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.

Generation Y: Following Drug Culture
Oct09

Generation Y: Following Drug Culture

Since the early days of pop culture, the public has idolized the celebrity lifestyle. Stars set the standard for fashion and politics. But with great power comes great responsibility, and media influence is not always good. The problem of substance abuse is a societal behemoth, and celebrities are not exempt. Artists sing about getting high, athletes get busted for steroids, and dozens of actors spend time in rehab. By standing on America’s pedestal yet making poor life decisions, what example are celebrities setting? Young people tend to model their behavior after superstars. Does seeing Zac Efron or Michael Phelps with drugs influence them? Some of the greatest entertainers have prominently dealt with addictions. Stars like Ben “Macklemore” Haggerty, Robert Downey Jr. and Eminem have undergone rehabilitation for substance abuse. Others have died from overdosing and alcohol poisoning, leaving fans to mourn the loss of talents like Amy Winehouse and Heath Ledger. On July 13, Twitter flooded with reports that actor Cory Monteith was found dead in a hotel room. While the official cause was not immediately released, speculations were that he fatally combined alcohol with heroin. Monteith’s demise came after years of battling addiction, leaving fans to question what went wrong and Glee producers scrambling to write his character out of the show. Dr. Aida Sapp, a professor in the College of Nursing, uses stars like Monteith for mental health lectures. “He struggled, and he was so transparent about it,” she said. “Little did we know he was in the process of leaving a legacy for himself. He talked about how hard it was and how he just failed time and time again.” The public’s view of celebrity addictions is mixed. While some appreciate the authenticity of stars addressing their struggles, others grow tired of the constant coverage of hot messes like Miley Cyrus. Some have argued that when a celebrity overdoses, he or she is viewed as a “tragic hero,” but when an average Joe faces the same struggles, he or she is labeled a junkie who had it coming. Dean of students Ray Martin believes celebrities serve as a warning for young people rather than an example. “Who wants to have happen to them what’s happened to Lindsay Lohan?” he asked. “It’s just amazing what she’s thrown away.” Often, celebrities are sent to rehabilitation centers more resembling a beach resort than anything else. VH1 featured a television show called Celebrity Rehab, highlighting the lack of severity in dealing with addictions. Campus police Chief Gary Sargent finds that in many cases, A-listers’ behaviors desensitize the public to the consequences. “They don’t see the homeless person out on the street because...

Read More

iOS Update: Seventh Heaven or Major (Apple) Malfunction?

Apple fans across campus recently updated their iPhones to iOS 7. While some are left with a bitter taste, general campus consensus approves of the fresh look. Senior psychology major Jason Aleman was one of the first to receive the new update for his phone. He has owned each edition of the iPhone and its software since the first generation. “I heard about it during the summer, and when I found out it was coming out this fall, I was so excited,” he said. Apple Inc. officially announced the software’s release Sept. 10, and a week later students were eager to get their hands on the product. So far, the smallest details have proved to be the biggest hit. The upgrade features a whole new layout for the iPhone. Apple did not skimp on details, as even the menu colors are designed to detect each phone’s wallpaper and match. Junior nursing major Deanna Dawdy downloaded iOS 7 on her iPad and iPhone and has enjoyed exploring each new element. “I spent like three hours last night playing with it,” she said the day after upgrading. The notification center is improved, a flashlight is now located on the control panel and many major apps including Facebook and Twitter have reformatted their designs specifically for the new look. The iPhone’s multitasking capabilities are better than ever. Even Siri got a makeover; the voice assistant now includes a male voice option. Junior social work major Payton Pierce said, “It’s the little things” that make iOS 7 special. “I love, love, love the control panel. I don’t have data, so whenever I go off campus, I can just swipe up, click Wi-Fi button, close it back down, and I’m not wasting battery on Wi-Fi,” she said. “You don’t have to go into settings to change the brightness. So if you’re in a movie, it’s easy.” One highly anticipated feature was the iTunes Radio app. Described as the latest rival to Pandora, the Apple-style Internet radio allows users to create stations, stream music and purchase tracks all on one device. On the dark side, updating to iOS 7 is like biting into the forbidden fruit; once users upgrade, they will be unable to downgrade to the previous software. Some have found the new layout to be overly colorful and childish. Others have claimed it resembles the look of a Windows phone. The most common annoyance among Crusaders is setting a wallpaper using iOS 7. “Whenever you try to set a picture as your wallpaper, it zooms in, and you can’t unzoom,” Aleman said. “It’s everyone’s biggest complaint right now. … I think it’s a...

