New age cyberbullying: Next generation of torment or total nonsense?

by   Posted on April 5th, 2010 in Opinion

By Justin Lalputan, Staff Writer

There have been many fabulous technological advancements in the last two decades. We have iPods, personal computers and have made fantastic use of the Internet. However, along with these improvements, there are a few inevitable downsides. One such is the practice known as cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is when one person bullies another over the Internet. This can be done through any format: instant messaging, message boards or even online video games. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of cyberbullying occurs between students in middle and high school.

This practice has been the cause of numerous incidents in which students have been traumatized or have even caused physical harm to themselves.

“Cyberbullies” post mean, derogatory comments about other individuals or spread malicious rumors with the intention of making others feel bad.

Cyberbullying gets more serious when people start posting pictures and videos of others on the Internet. I feel that when this happens, the offense can no longer be considered simple cyberbullying — it becomes harassment, which is a different matter altogether.

Personally, I cannot believe that this is a problem in today’s society. I can understand why, if it is intense enough, regular bullying can make students feel bad and possibly want to hurt themselves. But cyberbullying is completely different in my mind.

When someone is being physically pushed around, there is almost no way for them to get the tormenter to stop until he feels satisfied.

However, on the Internet, people are in greater control of what they view and encounter. If someone is making statements online that cause you to feel uncomfortable, then what is so hard about navigating to a different web page?

If you are involved in a chat with another person, and they begin to make comments that you don’t like, why not just quit the chat? I honestly don’t understand why someone would hurt themselves over such a simple matter.

I think that, particularly with respect to younger students, a large portion of cyberbullying prevention depends on parents. Parents don’t necessarily need to monitor every last thing that their kids do on the Internet, but they should have a rough idea of what is going on. If they know what’s happening, then maybe they can put a stop to an incident before it gets out of hand.

Cyberbullying is completely different than physical bullying. In real life, a greater probability of physical violence against the victim exists. On the Internet, there is a zero percent chance of someone getting physically injured, unless they do it to themselves. And, as stated before, all it takes is the click of a mouse to make the harassment stop.

A while back, my sister (who was in 8th grade at the time) told me that she actually got to miss one of her classes to attend a mandatory lecture on cyberbullying. I find that to be somewhat ridiculous. To me, cyberbullying is nothing short of a joke and I can’t believe that schools would actually waste time and money to bring someone in for an entire lecture.

I’m only 18, but this cyberbullying trend is making me feel old. I remember a time when bullying was solely verbal and physical.

And, yes, I’ve had people tell me some pretty ridiculous stuff over the Internet. But most of the time it made me feel like laughing, not hurting myself. Cyberbullying is not a serious problem plaguing children. It has simply been overhyped to the point where people actually think it’s serious.

Two things need to happen: kids need to toughen up and parents need to get involved.

If that happens, then I’m sure this whole cyberbullying “epidemic” will go away. As I always say, sticks and stones may break my bones, but an instant message will never hurt me.

Board of Visitors takes a stand: University upholds previous nondiscrimination policies

by   Posted on March 29th, 2010 in Opinion

By Gleason S. Rowe, Student Representative Board of Visitors

The George Mason University Board of Visitors (BOV) took a firm stance this past Wednesday on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s letter regarding nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation. Specifically, Cuccinelli believes that universities that have policies enumerating sexual orientation as a category under which discrimination is prohibited should remove them due to the fact that the commonwealth has not included such categories in its policies. He stated in his letter that “Such invalid policies create, at a minimum, confusion about the law and, at worst, a litany of instances in which the school’s operation would need to change in order to come into conformance.” His recommendation has undoubtedly had contentious reaction throughout the commonwealth.

Soon after the attorney general’s letter was received, Rector Ernst Volgenau, the leader of the Board, took action. He promptly drafted a statement on behalf of the Visitors and himself stating that “the Board of Visitors extends its full and unconditional support to all members of the university community and encourages continued focus on diversity and mutual respect that has become our hallmark.” Rector Volgenau’s response was swift and well-received but there was more definitive action to be taken at the next meeting.

As George Mason University’s was the first Board of Visitors meeting held in the state following Cuccinelli’s letter, all eyes were on us in regards to what action would be taken. The Board could have chosen to remain silent on the recommendation, but I am pleased to say that was not even considered an option by the Visitors.

