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THE WICHITAN The Student Voice of Midwestern State University Our Opinion License to steal INSIDE Itʼs OK to be irresponsible. At least thatʼs what the MSU administration seems to be implying. Moffett Library accumulated $75,000 in fines last year yet nothing is being done to collect most of that outstanding debt. Why? Because the fines donʼt necessarily have to be paid off. People are legally getting away with stealing. In its infinite wisdom, the administration will no longer let the library put holds on students who have failed to return books or pay fines. Did you know that as an undergraduate, you are allowed to carry up to $250 in debt, which can come from library fines or parking tickets? That tidbit was revealed in Sundayʼs Times Record News. Technically, youʼll never have to pay it off. That is, unless you want to graduate or get a transcript. Granted, most of us are in college to get out with a degree. But letʼs face it. Not everyone graduates. And many times dropping out is due to a lack of responsibility on the part of the student. So why is the administration continuing to let dropouts get away with being irresponsible? Last year, the MSU freshman dropout rate approached 40 percent. Now, imagine that each of those people making up that percentage had fines of $250 that they didnʼt have to pay. If you do the math, thatʼs roughly $200,000. Thatʼs a lot of money for MSU to lose. When fines were $19,985 in 2005, the library – with its power to put holds on students – collected $18,609. After the administration neutered the library, fines shot up to $74,728 in twelve months. Today, itʼs nearly $55,000 in the hole. Since when is it OK to walk off with state property? Whatʼs the point of having library fines or parking regulations if theyʼre not enforced? The big question is the reasoning behind this $250 debt system. Some say it is for the studentsʼ convenience. The administration argues that students donʼt want to be held back from registering because of a little fine here and there. But letʼs be serious about this. If you are going to college and attending class and doing your homework and passing tests, donʼt you think youʼd also own the maturity and responsibility to pay off your parking ticket or return your library book before you register for your next set of classes? Any respectable student will tell you that, of course, he or she would pay the fines. Itʼs all part of keeping this university functioning like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately students have gotten away with stealing and theyʼll continue to get away with it because itʼs more important to the college that irresponsible students continue to register so they may pay their thousands of dollars in tuition money. Whatʼs a measly $250 compared to $2,000 for a full class load? What does it matter if the library is missing a rare, hard-to-find book because someone wonʼt return it? What does it matter that students can park wherever they want and not have to pay off their tickets? As long as that tuition money keeps pouring in, everythingʼs fine, right? Itʼs not right. The solution is simple: Reinstate the old policy. Donʼt fix things if theyʼre not broken. Profs wise to bugouts on Fridays CHAMPS LYDIA VALDEZ FOR THE WICHITAN If you drive on campus you notice just how hard it is to find a parking space at the beginning of the week. But you also notice how easy it is to find a parking space at the end of the week, especially Friday. To those who consider allowed absences vacation days, professors may be on to you. “Friday is the most missed day of the week, but students tend to miss the day before a holiday, or the day after a major exam,” said economic professor John Martinez. According to Martinez, being sick is the most often used reason for being absent. Each professor sets his or her own attendance policy. Some are strict and some are not. Martinez said he usually drops on average two to three students a semester for excessive absences. Martinez is not the only professor who has noticed a trend of an empty classroom on Fridays. Dr. Steve Garrison, interim chair of the political science department, also noticed the echo in his room on Fridays. Garrison thinks students are absent on Friday due to weekends and people traveling. Garrison finds some of the excuses entertaining. “Those that claim to have been in jail, I rarely inquire further,” Garrison said. The standard excuses are work, travel with parents, death in the family and “family emergency.” “In my experience the ones with the excuses are usually the good students with a valid excuse. They usually bring documentation such as an ill child or illness,” said Garrison. Garrison doesnʼt drop students with excessive absences unless they are receiving financial aid. “College and students have to learn accountability and responsibility somewhere,” Garrison said. Students are expected to attend ADRIAN MCCANDLESS | THE WICHITAN Chad Rickett, guard, takes a shot during the game on Friday. For more pictures, see page 7. For related story, see page 6. See Absence page 3 MSU guest house rolls out welcome mat ASHLEY JACKSON FOR THE WICHITAN MSU visitors now have a place to stay located just off campus. The MSU Guest House, at 2518 Hampstead Lane, provides guests with a unique option for spending the night in Wichita Falls. The university owns five houses on Hampstead Lane. The guest house was purchased in late 2005. “We took the house that was in the best shape and made it into the guest house,” said Michael Mills, assistant director of housing at MSU. The cost of renting one bedroom is $50 per night. The cost of renting the entire house is $100 per night. The house has four bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms and is approximately 2,100 square feet. The newly decorated house comes with high-speed Internet, cable television, a furnished kitchen, a washer and a dryer. The master bedroom has a private bathroom, dressing room telephone and cable television. The second and third bedrooms also have a telephone and cable television. Each bedroom has its own lock and key. The house has two living rooms. The formal living room offers a view of Hampstead Lane from an oversized window. The informal living room, just off the kitchen area, has access to a sunroom with a view of the back yard. The guest house has custodial service available Monday through Friday and can also be cleaned at the guestʼs request. Any special guest at the university is allowed to stay at the guest house, Mills said. This includes speakers, visiting professors, professors being interviewed for possible employment and MSU alumni. According to Mills, the MSU housing department set the nightly rates. “We felt our prices were competitive with higher end hotelsʼ prices,” Mills said. “The good thing about the guest house is that we allow guests to rent out either one bedroom or the entire house.” Because of the anticipated high demand for this property, reservations may not be confirmed for more than 30 days prior to the date of occupancy. The MSU Office of Housing and Residence Life asks that a guestʼs stay not exceed 14 days. Back-up arrangements should be made until reservation confirmation is given, he said. Students are not yet allowed to use the house for functions or meetings. “It may be something looked into in the future,” Mills said. According to the MSU Faculty LAUREN MILLER | THE WICHITAN The master bedroom in the new MSU guest house offers restful evenings and peaceful sleep. Senate March 2006 minutes, the guest house has been open since February 2006. Mills does not know if MSU plans on buying any other residential property near Hampstead Lane. There are only three houses between Glenwood and Milby avenues, located perpendicular to Hampstead Lane, that MSU does not own. More information may be found at the MSU Office of Housing and Residence Life at 3410 Taft Blvd., (940) 397-4217. ‘Science of Sleep’ ‘Wild Hogs’ Ladies beat #9 team Michel Gondry offers up a dreamy movie starring Gael Garcia Bernal. Four middle-aged men take the hilarious roadtrip of a lifetime in “Wild Hogs.” The Mustangs softball team won against the Broncos in a double header with 5-1 and 5-3. page 5 page 6 page 4 Wednesday March 7, 2007

March 7, 2007

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