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EDITORIAL: Pima needs to find balance

EDITORIAL: Pima needs to find balance

Perhaps not surprisingly, Pima Community College maintains its position between a rock and a hard place. With a constricting budget and distractions brought on through various audits, the college has found little time to focus on students.

That has to change. Students are the ones who have the most to lose.

In this issue, we cover a major problem faced by many of Pima’s student veterans. They have not received funding from their GI Bill, which must be authorized through the college based on their degree program.

This delay has affected the lives of student veterans who rely on their GI Bill to sustain a living, not dissimilar to students who rely on scholarships to pay rent, insurance or buy food.

Among other issues, this suggests a disconnect between administrators and students, resulting in a misunderstanding of needs.

Not only does this disconnect affect students in their learning experience, it lowers morale. Education should provide students with a sense of pride and a feeling of worth.

To have the  administrators of PCC seemingly down-playing the requirements of student success leds to an impression of  ambivalence and under appreciation .

To solve this problem, the college must place students as a higher priority and understand exactly what their average student needs.

But, prioritizing within an organization as large as PCC can be difficult. With a large student body, multiple campuses and a large population of veterans there are many places where error could occur.

“We can’t afford to fail an audit, because then we won’t have any veterans to worry about certifying,” Daniel Kester, Pima’s executive director of veterans services, said in regards to the most recent issues plaguing student veterans.

College administrators must think carefully about the choices they make and how those choices affect the students.

Fortunately, in the wake of the probation under the Higher Learning Commission, Pima has experienced substantial turnover in the upper echelons of administration.

“The people that caused these problems are long gone,” Kester said.

In addition to a streamlined system for certifying student veterans, the college is well on its way in the right direction to correcting this problem.

This won’t be the last time the college comes under scrutiny for its actions.

Somewhere in between keeping Pima open and oblivion lies a middle ground, which can be both attractive to potential students and financially viable.

This editorial was written on behalf of the Aztec Press editorial board by co-editors in chief Nick Meyers and Jamie Verwys.

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There are no gay flags in foxholes

There are no gay flags in foxholes

A gay-friendly flag on display at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base has been in the news lately.

A wounded Iraq war veteran argued on his social media blog that the flag illegally parodies the American flag, violating Title 4 of the U.S. Code regarding flag etiquette.

His comments reveal a more sinister edge when he cites responses from military personnel who thanked him for saying what they could not.

Active-duty personnel should not feel restrained from arguing flag etiquette, but some may choose to stay silent in expressing anti-gay positions.

Others feel the gay-themed flag is an expression of pride in both country and military service. The rainbow-themed American flag is an expression by gay military of pride in an organization that recently paved the way for more rights.

Throughout history, thousands of gay and lesbian service members have served proudly and honorably.

They fought in wars, losing their limbs, their loved ones and their lives.

Imagine those who could not mourn openly for partners who died fighting for their country. Imagine the tragic love stories forcefully thrown away.

Trying to deny gay service members their right to celebrate their love of country, and honor the service of past and present gay service members, is truly un-American.

It has been argued the gay-themed flag does not conform to the flag etiquette.

However, states in the south proudly fly confederate flags to the dismay of African-Americans and those who view these displays as sanction of the slave trade before emancipation.

It is not possible to rationally argue that flying a gay-themed flag on a military base should not be allowed while flying the flag of the confederacy should be celebrated.

The basic rights of free speech enshrined in the U.S. Constitution are one of the most sacred in our democracy.

People across this great country hold varied opinions on every topic worthy of discussion.

Americans fly countless flags in support of causes, people and love of our country. Those who wish to protect the liberty of all should denounce specious arguments denying those rights. This country has no room for enemies in its foxholes.

And while it may seem like gays have come a long way, look again: Blacks were freed in the 1860s, yet in the 1950s they were still forced to sit at the back of city buses. Gay rights are in its infancy, with a long and winding road ahead.

For now, I have picked a comfortable seat at the back of my rainbow bus.

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Emery Nicoletti

Nicoletti recently celebrated 30 years with his partner Scott, an ex-military officer. They are contemplating marriage but don’t want to rush into anything.

 

 

 

 

 

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Cartoon B.S. – By Zack Ledesma

 

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FROM THE EDITOR: Always reach out for the stars

FROM THE EDITOR: Always reach out for the stars

By JAMIE VERWYS

When I am not busy writing, conducting interviews or putting together the newspaper, I am deep in the trenches of the food service industry. I make a lot sandwiches, and I’ve been making sandwiches for a hell of a long time.

