker also spelled out exactly how this soaking of the middle class will happen. He expressed optimism for a European-style Value Added Tax (VAT). The San Francisco Chronicle described a VAT as “a sales tax on steroids.”

Every level of production would be taxed: from purchasing a pack of gum to buying a house. Rates range in Europe from 6.5 percent to 25 percent.

The U.S. has gone down this path before. In the 1930s, federal spending started out at 3.4 percent of the economy. Former President Franklin D.
Roosevelt ballooned that spending to 10.3 percent by 1939 and 12 percent by 1941.

And it didn’t even work. We didn’t pull out of the Great Depression until World War II broke out and a major influx of jobs was created to help the war effort.

In contrast, Obama came into a government already spending 21 percent of GDP. With his plans for recovery, that percentage is going to be 30 percent or more of the GDP being spent.

The major difference is that Roosevelt pushed spending to 12 percent over a decade; Obama did it in less than a year.

Deficits will destroy this country if we don’t do something about it soon.

You can get ready to pay anywhere from 6.5 – 25 percent on everything you purchase or we can kick the bums out of office who have put us in this mess.

Every legislator who voted for the health care boondoggle and every unnecessary and bloated spending program should be voted out of office.
In 2012, we need to elect a president who has a clue on how to get us out of this mess.

We need someone who is business savvy and who understands basic economics, knowledge our current president unfortunately lacks.

Our other choice is to start learning Chinese, because soon they’re going to own us.