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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
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Fall break should be taken seriously by all

Even though I am an instructor and not a student, I along with Jason Poreda would appreciate the entire week off, rather than just Thursday and Friday, for the holiday (and so would the many wage-workers around the country who are denied the holiday). Yet, in his column, Jason highlights two reasons why the idea is not feasible. As he puts it, most students would not use the extra time to study but would be "sitting on the couch without a care in the world, ... goofing off." Secondly, his description of what classes will look like come Wednesday is unfortunately accurate: Far too many empty chairs.

I did graduate work at a peer Pac-10 institution - Washington State University - that canceled classes for the entire week. Were students grateful? Sure. Most graduate students used the needed time to write essays. Although some undergrads also studied and took care of lingering projects, plenty merely "goofed off." The main problem, however, is that too many did not respect the extra days of break. Students at the UA complain about the short break and in retaliation begin packing up to leave campus well before the holiday, cutting classes in the process. What happens at WSU? Despite having a full week of break, too many students there treat it the same as they do here: They get out of town early, taking well more than the allotted week off. Perhaps if students respected the holidays by showing up to classes when classes are held, the administration might consider their wishes. But as long as campus is as empty as a UA football-game stadium post-halftime, I can see no reason that administration should heed student wishes.

Greg Grewell
adjunct English faculty member

American Indians not giving thanks this year

The Thanksgiving holiday to many may be considered a "true American holiday," but to American Indians it is a painful reminder of all the lives lost many years ago. American Indian history is disregarded by many and the issues facing many American Indians are also ignored. Even in the news, if there are hate crimes committed against African Americans or any other minority they make the front page, yet when these crimes happen to American Indians it's surprising if they even make the news. This lack of respect and attention still dumbfounds me because the Southwest is an area full of American Indian tribes, each with their own uniqueness and with their own contributions. Yet the only attention given to these tribes is given with the act of driving to the casino, losing money and then blaming the "Indians" for being too greedy.

Thanksgiving for me as an American Indian is a good thing only insofar as I am able to go home on a short vacation to see my family and eat home-cooked meals, but to go so far as to say that Thanksgiving is the "true American holiday" is stretching it. If a "true American holiday" celebrates genocide and the cultural killing of American Indians, then why should it be celebrated?

As college students, it should be expected that more students learn the real truth behind Thanksgiving, Columbus Day and all the other "true American holidays" that are celebrated still today. The days of elementary school plays with re-enactments of the first Thanksgiving are over; it's time to face the grim realities of what really happened to American Indians. It's time to acknowledge the repercussions that American Indians are facing today.

While most people celebrate Thanksgiving, comfortable in their homes, some American Indian tribes live in third-world conditions here in the United States. While most people celebrate Thanksgiving watching television, eating and relaxing, American Indians worry about the loss of their language, the loss of their traditions and the loss of family members due to disease and American influences such as alcohol and violence. So before you call any holiday a "true American holiday," think about the facts behind the holiday. Don't just think about it and disregard it again, but learn more about these tribes and the hardships they struggle with. As American Indians in a public school system we have learned about the hardships faced by others, so take the time to learn about American Indians. Knowledge is power, and it is the reason why we attend the University of Arizona, so use that power for good, not bad.

Dawn Johnson
psychology junior

Music downloading subscription illogical

The suggestion that forcing students to subscribe to Napster's new online service by including the charges in their tuition will save money is absurd, and the proposed service is an unfair waste of money. Simply take a look at the numbers. According to the university's own bandwidth figures, every single dorm resident would need to download an incredible 500 songs, year in and year out, just to use up 5 percent of the total bandwidth available on the university network.

Much more likely, the bandwidth in question is consumed by students looking at pirated movies, pornography or stealing computer games. Every pirated computer game or movie equals an incredible 250 to 500 songs downloaded, depending on the title. I suspect that music accounts for only a small fraction of illicitly-used bandwidth. Napster's service would likely do nothing to save the majority of improperly used bandwidth, contrary to what has been suggested.

But where the bandwidth actually goes is neither here nor there. The simple fact remains that forcing people to subscribe to and support a corporate service they may or may not have a use for is unfair. The services offered by Napster would likely be useless to large numbers of students whose computers are not supported by the service, or who simply are not interested in the music they are forced to pay for. These students would find themselves charged twice; once for CDs they buy and again for Napster. This flies in the face of capitalism, which holds that individuals should be given the choice to spend money on the products they find to be best.

Instead of taking more money from students, I have a better idea: Let them choose where to spend it. Instead of making stuffing the profit margins of corporations mandatory, let's continue to allow students to choose to support or not to support the artists they like.

Mike Giacomelli
computer engineering sophomore

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