Slapping legal patch on smoking

A slim, toxic stick slips between two fingers and rests on a set of anxious lips ready to inhale hazardous chemicals.  It’s no secret smoking kills, but getting smokers to quit is no easy task. Yet, the U.K. Department of Health has confronted this challenge. All shops in England will be banned from displaying tobacco products by April 2015. “Healthy lives, healthy people: A Tobacco Control Plan for England” does not stop there. Health officials are contemplating removing all logos and labels from packs, leaving the cartridge blank. According to the Department of Health, officials hope to deter young adults from smoking and to support those wanting to quit by erasing brands and graphics from cigarette packaging. The plan also strives to guard tobacco legislation against legal challenges from the tobacco industry, including legislation to discontinue tobacco sales from vending machines in October 2011. Officials also want to keep using elevated tax rates to preserve the high price of tobacco products at levels that will impact the popularity of smoking. Promoting effective local enforcement of tobacco legislation, especially on the selling age of tobacco, and inspiring more smokers to kick the habit by using effective forms of support are other goals of the plan. The U.K. is not just blowing smoke, which is sure to disrupt tobacco companies as their sales become comprised by this new plan. In the U.K., some tobacco companies are seeking an application for a judicial review of the display ban. The public can expect a court hearing on the issue in a couple of months. According to the U.K. Department of Health, officials are striving to reduce smoking rates quicker in the next five years than has been accomplished in the past five years. The U.K. government efforts driven by sustaining the health of its people appear very brave and somewhat honorable. It’s settling on the side of public health rather than company dollars. Actions like this cannot go unrecognized in a world where money equals power. Obviously, the prevalence of smoking is not just an issue in the U.K. but in the U.S. also. According to the American Heart Association, cigarette smoking is the most significant preventable cause of untimely death in the U.S. while more than 440,000 of the more than 2.4 million annual deaths occur from it. These statistics do not appear to impact the government’s involvment in smokers’ health. It’s a guarantee that big business would block America’s  path in the pursuit of improving current statistics about smoking. For the most part, America is the land of the free. People have the right to do what they choose with their...

Read More

Cru cards improve for fall semester

The scanners at Hardy, the SUB and Chapel are not the only locations Crusaders will be swiping their student IDs come fall 2011. The new ID program will equip Cru Cards with an assortment of functions. Senior Vice President for Administration and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Steve Theodore looks forward to the development of the new program, which will serve a variety of student needs. “We’re really excited about the additional services like vending machines, off-campus merchants, the bookstore (and) the post office,” he said. CBORD is the company the university is using to produce the one-card system. It will allow students access to dorms, as well as on and off-campus dining, library and printing services. Additionally, the program will make management of software services easier on Cru Card staff than in the past. Currently, UMHB provides limited services on the student IDs, because each service uses a separate software system. Cru Card office manager Jessica Roush described maintaining and servicing each software system as “cumbersome” and problematic for students as well as the university. Roush discussed the new changes taking place. “We are now in the process of incorporating all services onto one software system, which should make the system more user friendly for students, our staff in the Cru Card office, and other business-related offices,” she said. Roush believes this new program trumps the old because the one-card system merges the management of services into a single system, allowing students to accomplish multiple tasks related to campus life. Theodore explained how the university is partnering with a company called Manage My ID that will eliminate the hassle parents and students encounter when trying to get money on their accounts once Cru Bucks run out. Parents will simply visit the UMHB website, upload money to their student’s account. This money will be called Cru Cash, which can be spent on or off-campus. The pilot for the new ID program began March 23 and ends this semester. SGA officers are testing the new cards. Sophomore nursing major Ashleigh Holden, director of resources, reported not having any issues using her ID in the pilot. So far she has used the new card at The SUB and Schlotzsky’s. “I am very impressed by the program and hope it will continue to flourish and that more restaurants will become interested in allowing students to use their cards,” she said. Theodore discussed what services students can expect from their cards in fall 2011 “Some of these services include card access in the residence halls, on campus dining services, UMHB Bookstore (book vouchers and retail purchasing), selected Dr Pepper machines around campus, GoPrint, Townsend...

Read More

Bullying problem

It’s been a long time since the sweet chants of “nanny-nanny boo-boo” echoed across the playground to initiate a game of tag or pick on the kid wearing the not-so-cool clothes. Today, children are keen to more devious ways of insulting each other. Harassment, cyberbullying and physical violence are typical means of inflicting pain or embarrassment on kids who have been deemed social outcasts. Victims of these forms of abuse have taken extreme measures to relieve themselves of the anxiety and terror of walking down the halls of their school. Sometimes that method is death by       suicide. In 1999, America saw the devastating effects that come from bullying. The Columbine School shooting resulted in 12 deaths, showcasing the worst possible situation teasing could lead to. The shooting erupted fear in school administrators all over the country. An urgency for more anti-bullying policies, gun control laws and school security measures developed as a result. Without a doubt, it is important to ensure that students are safe and that weapons are not entering the school doors, but why not start with the source? Get help for the bullied. Some schools have recognized this vital step. The Massachusetts state legislation enacted tougher anti-bullying laws after Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old Irish immigrant and student in a Massachusetts school, committed suicide in January 2010. According to suicide.org, suicide is the fifth leading cause of death among 5- to 14-year-olds while it is the third leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds. However, suicide is not the solution. “Hit that kid back,” has often been the words encouraged by outsiders of bullying. Recently, physical retaliation against teasers has been supported in the media. A video featuring two fighting boys, Casey Heynes and Richard Gale, has been circulating on YouTube. After a blow to the face and a couple of punches to the belly, Heynes fights back, ending the fight by body slamming Gale. Heynes, an Australian 15-year-old, shared his battle with bullying March 21 on Fox News. He described his lowest point as the moment he considered suicide. He encouraged children who have been victimized like him to “Look for the good days. Keep your chin up, and school ain’t going to last forever.” A brighter day always comes, whether it’s tomorrow or in four years. Fortunately, teasing has received public recognition as an issue that needs attention. Many are powering the anti-bully campaign. President Barrack Obama invited University of Colorado freshman Sarah Bruder to the Conference on Bullying Prevention at the White House to discuss her book, Letters to a Bullied Girl. The book includes encouraging letters from strangers, apologies...