The Board saved the Cuccinelli letter for later in the afternoon of the full-day meeting. As discussion began, many were eager to assert their opinions on how to react. Professor Peter Pober, the faculty representative to the BOV and the chair of the Faculty Senate, expressed concern and disappointment about the letter and the ramifications it has had for faculty members. Pober advocated for a strong reaction to the letter. There was no disagreement between any on the Board that no form of discrimination can be tolerated and that we must protect all members of our community. The question became: What action do we take? From there, much of the discussion focused on what kind of response would be firm enough to assure concerned students, faculty and staff that our policies would not change. It was decided that a resolution must be made to assuage the concerns of the Mason community.

The BOV, comprised of business leaders, legal experts and technology experts — Republican and Democrat alike — voted unanimously to adopt the resolution constructed, reiterating our intention to maintain our current policy. The adopted policy asserted: “Be it resolved by the Board of Visitors of George Mason University that it remains deeply committed to equal treatment of all persons in their dealings with the university in any and all contexts.”

Mason students have taken action to protect our community from Cuccinelli’s desired changes as well. Krista Muise and David Arditi, secretary of the Diversity Committee of Student Government and president of the Graduate and Professional Student Association respectively, attended the morning session to inform the Board that their organizations have taken measures to pass nondiscrimination rhetoric in hopes that the university and Board would adopt similar documents and reaffirm their policies. Both spoke eloquently of the importance on the protection of all members of the Mason community and, as such, our policies should reflect our dedication to diversity. Furthermore, Student Government plans to start a letter-writing initiative to the legislature, urging that sexual-orientation be added to the list of those classes the state government protests. Ironically enough, Cuccinelli himself is a twice graduate of Mason. He received his J.D. from the School of Law and his Master’s Degree in International Transactions. He recently visited Mason’s Arlington campus where he was met by a sizable number of current Mason students protesting his letter.

I am so proud that the students, administration and the Board of Visitors have taken these strong actions to support our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning community even under the pressure from the state. Mason has truly lived up to its name not only as one of the most diverse universities in the world, but also one that values the unconditional protection of all.

Gleason S. Rowe
Student Representative,
Board of Visitors

The U.N. and its role in the world: How it affects and shapes our modern politics

by   Posted on March 29th, 2010 in Opinion

By Justin Lalputan, Staff Writer

A few years back, when I first watched Hotel Rwanda, I was completely shocked and horrified. I was just finishing the 8th grade, and while I’d heard of the Holocaust and cases like it, this movie was raw to me.

One of the scenes in the movie that got to me was when a news reporter was talking about apathy.

People actually knew that this was taking place, but there was no intervention by the United Nations to save the people who were being killed, and as a result, thousands died.

One of the goals of the U.N. is to keep peace. Well, how can you claim to be keeping peace if there are people killing each other left and right in some places of the world?

Take the situation in Darfur for example: innocent women and children are raped every day, and nobody comes to help them.

Even with the attention that many celebrities have brought to Darfur, still nobody has come to help these innocent people. Sure organizations and individuals send aid such as food and water, but will that make any difference in people’s lives?

Speaking in the short term, yes, it will allow for suffering people to survive another day, but it doesn’t actually protect them. What the U.N. needs to do is send a peacekeeping force so that people can live without being in constant fear.

The counterargument is that we have to respect the sovereignty of other countries, but that sentiment is honestly ludicrous.

I’m not saying that the U.N. needs to invade Iran because of its nuclear program, or that the U.N. should invade countries where certain members of the population are treated as second-class citizens.

I think that the U.N. should invade and take action in situations where human rights are being violated, such as in the case of genocide. I feel that a country loses its right to sovereignty when its people are being openly killed and the government doesn’t do anything to correct the situation.

When something that extreme happens, I feel that as human beings, it is our duty to attempt to help others escape situations where they can’t live without fear of being killed.

Now, is my thinking a little idealistic? Perhaps, but the fact does remain that apathy is equivalent to death for many in places like Darfur.

I have no idea why the U.N. doesn’t rank genocide higher up on its priority list. The U.N. helped in the invasion of Iraq, so why can’t they help people
who obviously don’t have enough of a military to defend themselves?

After the earthquake in Haiti, U.N. members were there to help people who needed it, and that was great. So again, why doesn’t the U.N. feel the need to help people in situations of genocide?

