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.

Letter to the Editor: More diversity needed in Core 350

Whitworth Community,

Last semester, I studied in the Czech Republic, where I was provided with literature by a variety of authors, with different backgrounds and perspectives. I felt as though my knowledge of other cultures, worldviews and opinions grew tremendously as I was forced to read from a perspective I had not considered before, or defend my views against an opinion I had not faced before.

As I head back to Whitworth for my final year, I am faced once again with learning from a single, biased perspective. This surfaced after receiving my Core 350 reading packet. I flipped through it and realized that not one passage was written by a woman. It is primarily written by white Christian men (who I assume to be straight and cisgender). For me, a bisexual white woman, to feel frustration and exhaustion about this, must be nothing compared to students who are, for example, hispanic, black, atheist, transgender or gay, and are learning from professors and authors who are nothing like them. This problem is not isolated to Core 350; it is just one of the many Whitworth courses that lack diversity.

I ask that professors be thoughtful when deciding what literature to use, and be proactive in assuring that Whitworth provides students with a well-rounded, its diverse and challenging education. This can only occur if perspectives of all kinds are examined, leading students to form a worldview that comes from critical thinking, rather than acceptance of a “norm.”

Sincerely,

Megan Hinzdel

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. 

Enaction of Obamacare to have unintended negative impact on student employment

When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, a cloud of mystery surrounded the bill. People of all political persuasions spewed out divisive rhetoric, leaving many Americans, including myself, uncertain about how the bill would impact our country’s tepid economy. Lawmakers were confused about what the bill actually meant. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the house at the time, infamously stated, “We have to pass the bill so that we can find out what is in it.”

Now, as the bill is finally being enacted, we can get a clearer picture of what to expect. So far, it does not look promising. As a senior who will soon face the realities of the job hunt, I have many concerns about the effects of the bill, but its impact on the labor market troubles me the most.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, all employers will be required to pay for health insurance if they have more than 50 full-time workers (defined as 30 hours per week) or face a penalty. Unfortunately, many employers will maneuver around this law in one of two ways. They will either cut hours to below 30, or small companies will keep less than 50 employees, reducing growth.

A Gallup poll in 2013 found that 41 percent of small companies have retracted plans to hire new employees and 19 percent have already laid off part of their workforce. Additionally, a report from the Cato Institute claims that “Americans working 25 to 29 hours per week in their primary job rose by 119,000, or 2.7 percent.” The House Ways and Means Committee issued a report that stated our economy has added seven part-time workers for every full-time worker, indicating that employers are reluctant to hire full-time workers.

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While I had seen statistics such as these in the news, bleak reality of the law finally hit me this summer. As a team member at Jamba Juice, I heard my manager explicitly state that she planned to cut everyone’s hours below 30 in the fall to avoid penalties come Jan. 1.

For those working a minimum wage job, such as my Jamba Juice position, cutting workers’ hours could be detrimental. Despite working a full 40 hours a week, I know that I could not have sustained myself on that income. To hit a minimum living wage in King County, where I worked, one would need to make $20,054 per year before taxes according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator. If a child is added to the equation, the minimum living wage escalates to $42,711. According to my calculations, 40 hours per week at minimum wage ($9.32) would only provide $19,386 before taxes. If an employee’s hours get cut down to 29, he or she will only make $14,055. Clearly, this level of income is not sustainable.

While this bill was crafted with the purpose of bettering the state of our health care, it is riddled with unintended consequences. Ultimately, it will create a vicious cycle of unemployment and financial dependence. As companies adjust their employment strategies, those of us entering the labor force will find a sparse full-time job market. Many will end up either with a job that does not make ends meet or completely jobless. As a result, they will have to rely on either government assistance or their families to pay the bills. For some, this will remove the incentive to find full-time employment. Thus, we need to reform our healthcare system in a way that empowers companies to hire and maintain full-time workers.

Lindsey Hubbart

Columnist

Contact Lindsey Hubbart at lhubbart15@my.whitworth.edu

 

Tuition reform is needed to keep student debt down

According to the National Center of Education Statistics, the national average of a private, four-year college was $6,330 in 1981. Taking inflation into account, the equivalent cost of $6,330 today would be $15,306, yet in 2012 the national average was $33,716. Even with accounting for inflation, the cost of college has more than doubled in three decades.

How does this apply to Whitworth? I love everything about Whitworth—that’s why I’m here. Everything, that is, except for the money. One would expect that, after paying almost $50K, that would be the end of his or her college-related expenses. Yet dispersed around student life are many exasperating trivialities to further sap your bank account after you’ve already handed over your life savings.