Read More
Synthetic drugs cause new policies
Mar29

Synthetic drugs cause new policies

Synthetic marijuana has become a major threat to public health, having hospitalized and even sent individuals to their deathbeds. As a result, UMHB administrators have taken steps to protect students from the dangers of “fake pot.” Synthetic cannabis is designed to mimic the high attained from marijuana. When school officials recognized synthetic marijuana was a threat to students, they confronted the issue with a new policy. Vice President of Student Life Dr. Byron Weathersbee discussed the university’s intentions of goodwill toward   students. “Sometimes we come across as having a lot of rules and cracking down—no—we’re just trying to navigate a good, healthy, clean environment where people can thrive and be at their best,” he said. Weathersbee further explained his desire to preserve the quality of life on campus. “UMHB is a unique place …. It’s a great place to come and engage the mind, engage the spirit, engage in life and have fun doing it,” he said. “Our hope is that people will live … good, healthy, moral lives.” Many recognize synthetic marijuana by the brand names Blaze, K2 or Spice. It’s often marketed as incense or herbal smoking blends, making it legal, but not anymore. As of March 1, the Drug Enforcement Administration temporarily banned five chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47, 497, and cannabicyclohexanol) used in producing synthetic             marijuana. The chemicals will be controlled for one year and possibly an additional six months as the DEA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study them. According to the DEA, synthetic cannabinoids have been banned in at least 18 U.S. states and other countries due to rapid and significant rises in abuse of the substances Based on current scientific data, the five substances have a potential to be extremely harmful and threatening to public safety. A 19-year-old father overdosed from using synthetic drugs and died at a party in Minnesota during spring break while ten others, ages 16-22,     were hospitalized. According to the DEA, using synthetic marijuana could result in agitation, anxiety attacks, elevated heart rate, convulsions, nausea and vomiting. Last fall, UMHB administrators treated synthetic marijuana similar to the university’s policies on alcohol. At the beginning of the spring semester, UMHB established a “zero tolerance” policy outlined in the student handbook. Dean of Students Ray Martin described the university’s sudden change on this policy. “We had a choice. We could be proactive and protect our students, or we could wait and wait until somebody makes a rule,” he said. Crusaders will find the university’s stance on synthetic marijuana along with the disciplinary sanctions that will follow if...

Read More

Proposed bill could mean guns on Texas campuses

A Texas bill that will give professors and students the option of carrying concealed guns on campuses is soaring through the House. The legislation has led to strong opinions, causing society to question whether or not it’s an appropriate solution to violence. Senior Vice President for Administration Steve Theodore explained the university’s opposed position on the issue. “UMHB is very safe place, and we certainly want it to stay that way,” he said.“Keep in mind that putting firearms in people’s hands doesn’t necessarily prevent crime.” Some people support the bill, because they believe individuals with firearms could prevent tragedies like Virginia Tech from occurring on their campuses. While others argue students with ill-will are going to bring guns anyway, so why not make it legal so students can protect themselves. Theodore believes otherwise. “Most citizens who carry handgun licenses aren’t adequately trained to handle hostile situations,” Theodore said. “Even well-trained individuals have a difficult time with accuracy during stress-filled, tense situations.” It’s difficult to determine how private schools like UMHB will be affected by the bill. “Since the law isn’t yet written, we do not know what effect it will have for us.  Of course, if we are compelled by law to comply, UMHB will do so,” he said. Director of Campus Police Gary Sargent examined the possible ways the campus could be affected. “The only thing that the law would do is decriminalize that penalty,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that we cannot take disciplinary action against someone for violation of a university rule.” Though UMHB’s future implications are ambiguous, Sargent knows one thing is for sure. “It’s going to become a reality,” he said. “I’m not sure if it’s going to become a reality in this legislation session or not.” Sargent believes as society becomes more violent, there’s going to be more emphasis to own guns. “Arming people is not the solution,” he said. “What we’re doing is basically combating a symptom of a much deeper problem.” A student who wishes to remain anonymous strongly believes the university should consider giving students with concealed handgun licenses freedom to carry guns on campus. However, he also thinks students should have to inform the police department and campus police that they are carrying firearms on university grounds. Assistant Professor of Biology Arch Koontz has had a gun shop for 15 years. He is particular about whom he sells his guns to, restricting sales from those he believes will be a threat, for example, individuals who arrive at his shop intoxicated. Koontz said he would not carry a gun on campus if it was legal and permitted by the university....

Read More
Page 1 of 41234