I don’t think that global politics really need to play a role in situations like genocide, but it makes me angry to see that people actually decide not to help people when they are capable of saving lives. I understand that the fiscal costs may be high, but these are lives that we are talking about, and I believe that they are invaluable.

Personally, I do what I can to help people, but as an individual, there is very little that my meager donation of $20 can do to help save lives.

However, if a country gets motivated to help people who are suffering, and if the U.N. stops talking and actually decides to do something, then maybe we could have a chance to live in a world where there is actually peace.

I doubt this will happen because everyone is looking out for their own interests and nobody wants to risk anything for the sole purpose of helping others.

Still, I wish I could live in a world where the only examples of genocide are on DVDs and not in real life.

Letters to the editor

by   Posted on March 25th, 2010 in Opinion

Don’t give space to Alan Moore
I am extremely disappointed by the recent opinion piece in Broadside by Alan Moore, “Rebuttal to Climategate Response.”

Quite frankly, the back-and-forth between Alan Moore and Colin Bennett is getting tiresome. Alan Moore writes some ridiculous piece with no basis in fact and Colin Bennett responds, thoroughly refuting Moore’s claims by correctly citing verifiable information.

Moore then follows up with a piece that is more fantastical than the first. Once again, Bennett responds with a well written piece that completely debunks Moore’s claims. So Moore responds by writing a piece that is so absurd that it would be laughable were it not so offensive. In fact, Moore’s most recent rants serve to do nothing other than highlight the fact that he is apparently completely ignorant of any facts about climate change.

I understand that Mr. Moore has the right to express his opinion, but Broadside also has the right to refuse to run his nonsense. I would like to see Broadside publish more information about how climate change is going to affect George Mason University and what our school is doing about it.

I know that the Office of Sustainability has been hard at work coming up with a Climate Action Plan; I think you should run stories about that instead of giving space to Mr. Moore’s lunacy.

Darius Salimi

‘Green Tips’ make sense
Recently Mr. Alan Moore wrote an op-ed describing the work of the Office of Sustainability as “eco-radical farce.” I don’t understand how Mr. Moore could honestly believe they are “eco-radica,” even though I know he denies climate change, which is strongly supported by scientists other than the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Is telling the Mason community to turn off your lights when you’re not using them, recycle whenever possible, print double-sided as opposed to one-sided to save paper really radical?

The “Green Tips” that the Office of Sustainability provides on their website and through the work of their office not only make sense for the environment, but for your wallet as well. While Mr. Moore terms it “radical,” I regard it as rational and common sense.

Rather than take the word of Mr. Moore, I would suggest the Mason community to visit the Office of Sustainability’s website at The Mason community can determine for themselves if their work is really that radical or if Mr. Moore is just that out of touch with the commitment that President Merten has made to climate neutrality, which is strongly supported by Mason students, faculty and staff.

Nya Jackson
integrative studies

‘We need to stop wasting time’
As I read Alan Moore’s op-ed, I learned more about how much he seems to dislike Colin Bennett than the actual issue. Moore resorted to low attacks on Bennett and drifted far from the real issue at hand.

He claims that Bennett’s article was made up of mudslinging and personal attacks. I find this ironic considering Alan Moore’s article was filled with phrases such as, “Mr. Bennett does not represent rational thought or popular opinion,” and, “as most liberals who lack intelligent and substantive positions do,” and even going so far as to call Bennett an, “eco-radical.”

Now more than ever we need to stop wasting time and start creating a solution to the enormous problem that climate change has presented us with. Instead of bashing the opposing belief, Moore should do a little more research before he spews his claims and personal attacks onto Broadside’s pages again. I’m looking forward to seeing if Moore himself can have a “civil and genuine debate.”

Allison Rutledge

Before choosing sides, we should first inform ourselves
I am writing in response to the recent articles debating climate change. I am of the opinion that people should form their own opinions on debated issues related to science by going to the source and reading for themselves.

The issue of climate change is tricky because both authors quote scientists for and against the prospects of anthropogenic climate change. This controversy leads us to believe that some scientists are correct and some are incorrect, but how can we tell right from wrong?

The website is run by climate scientists and relays publications on climate issues for the general public. This website is a good resource for individuals interested in this topic, but who lack the scientific background to cross-check facts with scientific articles.

