Uncertain futures in Utah

A federal judge ruling, an appeal to the ruling and a “legal limbo” is turning a serious issue into nothing but a big, fat joke. It’s more ridiculous than Chuck and Larry, and no one is laughing about it. The debacle began when the residents of Utah voted to ban gay marriage. U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby decided that this ruling was unconstitutional, and, as a result, gay couples across the state flocked to local courts to receive their marriage licenses. At this point, things became even more absurd. The Utah government appealed the decision, hoping to defend the voice of the majority of its citizens. While the court reviews the appeal, the state has fallen into “legal limbo,” leaving gay couples in Utah in a real life version of the Twilight Zone. These couples don’t know if they’re in a legal union or not. However, they were warned that these marriages could be dissolved if  Utah won the appeal process. Perhaps a serving of patience with a side of self-control would have been a good idea for the couples who rushed to the nearest justice of the peace to enter into a legal marriage. If they had waited until the final decision, they would not find themselves in the current predicament. Unfortunately, this ordeal addresses an issue that is much larger than gay marriage, and this is what Americans should be worried about. Utah’s stance on same-sex marriage should have been set permanently the minute its citizens voted, by democratic process, to ban the union of two people of the same sex. The 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people.” Since the Constitution seems to be mum on the subject of marriage, it would seem that the decision based on the voice of the state’s people would be recognized as legal law. However, Shelby decided that their voted choice was, indeed, unconstitutional. Why should Americans be scared about this ruling? If the people’s votes become irrelevant, our role in the government becomes nonexistent, which would essentially take the democracy out of democratic republic. The voting process has always been one that has distinguished the United States among the nations. Looking across the world to countries in the Middle East and seeing the disastrous, failed attempts at giving people the chance to vote should make all U.S. citizens cherish their right to vote. But what good is voting if judges simply overrule the choice of the people? Although whether or not...

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Christmas controversy leads to winter wordplay

Don we now our fun apparel… wait, what?  Jack Frost may not be nipping noses yet, but the holiday spirit is now in full swing. Besides, the National Football League marketing for Thanksgiving is practically nonexistent, which leaves Christmas the object of every other commercial or magazine ad people lay eyes on during this season. Given the religious nature and origin of every child’s favorite celebration, controversy is always sure to present itself once people start singing carols and drinking hot chocolate. This year is no different, thanks to a Hallmark Christmas tree ornament that is causing many faces to turn candy cane red in outrage. The decoration is a miniature tacky sweater that has altered lyrics to “Deck the Halls” on the front. The words read, “Don we now our fun apparel,” while the original reading is, “Don we now our gay apparel.” This caused a huge social media backlash from both gays and straights. Some of the complaints said that Hallmark was implying that gays dressed differently and that it was wrong to be gay. This is a classic case of “d—– if you do, d—– if you don’t.” To younger generations, the word gay is immediately related to homosexuality, which could lead to confusion as to the intent of the ornament. This misunderstanding would, without a doubt, lead to less business from tradition–friendly families and younger generation heterosexuals. However, when Hallmark felt compelled to diverge from use of the word “gay,” the homosexual community became furious with the greeting card company. After all, there is no crime more distasteful than discrimination. Caught between a rock and a hard place, Hallmark can only expect coal for Christmas after this costly mistake. Add “gay” to the list of controversial words on everyone’s lips during the holiday season. Other tension points that show themselves to the Christian community year after year include Merry X-mas, Happy Holidays, Santa Claus and the origin of the Christmas tree. The holiday is Christmas, nothing else. Santa Claus is not real, and the history of the Christmas tree is unknown. Let’s put everything into a Christian university perspective. Christmas is a holiday intended to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ sent as a gift from God to save people from their sins. That should be the true nature of Christmas–not controversy, presents, trees or Rudolf. Is Christmas a celebration for Christians only? Obviously, the holiday is observed far beyond the reaches of a certain religion. Christians should not get caught up in angry debates and controversy, but should focus on sharing the gospel during this season. When Dec. 25 finally rolls around, people should...

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College View apartments cause housing confusion

