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The student voice of Midwestern State University The Wichitan page 7 Kiln-fired art page 9 Final Four set Gallery displays work of continuing education ceramics students Michigan State, UConn, UNC and Villanova all get set to face off in Detroit. WEDNESDAY April 1, 2009 Professors gun-shy about concealed carry bill Brittany Norman Editor In Chief The prospect of students obtaining the right to carry concealed weapons on college campuses has rendered many in the MSU community a little bit gun-shy. Texas State Senate Bill number 1164, authored by Senator Jeff Wentworth of San Antonio, seeks to allow those with concealed carry permits to bring their handguns onto college campuses. Wentworth says he authored the bill “in an effort to prevent senseless tragedies.” The senselessness, according to several MSU faculty and administrators, is in allowing guns on campus at all. The MSU branch of Texas Association of College Teachers (TACT) held a discussion on the topic of concealed weapons on campus Thursday. Several professors, an administrator, and a representative from the Student Government Association (SGA) spoke. Elizabeth Lewandowski, theatre costume designer, offered a perspective shaped by personal experience. “I have been in a situation where a student threatened by life,” Lewandowski said. “I was told ‘you are going to pass me in this class or you are going to die.’ The next day all the tires on my car were flat. I did not walk very easily to my car after dark for a long time after that.” Lewandowski said that according to several national news sources, surveys showed that a large majority of people are opposed to allowing concealed carry on college campuses. However, the Students for Con- cealed Carry on Campus, a nationwide organization, boasts more than 37,000 members in support of such a bill. SCCC argues that concealed handguns should be allowed for safety and protection. “Students and university staff, unlike police, are not trained or integrated into campus security plans,” Lewandowski said. “Under the best of intentions having a concealed carry weapon in a room during a shooting would escalate an already explosive situation.” MSU police chief Michael Hagy said that while he will support the legislation in order to do his job if it passes, he has misgivings. His concerns are on the process of how people obtain concealed handgun licenses. “I have a concern on how we determine who is of sound mind and body to be able to get a concealed handgun license to the standpoint that we can’t verify anyone’s information.” On an application for a concealed handguns permit, applicants check whether or not they have any mental health problems. Hagy said that due to privacy laws, this informa- tion cannot be verified. “(Applicants are) checked for felonies, misdemeanors or family violence stuff,” Hagy said. “If they don’t have any, it’s stamped approved.” He also says the training requirements are lacking. “You’re required to get 10 to 15 hours of training and we call that ‘highly trained,’” he said. “That’s like me getting a master’s degree by taking a two-hour correspondence course. A person who takes 10 to 15 hours of instruction, in my opinion, See GUNS page 4 Photo by Patrick Johnston Justice Alan Page spoke in Akin Auditorium on March 23 as part of MSU’s Artist Lecture Series. Famed jurist keeps his eye on the ball Photo by Peter Hiatt The Kappa Sigma fraternity house would have been owned by the county if the brothers had not been able to raise over $2,000 to cover unpaid property taxes. In the red Orlando Flores For the Wichitan Chance Gibbs got some bad news Jan. 26 about his fraternity. Kappa Sigma was eight years behind on its property taxes. The annual taxes had gone unpaid since 2003. The bill, which included interest, late fees and penalties, now totaled $6,713. “I was in shock,” said Gibbs, president of the fraternity. For 18 years, fraternity members had been responsible for the one-time morgue, a two-story house at 2400 10th St. Now they were being told that if they couldn’t come up with $2,400 by Feb. 2 the county would own it. “I knew something had to be done quickly because saving the house meant saving Kappa Sigma,” Gibbs said. Hurriedly, a fund-raiser was organized. They had five days to come up with the money. They held an event at the house, soliciting money by passing around a jar throughout the evening. The party brought in $700. Within the next three days, $250 more were collected from five different fraternity alumni. Dr. Howard Farrell, vice president of university advancement and student affairs, donated $250. In the end, fraternity brothers pulled together the remaining $1,200. Despite their success, they learned a valuable lesson on finance. Kappa Sigma fraternity nearly lost chapter house due to unpaid property taxes “It was partly due to the ignorance of the property tax and occasional missed rent but what really killed us was the interest, late fees and penalty fees,” said treasurer Andrew Lindsey. From five to eight men live in the house at any one time, paying $300 monthly. Membership dues will not go up, Lindsey said. Corin Clement, master of ceremonies, said losing the house would have been devastating. The house, he said, helps define them. “As of this semester we can say we’re the only fraternity chartered by Midwestern State that has an official house,” he said. “We take a lot of pride in that and See TAXES page 4 Chris Collins Managing Editor Justice Alan Page stood imposingly before a full house in Akin Auditorium, his tall body framed behind the podium as he gazed out on Wednesday night’s crowd. The ex-professional football player leaned forward, both hands gripping the wooden sides of the podium. His tidy bow tie and dusty, white beard gave the impression of an aged reverend on the pulpit instead of a Hall of Fame football legend. Page’s hands shook as he drained a glass of water, almost spilling the liquid. Maybe he was nervous, though he’s performed in front of millions of people during his famed sports career. More likely, he’s gotten older. The Minnesota Supreme Court judge is 64 years old. Though Pages’ 15-year football career has apparently taken a toll on his body, it hasn’t affected his mind. “Sometimes football players are known as dumb jocks who have been hit in the head too many times,” he joked. Page spoke as part of the Artist Lecture Series about judicial impartiality, the importance of education and race relations. During the one-hour speech the jurist was concise and knowledgeable – anything but a dumb jock. Clearly he has made a full transition from closing down quarterbacks to closing cases. “I was interested in the law long before I began my career in football,” Page said. As a black child in Ohio during the 1950s, he soon understood the significant role the law played in his life. He remembers reading about Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka as a kid. The ruling in the landmark desegregation case gave him an inkling of how powerful judges could be. “For me, that power was hope,” Page said. “Hope that if the educational system in the South could be changed, it could change anywhere. Hope that fairness would prevail.” Fairness to Page means judicial independence, which is key to the U.S. system of government, he said. Today the country faces some steep challenges maintaining impartiality. “For democracy to survive, you have to have a place where people can go to settle disputes, whether it’s with their neighbors or with their governors,” Page said. “People must have trust and confidence in those who decide on their disputes.” Some of these challenges arise because we elect our judges, Page said. Thirty-nine American states elect their Supreme Court judges. “With the attitude of big money election campaigns and the presence of party politics in elections, the public’s confidence in the judiciary is bound to erode,” Page said. He noted that $9.3 million was spent in one initial election for a seat on the Supreme Court in Illinois in 2004. In Texas, $3.5 million was contributed by private groups in 2006 for a similar position. “Trust me, the people who contribute to these campaigns do not do so with civic generosity in mind,” Page said. “As citizens, you should be concerned. “When we cannot trust the judiciary, we are all on our way to settling our disputes in the streets. Without the assurance of due pro- See PAGE page 5

April 1, 2009

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