Editorial: IN THE LOOP Building a network more important than ever

With graduation coming up for Whitworth’s seniors, and with other students looking for summer jobs and future internships, networking has become a very important aspect to life both during and after college. Here are three reasons why you should connect with everyone from your favorite professors to that guest lecturer from Connecticut.Communication skills: Millennials are often criticized for lack of communication skills, especially verbal ones. Whitworthians already have an advantage by coming from a liberal arts education, where there are oral and written communication requirements. But if you can communicate and connect with someone you can rely on as a reference or a source, you’re not only gaining a valuable resource when you’re trying to find a job, but also picking up skills in learning how to communicate with other professionals. Connect with peers and promote collaboration: What’s the skill every employer wants, right after communication skills? The ability to work in a team dynamic. Networking isn’t only for you to gain that reference, but learning how to work with someone to benefit each other and reach a common goal. As much as you may hate group projects, they’re a reality for a good majority of jobs out there. It’s isn’t about what you know, it’s who you know: getting a job in the economy today is a lot easier when you have a lot of connections. By networking early on, you have people you can talk to who can help you find a job, be a reference or even a resource for a future project.

Editorials in the “In the Loop” section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, comprised of five editors.

Editorial: IN THE LOOP Sexual orientation non-discrimination policy resolution should be passed

The editorial board believes ASWU should pass the resolution calling for sexual orientation to be added to the list of protected identities in the staff and faculty handbook.ASWU took careful measures to make sure the resolution would be in the best interest of the students. After months of trying to educate students on the issue, ASWU conducted two surveys: one statistically-sound random sampling survey in the dorms, and one online poll available to all students. From the random sampling, ASWU is 95 percent confident that between 66.79 percent and 79.32 percent of the student body favors the resolution passing, according to Martha Gady. For faculty and staff to be able to be honest with their co-workers and students without having to worry about discrimination or even termination of employment, would constitute a healthy living environment of which members of the Whitworth community are not currently apart.

ASWU Survey

The addition of this policy would support the Whitworth mission, regardless of theological opinion. We do those things chiefly by loving our neighbor and providing a place to be accepted, regardless of identity. As big a problem as the lack of implementation of any such resolution up to this point is, the fact that any enactment of this resolution will likely not take place until almost three years from now remains a cause of disbelief on the part of this editorial board. Aside from our position on the issue, a two-thirds majority of the student body says it should pass. Since it is supposed to be representative of the student body, ASWU has a responsibility to pass this resolution. The resolution depends on the vote of the 15 voting members in ASWU and if passed, will be taken to the Board of Trustees in April. The vote will take place at tonight’s (March 18) meeting starting at 5 p.m. It is open to the public. We hope ASWU will pass this resolution and modernize a set of policies outdated and alienating to a valuable population of existing community members.

Editorials in the “In the Loop” section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, comprised of five editors.

Editorial: IN THE LOOP Gender-neutral bathrooms should not cause shame

Originally, Student Life was adding gender-neutral bathrooms. It’s now calling them private bathrooms. The terms have the same meanings, but different implications. It’s a shame that the “gender-neutral” implications have caused pause.At Illinois State University, “all-gender” signs replaced the “family” ones. No change at all was made to the functions of the bathrooms, according to a July 2014 article from videtteonline.com. The idea was that it wouldn’t make any difference to anyone but the people it affected positively, like the transgender community. This is how the Whitworth “private” bathroom situation should be approached. It makes sense because Whitworth is a private Christian university. The problems the bathrooms (specifically the vocabulary) could cause could outweigh the number of people it would benefit. However, this is no reason for Student Life and anyone else involved to shy away from the reason for implementing the changes. It’s important to remember that gender-neutral bathrooms are not just for transgender students. Anyone can use them. Since they function as private bathrooms, they also benefit families and disabled people. Or, really, anyone who wants a little more privacy. The safety of transgender students is also a factor. Physical or emotional harassment is always a possible danger for transgender people, especially in bathrooms where confrontation is easy. No matter what they’ll be called, the fact remains that Whitworth will soon have lockable bathrooms to accommodate anyone who was previously uncomfortable. Hopefully, Student Life will follow through on this commitment to private bathrooms soon.

