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.

Campus parking battle

When your clothes get dusty walking to class and construction workers greet you around every corner, you know big changes are happening on campus. Over the summer, the university worked hard to put up new buildings. Remodeling is still in full swing with new sidewalks still underway, but the one thing that has most students hot under the collar is parking. Granted, there is always some fuss over this situation every year. Finding a parking spot seems to be even more difficult this fall, and it’s no wonder with a record number of 598 freshmen on campus. Facebook seems to be taking the brunt of students’ frustrations with status updates like “Day 2 of the UMHB student parking battle. Bring it on freshmen, bring it on,” “Seriously, freshmen, walk to class and save the parking for off-campus students!” and “Wow UMHB you’re about 20 million student parking places short!” According to the campus police department, the university has 3,495 parking spaces, 2,914 of which are located on the main campus and assigned to student parking. The number of student vehicles registered on campus is 2,473. Yes, the numbers don’t really seem to add up. Students’ reactions to the situations may seem a little dramatic, but the statements do hold some truth. The need for expansion is a direct result of the university’s growth. With more students comes a demand for new parking lots. This is not to say that the university is not making an effort. After all, more than 250 spaces were added over the summer in the lots by McLane Hall and Garner Hall. Director of Campus Police Gary Sargent suggests that if you live on campus, you should walk to class or use one of the Cru bikes. He has a good point. Part of our tuition goes to those bikes, so save some gas and use them if you live on campus. This means you, freshmen. It seems that no matter what changes are made, students are always going to find something to nitpick about. Parking issues will be here tomorrow and still probably years down the road. The fight will continue, so get up early and fight over that spot, because it might be the only one you find all...

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Stop, think morals first

Eighty-seven days. That’s how long crude oil gushed endlessly into the Gulf of Mexico before BP (British Petroleum) finally managed to cap the hole caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20. After six failed efforts to stop the escape of oil, BP managed to fashion a cap to stop the leak. Eleven lives were lost in the initial explosion, and more than 205.8 million gallons of oil flooded into the Gulf, according to reports by the Flow Rate Technical Group. No one wants to discuss the Gulf oil spill anymore. For two months the nation watched in horror as oil flooded the ocean, disrupting or destroying entire ecosystems. It was painful to watch, and now that the leak is finally plugged no one wants to remember the weeks of suffering. But there is a larger, glaring issue that many people have avoided discussing or only mentioned in passing. It’s because everyone is to blame for this issue, not just BP. The problem, at its core, is technology itself, and how ethics and morals play into science. When BP first began deep-sea drilling, they were required to have contingency plans in case any problems arose. Problems such as oil rigs exploding, or oil gushing out into the ocean. If it takes 87 days to cap a leak, contingency plans have obviously failed. So why is technology allowed to progress at a break-neck pace without ethical checks and balances in place to save people from their own half-formed ideas and shoddy work ethics? Because people are so concerned with the “next big thing” and having the newest device or a gadget more powerful than their friend. If people can make it faster, they will. Stronger? Of course. Bigger? You betcha. But safer? That little word never crosses anyone’s mind until at least 100 people get hurt. BP drilled a hole into the earth’s crust deep in the middle of the ocean knowing their failsafe plans were unlikely at best to work. That’s not even the worst of the technological advances people are making without thought for the consequences. Everyone remembers Dolly, right? The first mammal successfully cloned by humans? Dolly was a sheep that lived for six years and birthed six lambs before being put down because she had lung cancer. It has never been truer to say that someone has played at being God than at the moment of Dolly’s creation. Dolly was a triumph of modern science. Humanity had actually created life outside of biological reproduction. It is amazing. But is it ethical? Scientists are now actively attempting to clone human beings. Where...

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Taking freedom for granted

I have it easy. The biggest challenges I face each day are making it to class on time, trying not to get in a car wreck on my way to work and matching my socks. I take freedom for granted. The men and women who served in our armed forces made it possible to have such simple worries and concerns. They fought to defend my freedom on the front lines of the battlefield. For more than two centuries, beginning with the American Revolution, men and women bled and died to obtain and preserve the liberties taken for granted today. The concerns these American soldiers have faced throughout history are very different from mine. Would they have enough rations for the next day? Would they freeze to death in the night? Would they have the strength to hold off pressing forces? Would they lose a limb today from a precariously placed car bomb? Would they be alive tomorrow? Because I did not see the bloodshed and hardship of war with my own eyes, I have been charmed into thinking freedom is an automatic part of life. Sadly, this is not the truth. In fact, in China today, citizens do not possess the freedom of speech. The Internet in China is closely monitored by the government. Message boards and social networking websites are censored to prevent any anti-government sentiment. Shi Tao, a Chinese journalist, was sentenced to a 10-year imprisonment in 2005 for releasing a document belonging to the Chinese Communist Party overseas to a Chinese democracy website. Yahoo! China handed over the journalist’s personal details to the government. Li Zhi, Jiang Lijun and Wang Xiaoning all tried to promote democratic reform in China under the government’s radar. But all three are currently imprisoned in China after the government Intercepted messages they sent on the Internet. People in other countries, such as the citizens of China, wish they had the freedom I take for granted. Freedom was not a gift. It is not free. It was fought for and won by our founders. If Americans spent one day as citizens of a country that lacks the freedoms we enjoy, they would have a better appreciation for the liberties we forget about everyday. It’s easy to forget what a precious commodity freedom is, when one isn’t on the front lines as a soldier. Many American men and women fought and died in my place. I owe the freedom to live a peaceful life, obtain a job and build a home with my family to the heroism of the individuals in the armed forces. They have a hard job, so I can have...

