The Daily Update: Thursday, April 29

April 29, 2010 by · Comments Off 

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Blog Recap: SMU Student Senate Meeting

April 13, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Student Senators approved annual budgets for student organizations this afternoon and introduced four new pieces of legislation ranging from extending hours of campus dining, to installing a new audio system in Ford Stadium. Student Body President Patrick Kobler reintroduced a bill adding a transfer student special-interest seat. New pieces will be voted on next week.

Authors of a bill limiting the media’s ability to ask questions during meetings withdrew the legislation to consider it further.

To review the live blog, click below.

The Daily Update: Wednesday, March 31

March 31, 2010 by · Comments Off 

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Save a Life: Test to Become a Bone Marrow Donor

March 29, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Ann Hinckley the 2-year-old daughter of SMU alumni John and Nancy Anderson is in need of a marrow donor.

Ann Hinckley, the 2-year-old daughter of SMU alumni John and Nancy Anderson, is in need of a potential marrow donor.

By Andy Garcia

The daughter of two of SMU alumni is in need of a marrow donor.

Ann Hinckley, the 2-year-old daughter of former SMU students John and Nancy Anderson, is suffering from aplastic anemia and is in need of a potential marrow donor.

Student body President Patrick Kobler is leading a campaign on campus to find an acceptable donor.

The “Ann Hinckley Bone Marrow Drive” campaign will be hosting bone marrow testing stations throughout campus this week where students can take a mouth swab test. All test results will be compared to Ann’s marrow or others in need or potential need of a transplant.

The testing stations will be on campus Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both Tuesday and Thursday’s stations will be at the crossing of Hughes-Trigg, and on Wednesday it will be at the Dedman Center.

Debate Continues on Adding LGBT Senate Seat

March 24, 2010 by · Comments Off 

by Kathryn Sharkey

As the day for campus elections nears, some may be wondering what happened during the debate about adding a Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender special interest seat to the Student Senate. The LGBT debate was in full swing last semester and garnered even Dallas media attention with articles in the Dallas Morning News and even air time on the local news. The motion to add the seat did not pass in the senate, so the rumor was there would be a referendum vote of the student body some time this semester.

“According to our by-laws, a student wishing to place a motion to be voted on by the student body or to create a referendum vote, needs to submit the signatures and ID numbers of 10 percent of the student population,” Patrick Kobler, SMU Student Body President said in an e-mail. “This did not happen so the motion will not be voted on by the student body,” Kobler said.

Political science and philosophy major, Tom Elliot actively campaigned for the addition of the LGBT seat in the fall. He hopes that this is not the end for this debate.

“The reason there is not going to be a re-vote, is simply because I don’t have the time to single-handedly push the issue like I did last semester,” Elliott said in an e-mail.

“I consider it a failure on my part, because I was unable to encourage my peers in the LGBT community to make the issue their own and continue forward with the cause without my initial motivation,” said Elliot.

The Great Debate

Last semester, the debate about special interest seats, including the addition of the LGBT seat, was in full swing.

Freshman political science major, Philip Hayes is against special interest seats in the Student Senate.

“There needs to be a set method of representation,” Hayes said last semester. “In the Civil Rights movement, Rosa Parks didn’t want a special bus. She just wanted to use the same bus.”

Elliott disagrees.

“It’s natural for someone to represent his own interest, so if a certain group is not in that person’s interest, they won’t get a voice and the typical majority groups will not represent them,” Elliot said.

The Student Senate at Southern Methodist University faced a struggle over minority representation as failed legislation, including a recently tabled piece, stirred up debate during the fall of 2009.

The Student Senate currently has four special interest seats: one for an African-American student, one for an Asian-American student, and one for a Hispanic-American student. The debate was, and continues to be, whether these or even more special interest seats, such as LGBT, transfer student and disabled student seats should exist.

“The most common argument is overrepresentation. Someone with a double major is represented by two seats and then also represented by special interest senators, so why should this person be represented by maybe four people when the common single major student is represented by one,” said sophomore Brad Mitchell, Student Concerns Chair of the senate.

“The term overrepresentation annoys me because on a college campus I see no problems with that,” Elliott said. “It seems more beneficial to me that someone with more needs has more representation.”

Elliot believes that these seats are necessary to meet the needs of students within these groups on campus because not everyone starts out in society at an equal playing field and some students need more accommodation. If someone has more needs, the Student Senate doesn’t have the authority to choose what category a person has a voice in, Elliott said.

“I know discrimination and prejudice exists in the minds of others, so the question is how to move past that,” said Hayes. “And I believe that is to treat everyone as individuals and equals.”

Hayes disapproves of special interest seats because he believes they create inequality by treating certain groups differently, giving them special benefits, he said.