Often when I reach up for a rag to wipe the oil and lemon juice from my hands, I wonder if all those voices saying ‘reach for the stars’ ever struggled from the low space under an oven.

It’s easy to forget that humans have proven time and time again that we can soar to great heights. The limitations of the heavens don’t mean we can’t propel ourselves to greater things.

The problem is they don’t always tell us that wishing upon a star doesn’t toss our dreams neatly into our laps. Building a ladder to a better life takes time and practice.

Being a student opens us up to a plethora of opportunities to be seized but they will float away if we don’t figure out to how to catch them. Not much in this world is free and improving your current situation may cost you some work.

The effort is well spent, considering you receive the possibilities of better pay, jobs, health and networking with a bonus treat of fulfillment.

There is no opportunity too small to bear fruit. At Pima Community College, there are a wide range of clubs based around everything from academia to anime. All it takes to expand your knowledge is to attend a meeting.

How is hanging out with strangers going to get you anywhere? You may certainly pick up some new, applicable skills and a compelling complement to your resume. You never know. The people you meet may open up new doors for you.

Internships and volunteering are also wonderful pieces to add to your “best-me-ever toolbox.”

Even if you aren’t getting paid, you are gaining experience that could be the factor determining if you or the other guy gets hired.

Don’t be afraid to take some leaps of faith. You will never know if you don’t try. Trust me, I used to spend a lot of time dangling my feet over the edge, gazing out on my vision of the future too frightened or tired to reach out and take it.

It’s OK if you fall on your face. Dust yourself off and learn to make your landing stronger every time.

It’s true what they say. You can be anything you want to be. But a wish is only a launching point. Take every opportunity you can.

Now you can take the opportunity to enjoy this issue. I just wanted to get one more “opportunity” in there. Even better, that’s two.

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Give future leaders the right tools

Give future leaders the right tools

The world is getting smaller and social media made it so.

We hear news of wars almost daily, and know what’s happening across the continents within seconds. World leaders convene to plan how to stop terrorism that threatens peace and stability.

American people are getting tired of war. Sending boots on the ground becomes an illusion. It’s a short-term strategy with short-term results.

In January, world leaders attended the World Economic Forum held in Switzerland. One speaker was U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who laid out issues we need to confront.

“We can’t shy away from reality,” Kerry said. “There is a potential threat everywhere. It has to be stopped.”

Commitment to a long-term plan is needed to eradicate threats, Kerry told the audience. He emphasized that the bottom line is getting everyone involved.

“We can’t rely on government resources alone,” Kerry said. “We need non-government organizations, foundations, corporations, philanthropists, faith-based organizations and private sectors.”

What should we do as citizens of the world?

How do we conquer fears, uncertainties and a bleak future as we try to live a normal life? How do we get involved in the community? How do we restore hope to victims of injustice? How do we confront poverty? How do we eradicate diseases and eliminate ignorance?

To be a part of the solution, we first need leadership training. It’s good to know that Pima Community College Student Life offers a Leadership Training Program. Young people, adults and even retirees coming back to school can sign up to participate.

An AZTEC Gold Program offers advanced training. Participants are assigned to make a small difference in some aspect of the community. They diagnose the symptoms and get to the root of the problem, find the need and work on social change.

These emerging leaders will be trained to treat people fairly and address issues of concern. They are the future builders of our community, our nation and the world.

I see a glimmer of hope. We can’t give up. Peace can be reached and it has to start from you and me.

Let’s be mindful. Sometimes we pass each other but we don’t see each other. Let’s fill in the vacuum. Where there’s desperation, we intervene. This is our challenge. We can’t give up.

Where there’s a need, we come in and make the situation better than before. That’s how we help fix and repair the world.

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Kit B. Fassler

 

Fassler believes there’s always a solution to every problem. We just need the right tools.  Education and continuing leadership training are some of the best tools to realize a vision and make the world a better place to live

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Equality demands a much needed end to wage gaps

Equality demands a much needed end to wage gaps

By KATIE STEWART

When living in a man’s world, women have the unwanted opportunity to be paid less in this “equal” society.

On average, a woman makes 78 cents to a male’s dollar, which is equal to a solid 22 percent wage gap between men and women, according to the Insitute for Women’s Policy Research.

This implies that women in society are not capable enough to earn the same wages as men. That has been one of many issues that unfairly separates the equality of men and women.

It doesn’t stop with gender differences either. The wage gap is determined by race as well.

In the article “The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap,” Catherine Hill says women of different races get paid a substantially lower amount than the typical Caucasian female.

