Archive | November, 2008

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Catholicism at Marquette: Where do students stand?

Posted on 21 November 2008 by Thomas Klind

With the election over and the semester coming to a close, The Warrior thought it might be a good idea to shift focus and briefly survey the state of Catholicism on campus. As a Catholic institution of higher learning, fostering an environment that provides students the tools and knowledge necessary to deepen their faith should be a priority. Marquette’s mission statement attests to this responsibility when it notes that its “Catholic identity is expressed in our choices of curricula, our sponsorship of programs and activities devoted to the cultivation of our religious character, our ecumenical outlook, and our support of Catholic beliefs and values.”

The university’s Catholicity is at the core of its identity, and many of the standards and rules in place are rooted in Catholic values. On the surface, it would seem that the University is overwhelmingly Catholic.

However, despite the rhetoric promulgated by the University, what does one actually find when they look beyond the crucifix in every classroom? How active and informed is the Catholic majority at Marquette? Do the programs the University initiates have a positive impact on the faith of students on campus? How effective is Marquette at fostering and promoting its Catholic identity? On the other hand, are students doing their part to advance their faith? Certainly most students are aware that the University has an Office of Campus Ministry, which works closely with Christian and non-Christian student organizations alike. However, how many students, especially those that consider themselves Catholic, actively seek to take advantage of what Campus Ministry has to offer? Are students actively seeking to deepen their understanding of their faith?

These questions are complex and can be very subjective; indeed finding comprehensive answers to these inquiries may not even be possible. However, seeking to encourage thought and discussion on this topic, The Warrior interviewed a handful of students, faculty and staff who are involved with various aspects of spirituality at Marquette. These people are all in positions that allow them to observe and comment on the state of Catholicism on campus. They were asked to answer a series of questions evaluating Catholic activity amongst students and then grade the campus’ Catholicity in several categories. The findings of this brief survey of selected individuals highlight many of the things that Marquette and its student body are doing correctly to further the University’s Catholic identity. It also reveals some areas of deficiency that could use some improvement and attention. Hopefully, the following exposé will shed light on some of these shortcomings and serve as a call to action, urging students, faculty and staff alike to work towards a University that is unashamedly, and passionately Catholic.

The questions that were asked can be divided into five categories dealing with participation in religious activity, knowledge of Catholic teaching, involvement of non-Catholics, emphasis among students on prayer and emphasis on social justice and service. The interviewees were then asked to provide suggestions for bettering those categories that they feel need improvement. The following will provide five different perspectives on these questions from active students and staff.

Student A

Catholic Outreach is one of the larger, regularly meeting, Catholic student organizations on campus. As such, active participants of Outreach are an ideal source for opinions on campus Catholicism.

One regular female attendee of Catholic Outreach, who wishes to remain anonymous, believes that, “for a Catholic school, there are definitely not a lot of Catholics participating in religious activities on campus…if Catholics really wanted to grow in their faith, they would be more active and look for ways to build on their relationship with Christ.”
She expressed their concern with the low attendance at Campus ministry sponsored retreats and activities, as well as the low participation in Catholic student groups, expressing the desire to see new faces at these events.

On the topic of catechized students, Student A sees a sharp division between those who are informed on the teachings of the Church and those who are not, saying that the University and Catholic organizations should “focus more on catechesis and discovering church doctrine…it would be awesome if there was more discussion on Catholic topics such as how to pray the Rosary, Eucharistic adoration and John Paul II’s theology of the body.”

Despite these shortcomings, she feels that the University does an excellent job of getting students of other faiths involved, noting that ecumenism is important and that Marquette performs its duty to people of other faiths superbly. However, she warns that, “Marquette, especially Campus Ministry, focuses so much on trying to include everyone that they sometimes forget that they are really Catholic at heart and must uphold Catholic values above all others.”

In addition to ecumenism, Student A sees Social Justice as one of the University’s strengths, and iterates that she’s “really proud” of Marquette’s dedication to service. Although, she cautions that students must be careful not to over-emphasize the service aspect of the faith and forget about other elements like the Eucharist and prayer, saying, “the root of service is Christ, and we must grow in a relationship with Him before any real service can be done.”

As a means of improving the Catholic environment on campus, Student A suggests hosting panels on Catholic topics like Sacraments, marriage and on controversial topics like homosexuality to provide more ways that students can further explore their faith.