Read More

Striking Situation in Syria

Chaos. Quagmire. Debacle. These words do not even begin to describe the situation in Syria. Everything that could go wrong has basically gone wrong. It began with peaceful demonstrations for a more democratic Syria. President Bashar al-Assad responded with extreme measures and the military gunned down civilians in the street. Eventually, the protesters began fighting back, and many soldiers defected to the side of the rebels. The conflict escalated to a full blown civil war. Both sides were accused of committing war crimes and other atrocities. The destabilization led to a massive crime wave and also left  the Syrian economy in shambles. The Syrian rebels are not united. There have been multiple reports of fighting between the moderate Free Syrian Army and many radical Islamist groups. Just when it seemed the situation could not get any worse, one of the sides committed a horrible chemical weapons attack. In response to the attack, U.S. President Barack Obama threatened to bomb suspected chemical weapons sites which would douse gas on the fires raging in Syria. At this point, the U.S. public at large took notice of the conflict. Americans across the nation, especially those with family members in the military, collectively cringed at the thought of America entering another military conflict. The first sign of hope in the crisis came from Russia. Yes, Russia, the same country that has essentially revoked the free speech of all non-heterosexual individuals and was America’s longtime Cold War enemy saved Obama’s bacon. Obama said Assad had crossed a red line, so Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government brokered a deal for the removal of all chemical weapons from Syria. The world was shocked that Obama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner had to be talked out of war by the former director of the KGB. Maybe they were attempting the good copbad cop routine. On the same night, Assad’s interview aired on Fox News. The Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil had more good news regarding the Syrian Civil War. He told a reporter for the Guardian that he was ready to negotiate a cease-fire with the rebels. He believed that the conflict was at a stalemate. Jamil also commented on the catastrophic death toll and the severe damage to the Syrian economy. These talks of cease-fire are a positive sign for Syria, but the current situation is so tense that there is no guarantee that either side will agree to the terms. In addition to this, many of the radical groups that are part of the Syrian opposition, and those in support of Assad, pose a huge threat to the stability of the country....

Read More

Campus Calendar Amped

For the past several years, finding information about events happening on campus has been frustratingly difficult. A visit to the online calendar was usually a futile effort. Thankfully, the voices of the student body were heard as the university unveiled a brand new calendar for this semester. Web Services Manager Matthew Irvine said the changes had been in the works for quite some time. “We knew that there were problems that we wanted to address, and we wanted to prioritize that,” he said.  “The problems with it were that it was very difficult to use before. It was hard to search for events.” Before the changes, the calendar was about as useful as a lead balloon. Want to find the date of a particular event? Good luck! It was so difficult to navigate that the only way students could locate an event was if they already knew the date of it beforehand, which seems to defeat the purpose of a calendar in the first place. However, the new calendar includes several features that eliminate the frustration the old one inevitably brought on. A featured section brings things that are seen as top priority to students and the university to the top of the page and eliminates the hassle of searching fruitlessly through various events. The calendar also allows for trending events and promotes items based on traffic they receive on the website.  Director of Marketing and Public Relations James Stafford hopes students will use this feature to make the calendar their own. “There’s an algorithm involved where they get promoted to more prominent spaces based on how much interaction students and users are having with them, so if a bunch of students are clicking on the same event, all of a sudden it’s coming up higher,” he said. “What I hope it does is give a sense of ownership to our students.” The most frustrating thing about the previous calendar was the unnecessary repetitiveness, which made things feel cluttered. For example, each and every single athletic practice, club meeting and academic event was listed for each time it occurred. Now, events are listed under categories that make them easy to find and ensures that users no longer have to weed through things they don’t care about. Need fine arts credits? Simply click on the tab titled “Fine Arts.” Want to know when Cru Knights is? It will now be listed as a featured event instead of hiding between golf practice and chemistry club. In addition to being easier to navigate, the calendar is now able to connect with social media. Stafford said the changes to the calendar are proof...