“When you have some seats only certain students can run for and others that all students can run for, that’s inequality,” Hayes said.

The solution he advocates, and what the tabled legislation would have put into effect, is to only have general election seats. Nothing prohibits any student, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or anything else from running for a general seat, he said.

Hayes thinks students don’t need someone with their exact life experiences to feel represented as senators should be able to listen to and empathize with all other students.

The Big Picture

The larger, associated issue that comes into question with this debate is the question about how far America has really come in minority relations, including race and sexual orientation in that definition.

A 2006 CNN poll regarding racism showed that 49 percent of black respondents saw racism as a “very serious problem,” while only 18 percent of whites did. Forty-three percent of whites and 48 percent of blacks said they knew someone they considered racist, but only 13 percent of whites and 12 percent of blacks considered themselves racially biased.

This is because “we’ve reached a point that racism is like a virus that has mutated into a new form that we don’t even recognize,” University of Connecticut professor Jack Dovidio, who has researched racism for more than 30 years, told CNN. According to Dovidio, up to 80 percent of white Americans have racist feelings they may not even recognize.

For SMU, this is manifested in its struggle with its external image.

Elliot thinks SMU may have a poor image from the outside that its students are not accepting of minority student groups, of being homophobic and not providing race or class interaction, and that image is just as hurtful as if the university itself were acting racist.

In actuality, the university is the opposite, trying to make campus more acceptable to others and the administration and admissions department put a lot of effort into reaching out to people of different backgrounds and making campus more diverse, said Elliot

“But it appears that the student body is not in line with that and the student senate’s refusal to accept proposals reinforces that,” he said.

Anthony Tillman, Assistant Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Director of Student Retention also has concerns about the campus climate.

“I’m not completely confident that there’s a comfort level for minority students to go to the majority population and express concerns,” Tillman said. “And the opposite where the majority population goes to the minority population to ask about concerns. I’m not sure we’re at that point yet with that free and open dialogue,” he said.

Tillman approached the Student Senate regarding the bill that would remove all special interest seats and spoke to them about the administration’s concerns.

“Normally, the administration, we don’t get involved in student politics or government issues, however this particular issue had risen to the attention of the office of the provost and there was a concern that this could result in campus polarization along racial lines,” he said. “And, frankly speaking, that is the last thing we want to have as an issue.”

Diversity at SMU

In 2009, the SMU student body was 8.2 percent Hispanic, 6.5 percent Asian, and 5.8 percent Black, according to the Office of Institutional Research.

These statistics mostly follow with a 2009 Kansas Law Review article, which showed that of the U.S. population over the age of 25, more than 40 percent of Hispanics have less than a high school education and less than 20 percent of Blacks have more than a high school education. The article notes that the low number of Hispanic education attainment may be in large part due to immigration from countries where completion of 12 years of education is not the norm. According to the article, the Asian population, however, has higher rates of bachelor’s completion, master’s completion, doctoral completion, and completion of advanced professional degrees than do any other racial or ethnic group.

The article goes on to say that, “while the number of blacks earning four year college degrees has increased in absolute terms over the past forty years, there apparently have been little gains in bridging the educational attainment gap despite the presence of affirmative action.”

SMU is not unique in its struggle with the minority student population. This problem is nationwide as to how to include minorities in higher education.

In Elliott’s fight to gain an additional special interest seat for the LGBT community, he said he saw little opposition from the student body.

“It seems like there are a few senators in the chamber against special interest seats and it’s their prerogative to get rid of them,” he said.

Tillman suggests students take a deeper look at the student senate and how it currently stands.

“The way it stands, there are automatic seats for each school, so one could argue that we already have special interest seats for proscribed schools,” he said. “We should really think about what that term ‘special interest’ really means,” Tillman said.

The Future

So what happens now with the special interest seats?

Since the legislation to add the LGBT seat was already seen by the Student Senate this academic year, it will not be brought up again until the 97th student senate, Student Body President Patrick Kobler said.

Elliot said, “I hope the movement to advance LGBT issues at SMU doesn’t stop with me. I hope that someone else will pick up the torch and carry it on to advance equality for all SMU students.”

As the day for campus elections near, think about where you stand on the issue.

Director of Bush Institute Speaks to Student Senate

March 3, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

By Brooks Powell

Listen to Glassman’s full address to the Student Senate here.

Executive Director of the Bush Institute James K. Glassman spoke to the Student Senate about the Bush Library, upcoming conferences, and the relationship between the Bush Institute and SMU.

Student Body President Patrick Kobler introduces Executive Director of the Bush Institute James K. Glassman to the Student Senate on Tuesday March 3 (PHOTO BY BROOKS POWELL/SMU DAILY MUSTANG.