Manresa Intern

Manresa intern Emily Schumacher, who works in the Office of Campus Ministry, also provided some of her thoughts on these questions. In answering the first inquiry about participation, Schumacher poignantly highlighted that it is very difficult to define a faith-based activity, as many students –she believes – pursue their faith in their own way. She also pointed out that although it appears that students lack information on what the Church teaches, this is a universal problem that is not specific to Marquette. Schumacher also believes that the University definitely tries to involve people from other faiths in its faith-based activities, saying that Marquette needs to “remain true to our Catholic core, but not be exclusive.”

On the topic of prayer, Schumacher believes that students on campus are spiritual and overwhelmingly engage in some sort of prayer, whether it’s in the Catholic tradition or not. Social Justice is something she says is very important to certain students, and something that Campus Ministry does an excellent job of. On this subject, she would like to see the Catholics who are heavily involved in liturgical circles engage in more service, and vice-versa, as these are both essential aspects of the faith.

Beyond this, Schumacher views the impending Campus Renew program as a positive addition to Marquette’s arsenal of faith programs. Campus Renew is a program that consists of small faith communities that allow people to connect with their faith alongside of others. Currently, the core team for this initiative is training and preparing for the program’s official launch next semester.

Student B

Another student respondent, who is active in Campus Ministry activities, also wishes to remain anonymous. This student offered a different angle regarding the level of participation among Catholic students. He surmises that if Mass attendance is included, 80 percent of students are involved in some type of religious activity, saying that “there is an overwhelmingly strong base of participation.”

This student also sees an adequate amount of catechesis amongst Catholic students, asserting that “many people know the basics of their Catholic faith and have their own way of living it.” Adding, however, that “there is a lot of misunderstanding on the Church’s teachings regarding human sexuality, particularly contraception, and I think it would be beneficial to have a program about that…without any bias against the Church.”

On the subject of ecumenism, Student B feels that the University does a good job of this, and that many retreats and activities sponsored by Campus Ministry do an excellent job of involving those of other faith backgrounds. He adds that Marquette has especially excellent opportunities for service, but cautions as Student A did, that a “very small number of people often forget that the service, justice and peace which we promote is centered on our faith and need to re-realize that no difference in the world can be made without the grace of God.” For suggestions on how to improve the shortcomings he perceives, Student B notes that Campus Ministry is doing a great job of making improvements, citing the addition of Catholicism 101 programs. In addition, he proposes tapping into other aspects of Ignatian spirituality in order to “help develop the spirituality of our campus and help keep our service faith-oriented.”

Actively involved alumnus

To obtain an entirely different perspective on these questions a Marquette alumnus who is still heavily involved in campus activities was chosen. This gentleman wished to remain anonymous, but was able to contribute several interesting thoughts to this conversation.

Like Schumacher, this alumnus noted the complexity of having to pinpoint who qualifies as a Catholic, but believes that among those who identify themselves as such there is a high level of involvement with various faith-based activities on campus.

Addressing the level of catechesis among students, the alumnus said that from his perspective the level of knowledge of Catholic teaching varies greatly by subject area and that it is rare to find students that will know everything about everything.

He indicated that he believes the level of prayerful experiences at Marquette is relatively high, saying “I think it’s a gift” that so many students engage in formal and informal prayer.
He also mentioned that the level of service at Marquette is very positive, although noted that it may be advantageous to “renew the emphasis on the inherent connection between community service and faith.”

On top of this he added that it is essential for the University to continue strengthening and maintaining the overall culture of faith so that it permeates the culture on campus.

Liturgical Director

To provide yet a different angle on the state of Catholicism on campus, The Warrior turned to Gretchen Baumgardt, the Director of Liturgy in Campus Ministry. From her position she sees a lot of students, “who are very committed to participating in Campus Ministry-sponsored activities,” but admits that the there is a struggle “with getting beyond the choir of folks that tend to participate in everything, and finding ways to encourage new people to get involved as well.”

On the subject of catechesis, Baumgardt believes that there is always room for improvement, noting that, “there is so much to learn and discover about the Catholic faith that isn’t elaborated upon fully in the Catechism of the Catholic Church or in one’s experience of a theology course.”

However, despite this, Catholics at Marquette still place a big emphasis on liturgical prayer but, Baumgardt adds that during her time as a hospital chaplain she was reminded that prayer is a “very intimate experience for people and is something that is difficult to evaluate.”