Editorials in the “In the Loop” section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, comprised of five editors.

Editorial: IN THE LOOP What we should learn from Brian Williams

Honesty and the truth sometimes are not as appealing as making a great story and being the center of attention. This is exactly what happened to Brian Williams, the now suspended anchor of NBC Nightly News. He embellished stories of what had happened to him when he was on assignment reporting in Iraq, stating that the helicopter he was riding in was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. In reality, the helicopter was never hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. Perhaps he thought by telling this story, he could relate to America’s military families better, draw them in and emotionally connect with them. Or maybe it was a case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as Yahoo! and other sites have speculated. Perchance it was, as one New Yorker article hypothesized, a case of a God-complex. Williams was a highly respected, renowned journalist who rose to his helm at NBC Nightly News quickly. With Williams being a man of high stature and status in the world of journalism, a God-complex essentially states that he would do anything to maintain that status. He must have felt powerful with his highly-inflated ego and impressive resume. In order to keep his status as that top-tier journalist, he needed a good story.

Regardless of the reasons for misleading millions about the truth of the story, a journalist needs to maintain his or her integrity. The foundations of true journalism are honesty and knowing when to apologize. For 12 years, Williams continued to tell the story until someone took the time to fact check it. Even if a journalist is telling a story he experienced himself, he should take the time to fact check. A formerly revered journalist fell from grace because of a misstep in telling the truth. Not only did his career become tarnished from this incident, but his lack of honesty and integrity tainted the entire profession of journalism and the media as a whole. For an industry already struggling to gain the trust of its viewers, readers and listeners, Williams took the industry back several steps.

Editorials in the “In the Loop” section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, comprised of five editors.

Editorial: IN THE LOOP What we should learn from Alex Sengoba

The Whitworth community has been reeling since learning of Alex Sengoba’s apparent suicide. The last suicide on campus occurred in 1990, and it’s as shocking now as it was then. One of the only things we as a community can do in a time like this is to remember Alex fondly and to learn to be more aware. As confused as we are right now, we can and should learn from the tragedy.

Alex taught us that to be a friend is to listen. At his memorial service, alumnus and friend Jack Dunbar shared about his friendship with Alex when he was first at Whitworth. “I could sit down with Alex for a whole breakfast and not hear a word about him,” Dunbar said. “He was committed to being a friend to people.”

We are ever reminded of the wonderful community we are part of. Whitworth students who had never been friends with Alex, who had never so much as met him, cried at his memorial service. They wrote notes to his family and prayed for his friends. It is not only the people closest to him that grieve, but the Whitworth community as a whole.

Alex reminded us that we never know the full story. Although Alex suffered internally, everyone who spoke at the memorial service commented on Alex’s brilliant, ever-present smile.

As a community and as individuals, we need to be aware of the people around us. Too often we become caught up in our own problems and struggles that we do not consider those of another.

Even the happiest, brightest person we know may be suffering. Students gets six free sessions at the counseling center. Please utilize this valuable resource if you are struggling. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or having suicidal thoughts, please take advantage of these resources:

Whitworth Health and Counseling Center

Phone: (509) 777-4450

Suicide Prevention Hotline

Local: (509) 838-4428

National: 1-800-273-TALK

 

Editorials in the “In the Loop” section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, comprised of five editors.

 

Editorial: IN THE LOOP Decision to close Costa Rica Center unfortunate, but ultimately necessary

The Trustees made the recommendation for Whitworth to close the Costa Rica campus and sell the property. We think that while it is unfortunate that the university will lose an asset, it is a good decision. The Costa Rica Center opened in fall of 2010, but did not meet expectations in regards to student and faculty involvement.

While the goal of the Costa Rica Center involved “advancing a long-term university goal to increase cross-cultural learning opportunities for students while also adding affordable capacity for anticipated enrollment growth,” according to a Whitworth press release, the impact was limited to the few students who took advantage of the additional campus, although the students who have attended certainly contributed to that goal.

