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Title IX causes unequal scholarship distribution

May 1, 2015 Opinion, Our View

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Katie Wilborn/The News

Katie Wilborn/The News

Collegiate sports and scholarships go hand in hand. Murray State, along with many other universities, wouldn’t have some of the sports talent it has without the incentive of financial aid. What’s interesting, however, is where those scholarships are actually going.

More than 40 years ago, a federal law was passed with the intention of leveling the playing field – pun intended – of men and women’s sports. This law, Title IX, was created to establish equality between the two genders in both athletics and academics.

This is a lofty goal, and one Murray State isn’t meeting. As of right now, there are more scholarship-funded women’s sports than men’s – three more, to be specific.

The imbalance is due to the fact that Title IX measures “equality” by tabulating the number of individual participants instead of looking at teams as a whole. Team revenue and success are not taken into consideration.

For instance, Murray State’s football team boasts a roster of 98 male athletes. The female equivalent to this team doesn’t exist. … Continue Reading

$25,000 donation more than just a check

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Katie Wilborn/The News

Katie Wilborn/The News

$25,000 will be donated to the Murray State Office of LGBT Programming in the form of a five-year endowment by alumna Kristie Helms and her wife – an investment not just for financial support, but for hope as well.

No matter the benefactor, a donation of any size by alumni means a great deal to the University and to its students. It’s one of the many examples of how we can continue to make a difference at Murray State after we graduate, and we should see more support like this from alumni in all aspects of the University.

According to the Murray State Alumni Association website, more than 66,000 alumni have the opportunity to show this kind of support.

There are 66,000 people who are supposed to be the most loyal and strongest supporters of Murray State. There are 66,000 people who have the best chance of promoting the University by word-of-mouth advocacy among their respective professional and social networks.

Alumni are who we, as current students of Murray State, look up to as role models.

They come back as speakers, professors and mentors to guide us to success after graduation so we, in turn, can do the same. … Continue Reading

GPA requirement change does more good than harm

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Katie Wilborn/The News

Katie Wilborn/The News

Seniors graduating this December are in the final stretch, but there are proving to be a couple bumps in the road along the way.

While the University has attempted to be transparent about these changes, students seem to be taken off guard and frustrated with the decision to raise the Cum laude GPA requirement from 3.3 to 3.4.

For some, frustration is an understatement.

The frustration stems from those who have been under the understanding that the requirement for graduating with Cum laude honors was 3.3 for so long that raising it to a 3.4 by fall 2015 seems unreasonable. … Continue Reading

On-campus employment unfairly restricted

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Katie Wilborn/The News

Katie Wilborn/The News

With tuition rates increasing every year and the disconnect between the cost of living and minimum wage growing, it’s no wonder more than 2,000 students work on campus at Murray State.

Financial aid can only help so much. Students find themselves looking for financial support in other ways and approximately 20 percent of us seek that support on campus.

The University does a good job of offering a lot of options for students looking for on-campus employment. Housing, Dining Services, academic departments, libraries and The Murray State News are just a few of the places that seem to always be hiring.

However, while the opportunities for on-campus employment are many, the opportunities for adequate income are few.

Murray State has set a limit for the amount of hours a student worker can be paid for, with some exceptions.

Dining Services student workers make $7.35 and student managers can be approved to work 25 hours at a rate of $8.35 per hour. … Continue Reading

Free speech suppressed for a reason

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Katie Wilborn/The News

Katie Wilborn/The News

Protests, campus activists and public demonstrations are a part of regular campus life at Murray State, so you can imagine our surprise that we were listed as a University with policies infringing on protected speech.

A 2014 study conducted by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, found that of the 437 private and public universities and colleges studied, 55.2 percent had policies in violation of First Amendment rights – including Murray State.

The University was listed for its policy regarding the use of outside space and how some demonstrators are relegated to a Free Speech Zone located next to the Curris Center.

This policy was listed by FIRE as a “Yellow Light” policy, or a minor suppression of First Amendment rights. In total, the University was reviewed to have three “Yellow Light “ policies and two “Red Light” policies, those which “both clearly and substantially restrict freedom of speech.” … Continue Reading

Nixed out of NCAA tournament seed

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Staff-op-3-27-15

Katie Wilborn/The News

(WITH VIDEO) –  After watching the Racers win 25 games in a row, we thought we had a strong chance to get a bid into the NCAA Tournament. Losing to Belmont in the final round of the OVC Tournament by one point didn’t dilute the idea that we deserved a spot, regardless of the seed.

To the surprise of fans, rivals and analysts, Murray State was denied an invitation to The Big Dance. There is more to our case than rooting for our University’s team. By the record, the talent and the criteria, Murray State deserved to be in The Big Dance.

Teams make it to the tournament by winning games. Murray State remained undefeated from Nov. 30 to March 7. Analysts have continually used our schedule as a demerit against us, but winning that many games in a row is difficult, no matter what conference we’re in. … Continue Reading

Career Fair neglects most majors

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Katie Wilborn/The News

Katie Wilborn/The News

Murray State advertises the All Majors Career Fair as a valuable networking opportunity and a way to begin the post-graduate job search. However, the term “all majors” needs to be revised.