“For all women of color, the pay shortfall is worse,” Hill writes. “Asian American women’s salaries show the smallest gender pay gap, at 90 percent of white men’s earnings.”

When will this country of “equality” start to understand that women of all races are just as capable as men, and need to be paid the same?

An article, “Women in the Professional Workforce,” from the Department for Professional Employees AFL-CIO website shows how women work longer than men for their degrees in the workforce.

“Women are earning post-secondary degrees at a faster rate than men are, yet a wage gap persists,” dpeaflcio.org said.

As a working woman in retail, I experience wage discrimination.

I work beside a male co-worker with a similar job description and years of experience. He makes about $1.50 an hour more than I do. The wage gap means I must work more hours just to get by.

The long hours have strained my relationships with both families and friends. Sometimes I don’t have enough time for my studies, which will provide my future career.

Businesses around the U.S. need to provide equal pay for all. That is the true definition of “equality.”

Stewart wants all wage gaps between races and genders to be eliminated.

Pg06-Opinion-Katie Stewart

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Cartoon: ICK THE GERM

Cartoon: ICK THE GERM

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By Sierra J. Russell

 

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HEARTS DIVIDED

HEARTS DIVIDED

Valentine’s Day rules
By ALEX FRUECHTENICHT

When mid-February rolls around, we can divide people into two groups: those who like Valentine’s Day and those who don’t. Many people fall into the not-so-keen group, but not me.

I agree with those who say the day is just another worthless holiday in the grand scheme of things. However, Valentine’s Day is still important to me.

My girlfriend and I have been together for four years and couldn’t be happier. While I concur that you shouldn’t need an excuse to get a gift for someone you love, it sure as hell doesn’t hurt to get them one for the occasion.

Now you might be thinking, “Oh, that’s so materialistic.” You’d be right if you are thinking of just going out and buying a gift. But you can do so many other things as far as gift giving.

I’m a poor college kid and can’t buy my girlfriend many physical gifts. Thankfully, I’ve got many things I can do for her instead.

Here are a few of my suggestions:

Make their favorite or pre-recommended dish for dinner, with some music playing and candles lit in the background. You can write a card and dance with them to smooth jazz in your living room.

So what does all that equate to when I say I like Valentine’s Day? Easy, it gives me an excuse to have a romantic night with the girl I love.

If you’re in a relationship with someone you really care about, you already know.

If you’re single or in a crappy relationship or just flat-out don’t like Valentine’s Day, then that’s completely your opinion.

But, I know first-hand how romance can make the day better for the one you love.

Isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is all about?

Fruechtenicht, an avid gamer and prolific lover, has collected enough heart pieces in “The Legend of Zelda” to increase his overall life energy.

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Aztec Press by Larry Gaurano


Singles ruin the holiday

By TANISHA KNUTZEN

Happy couples aren’t the problem on Valentine’s Day. It’s all the single people who ruin it.

When Beyoncé tells all the single ladies to put their hands up, I do what she says. But, while we keep our hands in the air 364 days of the year, there is one day when Beyoncé’s advice is no longer wise.

Single Awareness Day, also referred to as Valentine’s Day, is a day filled with so much negativity and gloom that I should grab a knife just to cut some sunshine through.

We get it, you’re single. But why does it need to be so brutally apparent on this day?

Stop ruining a beautiful day just because you’re surrounded by cheesy couples going on dates and feeding each other chocolate-dipped strawberries.

Yes, that sounds delicious but I guarantee any store will still sell them to you, even if you are single and only have plans to feed them to yourself and your cat.

There’s so much social and personal pressure to have a valentine. We accept the idea that we’re socially unacceptable unless we can share an overly priced dinner and swap Hallmark gifts.

I think that idea is rather ridiculous.

We should learn to embrace every aspect of our lives, even if they’re not quite chick-flick approved.

Maybe it is a day dedicated to couples and love but if you look past all of that, you’ll realize that Beyoncé’s song is still playing on the radio and candy will be 50 percent off the next day.

What’s not to love about that?

So put those hands back up in the air, damn it, and wave them like you just don’t care about Valentine’s Day.

You’re single and free. Embrace it.

Knutzen wants you stop moping because you don’t have a significant other to spend Valentine’s Day with. Spend time instead having fun with your friends.

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HEALTH CARE SIGN-UP Feb. 15 deadline nears

HEALTH CARE SIGN-UP Feb. 15 deadline nears

By EMERY NICOLETTI

Connor Tate, a 22-year-old dual Pima Community College and University of Arizona student, has “Obamacare” figured out — well, depending on your point of view.