This website shows overwhelming evidence against the credibility certain scientists quoted in certain articles have that we would not otherwise be aware of. So I think before we, as Broadside readers at George Mason University, go any further in choosing sides in this debate, we should first inform ourselves.

Christi Kruse

‘Climate change is real’
I am appalled at the amount of mudslinging and slander in Moore’s most recent op-ed, “Rebuttal to Climategate Response.”
The piece was simply a series of personal attacks and unsupported arguments. When I read the Opinion section of Broadside, I expect intellectually stimulating perspectives, not schoolyard bully ramblings.

Climate change is real and our well-respected national scientific organizations agree as seen on their websites at, and Given the size of the global climatology community, the idea of a vast conspiracy of data manipulation is not rational.

Accusing thousands upon thousands of scientists of fraud, corruption and deceit is what I would consider radical, not striving for sustainability, protecting the environment and fighting climate change.

Let us remember that the EPA is fighting climate change under the Clean Air Act and that George Mason University President Alan Merten is also fighting climate change through his commitment to climate neutrality.

If supporting the EPA and President Merten means I’m drinking “the climate change alarmist Kool-Aid” as Moore calls it, then pour me another glass; we have work to do.

Jason Von Kundra

Global warming is not a hoax
Apparently, there is still a minority of people who willingly gulp down the cherry-flavored lie that global warming is a hoax. Seeing as how Alan Moore wants to use Broadside for his personal rants, I understand that he would want to attack the person who actually has some important things to say.

In his recent op-ed about climate change, Mr. Moore used an example from Professor John Christy at the University of Alabama which said, “The temperature records cannot be relied on as indicators of global change.” This statement ignorantly denies the strange weather that people have been facing all over the world.

Just a few weeks ago, 49 out of the 50 states had snow on the ground. More recently, Portugal and Sudan have suffered horrifying mudslides. These examples could definitely be due to the natural changing of our world, or they could be due to the disgusting way that humans are treating our planet. Even if we eventually find out that humans are not a direct cause, I would rather not make a disgusting mess of my home. There is no reason for people to participate in the destruction of our planet through deforestation, mountain top removal or pollution of the environment when there are other resources available to us.

Nicole Urban

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli defends recent letter

by   Posted on March 25th, 2010 in Opinion

By Kn Cuccinelli, Virginia Attorney General

RICHMOND (March 19, 2010)
Recently, the George Mason University community heard about my recommendation to Virginia’s public colleges and universities regarding the inclusion of sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policy statements. The issue has created some confusion for the public, so as your attorney general, I wanted to take this opportunity to set the record straight.

The attorney general is the attorney for the Commonwealth of Virginia and its agencies. Each day, more than two hundred attorneys and staff work in my office to provide advice and legal counsel to state agencies on issues from transportation to health care and public safety to education. Part of our job is to advise client agencies that inadvertently might be doing something the law does not give them the power to do.

Shortly after becoming attorney general, I received inquiries about whether or not sexual orientation could be included as a protected class in the non-discrimination policies of our state colleges and universities. A subsequent review of the law and of the opinions of at least five of my predecessors — both Democrats and Republicans — demonstrated that any decision regarding the creation of a new protected class belongs exclusively to the General Assembly.

As state institutions, Virginia’s public colleges and universities are governed by boards of visitors vested with broad rights and powers. This broad authority, however, cannot be greater than the authority of the body that granted it — the Virginia General Assembly. That means a public university lacks the power to create a new protected class because that power only rests with the General Assembly.

The General Assembly has considered and defined several protected classes for purposes of non-discrimination laws.

The Virginia Human Rights Act (VHRA) states that it is the policy of the Commonwealth to “safeguard all individuals within the Commonwealth from unlawful discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status or disability, in places of public accommodation, including educational institutions.”

In addition to passing the VHRA, the General Assembly has on numerous occasions considered and rejected creating a protected class defined by sexual orientation.
In doing so, it has affirmed that no state agency can reach beyond such clearly established boundaries.

Still, there seemed to be confusion. Because of this confusion, when I was asked by a client to clarify the law, I deemed it my duty as their attorney to advise all of Virginia’s public colleges and universities as to the status of the law and to inform them how to bring their policies in conformance with that law.