James K. Glassman, Executive Director of the George W. Bush Institute, emphasized to the SMU Student Senate Tuesday that the once controversial “think-tank” will be strictly non-partisan in its approach to addressing issues domestically and abroad.

Glassman, the former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy during the Bush Administration, said the Institute will focus on the core values of freedom, opportunity, compassion and responsibility. Its programs will address issues related to education, human freedom, economic growth and global health, all without a partisan agenda, Glassman said.

Glassman also noted that women’s issues—a central focus for Mrs. Bush—and social entrepreneurship are two fields that will run throughout each of the Institute’s initiatives.

While the George W. Bush Presidential Center will not be complete until 2013, programs and conferences at the Institute are well underway. The first is a public television broadcast Glassman moderates called “Ideas in Action” – a phrase he said is the unofficial slogan of the Institute. There have been a few tapings of the show already through a production company based in Washington, D.C., Glassman said. The program is broadcast on 74 public television stations throughout the nation, including KERA-TV in Dallas.

Glassman also briefly outlined four upcoming conferences facilitated by the Bush Institute that will be held on the SMU campus.

The first, held March 3 in collaboration with the Simmons School of Education at SMU, focuses on leadership in education and improving student achievement throughout the U.S.

Another conference, the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council Conference on Education and Literacy, held March 19, will include major U.S., Afghan and international figures, including the director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Minister of Women’s Affairs from Afghanistan, and the Women’s Affairs Bureau chief from U.S. State Department. Panelists will discuss how to improve conditions for women and increase literacy throughout Afghanistan.

Glassman also introduced a new colleague, Bush Institute visiting fellow Oscar Morales, a Colombian journalist. Morales was involved in efforts to bring down the FARC, a narcoterrorism group.

Morales, who offices in the Tower Center for Political Studies at SMU, will lead a conference in April on the use of social media in promoting political and social change.

In addition, Glassman said the new Bush facility, located at the southeast corner of campus, will strive to be one of the greenest facilities built on campus to date, and will be “reflective of President Bush’s own style” in its design. Energy efficient novelties include methods for recycling water and photovoltaics to provide electricity. When the facility is complete, building designers hope to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest level of sustainable building design, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

James Parker, a SMU junior in attendance at the meeting, said he was confident in Glassman’s abilities to lead the Bush Institute and inspire the SMU community.

“I was pretty impressed by all he has done. I feel we are in good hands with these people,” Parker said.

African-American Student Senator Bethany Mackingtee believes the partnership between the Institute and SMU will be beneficial for all involved.

“I think the Institute will bring great things to the SMU campus as well as create a better name [for the university],” she said.

In addition to his role at the Bush Institute, Glassman is also a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank. Prior to coming on with the Bush administration in June 2008, Glassman’s career focused on communication. He is a publishing and media magnate, having founded and led numerous political publications, including Roll Call and The Atlantic Monthly. A graduate of Harvard University, Glassman began his interest in communications as managing editor of the campus paper, The Harvard Crimson.

Glassman is also the author of a book coming out in December 2010.

Student reporter Lola Obamehinti contributed to this story

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Video: SMU Students Share Their Thoughts on the 2010 Winter Olympic

March 1, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Chandler Schlegel

With the 2010 Winter Olypmics closing Sunday, Feb. 28, the Daily Mustang asked students to talk about their favorite olympic moments, what events they would want to take the gold in, what new events could be made, what they believe were the all time high points of the winter games.

Alex Mace and Alex Morgan give some creative ideas for future Olympics.
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Love is All Around the Hilltop – The Final Video of our 4 Part Series

February 12, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

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Meet Your Homecoming Kings & Queens

November 3, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

Decide who you think should be crowned SMU homecoming king and queen in 2009 after watching student reporter Sarah Acosta interview the candidates about their favorite board games, resumes, and personalities.

Justin Hunt for Union and Mustang 11

Bailey Holyfield for Union and Mustang 11

Pablo Santiago for Catholic Campus Ministry

Alexis Martinez for the Catholic Campus Ministry

John Mak for Asian Council

Julianne Nguyen for Asian Council

Rob Hayden for Fiji

Lindsey Perry for Pi Beta Phi

Patrick Kobler for Pi Kappa Alpha

Nicole Marriott for Chi Omega

Daniel Grinnan for Sigma Alpha Epsilon

Mackenzie Warren for Kappa Kappa Gamma

Ryan Moore for Beta Theta Pi

Keelie Rood for Delta Gamma

Michelle McAdam for Kappa Alpha Theta

Olivia Moretto for Alpha Chi Omega

Tara Hemphill for Gamma Phi Beta

Becca Lovelace for Eta Iota Sigma

Hilltop Happenings Episode 1

October 22, 2009 by · Comments Off 

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