Despite the Feb. 15, enrollment deadline for President Barack Obama’s health care reform legislation, also known officially as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Tate has decided he is not going to sign up.

He believes particular mandates incorporated within the law have caused the cost of insurance to skyrocket for the young. “Why should I get it?” he asks. “The fine for not getting it is only $95.”

He expresses frustration with what he feels are health care procedures that are outrageously overpriced. “Right now I pay out of pocket. If anything catastrophic happens I can always sign up on my parent’s health plan,” Tate said.

Since Tate knows he can no longer be singled-out for pre-existing health conditions, he has calculated his financial options, “For now, I’d rather pay out-of-pocket,” he said.

Danielle Neal, 20, a business major at PCC isn’t too worried about insurance right now. Fortunately, she’s under the umbrella of her parent’s insurance plan until she turns 26. She is certain she will obtain her own insurance independently or through her workplace in the future.

She states she realizes the importance of health coverage and knows she will always have it. “You never know,” she says.

It is difficult to understand that under the current U.S. health care system it is possible to be forced into bankruptcy and to spend your life savings on paying for treatment for a disease or a condition that is simply out of your control.

Director of Provider Outreach in the Department of U.S. Health and Human Services, Matt Heinz, has advice for Pima students.

“Like education, health insurance is an important investment we must make for the future so that we can live long healthy and productive lives without fear of financial ruin from an unexpected injury or illness,” he said.

The subject of health care, primarily the Affordable Care Act, is a complex issue.

Creating a health care system for a country where health care has long been a choice is not only a complicated journey for some of the world’s brightest health care consultants, but it’s also a very upsetting task for those enrolling in the program itself.

With that being said, it will definitely take time to work out the imperfections. And while there may be much criticism along the way, Americans must realize that insurance works best when everybody has it.

In a broader context, the act has led to a robust discussion of the “right vs. privilege” debate in health care.

Should every American be afforded the right to health care and insurance coverage? Or, is it a privilege afforded only to those that have the means to pay for insurance or the treatments?

An argument can be made that much of the overall health of any one individual is determined genetically and out of their control. Other diseases or conditions may be influenced by environmental factors under the control of the individual, for instance, diet, smoking habits or

weight.

Not surprisingly, despite “affordable” being in the title of the act, most of the discussion on the benefits of Obamacare have centered on the increased access to health care. A number of provisions in the Act expressly improve access for millions of Americans.

ACA addresses the access and affordability of health care in numerous ways as previously discussed, but “What does it do for the overall cost of health care?” After all, part of the reason for enacting the ACA was to address the increasing costs of care and to “bend the cost

curve.”

One of the reasons for our increasingly expensive health care is related to the way in which we pay our doctors and hospitals for the services they provide.

Compared to other developed countries we don’t visit the doctor more. It just costs us more.

In Germany for instance, people visit the doctor an average of 9.7 times per year compared to 4.1 per year in the U.S.

Currently, there is little concern in the present system for the quality of care and outcome each of these services provide. However, the ACA seeks to “bend the cost curve” by using pilot programs in Medicare that pay doctors and hospitals for the quality of the care they provide

rather

than the quantity of services.

Health care provider structures, such as accountable care organizations, or ACOs, bring together physicians, hospitals and insurance companies in arrangements that encourage shared accountability for the cost and quality of care.

The rationale for providing no out of pocket costs for many preventive services is also intended to decrease the nation’s overall health care spend. Accessing and using more preventive screenings is intended to nip in the bud many costly diseases and the resulting use of health

care resources.

“Taking preventive measures to insure the proper protection of our bodies is really the way to go,” said Health Net Pharmacy Services Vice-President Scott Wert. “The American Southwest is second in the world for malignant melanoma and many Southern Arizona transplants of

northern European descent do not take preventive measures with sunscreen.”

Remember, preventive measures, certain cancer screening and colonoscopies are also examples of services intended to improve the lives of Americans, and reduce our overall health care costs.

The deadline for this open enrollment period is Feb. 15.

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Fatma Ersouly: She and her husband both want children. They realize medical care during pregnancy is expensive, so they signed up for the Affordable Care Act.

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David Todirita David Todirita: He’s currently on his parent’s health plan. ACA is not a priority, but he recognizes its importance. He says he’s only been to the hospital maybe five times in his life.

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Danielle Neal: She is under her parents’ insurance coverage until she’s 26. She plans on obtaining her own insurance after she no longer qualifies for her parent’s coverage.

 

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FREE COLLEGE EDUCATION Is proposal dead on arrival?

FREE COLLEGE EDUCATION Is proposal dead on arrival?