She concludes by pointing out that Campus Ministry is currently working on addressing the catechetical needs of students through new faith formation opportunities and reflection groups.

The GPA of Catholicism on campus

In addition to interviewing a select group of involved people, The Warrior also surveyed twenty Catholic students, faculty and staff to obtain a grade for Marquette’s Catholic culture. The categories stipulated were Sunday Mass attendance, attendance of weekly faith activities, knowledge of Catholic doctrine, involvement in social justice and service work, orthodoxy of student body and participation at liturgy. The grades gathered average out to:

Sunday Mass attendance: B
Participation at Liturgy: AB
Attendance of weekly faith activities, including weekly Mass: B
Knowledge of Catholic doctrine: C
Involvement in social justice and service: AB
Orthodoxy: BC

From these few interviews and surveys it can be seen that opinions on the state of Catholicism are diverse, and depending on one’s perspective, the way the University improves the culture of faith on campus changes. As mentioned before, the questions we asked are very complex and intricate questions. In no way was this exposition of perspectives intended to be a scientific analysis of Catholic students. Its sole purpose is to provoke thought and dialogue on the issues and questions addressed. The people interviewed and surveyed, including those whose names have been withheld, are all involved in areas of spirituality on campus that give them the ability to observe the state of Catholicism at Marquette. Their views are valuable, and varied.

Hopefully, the perspectives offered here cause readers to pause and reflect on what it means to be a Catholic and Jesuit university, what form that identity should take and where each individual fits within that bigger picture.

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YES – Marquette should maintain its core curriculum

Posted on 21 November 2008 by Austin Wozniak

The core curriculum at Marquette University is designed to give students exposure to a broad range of fields and create students with interests and knowledge extending beyond their majors. The core curriculum both keeps within Marquette’s Jesuit educational principles and creates well-rounded graduates. It should, without question, be kept.

A well-educated person is more than a technician. A technician is very good at a narrow range of tasks and functions, but lacks understanding, knowledge and abilities outside that area of expertise. If students were permitted to only take classes within their majors, you may very well have a graduate that is extremely good at discussing and writing about political science issues. But imagine that graduate entirely lacking in understanding of the philosophies that contribute to our political system. Imagine them addressing political issues, such as education, without the slightest clue of what a science class entails or requires. The core curriculum is an essential means to creating educated people, because to be truly educated means being more than just an expert on one solitary thing.

The core curriculum helps to address some of the fundamental issues with the United States education system as well. If the U.S. was efficient at creating high school graduates with deep understanding of, and proficiency in, a large base of topics, then perhaps the university could allow students to focus more on their majors. However, unlike many other developed countries, U.S. high school graduates lack this wide knowledge base and basic skill sets. This is a separate issue, and one that must be addressed in the near future if the U.S. is to stay competitive over the long haul, but it is also a reason why universities should have a core curriculum requirement – a U.S. high school level understanding of various subjects is insufficient to be considered well versed, educated and competitive on the world market.

Marquette’s “core of common studies” does a good job exposing students to philosophy, theology and the myriad cultures of the world that one does not see in Milwaukee. However, I think the core curriculum should be expanded to include a general business class for non-business majors. I would argue that having a general business class in which students learned, for example: how to calculate mortgage payments, understand how benefits such as insurance work, understand the value of early retirement savings, learn about the various retirement savings vehicles, learn to generally read a financial statement and balance a checkbook – the simple business related tasks everyone must do – would be extremely valuable. I am routinely surprised by the general lack of understanding regarding simple financial instruments and day to day financial tasks that is displayed by the general public, and I think Marquette would do well to ensure its graduates are not in that boat.

Aside from this addition to the core curriculum, I feel that Marquette’s core is fairly comprehensive and does well to ensure that graduates are more than technicians. In the long run, it is up to the students themselves to stay curious and to, every once and a while, read a book on something new and continue the life – long process of learning. However, if a student is to receive a degree with Marquette’s name on it, it is entirely reasonable for Marquette to demand the student have a base of knowledge extending beyond the student’s major. Having a wider knowledge base gives the graduates more to draw from for problem solving and makes it easier to find common ground with the many various people that will be met each and every day. In short, the core of common studies is essential to providing well rounded graduates and should, if anything, be expanded.

