January 26th, 2005
|Volume 22, Issue 16|
By Janee Mitchell - Feature Writer
The American Civil Liberties Union's Leave No Family Behind series came to UIS on Wednesday, Jan. 19 from 7 to 9 p.m.
The Leave No Family Behind Series are community discussions designed to discuss the civil rights of gay and lesbian families. The focus of the community discussion held at UIS was same-sex marriages and equality issues facing same-sex couples.
This lecture was especially timely, in the light of the Gay Rights Bill, SB3186, being passed in the Illinois House and Senate on Jan. 11.The discussion addressed adjustment issues couples may face and the benefits received by a heterosexual couple versus that of a same-sex couple.
Heather Sawyer, senior counsel, Lambda Legal, said it was a coincidence that the Gay Rights Bill passed prior to the discussion. She said the date of the community discussion had been set in advance and the order of occurrence for the two events was a "nice coincidence."
Sawyer holds 8 years concentration on the issue and said she hopes gays and lesbians will receive support from their neighbors and the government. Sawyer also said, "the government shouldn't exclude same-sex couples in the benefits and responsibilities of this civil institution," so the bill gives same-sex couples hope for change.
Allan Cook, associate professor of teacher education said, "if there was anyone who didn't know a lesbian couple, they would have been surprised to learn that they are just ordinary people, accepted by their neighbors." Cook also said there seems to be some acceptance of same-sex couples although there is still resistance among conservatives. He said the couples should be allowed access to the same benefits as heterosexual families.
The Rev. Martin Woulfe from the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation performed his first same-sex union about 15 years ago. Woulfe said he has written several things in favor of same-sex unions, including rebuttals to some people of more conservative denominations, and remains an advocate for same-sex unions.
Woulfe said that community discussions are a good way of welcoming same-sex unions, but "the best affect is acchieved by having a panel with people that are gay and lesbian with children, putting a face and a name to the issue...knowing the hardships."
Woulfe also said we are growing in the direction of equality but older people are more resistant toward the change. He said that when the younger generation of today ages it will see things differently and become more accepting.
Ramona Faith Oswald, associate professor of family studies at UIUC, said, "the possible outcome isn't nearly as great as the struggle." She said the quality of people's lives must be examined and the struggle must continue.
John Knight, director of lesbian and gay rights project for ACLU said, "gay families exist regardless of law, but the reality of law puts a burden on them." Knight also said he is confident that one day gays and lesbians will be treated with respect; however, more nongays are needed to speak their mind and lift some of the burden.
The discussion was open to the faculty, staff and students of UIS, as well as the community members. However, there were few people from UIS in attendance. For this reason, considerations are being given for future possible locations for the Leave No Family Behind community discussions.
SGA Members meet with students to address concerns, recieve feedback
By Jason Satek - SGA/General Assignment Reporter
The Student Government Association held a student summit on campus Friday in an effort to receive feedback from the student body and lay out their goals for the upcoming semester. President Tyson Roan and Representative from Public Affairs Liz Moran spearheaded the forum to address concerns held by students, discover what actions had been considered successful and to answer the question of how to be more a responsive and efficient organization.
Students specifically mentioned the free New York Times newspapers available at the Public Affairs Center, University Hall and Housing areas as well as the deliberately paced debate regarding the possible inclusion of Greek societal groups as examples of actions done well by the SGA.
Assistant Dean Jim Korte and Student Life Director Cynthia Thompson praised the professional atmosphere of the current administration and the cooperative relationship it maintains with the campus governing body.
When the conversation turned to what could be done better, students talked of SGA visibility, in a professional capacity, in attending the functions of other clubs and groups on campus. Some were concerned that students do not have an understanding of the purpose or role of SGA, with various ideas thrown out to increase participation in and awareness of its activities. Non-traditional students spoke to the difficulties of meshing outside lives with that of the UIS experience.
The meeting concluded with a list of goals to hopefully be pursued in the near future. Among some of those mentioned were more community involvement in Springfield, better publicity to increase accessibility of the SGA, and stronger emphasis on recruiting a more diverse and representative candidate pool for future student elections.
Sunday evening, the Student Government Association held its first meeting of the calendar year, with nine members present. Official business began with the interviewing of a new web master candidate and discussion of more student involvement via a student programming advisory board regarding future entertainment acts.
Interim Provost Harry Berman addressed the SGA on the past and present state of public education as background for the announcement of a Board of Trustees decision to approve a tuition surcharge, affecting only new incoming students to start next year. The four-year plan would increase fees paid by new students, with an increase in each successive year for newer students, though the future classes would be locked in and not see their amount change beyond their entrance level charge.
Provost Berman stated the some goals in regards to this fee increase were "new degree programs like theater & music, and funding for joint student/faculty research". This disclosure led to a discussion into the affordability of the school in comparison to the other University of Illinois schools and the possible motivations of transfer students that have left here, without a consensus being reached.