By TANISHA KNUTZEN

Millions of students struggle to pay college tuition. Even when the books are closed, graduation caps are tucked away and classes are over, there is a large black cloud of debt that remains in session.

President Obama has created a plan to help replace those black clouds of debt with the sunny skies of free education.

On Jan. 8, Obama announced his proposal to give two free years of community college tuition to those willing to put in the effort and enroll in classes towards transferring or training to enter the workforce.

Obama outlined his plan to several hundred students and faculty at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tenn.

“This isn’t a blank check. It’s not a free lunch,” Obama said. “But for those who are willing to do the work, and the states that want to be a part of this, it can be a game-changer.”

This “game-changer” has the ability to positively affect the lives of roughly 9 million college students, by opening up new doors and opportunities that are out of reach because of the many dollar signs attached.

So what does this mean for Pima Community College’s students?

By putting this proposal into effect, Pima students will have the opportunity to attend a variety of classes, which will be easily transferable to the University of Arizona or any chosen university, at no cost to them.

This would save a Pima student, taking 12 credit hours, roughly $786 per semester and $1,572 annually, which is considerably lower than the estimated national total.

The federal government will take care of three-quarters of tuition and if Arizona makes the choice to participate, they will be expected to fund the remaining balance, therefore paying a student’s tuition in full.

By having community college paid for, Pima students will have more money in their pockets for housing, living expenses and to further their college education at the university. With less worry about finances, students will have more time to focus on classes.

The proposal would have guidelines in order to receive the benefits, including:

-Students must be enrolled in a community college at least half-time

-Maintain a 2.5 GPA

-Students must enroll in programs that fully transfer to universities or occupational training programs.

If this proposal becomes law, the U.S.  could see a positive increase in the work force and substantial decrease in debt. Student debt has reached $1.2 trillion dollars, which accounts for 6 percent of America’s financial liability.

Nicholas Wyman, CEO of Institute for Workplace Skills and Innovation touches on the program’s potential and the positive effect it could have on the nation in a recent online article from Quartz.

“Aside from helping to ease the heavy burden of student’s debt that’s gripping our nation, this program has the potential to be one of the most positive and powerful steps in narrowing the ever-growing skills gap in America,” Wyman said.

Pima Community College Chancellor Lee Lambert also expressed his excitement for the proposed plan on his online blog.

“One of the best aspects of the plan is that it rewards achievement. Students would qualify as long as they maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average,” Lambert said.

“Another commendable part of the proposal is that students of all ages will benefit, not only recent high school graduates. This is especially relevant for PCC, where the average age of our students is 27.”

It’s refreshing to see that the president of our nation is recognizing the positive benefits that a solid education can have on individuals and our nation as a whole but what are the chances that this proposal will grow wings and actually fly?

Pima Educational Support Faculty and student counselor, Todd Slaney, addressed the issue with slight skepticism.

The questions about where the money will be coming from and the standards that eligible students are being held to, came into play.

“I think that the students, who come to community college, traditionally if you look at that, might qualify for the same type, if not better, tuition benefits because they might be Pell eligible.” Slaney said. “I’m a skeptic and I believe the money is going to come from the same pot.”

When program qualifications were addressed, Slaney felt that the required 2.5 GPA seemed a little low.

He said the program should be more competitive and give Pima students more of an incentive to keep their GPAs higher.

Obama’s plan has been striking the attention of our nation, like wildfire, with both supportive and opposing feedback.

Congressional leaders have also said the proposal has no chance of passing.

In his recent State of Union address, Obama expressed his desire to see his nation flourish. “Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well?” he asked.

“Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?”

This proposal for free college tuition has its feet in the right direction but now it’s time to begin taking the steps forward to make the positive changes necessary for students across the nation and especially students at Pima.

“The impact would be quite significant for Pima,” Lambert said in a recent interview with Arizona Public Media.

“I haven’t run the numbers, but I suspect given the demographics of students we have, many of which need support and the resources that come with federal financial aid to attend, this would make a big difference for them.”

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Aztec Press Illustration by Zack Ledesma

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Free speech must be equal

Free speech must be equal

The Jan. 7 attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, which resulted in the deaths of 12 people, including several journalists, has forced artists and others around the world to ask some tough questions about freedom of expression and religious tolerance.

The surviving editors pressed on, printing another caricature of Muhammad on its cover a week after the massacre, despite earlier depictions of Islam’s prophet being a reason the publication was attacked in the first place.

Many in the Muslim world decried the response, with some even saying the murders were justified due to the journalists’ blasphemous depictions of their prophet, which is forbidden in their religion.