None of the decision makers involved ever expressed a doubt about the quality of the programming, which is what made the issue so difficult. If the quality and future of the university as a whole is sacrificed for a program with a relatively low percentage of student and faculty involvement, such a program is an overall disadvantage to the university.

Whitworth would be better served to increase development of its real estate in Spokane in order to account for the goal of an increased student population. Perhaps the funds generated from the selling of the Costa Rica property will allow the university to move forward with that goal here in Spokane.

Additionally, with the budget no longer in crisis, the university will be able to focus on increasing the quality of other programs. This will hopefully include other off-campus studies programs the university offers.

Editorial: IN THE LOOP Efforts to bring Condoleezza Rice to Whitworth were worth the challenge

It took a lot of effort from faculty, staff and administration to facilitate former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Spokane and to Whitworth. While the editorial board was initially skeptical of her visit and the effort, costs and controversy associated with it, we have come to the conclusion that the work undertaken to bring her to Whitworth was beneficial. Whitworth gains publicity from the visit of such a high-profile figure. Last year, the fall Presidential Leadership Forum hosted Doris Kearns Goodwin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and attracted an audience of nearly 900 people, according to a Whitworthian article. For Rice, 2,300 people attended, said Maxine Lammers, the director of corporate and foundation relations at Whitworth. It is impressive that, despite Whitworth’s small size, it hosted someone who commands such a high level of attention.

In addition, the event was largely donor-sponsored.  Rice could not have been a cheap guest to accommodate, but student tuition money and the budget were not impacted by bringing her.

Rice’s actions as secretary of state, particularly concerning the war in Iraq, made her a controversial speaker. The University’s actions to bring Rice to speak do not mean that it agrees with her politics or actions, but rather that it is willing to bring potentially controversial topics to campus conversation. A Spokesman Review article criticized the University’s choice of speaker, and there were protesters outside of the convention center on the day Rice spoke. This controversy should not be seen as a bad thing. Students at Whitworth are conscientious enough to realize the difference between what is right and what is wrong when it comes to such blatant ethical and moral violations as those Rice committed.

Editorials in the “In the Loop” section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, comprised of five editors.

Editorial: IN THE LOOP Hong Kong protesters represent a good example for those facing injustice

Thousands of youth protesters have crowded the streets the past weeks in central Hong Kong, demanding increased democracy and universal suffrage. Protesters are responding to China’s refusal to allow open selection of candidates for the leader of Hong Kong, according to USA Today. The first “democratic” election is scheduled for 2017, for which a panel of Chinese officials will select the candidates. One banner created by protesters read, “don’t want fake democracy.”

Although issues in the U.S. are usually not as severe as China’s untrustworthy Communist regime, the youth culture here can still learn from student-led protests. Students in America are not as involved in politics as students in other countries are, or at least not as involved as they should be. For example, in 2012, only 38 percent of citizens aged 18-24 voted in the presidential election, and that is not the lowest percentage, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Hong Kong citizen and 17-year-old Joshua Wong has been called the symbol of democracy across the city by the New York Times, and is one of the leaders of the protests. This student, not even of voting age , exemplifies what students should be in any government.

Many of the older generation in Hong Kong, especially those old enough to remember the massacre at Tiananmen Square in 1989, do not approve of the protests for fear of aggravating the Chinese government for what they believe to be a lost cause, according to a TIME article.

While people have reason to be wary, the protesters are right and brave in their decisions to stand firm in their positions. If the government resorts to force to remove them from the streets, hopefully they will have the sense to keep themselves safe. Until then, those students remain powerful role models for anyone who is faced with an injustice.

Editorials in the “In the Loop” section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, comprised of five editors.

In the Loop: Equal pay should be reached to promote equality nationally

Gender equality has long been an issue not only in the U.S., but around the world. Back in April 2014, senate Republicans voted against equal pay for men and women— an unthinkable act of discrimination in this era. Even though the bill was voted against back in April, it continues to be a contentious topic. Considering that the average working woman in America earns around 70 cents for every dollar that a man earns in the same job, working the same amount of hours, it’s confusing as to how this is still an issue. Republicans have said that the bill that was presented was redundant, according to the New York Times. If it was redundant, we would not have the need to present a bill to close the pay gap.