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NO – Marquette should not maintain its core curriculum

Posted on 21 November 2008 by Adam Ryback

Marquette’s core curriculum is based upon the guidelines set by St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuit Order, for education within the Society of Jesus. According to the University’s website, “In the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus, St. Ignatius states that, ‘… in the universities of the Society the principal emphasis ought to be placed on (theology)’ (IV.12.1). In turn, says Ignatius, the study of theology … requires knowledge of (1) the humanities … (2) the natural sciences and (3) philosophy.”

The origins of this come from medieval universities where the curriculum involved the trivium (grammar, logic and rhetoric) and the quadrivium (astronomy, geometry, arithmetic and music). These are the basic studies which are a part of the modern core curriculum, used by liberal arts colleges today. Marquette requires that all undergraduates take courses involving these or similar subjects. I am glad that Marquette is attempting to live up to the standards set by St. Ignatius.

The whole point of a core curriculum in Ignatius’ mind was to help students understand theology by providing them with a background in other studies. However, the university is reversing the process. The university provides students with a basic background in theology and similar studies in order to help them prepare for business classes, engineering courses etc… This is not what St. Ignatius had in mind.

Over the course of the twentieth century, our nation’s universities have gradually shifted away from the traditional ideals of a university. In fact, the traditional university has been replaced with a glorified trade school. The university is now a place where students avoid as much of the core curriculum as possible in hopes of avoiding classes like history, philosophy, theology etc. The average university student receives a minimum amount of knowledge in studies which contribute toward critical thinking and rational decision making.

As a business student, I am cognizant of the simple fact that if you enter the university and receive a degree in philosophy or a similar subject, you quickly come to the conclusion that you must enter law school, teach philosophy or drive a bus. Consequently, most people, myself included, decide to major in something like accounting, electrical engineering, marketing etc. As long as employers prefer applicants with degrees in these areas, our current system will not change.

Therefore, the only way to help St. Ignatius recognize Marquette as a Jesuit university once again is to make a stronger core curriculum. Presently, there are a limited number of classes in our core of common studies, in comparison to medieval universities. And those which we do have tend to be watered down. Quite frankly, if undergraduate tuition costs $27,720 for this year alone, I want to receive an education worth $27,720. Why should I pay that much money for a core of common studies that could be replaced by taking AP or IB courses in high school? One of the four pillars of this university is excellence. Why not have it reflect our core curriculum? I do not care whether or not our university ranks well against other colleges in this area. Excellence is not determined by rank. Excellence is determined by doing your best to live up to your God-given abilities.

Now many people may say that this will merely take up more time and consequently more money. After all, a stronger, longer curriculum will merely result in more time at college, which will obviously cost more money. Nobody wants to do that. People would rather be content with mediocrity. At $27,720 a year, I guess I can understand why. Nevertheless, the cost does not justify the fact that this is a Jesuit university. We are meant to live up to the educational ideals of great men, like St. Ignatius, St. Francis Xavier and even Pere Marquette.

As mentioned before, the style of education in place today is what a trade school used to be. There is nothing wrong with a trade school. Thousands of Americans have benefited from going to trade school. But trade schools are concerned with teaching people what they need to know for their jobs. Universities are meant to go beyond the basics, and to teach people about science, language, rhetoric and arithmetic. I have no problem with degrees involving the arts and science. But I do think that degrees in business and communication should be reserved for trade schools, or maybe even a new, different kind of university or school. Please keep in mind that, as I said before, I am a business student. Nonetheless, I believe that our current educational system should be reformed, especially Jesuit institutions like Marquette.

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Ordination of women priests sacramentally invalid

Posted on 21 November 2008 by Remington Tonar

Earlier this month four women were ordained in Chicago by anonymous Catholic bishops who sympathize with women desiring to be ordained to the priesthood. However, the teaching of the Magisterium on this issue is unequivocally clear, and those who dissent do so in spite of clear and established Church doctrine.

Many people misunderstand the theology and arguments behind the Church’s position, instead choosing to accuse the Church of being sexist or discriminatory towards women. This is simply not the case. The issue, rather, has to do with protecting the theological integrity of the Sacraments of Holy Orders and the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist.

The Roman Catholic Church has always held women in high regard throughout its history. Clear evidence of this can be seen in the Church’s veneration of Mary the Mother of God, and of female saints throughout the centuries. Since the Second Vatican Council, the Church has even expanded the role of women in its public functions. Recognizing this, one must then realize that the arguments behind the Church’s teaching on the issue of women priests are built on sound theological and traditional reasoning.

