In 1952, that most notable of Stanford law school classes graduated, and the careers of two future Supreme Court Justices took off, though in markedly different fashion.
William J. Rehnquist traveled to Washington D.C., where he would clerk for Robert H. Jackson, turn to private practice for over a decade and return to the Capitol in 1968, to fill the position of Assistant Attorney General for Richard Nixon before being tapped for the high court.
His classmate, Sandra Day O’Connor, recipient of the Order of the Coif as proof of her standing at the forefront of their class rank, did not begin as well. Upon graduation, the law firms to which she applied for employment saw not her ability, but rather her gender and offered her legal secretary positions.
She bypassed these, and became a deputy county attorney for San Mateo County in California before pursuing a political career in Arizona highlighted in 1973 by becoming the first state senate majority leader in any state. She later became a superior court judge and later a member of the Arizona Court of Appeals, before selection to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan, fulfilling a presidential campaign promise he had made to place the first woman to that position. This preface should be seen as background insight, rather than historical curiosity.
Quick, which number is bigger: 115 or 130? That was the gist of a case that ended up before O’Connor, Rehnquist and the other seven Justices in 2003. Two cases, both naming Lee Bollinger, then University of Michigan president, as defendant, sought to clarify the admission policy of that prestigious institution, as well as the concept of diversity versus quotas.
The headline case involved one Barbara Grutter, a 49-year-old mother running her own business who had applied and been rejected by the U of M. Law School. After investigating, she discovered that “under-represented” minorities with lower overall admission scores had been accepted; Grutter claimed discrimination and sued.
The second case was numbers one mentioned above. Jennifer Gratz, a top student at her Detroit high school in 1995 had applied to Michigan as an undergrad, and was likewise denied. Programs in place at Michigan awarded 20 points on an admission scale for being a member of select minority groups, which in the opinion of Gratz’s legal team, amounted to a full point bump on the GPA. To be comprehensive, similar programs added lesser points for athletes and children of alumni, but these were not represented here (but are likely origins for the “Gentleman’s C”).
The Court split the cases, rejecting Grutter 5-4 but upheld Gratz 6-3. The codification of the point system apparently violated the “narrow tailoring” allowed admissions programs in taking in account race and ethnicity by the 1978 case Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, and crossed into quotas.
Differentiating between diversity and exclusion reminds me of a conversation in Season 3 of E.R., when Eriq La Salle and Omar Epps had a debate about “checking the box” as related to their worthiness as doctors; talented people have, are, and likely will continue to be excluded in the future from opportunities. That O’Connor, first professionally rejected and later grandly installed partly because of personal factors, would be a swing vote in a sorting effort, could be termed ironic.
What, you might ask, does this have to do with the price of fish? This school, this city, this area is replete with opportunities. The right circumstance, internship or position could be the pivot towards a different career path or goal. If, in selecting amongst candidates, decision makers include an agenda of bias, favoritism, “need” or equally pap rationale, they do damage and are not in lock-step with progress.
Podcasting presents new oppprtunities for UIS
By Ron Felten - Columnist
One thing I particularly admire about the UIS administration and faculty is their collective dedication to incorporating new technologies into the educational process, like “smart” classrooms with computers, interactive whiteboards, document cameras and wireless projectors, PC and Mac labs and wireless on-campus internet. It is the 21st century, after all, and it’s nice to be at a school that isn’t as technophobic as the rest of academia seems to be.
As I’m sure many of you know, the university even promotes the “UIS Bloggers,” a group of seven UIS students who keep public weblogs, or internet diaries, on the details of their daily goings-on. This is done primarily as a recruitment measure, I presume, to help prospective students learn about our school before deciding whether or not to enroll, but it also demonstrates UIS’ commitment to keeping pace with trends in both technology and popular culture. After all, who doesn’t have a blog nowadays?
And while our campus is also home to WUIS, Springfield’s National Public Radio affiliate, we are lacking one important traditional institution of colleges, both big and small, across the nation: a student-operated radio station. The absence of UIS college radio, though, may not be as problematic or as large of a deficiency as it may first appear; in fact, it may be the perfect opportunity for our university to once again demonstrate its pioneering spirit.