About 40 years ago, the university administration made a decision that at the time may have seemed trivial. It has proved to be monumental in its results. The plot of land on Ninth Avenue, that now houses College View Apartments and is across from the football stadium, was transferred to a developer with a reversionary clause that would place the property back in the ownership of the university 40 years later. On May 18, 2014,  the low-income housing will fall back into the school’s hands free of charge. With the recent growth of the student body, this acquisition couldn’t come at a better time. Senior Vice President of Administration, Dr. Steve Theodore, said, “How great of a decision was it, and how insightful was it for the administration back then at Mary Hardin-Baylor to say, ‘We’re small; we don’t need that land right now. But one day we will.’” The college intends to put the apartments to immediate use. “The university is going to use College View as campus housing beginning in the fall of 2014,” Residence Life Director Donna Plank said. “The plan is to have a number of units available for the fall selection process, which takes place in the spring of 2014.” The move’s effects, however, are two-sided. The current residents’ leases will end by April 30 at the latest. The space of time happens to be when spring semester finals and graduation will take place. This has created a misconception that the university is forcing the residents to move before their finals. “From a public relations standpoint, it is difficult for us because … they think that we’re kicking people out,” Theodore said. “I would try to work a deal where, if you’re taking finals the next week, you could stay there. But they aren’t the university’s to give… until May 18.” Finding a solution to this conundrum has proved a difficult task for Theodore. At this point, the focus is to inform student residents of College View about the situation. He said. “I’ve done everything I can think of to try and find a way for our students to be able to stay there. So far I haven’t found a way.” One of the residents affected by the change in ownership is senior psychology major Randi Branson. She plans to graduate in May, and the added pressure of finding new living quarters won’t help the already stressful situation accompanying graduation. “I’m looking for places in Temple,” Branson said. “Whatever I can find. I have time, but then I don’t because I have finals, my family is flying in… so I have to frantically get...

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Kickball players don crazy costumes for festive game
Nov06

Kickball players don crazy costumes for festive game

The Avengers, Napoleon Dynamite, Crunk and a Whoopee Cushion were all present at the second annual Costume Kickball. Or at least good representations of these iconic characters all came out to the rec fields to compete for the second annual kickball championship. Campus Recreation hosted the event Oct. 31 to help celebrate the Halloween holiday. The event took the popular activity of kickball and combined it with traditional costumes to create an atmosphere of comedy and good sport. “This type of event targets all students, but specifically students who just want to have fun,” Director of Campus Recreation Sue Weaver said. “Students who might not be quite as competitive or athletic might also be attracted to this type of event, so we like to find events that might be attractive to this type student.” Weaver and the campus rec staff have started holding more of these stand-alone events lately in addition to the typical intramural activities. “A lot of students also don’t have the amount of time an intramural league sometimes requires,” she said. “One-night events are also great for them.” Four teams signed up for the kickball tournament: Trans-Am, Suns out Guns out, Here Come the Runs and last but not least SGA, a group comprised of the university’s politicians. Play commenced at 5:30 p.m. and from the outset it was apparent that the teams’ focus was on a good time, not necessarily a flawless kickball performance. The good nature shared between the competitors became obvious at one point when a first baseman toppled over into the mud in a tangle of ostrich and human legs; the victim along with everyone else shared a good laugh. Junior marketing and economics double major Ryan Sewell was dressed as a whoopee cushion when he showed up to play for team SGA. He enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere but was also trying to make some noise in the championship run. “I like that people have some ridiculous costumes and it’s just really laid back and people are having fun,” Sewell said. “I mean I’m trying to get an intramural championship shirt, so once I found out I get a shirt for winning, no holdbacks.” Luckily for Sewell and company they won their first game in dominating fashion, getting their chance to play for a kickball title. In the championship game, SGA got off to a quick 8-0 lead. For a while it looked like SGA would run away with the game, but Suns Out Guns Out wasn’t going to go away without a fight. In the bottom of the seventh inning Suns Out Guns Out finally got their offense going kicking off...

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Who wants to be a millionaire? Virtual game creates real results
Nov06

Who wants to be a millionaire? Virtual game creates real results

What’s the best way to invest $1 million? Students are getting the opportunity to find out through the second installment of The Dr. Stock Market Game. The game is named after the interim dean of the McLane College of Business, Dr. Paul Stock. Junior economics major John Martin has taken on the challenge of the game. “I probably spend an hour a day working on it,” Martin said. “I mean I’m checking it throughout the day. I have the app on my phone as well, so even between classes I’m checking it.” The game is hosted through a web site used by professional investors to simulate the way the stock market works and to test their investment strategies. Participants enter the game on a two-person team and this year 38 teams signed up. Last year, the game was limited to students in the College of Business. This year, faculty members were also invited to compete although they are not be eligible for the prize money. Players began investing their virtual million Oct. 14. The promise of a cash prize has attracted some dedicated participants. “I wanted to do it anyway just because it’s fun,” Martin said. “It was going to be cool to compete against a lot of my friends. But I probably wouldn’t be spending as much time on it as I am if there wasn’t some kind of prize at the end because that adds a little bit of motivation.” While the money that students invest may be simulation, the prize they could possibly receive is real cash. The third-place team will earn $100; second place obtains $200 and first place will win a total of $500. The competition has encouraged Martin to spend  time researching what is going on in the market and looking at what some professionals are predicting. “I try to look at the Wall Street Journal every day and read it and also watch the news for a little bit and just see what happened that day…” he said. “Even war stuff in other countries affects maybe the oil or gold exploration in those countries….” Professor of management Larry Locke is one of the sponsors of the event. He is glad that the game was open to the entire university this year because it can give a taste of what real stock market investing is like. “How many people the age of our students have that kind of real world experience investing in the stock market?” Locke said. “So to give them the ability on this professional platform to be able to do something that very realistically simulates investing in the stock market,...

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