Pope John Paul II wrote during his pontificate that the Church has “no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women” (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis). The Church has maintained this teaching, which stems from the time when Christ Himself picked 12 males to be His apostles. He sent 12 men, and conferred and commissioned these men to preach the Gospel and perform miracles in His name, sending them just as the Father sent Him (John 20:21). This commissioning of these 12 men marked the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, and henceforth “the Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord Himself” (Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 1577). In light of this, it is thus impossible for the Church to ordain women to the priesthood, as it violates the very essence of the Sacrament.

Now, some might argue that Christ was constrained by the context of the times in which He lived, and seeing as nobody in the early first century would listen to a woman, He ordained only men. However, as a historical figure, Christ was never really concerned with temporal conventions and in many instances throughout the Gospel challenged the status quo continuously throughout His ministry. Indeed, if Christ intended for women to be priests, He would have chosen women to carry out His will after He ascended. It is probable that Christ, being divine, knew that this controversy over the ordination of women would arise two thousand years after His death. Regardless of this, He still chose only men as His apostles.

When a validly ordained priest consecrates the Eucharist, he does so standing in the person of Christ, or “in persona Christi.” When that priest proclaims the Eucharistic words of institution he is doing so in the person of Christ, and to have a woman stand in the place of the Man, Jesus the Christ, would essentially invalidate the sacrament. Christ was fully God and fully human, but not just any type of human: He was male, and ascended into Heaven in a glorified form as a man and thus will forever be male (c.f. Inter Insigniores, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith). As such, a woman standing “in persona Christi” would not be able to validly consecrate the Eucharist.

In addition, there are a number of New Testament references that forbid women to have authority over Church functions (see 1 Corinthians 14:34-35), and since St. Paul also advocates male and female equality one cannot accuse him of being sexist or discriminatory (see Galatians 3:28). Furthermore, the tradition passed down from the Apostles precludes women from being priests, and the written tradition of the Church Fathers, including Augustine and Tertullian, also testifies to the invalidity of women ordinations.

Finally, women who have secured illicit ordinations and believe themselves to be women priests of the Roman Catholic Church, are sorely mistaken. Because of the aforementioned arguments their ordination is invalid, for “Only a baptized male validly receives sacred ordination” (Code of Canon Law, can. 1024).

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Domestic auto: The “don’t let them die” fallacy

Posted on 21 November 2008 by Jason Ardanowski

I am a Detroiter; to be exact, I lived from birth to age eight in Dearborn, where Ford World Headquarters was just another building I passed by almost daily. My aunt works in the Renaissance Center and my sole living grandparent has her savings tied up in now-worthless General Motors stock. I drive a Pontiac Grand Am made by union labor in Lansing, Michigan. My next-door neighbor works in the blast furnaces at a GM plant, and my Uncle Larry, semi-retired, leads the factory tours of the Ford Rouge facility. My friends’ families are full of active and retired autoworkers.

Hence, I say, with a heavy heart and with full awareness of the social upheaval this will cause in Southeast Michigan: a bailout for the Big Three, beyond the $25 billion already promised them by Congress, would be disastrous and foolhardy. It is time to let GM, Ford and Chrysler die – or, more accurately, to let them go into bankruptcy and be radically re-structured and pruned into profitable companies once again. You might ask, “What about the workers?” My answer is unpopular but necessary: cash handouts.

Henry Hazlitt, the great Chicago School economist, once wrote, “The essential political aims of [senators allied to the silver mining industry] could have been as well achieved, at a fraction of the cost, by the payment of a frank subsidy to workers.” The times call for a Hazlitt-approved solution. Bailing out the auto industry would transfer hard-earned tax revenue away from successful companies to a failing industry; more-over, the Big Three could not credibly guarantee that this bailout would be the last. Government subsidies are like Frito-Lays: bet you can’t have just one. In the next economic slump, domestic car companies would beg Washington for more money to cover their rear ends for another round of foolish and shortsighted business decisions.