With the emergence of digital, downloadable music and iPods, as well as other brands of portable digital audio players with which to play said music, traditional radio has been steadily losing its once loyal or, more accurately, captive audience. Listeners, now given a choice, have decided to forgo the outrageous commercial-to-music ratio found on broadcast radio stations and, instead, take the tunes or talk of their choosing with them whether they’re walking, riding public transportation or driving in cars. In short, AM/FM radio has been all but killed by our little digi-friend, the MP3.
So what’s the alternative? Well, some former radio personalities, most notably shock-jock Howard Stern, have taken their acts to satellite radio. But those services – XM and Sirius are currently the “big two” – rely heavily on subscription fees and still feature advertising on some of their channels. This, of course, is not a likely solution to our lack of a station here at UIS.
Another popular medium, though, is that of podcasting. Podcasts, which are essentially radio-type programs developed exclusively for Internet download (although, some existing radio programs are now also available on the web), have single-handedly reinvigorated broadcasting with a fiercely original and creative spirit, as they aren’t dependent on advertising dollars to survive. Everyone from teenage kids to retirees are recording and posting their podcasts on the net with content ranging from your typical disc-jockey show with music to political talk shows (and everything in between).
What’s particularly great about podcasts is that they are remarkably simple to produce and distribute. One needs only a microphone, computer, an audio editing program (such as Apple’s GarageBand, which is part of the iLife suite, standard on all new Macs and available on UIS’ Apple computers), a Web hosting plan and a website, through which the podcast can be made available for download. The hosting plan, for the average student, is the only required “tool” that may be somewhat out of reach, as they can get a bit expensive, especially if you expect your site to attract a lot of traffic. This is where I propose UIS step in.
Our university has all the required tools at its disposal, including the Web space and bandwidth, needed to produce and distribute podcasts (in fact, some professors are already producing podcasts to accompany their classes). Adding a “radio” station to our campus, then, would be practically free, as no new (or very few) expenses would be incurred. And the benefits of doing so are potentially immeasurable. Whereas most college radio stations can be heard only by those within range of their broadcast signal, a podcast-based “radio” station can be downloaded and listened to by on-campus and online students alike (as well as by prospective students anywhere in the world).
Students could produce their programs in UIS labs with equipment UIS already owns, convert those programs (which could range in topic from campus news and sports to political roundtable discussions to variety programs with local musicians and verbal artists to comedic talk shows and so on) to MP3 format and, finally, host them on existing UIS servers for download by anyone who cares to listen.
The benefits, as I mentioned, would be tremendous; not only will students gain experience producing media content in a medium that promises to continue growing (and is starting to be noticed by the commercial market), but both current and prospective students will surely appreciate the new (and free) entertainment.
What could be more in-line with UIS’ commitment to emerging and popular technologies than to grab the podcast torch, so to speak, and run with it? The university would reap nearly all the benefits of having a student-run radio station (not least of which would be publicity) with little or no extra expenses. In a sense, UIS can’t afford to not do this.
Letter to the Editor
After reading Ron Feltens’ November 16th article (I use that term loosely) called ‘Military recruitment practices raise questions’, I feel compelled to respond, albeit a bit late I know. He makes a number of misleading comments, inaccurate comparisons, and poor conclusions throughout the piece. I will break down the more egregious of these one by one.
He starts the piece by questioning our countries priorities simply because military recruiters target high school and college age students. This is interesting for two main reasons; first of all it is the military that protects our country and the priorities it sets for itself. Secondly since there is an age limit to join the military of eighteen, who better to try and recruit then those who are looking for technical training, an education, or a possible career once they graduate high school and are legally old enough to enlist? Would it make any sense for the military recruiters to be setting up booths in a retirement community or handing out pamphlets at a nursing home?