Three-ring binders and spiral notebooks at the Whitworth bookstore are more than twice the price of similar quality material that can be found at nearby chain stores, which is to say nothing of the cost of the textbooks themselves. Surely the $4,000 you forked over for half a bedroom covers your laundry expenses? No? Does the $33,000 of tuition money cover the cost of printing assignments for your classes? Nope. It’s these minor expenditures, these little ways to slowly drain you to your last cent, that rile me.

Hannah Walker | Graphic Artist

To speak favorably of our beloved Whitworth, it does provide a tremendous amount of financial aid to its students. The average financial aid for an incoming freshman this school year is $31,897, and, remarkably, 100% of the class is receiving aid. With nearly $32,000 deducted from the $47,908, the cost of Whitworth would appear to be roughly $16,000 a year—a price relatively low when compared to other private institutions and even some state universities. Wendy Olson, Director of Financial Aid stated, “The 2014 graduates from Whitworth, who began as a freshman and borrowed student loans, will be leaving with $26,132 in average student loan debt. This includes evey type of student loan that the student borrowed, whether from the federal Department of Education or a private lender. This figure does not include any federal PLUS loans which would have been borrowed by a parent.”

Whitworth does indeed do a lot for its students and it can do even more. It can make its bookstore a place that students actually want to spend money, instead of a place that they use only as a distasteful last resort. Provide better, or at the very least, similar prices on supplies and books than the competition! Drop the extraneous charges for printing paper and laundry! Still, these measurements are but small steps. What about the big picture, the disproportionate inflation of college costs as a whole?

What I’d love to say is that Whitworth could lead the charge in dropping tuition prices to reflect what they should be, but I don’t hold any real hope for that in the near future. The cost of college is a national problem, and will take a national movement to resolve. Whether the state or federal government will take action is for the constituents to decide. Whitworth’s students have a history of being activists instead of bystanders. Let the recovery of affordable college—that doesn’t haunt you with debt—be the next great endeavor. Publicly protest the rising cost of college that is disproportionate to inflation. Social media, emails and letters to government officials, organized discussions and solution-seeking: All are excellent methods for taking a stand. Only when the muttering under your breath is shouted will it be heard.

 Matthew Boardman

Columnist

Contact Matthew Boardman at mboardman18@my.whitworth.edu

NFL commissioner fumbles Rice incident

After several years of controversial rule changes and a tight grasp on the reigns of the league, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is scrambling in the pocket.

With Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon suing the NFL for a yearlong suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy by using marijuana, the NFL was already taking heat for the two-game suspension of Ray Rice for domestic violence. The conversation was brought to a climax on Monday when the video of Rice punching his wife, Janay Rice surfaced on the Internet.

As if that weren’t enough, word has gotten out in the media realm that the NFL was sent the footage in April, although the claim has been denied by Goodell and the League. The NFL is off to a terrible start this season and something has to change.

Roger Goodell will go down as one of the worst commissioners in the history of the NFL. With all of the rule changes and attention that Goodell has put on penalties during his time as the commissioner; he is drunk with power. Regardless of whether or not the League had the footage, I am confident that a general consensus would agree with me in saying that striking a woman is a much greater crime than smoking the ol’ reefer. Would anybody care to disagree? According to his decision, Roger Goodell would.

Now, to talk about Ray Rice... Where should I start? Should I go on a long, fiery rant for the feminists? Should I use some kind of big language to describe a disturbing and almost haunting video clip? I don’t need to do any of that. Ray Rice punched his wife multiple times in an elevator, and knocked her out cold with a left hook. She fell, hit her head on the elevator rail and lay limp on the floor. It is a horrifying crime no matter how you describe it. Ray Rice, just like anyone else who has done something like this, should be in jail.

As the NFL tries to gather themselves from a reality check that has sent the League jolting into the 21st century, Goodell, for the first time, has seen that he is not invincible. At a certain point, common sense and reason will prevail, and the outrage at this situation manifests that clearly. Here at Whitworth, our community does an excellent job of avoiding situations like this with programs like Green Dot and the emergency call systems around campus. But unfortunately, it is still an issue in our world, no matter what you do for a living or how much money you make prt year. With all of that being said, I will conclude with this. If you play fantasy football, my opinion is that you should pick up the CURRENTLY suspended Josh Gordon. Just saying...

Max Carter

Columnist

Contact Max Carter at mcarter16@my.whitworth.edu