The best solution to a problem without any good solutions is to penalize upper management and compensate the assembly-line grunts. GM, Ford and Chrysler, left to their own devices without federal support, would go bankrupt no later than 2014. Then bankruptcy protocol would take over. Ford and Chrysler are basket cases all around, so their operations would be drastically curtailed. GM is profitable overseas, and it makes excellent, globally competitive cars; its primary concern, other than health insurance, is domestic over-production. It needs to make and sell fewer cars, and that can be done at less invasive costs than Ford or Chrysler would incur. The Big Three, throughout, need strong bankruptcy receivers (a court-appointed guardian of a bankrupt firm’s financial balance sheet) who can work as free of political interference as possible.

Of course, a sizeable proportion of the 250,000 or so Americans now employed by the Big Three car companies would lose their jobs. Here’s where the compensation package fills the void. Every worker below a certain pre-arranged level of management (which could be decided in cooperation with the United Auto Workers) would receive a severance pay lump sum of $100,000, foregoing the right to a pension or any other type of compensation. This $100,000 would be a nest egg for laid-off autoworkers to pursue higher education in a different profession, start a business or stay home with his or her children while that person’s spouse works full-time. The nattily clothed executives and upper-tier managers, the people whose errors are responsible for putting the American auto industry in its predicament, would not see a single dime of this money.

In our response to the economic Panic of 2008, our elected leaders in Congress and both the outgoing and incoming Presidents seem to have thrown moral hazard out the door. Incompetence does not deserve federal money, except in the gravest of conditions. Despite what you may hear from John Dingell and Carl Levin, American automakers do not meet this stringent qualification. The costs to ordinary workers will be more painful tomorrow if we do not act decisively in their economic interest today.

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“Atlas Shrugged” and the Obama Presidency

Posted on 21 November 2008 by Robert Christensen

Last year was the 50th anniversary of Ayn Rand’s greatest work “Atlas Shrugged.” An epic novel that differs from many other great works by making business owners the heroes of the story. It takes place in the United States at an unspecified future time. The country is in a downward economic spiral with businesses closing and men out of work.

This economic downturn has been as a result of economic restrictions placed by the government on businesses in order to limit the amount of wealth individuals can make in order to promote fairness throughout the country. As businesses begin to fail the government raises workers’ minimum wages while reducing the costs of the products they manufacture. This quickly causes the economy to go from bad to horrible and in response to these increasingly devastating conditions the government passes Directive 10-289 which requires all workers stay at their current jobs, all businesses to remain open, and all patents and inventions be voluntarily turned over to the government.

Because of these economic policies the great business owners and innovators flee the country which has stolen all of their hard work. They move to a hidden valley as riots and severe food shortages are taking place. In this valley all of the great entrepreneurs are free to invent and innovate without anyone stealing their hard work or their wealth they have toiled so hard to achieve. But as things in the outside world continues to get worse the government begs these individuals to come back to save the country. Eventually the “looter” government collapses allowing the “men and women of the mind” to return.

While this story is certainly fiction there are aspects of this “looter” society creeping into today’s world. With the election of Barack Obama, many wonder what effect his policies will have on both small and large business. Will his methods of redistributing wealth create a disincentive for individuals to innovate or will they actually improve our economy? Only time will tell but there are many who are worried that they will have to “run to the valley.”

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Conspiracy theory: Roberts will not save the whales

Posted on 21 November 2008 by Carl Mueller

It’s finally begun: the socialization of the American economy. However, unlike many pundits on Fox News worried, it is happening at the hands of our current lame-duck administration as it fumbles through its last few months in office. The new plan for the American economic bailout package has shifted its focus from buying out the bad debt from banks to simply buying pieces of the banks to encourage them to restart normal lending behavior. While students can appreciate that the government is trying to encourage specific types of lending, such as student loans, allowing the government to be in charge of the World’s largest financial institutions worries surprisingly few. In fact, many Wall Street experts believe that this intervention represents a more efficient move to fix the economy.

While experts begin to applaud the change in tactics, the wisdom of giving ridiculous amounts of taxpayer money to the same corporations that landed the American economy in this mess seems limited at best. A staunch economic conservative should not agree with buying off bad debt to help financial institutions for various reasons. If they could stomach that however, the idea of giving firms engaged in perverse market behavior money with minimum strings attached and the ability to continue running their business as usual has to induce suicidal behavior.

