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Last week, a jury ruled that Rolling Stone’s “A Rape on Campus” contained actual malice against former Associate Dean Nicole Eramo. This brings near closure to a two-year ordeal for Eramo, who was met with messages such as “You let us down!” and “Stop protecting them” on the doors of Peabody Hall, among many other professional hardships. The jury’s decision validates what people who knew Eramo always believed: she did not deserve to be harmed by such a reckless disregard for the truth.
With Nov. 8 elections just five days away, Charlottesville voters should consider where the fifth district congressional representative hopefuls stand on student debt. Democratic candidate Jane Dittmar and Republican candidate Tom Garrett have both expressed a commitment to addressing the issue, but with significantly different approaches. While Garrett’s proposal relies on taking Social Security benefits away from debt-ridden students, Dittmar’s plan has the potential to foster civic engagement while easing the burden of student debt.
900: The number of seats in Old Cabell Hall, where students can see Khizr Khan speak at 6:30 p.m. today
Counseling and Psychological Services, or CAPS, typically limits the number of counseling sessions students can attend to six, which can make it difficult for students to get the mental health care they need. While six sessions are, according to Student Health Executive Director Dr. Christopher Holstege, sufficient for the majority of students, the limit can discourage students from coming to CAPS and can hinder the quality of the actual sessions themselves. Given the effects of these restraints, the University should provide more resources for CAPS to hire more staff.
On Nov. 1, the Miller Center will welcome Khizr Khan, father of late University alumnus Capt. Humayun Khan. Khizr Khan rose to prominence after delivering a Democratic National Convention speech in which he expressed support for Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. After that speech, Khan became a public figure for a Muslim-American minority that has often been targeted this election season — especially as Republican nominee Donald Trump attacked Khan and his wife on the basis of stereotypes about their religion. Not only should students attend Khan’s speech out of respect for our late peer and his family; we should also view this as an opportunity to showcase our support for religious freedom, particularly for our Muslim classmates.
This past summer, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas anti-abortion bill that forced abortion clinics and their doctors to meet strict medical standards. Here in Virginia in 2013, then-Gov. Bob McDonnell signed a similar law that held abortion clinics to the same requirements as hospitals and other ambulatory surgical centers. These restrictions do not offer medical benefits sufficient to justify the added burden placed on women seeking a previability abortion. For this reason, we urge the Virginia State Board of Health to reject the restrictions when they vote on the codes.
Over the summer, Hillary Clinton updated her plan for higher education affordability. The new proposal would invest $500 billion into a program that would allow students with families earning under $125,000 to attend public colleges without spending a dime. In addition to promoting a more educated populace, the proposal will put pressure on private colleges, particularly for-profit schools such as University of Phoenix.
On Election Day, in addition to the presidential election, Virginia voters will also vote on an important constitutional amendment regarding labor organization. If passed, the proposed amendment, misleadingly called a “right to work” law, would enshrine anti-union policies in the state’s constitution. Virginians should emphatically reject this amendment.
Last week, Cambridge Police arrested 11 individuals protesting after recent labor negotiations between Harvard and its dining staff fell through, with Harvard and its dining workers have been unable to move past a serious impasse over wages and health benefits. With workers elsewhere protesting their pay and benefits, we should look inward to address how the University treats its workers as well.
Viewpoint writer Tsering Say recently argued Balz-Dobie should no longer house a community of first-year Echols Scholars. Her argument was twofold: assembling honors students in one dorm both promotes elitism and limits diversity. Recently, a pair of current Balz-Dobie residents wrote an op-ed defending Balz-Dobie, citing data from a non-compulsory, anonymous survey sent to the dorm’s residents via their senior resident. They argue the survey results demonstrate the dorm’s residents are not as homogeneous as Say depicts them.
With the full-time job search underway for those of us who are graduating, many students are turning to the University’s Career Center for help navigating the professional opportunities available to them. The Career Center offers students a wide range of services including counseling appointments, pre-professional events, on-Grounds job interviews and access to Handshake, the University’s online career search portal. However, just six months after students graduate, these opportunities are no longer available to them. Based on the duration of many fellowships and entry-level jobs, the Career Center should extend its services to alumni who have been graduates for up to two years.
After recently revising its public comment policy, the Charlottesville City Council is under fire for changes critics say will suppress the free and open exchange of ideas. Because of the new policy, speakers must now sign up in advance before Council meetings. If more than 12 people sign up, there is now a lottery system in place to determine who gets a chance to speak. If Charlottesville citizens fail to meet the City Council guidelines (which include prohibitions on interrupting other speakers, profanity and campaigning for office, among other restrictions), it is official policy to escort them out. For no clear reason, the Council is implementing unfair restrictions on its citizens at these meetings.
Amid campus anxiety over racial tensions, University lecturer Douglas Muir recently compared Black Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan on social media. His comment rightfully spawned outrage from many in our community; he is now taking leave from the Engineering School, a move we support. It is important for members of our community, in particular those hired by the University, to voice their opinions respectfully. Though Muir was not fired, it is important to recognize that political speech, especially when made outside the classroom, should not be a fireable offense.
Election season ought to create a stir on college campuses, in a positive sense, by promoting civic engagement and civil discussion about major issues. This season, however, has fostered a climate that may be creating inordinate amounts of anxiety for our peers.
5-25: The number of minutes that it takes to walk to Central Grounds from most housing options
Last week The Washington Post reported on federal data that show women earned about a third of the University’s engineering degrees, placing us first on that measure of public universities nationwide. The University’s latest honor deserves to be celebrated, and other departments should learn from the specific changes made by the Engineering School to attract and retain women engineers. Still, this news should not allow us to become stagnant on the issue as we should continue to strive for equal representation.
The Kentucky Supreme Court recently ruled against a lower state court’s decision that allowed Republican Gov. Matt Bevin to limit public college funding without the permission of the state legislature. Fortunately, the change will result in the release of a previously withheld sum of $18 million to Kentucky universities.
A federal judge recently decided University administrator Nicole Eramo, who seeks $7.85 million in defamation charges against Rolling Stone Magazine, is a “limited purpose public figure.” This ruling raises the bar for Eramo’s attorneys, who now have to prove that the Rolling Stone article — which detailed a now-discredited gang rape at Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and painted a negative picture of Eramo in the process — contains “actual malice” instead of merely a negligently published “defamatory falsehood.”
Last Monday, the NCAA announced the relocation of seven championship events that had been originally scheduled to take place in North Carolina to other states in response to the state’s March discriminatory “bathroom bill,” known as HB2. By actively condemning such measures in North Carolina, the NCAA has stressed its commitment to fairness and respect towards its collegiate athletes and fans — a bold move, considering that this includes the Division I men’s basketball tournament, the NCAA’s most celebrated annual event. This is a big hit to a state with a long tradition surrounding college basketball, making the NCAA rightful stand against bigotry all the more powerful.
On Sept. 2, racial slurs including the N-word were discovered on walls and whiteboards in the Kent-Dabney Dorm Association. However, the University didn’t offer a widespread response to the incident until after Cavalier Daily coverage prompted student reactions — limiting itself to commenting in The Cavalier Daily’s article and emailing resident advisors. This raises questions about when and how the University should issue public responses to episodes that may not reach the entire student body.