His main point of contention is that he feels that the military marketing itself or recruiting to young adults is morally reprehensible like that of Tobacco companies who market to children. It is staggering how illogical and detached from reality this line of thought is, and how ludicrous this comparison is when examined. Hypothetically speaking let us say a fifteen year old boy is seduced by ‘Camel Joe’ ads and ends up getting his hands on a pack of cigarettes. For his analogy to be accurate this same fifteen year old boy would have to be seduced by the military’s video game and somehow join the armed forces three years before he is of age without the military ever finding out. While it was once possible to do this, and it was actually done quite often, now a person needs to show proof of a high school diploma or equivalency before the recruiter will even consider them. How many ‘kids’ under the age of eighteen are going to be able to provide false proof of age, and a high school transcript to enter the military? Looking at the same comparison everyone knows that nicotine is highly addictive, and that fifteen year old boy could become addicted to cigarettes posing a lifelong health risk. It is this addictive property combined with the harmful act of consuming the product that makes it morally wrong to target towards the youth. Please Mr. Felten, explain how talking to a recruiter or reading a pamphlet is addictive and would cause a person to spend a lifetime consuming a harmful product.
The other possible problem would be that this fifteen year old boy would become so enamored with a video game that in three years at the age of eighteen he decides to go ahead and join the military after graduating high school. There are so many problems with this theory, I will start by pointing out that is highly unlikely that the only video game this boy is playing would be from the U.S. Military. Therefore if your assumption is correct that he is brainwashed by it, would he not be just as easily seduced by another game, like Grand Theft Auto? Maybe he won’t join the military because he is out stealing cars. If Mr. Felten has a problem with young kids playing a military style simulation game (there are hundreds of them not released by the U.S. Armed Forces) perhaps he should question the parents of the children for not reviewing or approving what they play. It is not the Governments job to monitor a child’s video games, it is the parents.
When a person turns eighteen they are legally an adult, and whether Mr. Felten likes it or not they have the ability and the right to make their own decisions on what course their life should take. Is it morally wrong for the military to inform an individual of their options regarding joining a volunteer military? Is a person too impressionable at fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen that when they turn eighteen they will be brainwashed and unable to determine the right course for their own life? Or is it perhaps that Mr. Felten is motivated by his own political beliefs which cloud his better judgment on this issue?
Career fair to help students find jobs
By Ryan Morrison - Guest Commentary
As the spring semester begins, recent and up-and-coming UIS graduates alike will be looking to the future to see what careers lie beyond their education.
It is with this in mind that the UIS Career Development Center has launched its new online job system, UIS-Success. The site can be found at www.uis-success.com and features several career-related options for students to explore.
Students can fill out credential profiles and upload resumes for employers to search, as well as identify alumni and professional mentors in the community to help investigate particular career fields and their trends. Job shadowing experiences, informational interviews and networking opportunities are a few of the perks students can get by taking advantage of this new system. A new job agent feature also allows students to highlight certain jobs and employment criteria so they can be automatically notified when specific positions become available.
This expansion of online services comes in time for the annual Springfield Collegiate
Career Fair, held Feb. 17 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in the UIS Public Affairs Center. Students interested in attending the fair are encouraged to register with UIS-Success prior to this date to give employers a chance to research a variety of candidates for their available positions. At last year’s fair there were more than 100 interested employers in attendance.
This is the most high-profile opportunity for students to talk with and make impressions on representatives from local businesses. In addition to general job searching, students are encouraged to attend the fair for information-gathering and networking prospects.
Putting together resumes, searching for a job in a certain career field and tense interviews are just a few of the issues facing students as they move out of their education and into the workforce. The UIS Career Development Center is equipped to help with these problems. Located in the Student Affairs Building, this office offers an extensive library of career-related and graduate school materials, resume critique walk-in services, Win Way (resume software) to assist in developing professional resumes, topical workshops and one-on-one career counseling.
Because walk-in resume hours will be suspended during the week of the Career Fair, students should visit the CDC Web site for current information on available Professional Development Workshops, Quick Career Stops and service hours in the weeks leading up to this event.