Greater university lobbying presence at the capitol spun off of the fee discussion, with plans to send representatives to the National Summit on State Higher Education in Washington, D.C. in hopes of acquiring contacts, training and skills that could be put to use on the behalf of Illinois students during a statehouse lobbying effort in April.
Budgetary decisions regarding attendance of the summit and COOL Idealist National Conference were tabled until next meeting, when more exact figures would be available. Selection of who would be the attendees was also tabled.
Other committees made their report and the meeting finished with the selection of graduate student Chad Shaffer as a At Large Representative to fill the slot vacated by James Brower, and the confirmation of TJ Gardener as the new web master.
Compiled by Tom Cronin - Public Affairs Reporter
Jan. 13, 4 p.m. - A subject came to the campus police station to make a lost cell phone report for insurance purposes.
Jan. 13, 6:36 p.m. - While on patrol, an officer noticed a suspicious vehicle. The driver was reportedly looking for a friend's vehicle.
Jan. 14, 1:45 a.m. - After receiving a call reporting that a student had not returned from class earlier in the evening, officers were dispatched to locate the person. The student's vehicle was found in Lot E, but the owner was nowhere around. It was determined that the owner of the vehicle returned later, picked up the vehicle and went home.
Jan. 14, 11:50 p.m. - After receiving a call reporting an odor of marijuana in Larkspur Court , officers were dispatched. Once on the scene officers discovered two subjects who were smoking marijuana wrapped up in a cigar. The marijuana was confiscated, and the subjects were cited for possession of cannabis.
Jan. 15, 11:45 p.m. - After receiving a 911 call from campus reporting a large fight, an officer was dispatched. The officer located the caller in Larkspur Court . It was determined that a fight had taken place and that three subjects had been attacked by a suspect with a glass beer mug. The suspect was arrested and transported to Sangamon County Jail. The victims were treated at St. John's Hospital .
Jan. 18, 1:36 p.m. - An accident report was taken after a driver backed into an unoccupied vehicle in Lot F.
Jan. 19, 1:37 a.m. - After learning that a subject on campus had an in-state warrant for arrest, officers investigated to verify that the subject was on campus. After locating the subject in Foxglove Court and verifying that the warrant was valid, the officers arrested the subject and transported the individual to Sangamon County Jail.
Jan. 20, 3:05 a.m. - After receiving a call from a building services worker requesting an officer to do a walk-through of some offices in the Public Affair Center because a door was found ajar, an officer was dispatched. The area was all clear.
The Police Beat is a compilation of brief summaries of selected UIS Police reports. To read the complete list of report summaries, visit www.uis.edu/police/.
By Jason Satek - SGA/General Assignment Reporter
Since the shooting at the Capitol building in late September of last year, security has been upgraded, but for those UIS students who work in and around the Capitol, the disruption has been minimal. The implementation of metal detectors and the added numbers of guards have not resulted in a large change in their routines.
The Public Affairs Reporting program, a graduate-level program offered on campus that places students inside news organizations covering governmental activities in preparation to obtain full time employment within the field, offers a unique perspective on the situation.
Currently, Capitol employees, legislators and the press are issued passes that, along with their picture identification, allow them to bypass the added measures. They are also able to bring their satchels, purses and other bags unchecked, though this may change in time.
Visitors to the Capitol must be admitted one by one after passing through an x-ray inspection similar to that at the airports and a metal detector. They are then allowed access to the building.
Amanda Vinicky, a PAR student working for Illinois Public Radio, shared her thoughts regarding the added security. When asked about the implications of the shooting, she replied, "I'm not the kind of person to worry about things like that. What happens happens, but it's good to know that they are there. The guards are all very friendly."
Her friend Erika Slife, a PAR program reporter with the Chicago Tribune, concurred that with their passes, it was no added hindrance. "It's like a wall of soldiers at the entrance."
None of the current 22 PAR students were working when William Wozniak, the 51-year-old security guard, was shot and killed five months ago. Yet, they did attend their PAR class later that Monday, and as could be expected, the topic was very much on their minds. "Nobody was scared off (by the prospect of working at the Capitol), but some of our classmates lived in the same building as the suspected shooter," said Slife.
Derek W. Potts, a 24-year-old man who had taken classes at UIS, was apprehended and charged with first-degree murder, but was declared unfit for trial and held for observation by Sangamon Circuit Court Judge Robert Eggers. A progress hearing for Potts was scheduled for late January.
Regarding the new security, Secretary of State spokesman Randy Nehrt stated they are in the initial phase of implementation, with multiple contract security firms being interviewed by the Department of Police to provide the armed security guards able to fill in until the new police officers will be able to man the posts, "hopefully by the spring." The new officers will be tasked with protecting the entrances to the nine governmental buildings on the Capitol plaza.
Governor Rod Blagojevich signed the security-funding bill passed by both the Illinois House and Senate late last week, according to spokeswoman Rebecca Rausch.
By Gabrielle Wiegand - Feature Writer
six, five, four, three, two, one! Happy New Year! It is 2005 and the first
thing many people do after toasting in the New Year is make a New Year’s
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