I did not advocate for any particular policy position. I also in no way authorized unconstitutional discrimination against any person. I simply informed my clients about the law: The undisputed fact that only the General Assembly may legally create new classes of protected persons in Virginia.

Apart from state agencies lacking the authority to create such a protected class, the inclusion of protected classes that are not approved by the General Assembly invites lawsuits by those who would argue that a university’s non-discrimination statement is actually a contract that mandates particular benefits or privileges to individuals based on such classifications.

Critics of my advice seem to ignore the fact that individuals are already protected from irrational discrimination by a governmental body under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. They also ignore the legal accuracy of our advice.

More alarmingly, though, critics seem to endorse the concept that including sexual orientation as a protected class without going through the appropriate legislative procedure justifies ignoring state law and the Constitution of Virginia. In promoting such a reckless course, these people would destroy the very process that ensures all citizens — including them — are protected by law and not by whim.

While issues related to sexual orientation are among the most emotional and controversial, they do not change this fundamental proposition of Virginia law. My now well publicized letter simply stated the current state of Virginia law; it did not advocate any particular legislative position. Should the General Assembly change the law, my advice will be consistent with it.

My advice letter reminds our public colleges and universities that their powers are limited by the Constitution of Virginia and our laws, and that no matter how well-intentioned their efforts, they may not exceed those limits.

Ken Cuccinelli
Virginia Attorney General

Technology gods: One man’s personal battle

by   Posted on March 25th, 2010 in Opinion

By Brandon T. Minister, Staff Writer

The technology gods hate me. Somewhere, I offended their sensibilities, and ever since the deities of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have cursed me to a Luddite hell, where every piece of electronic equipment malfunctions straight out of the box. Customer support is provided by the departed souls of cavemen who insist the only way to cure my Blue Screen of Death is to bury alive a kinsman in peat.

Where did I go wrong with the gods? I’m not sure, but it might have been in 1995 when I declared the Internet to be “sort of worthless.” Since that day, my fate has been sealed.

Items I buy routinely become obsolete while I cross the store parking lot back to my car. Clamshell packaging severs my fingers. User instructions appear in every language except English, including Slovenian and Slovakian. Required battery sizes are obscure, or occasionally non-existent, like the single-A or B batteries.

Proof of my cursedness can be found in the situations where electronics don’t fail. When my daughter was a newborn, she had a toy which needed only to be moved to play the opening notes of “Shave and a Haircut” in electronic beeps. The particular Chinese factory worker who finalized the product ratcheted up the sensitivity setting, such that the indigestion of a small dog two towns away produced, “Beep beep beep-beep beep.”

The speakers were NASA-certified to be audible with the naked ear on Neptune. UFO interest in Earth spiked after each rendition as peacefully slumbering aliens were startled awake to proclaim, “What the hell was that?!”

The batteries were produced by the same firm responsible for the Maccabees’ Hanukkah oil. After leaving the toy in a running paint-shaker, I found the batteries to be somehow stronger, like a retiree returned from boot camp.

One evening, I got in the car and drove to my college class. In the back seat was this toy, a joint venture of Hasbro and Satan. Every variation of the road’s surface produced the dreaded song. The fact that it stopped after five notes left me repeatedly supplying the next two notes: “Two bits.”

Before returning home, I buried the toy in jackets and bags to muffle its noise, but like the suckage of the Washington Redskins, it could not be stopped. Instead, its beeping entered my subconscious, haunting my waking nightmares with a zombie-like demand for two bits.

A few months ago, this scenario threatened to repeat itself when my sister-in-law mailed a present to my youngest son. It was a toy truck which, at a button’s push, “danced” while playing “U Can’t Touch This.”

This sister-in-law and I had our disagreements in the past, but I thought we’d moved beyond that. This toy assured me we hadn’t. I had to take emergency action when my older kids discovered that, by pushing a different button, the song played by itself. Tragically, that day the truck was irrevocably lost.

Things are looking up for me, though. I might have recently found favor with the technology gods. We bought a wireless printer that worked right out of the box with two laptops running different operating systems.

Like an acolyte following a manifestation of the Divine, I couldn’t explain it but I wept tears of joy. I wanted to dance a celebratory jig, but I couldn’t decide between the only two songs in my internal soundtrack: “Shave and a Haircut” and “U Can’t Touch This.”