A list of employers participating in this semester’s Career Fair indicated that of the 145 majors and areas of study offered at Murray State, 95 majors were not listed as being sought after directly by employers participating in the event. Exceptions to this were employers like Wal-Mart and the Marine Corps, who were seeking applicants from all educational backgrounds.

To be fair, Career Fair recruiters come by choice. There is only so much the University can do to include more major representation.

But professors teaching senior seminar and capstone classes tend to make the Career Fair a requirement, and it is questionable how much value their students will get from the experience.

The most sought after major for this semester’s employers is occupational safety and health, which constitutes about 15 percent of all employment opportunities represented.

According to Psychology Today, Post Commencement Stress Disorder is real. PCSD is a condition that affects graduates who face the task of choosing, changing or pursuing a career beyond the protected bubble provided by college. Recent graduates commonly feel anxiety and amplified stress from the fear of the unknown, and the current state of our Career Fair does little to help. Such an underrepresentation of majors adds to the fear that our degrees are losing value.

We understand that the amount of success we have after graduation is largely up to us. We join extracurriculars, apply for internships and do as much as we can to make ourselves marketable. We don’t expect the Career Fair to do all the hard work for us, but we want to know that our hard work will get us somewhere.

When universities recruit students, they mention that the average salaries and career opportunities for someone with a bachelor’s degree is greater than someone who doesn’t go to college.

It’s not an easy transition from college to a career. According to a 2010 study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, only 27 percent of college graduates land jobs in their field of study, but we’re reassured that going to college is a step in the right direction, and that we shouldn’t minimize the importance of our degrees.

The Career Fair has good intentions of establishing relationships between job-seekers and employers, but the lack of variety doesn’t give students the opportunities they need to get the career they studied for.

Since The Atlantic reported that Murray State art majors have the lowest net return for their degrees last year, we have something to prove. The article didn’t do much to spark student confidence in their futures, so it should be our obligation to uphold the message that all majors matter. We need the reassurance that our time at Murray State can be translated to success, and the Career Fair would be a good place to start.

According to a 2012 report about the Career Fair, approximately 320 students showed up to the event, much lower than the approximately 700 students that attended in the previous year.

This lack of enthusiasm isn’t a coincidence. The waning attendance rates could indicate low confidence in the Career Fair. Why would students go if there aren’t employers who want them?

Step one: Don’t rape

March 9, 2015 Opinion, Our View

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Katie Wilborn/The News

Katie Wilborn/The News

It should be common sense that Public Safety and Emergency Management is responsible for going after assailants of sexual assault. However, in its campus- wide email to the student body, it highlighted what victims can do to avoid becoming “easy targets.”

Public Safety issued two email alerts on Jan. 29 and Feb. 6 to inform students that they are in the process of investigating separate incidents. In both emails, the tips for avoiding victimization were the same. While the information seems good-natured, it lists multiple points that contradict each other.

In one bullet, Public Safety suggests that you should “Communicate limits as clearly as possible. If someone starts to offend you, tell him or her early and firmly. Being polite is OK as long as you are firm and assertive,” but another tip said “Do not smile; do not act polite or friendly.” The contradicting points are confusing. Should students politely reject their assailant or avoid the pleasantries by standing their ground?

If a student is in the midst of an assault, Public Safety said that they should “Stay calm, consider (the) options and how safe it would be to resist.” According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, rapists justify their actions by saying the victim was relaxed and didn’t resist their advances.

Encouraging victims to stay calm and weigh their options makes the assault seem consensual when it isn’t. Public Safety negates this by saying that victims should say “No,” and “Stop it. This is rape.” How can victims do both?

Out of fear and embarrassment, some victims will delay reporting the crime or will not file a report at all. Public Safety advises students to “Call the police. A crime has been committed.” They then redact this tip by saying students can avoid police intervention by going to an emergency department for medical care. Reporting a crime against yourself is not a legal obligation, but police officers should not waver on this issue.

As our protectors, they should be responsible for telling victims that reporting is important and necessary for the punishment of attackers. Though hospital services are also important, Public Safety should not give us tips on how to avoid their help.

A police officer’s job is to report incidents, arrest offenders and spearhead the process of criminal justice and retribution. Instead, Public Safety gives victims confusing pointers that could lead to more harm than good.

Rape and sexual assault can be emotionally traumatizing events. Instead of haphazardly educating victims, Public Safety should refer students to more reliable sources of help. The email stated that Murray State offers many resources regarding medical care and counseling, but failed to provide locations, phone numbers or anything else for victims who are willing to take that step. The University has options like the Women’s Center, the Counseling and Testing Center and the Psychological Center that provide help.

In addition to reaching out to victims, we should make the effort to educate offenders. We should teach people the concept of consent and that “No” really means “No.” Unfortunately, Public Safety says the victims need to prevent their own assault and avoid becoming targets.  We unanimously recognize that sexual assault is a crime that shouldn’t go unpunished, but Public Safety’s approach to this sensitive issue is misguided. Maybe it’s time for a revision.   

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