The bill, called the Paycheck Fairness Act, would remove the illegality of discussing wages in the workplace and require workplaces to submit what they pay employees to the Equal Opportunity Commission. This would bring transparency to workers’ pay and allow workers who are in the same or similar position to others in their company or workplace to demand fair and equal pay, regardless of gender, beliefs or any other discriminatory levels.

Equality is not a cat-and-mouse game for political parties to play. It should not be a ploy to win votes or to gain investment and capital for their parties. It is not about more women being Democrats or males being conservative. It is not something to employ stereotypes to garner support.

Everyone should be allowed the opportunity to receive equal pay, regardless of one’s gender, regardless if one decides to have a child, regardless of anything that could impact pay unfairly. It’s 2014. It’s time we see equal opportunity and equal pay in the workplace. We shouldn’t have to plead, beg or protest.

Editorials in the “In the Loop” section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, comprised of five editors.

In the Loop: NFL response to domestic violence too little too late

In response to the domestic violence incident involving former NFL running back Ray Rice and the league’s poor response system, the NFL recently hired three domestic violence experts as league advisors in addition to a former White House official as senior vice president of public policy and affairs. They also promoted their vice president of community affairs and philanthropy to vice president of social affairs and responsibility. All five of them are women. This news comes amidst the onslaught of recently revealed domestic violence cases concerning NFL players and the highly criticized methods of punishment involved. In addition to Ray Rice, players such as Ray McDonald, Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy have been cited for domestic violence. A media storm has risen in response to these incidents branching out to several advertisers seeking to lessen or sever ties with various teams.

While all recent appointees boast extensive qualifications in multiple branches of domestic violence prevention, these efforts to curb the waves of criticism the NFL received are not going to be enough. This may be a step in the right direction, but in order for the NFL to show us in believable fashion that they truly wish to end domestic violence cases in the league, they need to do much more.

They need to go to the source of the problem. They should send a message to Pop Warner football teams, Division I collegiate teams and everything in between that as a man, you need to have the wherewithal to respect women, children and people in general.

The NFL is doing great things by appointing these experts and advisers, but the critics and the disappointed fans will not become a thing of the past until the NFL works with current league players and begins to actively engage with future professionals denouncing horrible acts.

Until then, the NFL will continue to be a league who does not make a priority of denouncing basic character flaws in its employees.

Editorials in the “In the Loop” section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, comprised of five editors.

In the Loop: StewVille dance should transition to freshman-only event

The StewVille Mystery Mix made steps in the right direction toward improving the experience and reputation of the Stewart Lawn Dance. However, taking the modifications further by restricting the dance to only freshmen in future years would be beneficial to students, easier for security and favorable for StewVille’s reputation.

An all-campus dance seems like a fun and exciting way for freshman to connect with returning students. However, most of the attendees are freshman.

Even if all grades were represented evenly, dances are much more fun and energetic than they are social. This approach to integrate freshman with the upperclassman may not be effective. Having an all-freshman dance would also be an appropriate climax to the freshman orientation events that precede it.

This year, the location was moved to a closed-in space and security checked identification before allowing students to enter. The changes were meant to address the safety issues and non-Whitworth students attending, which were both particularly problematic last year.

While these changes were successful and managed well, they would hardly be necessary if only freshmen attended. The dance seemed geared toward freshmen this year anyway, based on the marketing of the Mystery Mix, which involved clues given in the orientation packet and during orientation at freshmen-only events.

Making this change would allow the traditional dance to continue, but would also allow for an improvement in safety by keeping non-Whitworth students or unscrupulous upperclassmen from taking advantage of freshmen. It would also provide a way for freshmen to be integrated into university life more effectively.

Last year’s events significantly damaged the reputation of the Stewart Lawn Dance. Reputations and trust are not easy to get back. If the event were to be renovated completely, by making it an all-freshman event, it could repair the identity of the dance.

Editorials in the “In the Loop” section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, comprised of five editors.