Brandon Minster is an economics major.

Supreme Court approves corporate funding of presidents: Will the corporations of America now have control over who is elected?

by   Posted on March 25th, 2010 in Opinion

By Justin Lalputan, Staff Writer

The Supreme Court of the United States has recently approved unlimited corporate funding of presidential campaigns by way of a case called Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This has come as quite a shock to many citizens who feel that this will give corporations too much power over presidential elections. I also feel that there are simply too many downsides to this ruling for it to properly work in our democratic system, however there are some that disagree with me.

Before the recent Supreme Court decision, there were limitations on funding and all donations had to be monitored and documented. There was very little that people could do to get around the corporate funding regulations. Sometimes presidents would be questioned about exactly where they got their funds from. Now that there is unlimited funding, some key problems arise.

First and foremost, I believe that this unlimited spending gives corporations too much power. Imagine what it would be like if presidential candidates had the ability to simply appeal to one or two companies to get all the campaign finances that they needed. First, they wouldn’t have to pander to the needs of interest groups anymore. In fact, interest groups would be hit hard. Their donations are pathetic in the face of the amount of money that corporations could provide. Presidential candidates spend millions on their campaigns. Corporations could easily provide a billion dollars if they needed to.

Think about the leverage that this could grant corporations. If a president agreed to do certain favors for corporations in return for campaign contributions, we could have more corruption in our political system than we would know what to do with. That’s not all. What if a corporation picked someone to run for president, and completely backed them financially? We could have a figurehead for president and he or she would be a puppet for the corporation that backed him or her.

It’s not just American corporations either; imagine what would happen if multinational corporations gained the same leverage that I mentioned previously. It would be ridiculous to even imagine an America where non-Americans even have the slightest input in the presidential election.

Sadly, it gets even worse; the term “corporate persons” has arisen as a result of the recent Supreme Court decision. A “corporate person” essentially means that a corporation has some of the same rights as a person. Murray Hill Inc. is currently attempting to run for congress in Maryland’s 8th district.

I honestly can’t understand how people would even think that something like this is a good move. America has always been “for the people,” and when we start granting rights to things like corporations, which we didn’t even want to give to other human beings not even 300 years ago, I think that something is going wrong. The founding fathers did not intend for big businesses to have as much influence as the recent Supreme Court decisions grants them, and I am positive that they didn’t want corporations to be able to run for political office, like what is happening in Maryland’s 8th district.

Thankfully, there is one limitation on the impact that this Supreme Court decision has on elections, which is the intelligence of the American people. If the American people can see through propaganda and learn the truth, there is a possibility that the unlimited funding by corporations could have no effect. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the Supreme Court has made a horrid mistake. I believe that the Supreme Court needs to rethink its decision. They need to think about what the future of America will be like when Americans aren’t the only ones that participate in political elections.

Justin Lalputan is an undeclared major.

Hail to the Redskins: Why our local football team should never change it’s mascot

by   Posted on March 25th, 2010 in Opinion

By Alan Moore, Staff Writer

As a long-suffering Washington Redskins fan, I know there are many things to be offended by from the team, but their mascot most certainly is not one of them. A select few have made the argument that the term “Redskins” is racist against Native Americans. Some have even called for all sports teams’ names that refer to Native Americans to be changed. Last month, a new court battle ensued to strip legal protection for the trademarked name of the Washington Redskins.

In the politically correct and postmodern world that we live in, this really comes as no surprise, but these attacks are baseless.

The Washington Redskins were known as the Boston Braves until they changed their name on July 8, 1933. They had adopted the name “Braves” because they played in the stadium of the Boston Braves National League baseball team. They moved from Boston to Washington on February 13, 1937.

Owner George Preston Marshall changed the name to “Redskins” to honor their first coach William “Lone Star” Dietz, who was an Oglala Lakota Sioux. Dietz had been a student at Pennsylvania’s Carlisle Indian Industrial School and got his start playing football under Glenn “Pop” Warner. This was also where he met his wife Angel DeCora, who started the first Native American art program. Before taking the job with Washington, he coached at the Haskell Indian School in Kansas and took a number of Native American players with him to play for the Redskins.

In many ways, the name was used as a marketing ploy. Native American players wore red war paint during games and a Native American coach was an interesting angle for a sport that was relatively unknown in the 1930s.