While it is perfectly acceptable to dislike an artists’ work, violence is not and should never be an appropriate response to a difference of opinions. Don’t like someone’s art or writing? Create your own that shows your distaste. Hurting or killing them must not be tolerated.

The right to free speech is necessary and vital to a democratic and prosperous society. Even if the majority disagrees with what people have to say, we must allow them to have their own view. We can mock them, enlighten them or ignore them. But we must allow them their opinion.

Speech should be limited only when it is used to blatantly cause harm, to threaten injury or death. The right cannot be absolute without anarchy.

The capacities to criticize, satirize and demonize those in authority require preservation, even encouragement, to protect a healthy, well-rounded civilization from tyranny.

Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi knows the cost of free expression firsthand, as he endured a public flogging at the hands of his government on blasphemy charges. His unjust punishment serves as a powerful, dangerous example of why free speech must be preserved.

Some argue that the work of Charlie Hebdo and others go too far, or that those who engage in similar speech, such as anti-Semitic comedians, don’t receive the same treatment. But the magazine lampooned other religions besides Islam, including mocking Pope Francis.

Unequivocally, the rules of free speech and expression must be applied equally. If one world leader, culture or ethnicity is fair game, they all should be. Once we start declaring what can and cannot be critiqued, we start descending into a Draconian nightmare.

Journalists, artists and others in the media could be more mindful of the impact of their work and realize they could very well be feeding into a perception on which they were merely intending to provide commentary. Attacking minorities and persecuted groups should not be what our profession is about.

This does not translate to self-censorship, merely self-awareness. We must continue to balance what can be said with what should be said, and use the power of speech for the right reasons.

Paxton may not agree with what you say, but he will defend to the death your right to say it. Je suis Charlie.

Web-Andrew Paxton

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Why not male contraception?

Why not male contraception?

Birth control created a giant step forward for women’s rights. It provided options beyond being a baby machine.

As an educated and responsible woman of the 21st century, I can say with certainty that I do not want children right now. No one else can make that decision for me, so I take birth control.

But it is clear from policy makers who oppose abortion and birth control rights that the female body is still not completely safe from regulation.

I ask a standard feminist question: If men were the ones who became pregnant, would any of these men in power put up blockages to contraception?

What would happen to the world, on a cultural and biological level, if men were the ones responsible for contraception?

With a developing, long-term male contraceptive in the works for release in 2017, men might very well be able to make that choice.

Vasalgel is a reversible, non-hormonal injection that works by inserting a polymer contraceptive directly into the vas deferens, male ducts that carry sperm. Blocking sperm does not require playing around with testosterone, and does not reduce the actual production of sperm.

By contrast, female contraceptives often rely on altering hormones to interfere with ovulation, which can cause serious side effects and reduce future fertility.

One of the most popular options for women is the pill, which must be taken daily and is not always covered by health insurance. According to womenshealth.gov, the pill can increase the risk of heart problems, blood clots, depression and infertility.

Vasalgel will not stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases but if both partners are STD free, it could be a very effective form of birth control.

Male contraception may not be right for everyone and it will take social conditioning to make it normative, but it is an option that should exist.

Some women are simply unable, for financial or physical reasons, to obtain long-term contraception. If there is a way for a man to have a one-time, side effect free, reversible procedure that could reduce unplanned pregnancies, why the hell not?

Verwys believes responsible sexual activity relies on all parties involved. Be safe, communicate and be informed. Male contraception won’t make you less of a man but it might keep the bun out of my oven.

Web-Jamie

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'Girl Rising' provides perspective

‘Girl Rising’ provides perspective

Growing up in the United States, we have been so privileged with so many wonderful things, such as having the opportunity to receive an education at a young age. Yet, we so easily take these things for granted.

School might be a cruel combination of both good and bad, but even through the long days and wide-eyed nights we are so spoiled to have the power of education at our fingertips.

When I think of school, my mind usually flutters toward sleepless nights, hours of non-stop homework and knowing my only social activity is ordering a venti double espresso coffee from some chipper Starbucks worker.

There are many times I find myself complaining about the hard work that comes with taking multiple classes because I’d much rather be on a beach somewhere sipping a slushy adult beverage.

What I didn’t realize is how truly selfish I have been.

I recently came across a documentary called “Girl Rising” that instantly brought a little change and realization into my life.

These stories of nine young girls from developing countries put a spotlight on the selfishness in our society.

We focus on complaints of waking up early for classes or having to read hundreds of pages from textbooks, but there are people in other countries who just wish they were able to read and write.

The mind is a powerful thing but a well-educated mind can change the world.