Read More
Running Man No More
Sep10

Running Man No More

For the first time in years, students will not be able to hold the traditional running man game due to the Belton police forbidding the activity from continuing. The first running man event of the school year was set to take place Aug. 23 until students found that it had become illegal. Running man was the ultimate competition of speed, stealth and wit on campus. Students donned dark clothing and after congregating at the softball and baseball parking lot, sprint across campus trying to make their way to the Meyer Christian Studies Building without being spotted by drivers who patrol the roads looking for runners. As can be guessed, there have been some problems with the logistics of running man. Students often got lost or ended up in the back yards of Belton residents. On one such occasion, two years ago, I was a freshman enjoying the thrill of a game of running man, when I discovered that I, along with a large group of other runners, were lost on what may or may not have been campus property. Students fell into poison ivy and others fell into one of the creeks we crossed before we eventually made our way back onto campus. Without proper guidelines and familiarity of the area, students can wander off and maybe end up having to jump the fences of Belton residents. This is where the real problem occurs. If a local resident sees two or three people dressed in black slinking around their backyard, that person may call the police or even get out a shotgun, and who could blame them? After all, clichés like “We don’t dial 911” and “Shoot first. Ask questions later” are considered proverbs by many Texans. Because of this potential for catastrophe, running man will no longer be a part the UMHB tradition, but question to ask is why now? Could it be possible to change the criteria boundaries of the game in order to make it better? It has been an ongoing ritual for years, but the event has just now been stopped. The growth of the university is likely a reason. More students coming to campus means more students participating in running man, which theoretically leads to more lost students stumbling through someone’s back yard. Another con of running man happens to be when a runner is spotted by a truck. To signify that a player is out of the game, the caught person climbs into the back of the truck and spends the rest of the game looking for others still sneaking toward Meyer. Obviously, this leads to a large number of students squeezing into the back of...

Read More
Athletes Miss Out On The Money
Sep10

Athletes Miss Out On The Money

It seems like every year there is either a team or big-time player who gets busted for receiving benefits from a booster. With the industry of collegiate sports growing more and more each year, so do the temptations that the student athletes have to face. The issue of players getting paid for their performance or making money from their signatures has created a question that nobody quite knows how to answer yet. It seems that many are making money off of these athletes, but the athletes themselves don’t receive a cent. This needs to change, but it is a sticky subject because with any solution, somebody is going to find a loophole and take advantage of the situation. This issue has been a topic of discussion for a while now, but it really hit the spotlight when Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was accused of signing jerseys for money. Since then, all of the big names in the sports broadcasting network have jumped in and given their two cents on the subject. Former Duke basketball player and current basketball analyst Jay Bilas explained what he thought should be changed. “I’m not advocating paying college athletes a salary, but rather allowing stipends and other benefits, including endorsement deals,” he said. “It’s a mental hurdle to get over the purity of college athletics, but allowing extra benefits would remove much of the corruption in athletics.” I agree with his argument because it’s common knowledge that these athletes are getting hundred dollar handshakes and receiving benefits anyway. Why not just even the playing field and stop wasting our time trying to crucify players for taking a cut they actually deserve to get? It is time that others get their hand out of the cookie jar and leave some room for the student athletes to get what is theirs. The grueling schedule of a D1 athlete leaves no time for a job, so what are these college students supposed to do? It only seems logical that they would seek out boosters. People like Johnny Manziel kind of ruin this argument because he comes from a wealthy family, and he wasn’t getting the extra cash so he could afford all his meals that week. The majority of the time a player gets in trouble, it is because he or she is actually in need of money. Scottie Bordelon, a sports writer who has written many articles on this issue, makes a point that is hard to argue with. The NCAA says college football players must stay at the collegiate level for two years before they declare for the NFL. These standout players often feel...

Read More
Page 20 of 59« First...10...1819202122...304050...Last »