The controversy did not heat up until 1999 when the United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board cancelled the trademark of the team mascot. They found the term “scandalous” and ruled that it could “disparage” Native Americans because “redskins” allegedly originated as a term for bounty payments for killing an Indian. In 2003, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia reversed this decision because the plaintiff, Indian activist Suzan Harjo, had provided unsubstantiated claims of the origins of the term and colluded with others to perpetuate that lie.

In actuality, the first known reference to Native Americans as “red” came from 1725 in which documentation accounts for a Taensa chief referring to himself as a “red man.” Other evidence shows that many Native Americans used this term to describe themselves in comparison to other races. Historical records show that it was first a Native American expression with no racist connotations.

The term “redskins” was first noted in a written account of a translation in 1769 by three chiefs of the Piankashaws in what is now known as Illinois.The term was used by both Native Americans and colonists. In 1812, the first printed public reference came when a number of western tribes visited President Madison at the White House in 1812. In their remarks to the President, tribal leaders referred to themselves as “redskins.”

The past aside, how do present day Native Americans feel about the Redskins and other American Indian-themed names?

The Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania did the last major poll on the matter in 2004. In the year-long study, they found that 90 percent of Native Americans were not bothered by the term while only nine percent found it offensive. Even more strikingly, only 14 percent of those who considered themselves politically liberal found the term offensive. The margin of error was two percentage points.

Sports Illustrated did a similar poll in 2002 which mirrored the results of the Annenberg study. They found that 75 percent of Native Americans were not offended by the name. Additionally, 83 percent said that no professional sports team named after a Native American theme should change their name.

Consider this: the term “redskins” has never been used as a derogatory term in the known history of the world. The trademark name of “Redskins,” as pertaining to the team in Washington, DC, was granted in 1967. No complaints or challenges were officially filed until 1992, coincidentally right after the Washington Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI. A media-grabbing court battle would have gained the most public attention with the team in the spotlight. Lastly, Native Americans generally couldn’t care less about the team name, or any Native American-themed name for that matter. So stop the lawsuits, let’s move on with our lives and hope that the team’s future play is less insulting than a select few find the name.

Alan Moore is a communication major.

Student protests Obama’s health bill: Fears mount as the House passes health care legislation

by   Posted on March 25th, 2010 in Opinion

By Ashley O’Donnell, Guest Columnist

As someone who had cancer four years ago and will lose my health insurance in two months because I’m graduating, there’s a lot I fear when it comes to health insurance. President Obama’s speech on Friday only made that fear worse. He told the audience that he wants to add more choice and competition to the insurance market, but those are the very two things that will be taken away if his version of the bill gets passed.

This is why I was surprised when he said, “I don’t believe we should give government or the insurance companies more control over health care in America. I think it’s time to give you, the American people, more control over your health.” That statement is hypocritical, rhetorical “inaction.” The government already controls 49 percent of the health care market through Medicare and Medicaid, and they are going bankrupt, barely covering all the needs of those on these plans.

What few realize is that private insurance companies are already heavily regulated. According to the Cato Institute, “States also limit enrollees’ freedom to purchase only the coverage they wish.” A study conducted in 2007 by the Congressional Budget Office shows that this results in a 15 percent increase in premiums.

In other words, you should be allowed to choose the type of coverage you want. Under the current system, an 80-year-old woman has to pay for the same services as a 30-year-old woman. Given that their needs are different, why should something like maternal care be included in the 80-year-old’s package? If people could pick what services they want and only the ones they want, there would be a sharp drop in prices.

Similarly, as a consumer, you always want there to be a lot of companies offering a variety of different services. It’s called competition. It lowers prices. The only way to achieve universal coverage is to allow insurance companies to compete freely, without government intervention.

If they know that you can easily switch from one provider to the next, companies will fight for your business. Therefore, mandating health insurance is pandering to insurance companies because they know you have a small group to choose from.

President Obama said that if you are happy with your current plan, then you will be able to keep it. But what he failed to mention is that you will only be able to keep this plan if it complies with the standards imposed by your legislators. That important detail was one of the countless particulars missing from his speech. He knew his job was to inspire the youth and, thus, he left out the full truth.