If other countries were well-educated, the world would be a more established and peaceful place. We would see a difference in the way people live, act and treat others.

“Girl Rising,” illustrates astounding statistics that open your mind.

Here are some numbers to think about:

• 66 million girls are out of school globally.

• School is not free in more than 50 countries.

• A girl with an extra year of education can earn 20 percent more as an adult.

Being an educated woman in a growing society is a powerful tool to have.

While I personally don’t have the ability to change the world overnight, although I sincerely wish I did, I think it’s up to all of us to make positive changes in our world.

I have made a personal vow to complain less about the power and knowledge I am capable of gaining because there are millions of people who would love to be in my shoes and stay up late reading and writing.

I also vow to help make changes in our world, however and wherever I have the chance.

Knutzen wants everyone to appreciate their education and watch “Girl Rising.”

Web-Tanisha

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Heading into a great new year

By NICK MEYERS
and JAMIE VERWYS

Greetings Pima Community College students, employees and community members! Welcome to the semester of Spring 2015.
This semester marks a big change for those of us at the Aztec Press and as we say farewell to long-time Editor-in-Chief Andrew Paxton and usher in two new EICs.
As students, we walk through the trials of academia together. We are deeply connected by the late hours working on homework, cramming for tests and searching for our paths in life.
Without even knowing one another, we understand each other better then we have ever probably noticed.
We have the fortune to live in a time when journalists get a bad rap. For us, personally, it is one of our goals to change this stigma and bring journalism back to its roots to inform and entertain our readers.
In order to do that, however, we need your help. We want to strengthen our relationship with students at Pima as well with other campuses.
We have a responsibility to our news team, to mentor and assist them in any way possible. We have a responsibility to the Aztec Press, to maintain its high journalistic standards and continue as an award winning student publication.
But most of all, we have a responsibility to you, the reader and students of Pima.
If you have a story that you want to talk about, let us know. If you read a story that your particularly enjoyed, or perhaps one you didn’t, leave us a message, drop by the newsroom or leave a comment online at aztecpressonline.com and tell us what you think about Pima news.
This semester we plan to include an in-depth Spotlight feature every issue, as well as online extras.
As the world becomes more and more technology driven, we want to keep up with the whir. We will be featuring more multimedia so you can see stories in action.
As your co-editors-in-chief this semester, we will strive to bring you the most current, accurate information, every issue.
We don’t take this challenge lightly. We take it on with love, hard work, dedication and lots of leg work. We are basically going to stalk our sources until we get all the information we need. All in a day’s work, right?
We do this because we love it and because you have the right to know the truth. This is our college, our future, our voice and a journey we share.
We can’t wait to see what all of you do this semester and the biggest honor will be sharing your stories.
It’s the best way we can help Pima be the best it can be, for all of us.

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LETTERS

LETTERS

Letters

Editor’s note: Students in a WRT 70 class used Issue 6 (Nov. 13-26) to provide the following feedback.

RE: ‘Offer online winter classes’

I totally agree with the Aztec Press editorial stance that Pima Community College should not cancel winter break classes.

Editor-in-chief Andrew Paxton says Pima’s reasoning for eliminating the classes are the expense of keeping the college open for a limited number students and that the classes don’t contribute to the student success rate. Those arguments are a stretch.

For personal reasons, I am on a deadline for completing my studies at Pima. By taking classes during winter break, it would accelerate my time at Pima and allow me to focus on the things that help me meet my goals.

Wanting to hold down costs is understandable, especially since Pima faces financial issues. Serving students should trump that questionable cost-cutting measure when other options are available. Instead of running Pima like a business, student needs should take priority.

Katelyn Young

 

Re: ‘Offer online winter classes’

Editor-in-Chief Andrew Paxton says the college should reconsider its cancellation of winter classes. I disagree.

Classes would be so much harder for students to deal with because of the holiday pressure. The college would also lose money, because it does not have a very good success rate, and the college would be just paying professors for failing students.

Doing the online classes would also be hard, because students have to find time to do the work, and many college kids these days are pretty lazy.

It would also be hard for those who work. They might spend two hours on school, then five to eight hours at work, then come home and do some more schooling, and then on top of all that, they have to help with the holidays and family coming in from out of town.

Hardworking, stressed college students need to just kick back and relax during the breaks.

Nick Laughlin

 

RE: ‘The Word: Who would you gay marry?’

I am disappointed with the question that you chose to post in this article. As a person of the LGBTQ community, I find this article disappointing. It seems to me that you think that gay marriage is a joke.