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Mosque near ground zero a no go
Aug24

Mosque near ground zero a no go

New York natives are scheduled to receive a new building near where the Twin Towers once stood, a building the majority does not want, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf proposed to build the Cordoba House, a 15-story Islamic community center two blocks away from the site of one of the greatest tragedies in our nation’s history. A poll of New Yorkers showed that 52 percent are opposed to the Muslim center being built in that location, while only 31 percent are in favor of it. The Cordoba House project would contain a performing-arts center, gym, swimming pool and a mosque. The fact that there is a mosque is almost in small print. The term “cultural” or “community” center only misleads the non-Muslim world. Let’s be clear. It’s a mosque. According to Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, as quoted on Newsweek’s website, “The time for a center like this has come because Islam is an American religion. We need to take the 9/11 tragedy and turn it into something very positive.” The proposed building is having just the opposite effect on the minds of New Yorkers, though. It is adding fuel to the fires of anti-Islamic sentiment. Many who argue for the creation of an Islamic center near ground zero cite the First Amendment as their trump card, but the constitutional right to freedom of religion is not in question here. No one said Muslims cannot worship. In fact, there are more than 100 other mosques in New York City. The First Amendment means that Americans have the right to worship however they choose. It does not mean they can build a place of worship wherever they choose. In fact, there is a church whose congregation has been trying to rebuild their place of worship for the past eight years. It was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks when one of the towers fell on top of it. According to Fox News, negotiations to rebuild the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which once stood near the Twin Towers, were stalled last year and will not be revived, according to government officials. While the Greek Orthodox Church will not be built near ground zero, the mosque’s progress is moving forward, despite public opposition. Muslims have a plethora of other mosques in New York City where they can worship in fellowship. Ground zero is a very sensitive area for Americans, and Imam Rauf needs to respect this and build his “cultural center”...

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Stoplight wanted
Apr27

Stoplight wanted

Editorial by Staff UMHB’s main entrance, along with several others, lies on FM 317. The street cuts straight through Belton, leaving retail stores and restaurants in its wake. The busy thoroughfare brings traffic, especially during peak hours from the town to the light at 6th Street, which leads to I-35. During these busy travel times, students at UMHB must fight oncoming traffic and the many turning motorists to get to and from campus. Senior mass communication/ journalism and Spanish double major Crystal Donahue lives in the Huckins apartments, which are nearest to the intersections. “I am shocked there haven’t been many accidents already,” she said. “There are many times I’ve pulled out of a parking lot thinking, ‘I’m not going to make it out.’” Huckins residents often find a circle of three cars all turning in different directions and blocking each other from moving. Honks and tire squeals make the danger of the road evident even from inside the apartments. Many think a street light at the 10th Street intersection would relieve the congestion and allow those turning to safely enter and exit campus without risking their lives pulling into chaotic traffic. High school students visiting campus for the first time also would not receive their first impression of the university while waiting in a turning lane for a never ending stream of cars. However, a light could also bring more danger to the area. The SH 317 bridge that passes over train tracks right before the school entrance limits drivers’ visibility. It was the same bridge where an elderly woman died in 2007, perhaps due in part to the low guardrails. Traffic speeding over the hill would not be able to see cars backed up waiting at the light. Garrett Pekar, a sophomore mass communication/journalism major, does not want more lights in his commute. “A light would stop the crosstraffic, but what happens when you are part of that traffic?” he said. “We, as students, drive on FM 317, too.” “When I am at Wal-Mart and want to go to get something to eat across town, I don’t want another light to come between me and Whataburger,” Pekar said. FM 317 is owned by Texas, and it’s the state’s responsibility to address the road’s problems. The only hope for change comes in communication among UMHB, the city and the state. It is quite surprising and fortunate that there hasn’t been a tragic accident on the extremely dangerous intersection already. Sadly, it often takes a fatality to make people realize that something needs fixing. This problem should be addressed soon, especially as both the community and the university are...

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Neuman says farewell to school she loves

If I could have magically told my freshman self how fast college was going to fly by, I might not have believed it – even coming from my own lips. I don’t think I would have believed how much I would “grow up” either. I can still remember crying (sometimes secretly, sometimes not so secretly) nearly every time I called home. Being three and half hours’ drive away was hard. I am so thankful difficulties like that have stretched me, challenged me to know why I believe what I believe, and have given me loads of fun and new friends along the way. In just a few short days, I will be crying that I have to leave this place. The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor is truly special. Not too long ago, I was walking through the Quad and had one of those “flood of memories” moments. I remembered the first time I got a tour of the campus. I remembered the first day of Welcome Week when my parents drove away, leaving me in a dorm room full of half-unpacked brown boxes. I remembered putting off homework to play intramural flag football games (Go Fightin’ Mongeeses!). I thought about the time my roommate and I made a snowman, Lil’ Jack, from the ice shavings in our mini-fridge. I remembered being freaked out by the first round of finals, and making a gazillion note cards for a biology test. I remembered eating sandwiches for lunch in Hardy almost every day, and being so excited when my roomie and I got to move into Huckins our sophomore year. I remember some of my biggest fears that now seem silly – like Did I choose the right major? Does so-and-so notice me? How am I going to get all this homework done? Did I take on too many tasks? My advice to my fellow Crusaders who still have time to serve: Activities are good. Get plugged in to something you love and that keeps you busy (if you let yourself get bored too much, you’ll feel lonely). Meet lots of people, and remember to take the time to build close relationships with an inner circle. When your freshman-year crush doesn’t ever ask you out, don’t worry! Though it may feel like everyone’s getting a ring, not everyone is. Waiting for God’s timing is worth it. Too much procrastination can hurt your brain and your heart. Find the balance in your schedule – between scholarship and recreation. Enjoy it! My mom once told me that college was one of the most fun chapters of life. They say time flies when you’re having...

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