The Bush administration must have an ulterior motive that they are not disclosing. While various other moves seemed misguided in the past, there are clear undercurrents of insidiousness in these efforts to jumpstart the economy. The link that the White House hopes we will miss is the recent Supreme Court ruling to allow the Navy to continue using sonar in its sub-hunting tests in California. Justice Roberts’ decision that the lower federal courts over-stepped their bounds in protecting the brains of endangered whales reportedly harmed by the tests is an obvious order from his handlers in the Oval Office. The facts all point to Bush using the naval tests as part of the construction of a sub-sea storage facility to store all of the money that he is laundering through these heinously bad banks. When all of the money disappears in new economic disasters this January, don’t be surprised. It won’t be found again, but there will be a definite addition built on the Crawford, Texas, Bush Ranch. Unless of course the Taliban somehow got their hands on some nuclear powered submarines, because then all of this sub-hunting is really going to come in handy.

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Marquette student centric: Making the most of the world

Posted on 21 November 2008 by Austin Wozniak

I sat down to write an editorial about the foreign relations issues that will face President – elect Obama in the coming years. I intended to focus mostly on Russia for this particular article, simply because they have been the most vocal thorn in Mr. Obama’s side since he won the election. However, after two years of election cycles and several straight articles covering important issues, I decided it would do me a great deal of good not to contemplate the election or foreign relations, the economy or the inexplicable reason that Rex Grossman was re-signed by the Chicago Bears for at least a week or two.

Then I ran into another problem: What should I write about? We at the Warrior try to keep the paper roughly focused on things that are “MU student – centric,” meaning the things that specifically apply to Marquette students and hold their interest. This is a good strategy. Writing about things people care about on campus will probably help circulation. Taking this guideline I continued to brainstorm for a topic that fit well and, surprisingly, I found that I was having trouble coming up with anything, or more accurately, I was having a hard time coming up with something that didn’t fit.

Marquette is an insulated community within the greater Milwaukee community. We have to worry about achieving measurable goals and standards within a classroom setting. We wonder which parties we should attend in what order on any given weekend, and most of us wonder why that crazy guy in the 1980s station wagon covered in writing with the loud speaker believes looking like an insane hippie blaring unintelligible speeches will persuade anyone to do whatever it is, exactly, that he is trying to get us to do. That’s the thing, while we all have a lot in common by way of our common alma mater, our interests and concerns are as diverse as the people who come here to get their education. We have pro-life students placing crosses on the quad, students raising awareness about homelessness sleeping in boxes near the union. There are medieval knights on horseback galloping across the quad from time to time and there are other students handing out copies of some news paper that the university won’t let them distribute next to the Tribune.

Marquette strives to construct graduates capable of “being the difference.” There are no concrete suggestions on how one should go about making that difference. Once we leave Marquette, those things that we have in common, that may be defined as “MU student-centric” will change. There will be no more college parties to choose between and no one will be issuing us grades on how we are living our lives. What will remain common between us are the interests and passions discovered and developed during our short tenures here. Everything that is going on in the world is Marquette student – centric, because one of the only real commonalities we have is that sooner or later we will be venturing out into that world and it would be best that we, as capable college graduates, have an interest in that world and some small idea in mind to help make it better. Not everyone has to join the Peace Corps or the Navy to make an impact, but it is important that every graduate has some understanding about what is going on in the world, because it is only through understanding the issues and what the underlying causes are that we are able to take action to make a change.

In the next Warrior, I will most likely choose another one of these issues to write about and offer my opinion or suggestions on. But don’t take my word for it – I have no more experience than anyone else on this campus and probably have considerably less than many of you. Writing on it simply sparks discussion, with the benign hope that perhaps you may be persuaded to form an opinion or take some form of action. Knowledge is indeed power, and I urge you to stay informed and take an interest in the world around you. Substitute one show on VH-1 with a rundown of today’s news on CNN. Grab the paper and find an article that interests you and pay attention to how the knowledge you gain here at Marquette can be used for others. Laying these foundations while in college is essential for successful future endeavors to make a change in whatever area captures your concern. Marquette doesn’t tell you how you should be the difference; it is simply the common effort put forth to make some sort of change that defines Marquette Student Centricity.

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After 20-year relationship, Sodexho describes food services as “average”

Posted on 21 November 2008 by Joseph Clark

As the semester winds down, students living off dormitory food will have an opportunity to give feedback on their dining experience.

Sodexho Inc., the French-based food service company and exclusive caterer and cafeteria manager, uses an annual survey conducted by the university to gauge student opinions on rendered services. Arthur Scheuber, Vice President for Administration, said the average rating of cafeteria food usually ranges from “average to above average.”

