Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Anniversary of ‘Million Man March’ falls short of potential

October 10 marked the 20th anniversary of the 1995 Million Man March in Washington, D.C. An anniversary rally entitled “Justice or Else,” was organized by Louis Farrakhan, a leader in the Muslim community. The march was planned as part of an effort to continue the fight for justice among blacks in America. The event itself was not just intended for those of Muslim faith but for people of all faiths, traditions, races, and political beliefs. The newfound diversity of the march is reaching a broader audience in comparison to the gathering of just black men in 1995. Some of the key points that were discussed among the crowd were the present oppression and tyranny of blacks in America, mistreatment and disrespect of latinos, and “justice or else!” The theme of Dr. Kings “I Have a Dream” speech was deeply emphasized and rang true in the diversity of the crowd. The leaders at the event focused on the younger generation by encouraging them to take pictures and tweet about the event to bring awareness around the country. But ironically, the event did not gain the desired coverage even with social media as a main point of its public relations campaign. The overall message came across unclear and seemed as if it had no real direction. The 20th anniversary event could’ve also been overshadowed by the man associated with the event, Louis Farrakhan, and the underdeveloped public relations aspect of it all. The whole event was focused on Farrakhan, who a lot of people do not particularly care for due to his radical views during the time of Malcolm X. His speech at the rally seemed to carry a vibe of condemnation. He spoke about not being judges of the LGBT community, but has openly made homophobic statements in the past. He revealed his views on women and how their wombs are a sign of honor and how they should dress appropriately in order to gain respect. Although these are things that people concern themselves with, Farrakhan’s message completely missed the mark and strayed away from the overall goal. He was right to want to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March but it would have been more effective with a different keynote speaker who didn’t try to push his personal beliefs on attendees. In the end, the number of people that attended was acceptable and it was all for a great cause, but the ineffective speech definitely cast a shadow on a 20-year...

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Water bottle fountains could save time and money

Should I grab this plastic water bottle or take the time to fill up a bottle with water from the sink? Is there a bottle fountain where I’m going or just a water fountain? These questions are common in students’ minds as they get ready for class in the morning. According to author, Charles Fishman, “Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the US recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year.” The convenience of grabbing a plastic water bottle from the store, that is already filled with water and easily accessible, has college students everywhere buying cases of plastic bottles. But despite the convenience, excessive use of these water bottles might have serious consequences when it comes to the enviornment. According to The Container Recycling Institute, “Americans buy an estimated 42.6 billion single-serving (1 liter or less) plastic water bottles each year. Almost eight out of ten end up in a landfill or incinerator. Hundreds of millions end up as litter on roads and beaches or in streams and other waterways. Taxpayers pay hundreds of millions of dollars each year in disposal and litter cleanup costs.” The expenses to buy the cases of bottles are affecting our bank accounts as much as our environment. BanTheBottle.net explains that, “The recommended eight glasses of water a day, at US tap rates equals about $.49 per year; that same amount of bottled water is about $1,400.” A quick and easy fix for this economic and environmental issue, espececially on college campuses, is to install water bottle filling stations. These filling fountains can often be installed in conjuction or in place of existing water fountains. A good example of these fountains can be found on Elky.com. According to the company, their “bottle fillers provide convenient hydration with a rapid fill of filtered water to quench thirst and minimize plastic bottle waste in the environment.” Adding these Elky stations into all the university buildings would not only save college students and the university money in the long run, but it would also decrease plastic waste and littering on...

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Database could help catch criminals, identify victims

You are born with your own set of unique fingerprints. They never change, they identify who you are and can leave a trace of you behind. When a baby is born, the hospital takes their fingerprints and footprints for the birth certificate. If the hospital took these prints for an identification system, the police and medical system could be greatly enhanced. Inverse.com said, “Since the late 1800s, fingerprints have been used by the authorities to identify individuals who may have been at the scene of a crime or other situation being investigated.” By already having fingerprints on file, the ID system could help identify Jane/John Doe’s when they come into the hospital. FindTheMissing.org stated that, “Nation-wide, 4,400 unidentified remains are found every every year and over 1,000 of these remain unidentified after one year. Holistically, there may be upwards of 40,000 human remains nationally that continue to go unidentified.” In addition to determining who the person is, the identification system could help aid resolution in rape and sexual assault cases. It could also help determine if a criminal left fingerprints at a crime scene. By having a set of fingerprints to match, cases of murder, burglary, and sexual assault could be resolved. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a system called The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or IAFIS. According to FBI.gov, “it is a national fingerprint and criminal history system that responds to requests 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.” It helps solve and prevent crimes based on fingerprinting and imaging. The only problem with this program is that someone is only in the system if they are a criminal with a previous record. If someone was to commit a crime and its was their first offense, their fingerprints would not be in the system. If we took everyone’s fingerprints at birth and put them in the database, we could help law enforcement agencies do their job more quickly and...