I’m all for giving money to those in need — as long as that money will be maximized and not squandered on programs which have been proven to fail in this country and others. Contrary to what most politicians want you to think, more money isn’t the solution. Rather, it’s about the freedom to choose how you believe your resources will be spent most wisely.

Ashley O’Donnell is a global affairs major.

Let’s focus on the big picture: Like the fact that global warming does exist

by   Posted on March 25th, 2010 in Opinion

By Susan Crate, and Chris Parsons, Guest Columnists

If these words sound like words from a concerned adult when you were growing up, they are. We repeat them here because it seems that we need such reminders throughout our adult life. It is easy to slip into pettiness and squabbles, and thereby lose sight of the forest through the trees. Let us show you the forest in the context of global climate change.

­­We are disheartened to see Alan Moore’s recent Opinion piece in Broadside on March 1 using the mistakes in the IPCC and hacked climate e-mails as an excuse to deny the firmly established science of climate change. Mr. Moore is mainly echoing the words of many opinion and editorial writers in the past months, all of whom have lost sight of the big picture.

As members of a department with research in this area, we’d like to remind our campus community of the big picture. Ice cores from Antarctica show that the earth’s atmosphere has not had the levels of CO2 that we have today in the last 600,000 years. The same ice cores show how temperature directly correlates with those CO2 levels — the higher the CO2, the higher the earth’s temperature. And they show that humans have pumped those CO2 levels up. We are innovative, creative and imaginative enough to develop alternative ways of living on the planet that will turn out to be much more satisfying.

But why then, you may ask, do people squabble over this issue? This is largely due to their unrealistic expectation that we have zero uncertainty before we take action. Again, we ask our readers to give us examples in their lives of actions they have taken only when they had 100% percent certainty that they were doing what was right or what was needed.

So, in terms of global climate change, it is important to first understand that climate science is complex. How could it not be so? It is happening within the enormously complex Earth system that we inhabit and share with a myriad of plants and animals in a diversity of ecosystems.

There are parts of this earth system that we still do not fully understand, even without global climate change in the picture. Therefore, attacking a small number of studies that show that some previously held ideas about climate change may not be correct, or are not quite as correct as we previously thought, is not rational. There are literally thousands of scientific studies that have been thoroughly vetted and peer‐reviewed by the scientific community and they hold that the evidence for climate change is overwhelming.

Additionally, any research effort that is conducted by thousands of scientists over many years and many countries will contain some mistakes, some of which will be corrected in the peer‐review process before publication and others afterward.

Again, let’s see the forest through these trees. The bottom line is that we cannot wait for overwhelming scientific certainty because by then it will be too late to take the necessary actions. Instead, we must invoke the precautionary principle or, as a recent Washington Post editorial put it, we must take out “climate insurance.” These measures will move our economy towards renewable energy and away from non‐renewable energy, like foreign oil. They will also have many benefits including a healthier environment for future generations.

A final point is, shame on Mr. Moore for attacking our sustainability office. Perhaps Mr. Moore does not realize that this office exists and that those employed there work under the unequivocal support of our campus administration. President Merten signed the Campus Climate Commitment under which the office operates. The efforts and achievements of the George Mason University Office of Sustainability are many. The greening efforts at Mason have been ongoing since 2004.

Mr. Moore’s attacks to these efforts are nothing less than outlandish and childlike. Therefore, in the spirit of collegial debate and furthering our efforts to educate ourselves and our campus community, we challenge Mr. Moore to have a “civil and genuine debate” on climate change in which he and others of like mind produce the
scientific evidence to the Mason community to show that climate change is not happening and that it is not human caused.

Those of us who have and continue to commit our professional energies towards generating, through comprehensive studies, the scientific knowledge and increased public awareness of this critical issue are appalled by these deniers. Their actions disrupt a forward process of needed change to ensure that our children and the generations that follow have a home on Earth.

Susan A Crate
Assistant Professor

Chris Parsons
Term Associate Professor

With Departmental
signatures from:

Changwoo Ahn
Associate Professor

Nicole Darnall
Associate Professor

Robert B. Jonas
Associate Professor ESP Department Chair

R. Christian Jones
Professor, Environmental Science and Policy

Richard T. Kraus
Assistant Professor

Monica Marcelli
Lab and Research Specialist

Esther Peters
Term Assistant Professor

Lee Talbot

Albert P. Torzilli
Associate Professor