“I would agree that we have been average,” said General Manager of University Dining Dan Auger. “The challenge is how to get better than average. I would hope that the work we have done over the summer shows an improvement with the scores.”

Auger said surveys for this semester are “getting ready to go out right now.”

Sodexho representatives attend student organization meetings to seek feedback and to provide students with updates. They also maintain comment boxes in all dining halls.
Erin Ruckoldt, a sophomore in the College of Communications, is the student meal coordinator at McCormick dining hall. She said comment boxes receive about five entries per day. Ruckoldt said one of the more frequently occurring requests is for a wider array of vegetarian and vegan options.

Patrick Roman, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, said average to above average ratings reflect students’ opinions, though he said he hears more below-average opinions expressed than excellent ones.

“Most of the negative remarks I’ve heard have been made on the elevator or in the dorm wings. The general attitude I’ve seen while students are eating has not been unsatisfactory,” said Roman.

 Marquette has maintained a relationship for at least 20 years with Sodexho, a contract which predates the tenure of all administrators consulted on its longevity, and is guaranteed for at least another eight years.

When asked how much Marquette spends on Sodexho’s services per year, Scheuber said the matter was covered by a confidentiality agreement within the contract.
Cafeteria employees’ compensation is determined by Sodexho. Full-time employees are members of the Local 1 of Service Employees International Union.
Likewise, Marquette has an exclusive relationship with Pepsi, a contract negotiated separately from Sodexho.

Pepsi was given an exclusive contract with the university in 2002 after bidding and online polls of students, said Executive Director of Alumni Memorial Union and Auxiliary Services Todd Vicker. Though Vicker said the contract with Pepsi was “long term,” the exact terms of the contract are confidential. How much Marquette spends on Pepsi products each year is also confidential.

Vicker said the contract was exclusive because providing service at an institution of Marquette’s size requires a “very sizable” equipment investment so as to ensure profit on the company’s investment.

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Top five reasons the auto industry is insoluble

Posted on 21 November 2008 by Jacob Jasperson

With news in the past week that GM, Ford and Chrysler, the big three, would be seeking part of the financial industry bailout to stay afloat, one has to wonder what exactly is going on right now in this economy. This economy that was built on the foundation of “life’s tough, so what?” This economy that manifests itself in profits and losses, every man, woman and child for themselves, take what you can get and give nothing back. When did we let ourselves get to the point of having companies that were “too big” to fail?

I know there are many out there who feel the auto industry deserves to be saved; we can’t afford to lose all those workers, those workers can’t afford to lose their salary and allowing the big three to go under will devastate the economy.

All valid arguments, but I would like to add something to the debate. The auto industry is insoluble. I’m sure if you’ve been watching the news or reading a newspaper you’ve heard that argument. I would like to outline here the five reasons the auto industry in the United States cannot be saved.

1. In a global economy, let others do it better. Adam Smith would be rolling over in his grave if he heard about the auto industry in America. Capitalism is all about the most efficient producer producing (i.e. absolute advantage). Let’s be honest here, Japan makes a darn good car. And they can do it for relatively cheaper than here because they don’t have to pay union wages or benefits. This does not mean, however, that they cheat their employees or deny them a fair wage; for one thing, Japanese wages don’t have to include healthcare costs.
2. U.S. auto makers make bad cars. Gas guzzlers, poor designs, unreliable. The last few models to come through the big three have been better, but you can’t make up for years of poor manufacturing. People have a much longer memory when it comes to bad products. This is the U.S. auto industry reaping what they’ve sowed.
3. Pension costs add $2500 per car. I can buy a car cheaper than that! OK, maybe not, but still, you get the idea. Pension systems are terrible and not built for long term use. Any normal business would see that IRA and private accounts are clearly the way to go, and make the transition. The big three wasn’t able to do that.
4. GM has 7,000 dealers compared to Toyota’s 1,500. This goes hand in hand with my second point: not only do domestic auto makers make bad cars, they make them in all varieties. Toyota’s small numbers of large dealers make them better equipped to advertise, market, and sell their product. Why doesn’t GM simply close some of these stores? Many of them are protected by state laws, making them very expensive to close.
5. Ford burned through $7.7 billion in cash in the third quarter. Does anyone think another $25 billion is going to make any difference?

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