I wish that people would just understand that all people, no matter their sexual preference, deserve to be treated with respect. People’s feeling should be considered more before posting. Think about how the other person would feel and not yourself. Gays are human, too.

Maria Grey

 

RE: ‘Where’s my Disney Latina doll?’

The column by Mariana Ceja was about why Disney doesn’t have a main Latina princess star, while other ethnicities do have princesses. At the end she said, “I am not asking for nine Hispanic princesses, just one that looks like me.” I agree.

As a child I remember watching cartoons that had different ethnicities, but I never saw one who looks like me: A Native American with brown skin. When I did see a Native American in a cartoon, he would have long hair, light red skin, and a bow and arrow.

I would get excited because I hardly saw Native Americans in cartoons. When I was in elementary school, kids would ask me questions because I’m Native American. They would ask me, “Where’s your pony tail?” or “Will you harm us with your bow and arrow?”

As I grow up, I now realize Native Americans don’t act the same as in cartoons, and all Native Americans are different.

My point is a company like Disney doesn’t care how real Hispanic, Native American or any other ethnicities look and act like. All they care about is making money, and for that younger children get the wrong impression about ethnicities around the world.

Dewey Francisco

 

RE: ‘Justice Department sues PCC’

I have felt a deep sadness that a man who has served this country is denied a promotion due to said services. In short, this is discrimination.

I don’t really agree with denial of promotion and discrimination. I feel like Timothy Stoner should have been given the chance or right to be able to do this job.

Dashawn Reynolds

 

RE: ‘Justice Department sues PCC’

I have a family member who has served in the military, and I am sure that he has never been denied to apply for any positions. It is wrong to deny a fellow officer a promotion to become a police corporal. Officer Timothy Stoner’s rights were violated.

It’s like the chief of police had some sort of grudge against military personnel. She made rude remarks against Officer Stoner and the military, saying that military people are not capable of handling stress.

I agree with Officer Stoner’s remarks that military people are trained to deal and think quickly in stressful situations. To deny an Army/on-duty officer a promotion sounds really discriminatory.

Manuel Mendoza

 

Re: ‘Pima programs educate 600+ refugees annually’

I have read the recent article about the number of refugees attending classes at the El Rio Learning Center. I was surprised that only 600 refugees are in talking, reading and writing classes. I am concerned that this is a low number of refugees when in fact there are many more than that in the Tucson community.

I certainly appreciate the kind words about the refugees gaining an opportunity for an education. However, I urge you to find more resources to include more refugees in the Pima Community College system. Finally, I recommend larger outreach to Tucson’s refugee community.

Abdelrahman Fadou

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Create special holiday memories

Create special holiday memories

By TANISHA KNUTZEN

Now that we’re well into December, I find myself questioning the true meaning of the holiday season. Have we forgotten what this time of year is really all about?

As a society, we focus our attention on the value of the presents surrounding the holiday season, rather than the importance of the people we celebrate with.

The magic that once filled the air on the days leading up to Christmas morning has been lost somewhere along the way of swiping credit cards and wrapping extravagant, unnecessary gifts.

Remember when we looked forward to spending these days with the people we loved most, while unapologetically stuffing our faces with the best food the year had to offer? Why is it that these things no longer hold value?

We’ve become so lost in trying to buy each other perfect gifts that we’ve forgotten the presence of one another.

One of my favorite holiday movies, “Elf,” is a perfect example of this magic. Without a belief in Christmas, Santa can’t deliver presents to the millions of children waiting on him.

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”- Buddy the Elf

Although it might seem rather silly to compare real life to a fictional character like Buddy the Elf, this kind of excitement should bring us back to a simpler reality.

The simplest of times, like when my brothers and I would try to catch Santa coming through the chimney on Christmas Eve. The color of flashing lights that lit up our faces while we sat in front of the fireplace, drinking hot chocolate.

Every moment we spent next to each other was precious.

These types of moments should take precedence. Years from now, when we look back, we’ll remember those times together and forget about presents wrapped in shiny paper.

Instead of focusing on the materialistic side of the holiday season, let’s spotlight various activities that don’t include a price tag. Here are a few of my favorites:

• Cuddling on cold nights.
• Baking cookies while blasting holiday tunes.
• Watching 24 hours of “A Christmas Story.”

We need to stop living in a materialistic world that only provides us with mounds of stress and debt.

Let’s start living in a world filled with the love and laughter of families that simply enjoy spending the holidays together.

Knutzen wants everyone to remember the excitement they once felt about the holidays and appreciate the magic of family, friends and food.

Pg06-Opinion-Tanisha Knutzen

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