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Freedom of speech should not be abused

Freedom of speech is supposed to apply to all Americans, but it seems that when African-Americans speak about the injustices committed against them, they are silenced, often with violence. But yet minority races are expected to rise above these actions against them and not respond with the same force. Although the Constitution originally didn’t intend to apply to African-Americans, making harsh statements about a race of people under the umbrella of free speech can only reflect the ignorance of the person making that statement. A few weeks ago, I visited an art gallery and I was appalled at what I witnessed. I saw a piece of artwork with blatant examples of racism that is still suffered by African-Americans today. I confronted the artist and received sarcasm like I was the one who was wrong. The piece of artwork was riddled with racist images that could not be explained by the artist. The problem with free speech is that it is just that – free – and you do not need to be educated to make a statement about anything. When I confronted the artist, he was uneducated about the negative connotations and names associated with African-Americans. Had he possessed an ounce of sensitivity, he might have insured that he was educated on the struggle of the people before making harsh, brazen, and unexplainable statements in his art work. Free speech is a glorious thing if it is truly for all people. But it seems as though the Constitutional right that should be “free” to all Americans is not guaranteed to minority races. The fact that the Constitution was written by slave owning people is proof enough that we were not guaranteed rights. It seems as if African-Americans and other minority races’ cries of “why is everybody being mean to us,” have fallen upon deaf ears for centuries. It feels like a constant stream of injustice. It seems like when a black man (or other minorities) speaks truth, they are the enemy. Any time a black man comes forward to help his people, he must say, “freedom to all,” and cannot say “freedom for my people.” In this country, “the price of freedom is death”, according to Malcolm X. I just want my kids to someday be free from hate, and persecution. Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “ I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Believe it or not, minorities are still seeking this...

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College education still has value despite continuing cost increase

It’s a real Catch-22. You need a college degree to have a better chance at getting a high-paying job, but the cost of higher education puts a strong financial burden on college graduates. According to the Wall Street Journal, the average student in the class of 2015 amassed student loan debt of roughly $35,000. So who’s to blame? The colleges? The government? Actually, it’s a little bit of both. Government funding to institutions of higher learning have been slashed dramatically over the past few decades. Colleges have had to make up for these cuts by passing the buck on to students. Pair that with natural inflation and it’s easy to see how prices could quickly get out of hand. Another reason for skyrocketing tuition prices is the demand for higher education. A stronger emphasis has been placed on going to college by society. And in a capitalistic society, something is worth what people are willing to pay for it. The ever-increasing numbers of college graduates shows that young adults still believe benefits of a college diploma outweigh the cost to acquire it. But are the increasing costs still worth it? Well, that’s a question that needs to be answered on a case-by-case basis. One thing for certain is that students shouldn’t go to college just for the satisfaction of receiving a diploma. There are many professions available that don’t require a four-year degree, where individuals can earn a comfortable living without having the burden of a loan payment due every month. Such professions may require trade school or apprenticeships, but the financial burden would be much less than receiving a Bachelor’s degree and then pursuing a career where the degree is not necessarily required. At the same time, however, the value of a degree should not be overlooked. While it’s possible to earn a decent living without one, those who do have a college diploma have the chance to earn significantly more than those who don’t. While the burden of paying back loans may loom heavy in the immediate years following graduation, once paid off, college graduates will reap the benefits of their...

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Group study sessions need a home
Oct14

Group study sessions need a home

Starting this semester, the Townsend Memorial Library has prohibited students from talking on the lower level of the library, creating a “no talking” zone throughout the library. In previous years, students were allowed to talk on the lower level for group sessions, while the upper level was reserved as a silent study area. Right now students are only allowed to talk in one small area of the lower level, and because the rest of the library is in absolute silence, this creates an awkward environment. Recently, I walked into the library with a friend to choose a book. I whispered a question to my friend, and I was told to be quiet. I realize that some people just sit and chat in the library and are a distraction, but others are legitimately in the library to study with their classmates. Cutting out talking almost eliminates group study sessions in the library. The whole purpose of group study sessions is to get together and discuss assignments. Groups cannot do research together without talking. It is virtually impossible. And if groups aren’t allowed to discuss their work, they can’t make use of the library resources. If the group is researching or studying a certain topic, various research materials are right at their fingertips. Students do not have to worry about combing through pages of internet data in their dorms, the resources are right there. Some people argue that individuals who want to study with absolute silence can’t concentrate with groups around them. However, those individuals have the whole upper level to study in. I realize that there are limited places for people to study in absolute silence. But, other places on campus do not have the resources the library does. The SUB was not built to be a study area. The area on the second floor is cramped and lacks table space. The second floor in Mabee is reserved for quiet study but it closes early, where as. the library remains open until 1 a.m. The first floor of Mabee gets loud during the day because people are constantly coming in and out checking their mail or visiting the police station. The library should get rid of the “no talking” rule, on the lower level which will benefit group study sessions, and give students the chance to access the library’s resources during later...

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