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The student voice of Midwestern State University The Wichitan page 5 Unoriginal fun Roller derby flick ‘Whip It’ skates within the lines, but serves up fun times, too. page 7 Foul-weather win Mustangs stampede over WT A&M Buffaloes to top off Family day festivities WEDNESDAY, October 7, 2009 Caribfest ‘09 took place in Sunwatcher Plaza on Friday. The annual celebration gives the MSU community a chance to taste – literally, if you count the cuisine – the island culture that many of the MSU students come from. Money made through ticket sales and other fundraising activities went to several local charities. – Photos by Julia Raymond Photo by Julia Raymond Reverend Al Sharpton spoke as part of the Artist Lecture series on Wednesday. Equality still far from reality Brittany Norman Editor-In-Chief When Rev. Al Sharpton came to campus Wednesday, the atmosphere in Akin Auditorium was noticeably different from past Artist Lecture performances. The place was jam-packed. Half an hour before the controversial Baptist minister and civil rights activist spoke, the line of ticket holders snaked from the auditorium’s main entrance onto Council Drive. A black SUV, its stern-looking driver with an earpiece, sat sentry in front of the stage door. Those who didn’t have tickets formed a separate line, hoping for no-shows. Students and community members crowded around tables set up in the aisles, jotting down questions for Sharpton. There wasn’t an empty seat when he took the stage. Sharpton, known for his sharp tongue, tossed out barbs and made political thrusts aimed at both democrats and republicans. One target was the actions in the Middle East. Sharpton said he is skeptical about the conflict in Iran. He said the U.S. should exercise caution in dealing with the threat of nuclear weapons to avoid another situation like Iraq. “Are we getting better information or just the same kind of misinformation?” he asked. “I was one that never bought the justification for war in Iraq. I re- alize I’m in Texas, but it never made sense to me. If we were attacked by Osama bin Laden, why were we going after Saddam Hussein?” He said he came by this logic “growing up in the hood.” “If someone broke into my house, I wouldn’t call the police and tell them, ‘let’s go get that guy that insulted my daddy 20 years ago,’” Sharpton said. “We must defend America against real threats, not perceived threats.” He said the most unpatriotic thing a country can do is risk the lives of soldiers based on flawed intelligence. He stressed that the president is right to engage different parts of the world when necessary, but that he needs to be absolutely certain of his information before he sends the country to war. Sharpton said the U.S. needs to focus on problems at home. “May of this year was the 55th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education,” he said. “Fifty-five years later, the achievement gap is almost the same as it was then. There is all of this talk of a postracial generation, but according to the Department of Education, black and Latino students are an average of four years behind their white counterparts.” He also cited the high dropout rate for blacks compared with white students as proof that the race gap is still very much a fixSee SHARPTON page 3 H1N1 confirmed on campus, but hysteria is unnecessary Chris Collins Managing Editor Swine flu is sweeping MSU, causing some students to return home and others to quarantine themselves in dorm rooms. But this new viral strain looks a lot like its seasonal counterpart, and MSU is gearing up to handle the situation accordingly. Last week, seven students tested positive for H1N1, or the North American Human Influenza virus. No more have been confirmed, MSU physician Dr. Keith Williamson said, because he has stopped testing for it. “Every physician in town is seeing a lot of illness, most likely flu,” Williamson said. “I have only had positive tests on 7 indi- viduals, then I stopped using the test.” He said one reason for discontinuing testing is that public health officials have not asked the Vinson Health Center to submit specimens of swine flu. This is in sharp contrast to demands of physicians by public health last spring, when it was still unknown how contagious and dangerous the virus was, he said. Williamson said another reason he has postponed tests is inaccuracy of the tool used to detect the type A flu virus, called the Rapid Diagnostic Test. “The test accurately identifies influenza, but will produce a high number of false negatives in the setting of large numbers of flu cases,” Williamson said. “Once it is established that flu is widespread, clinical opinion of a physician has better predictive value than a lab test.” To put the swine on a timeline, the virus – now defined as a pandemic – emerged worldwide in April. Since almost nobody had developed an immunity to the strain, it created a global hysteria. Egyptian health officials confiscated 400,000 pigs from rural farmers in May as a result of swine panic, never mind that the virus is passed mainly by human-to-human contact. At the same time, Russia placed a ban on all pork imports from Spain and Canada during the hysteria’s heyday. San Diego State University almost closed down temporarily in April after one student tested positive for H1N1. Every syllabus at the University of Southern Florida provided that classes would be suspended – perhaps held via Internet – if there were an outbreak there. Closer to home, Southern Hills Elementary in Wichita Falls closed in late April after a handful of students were suspected of being infected with the virus. Some of the flu fright abated this summer, but the illness was back in the news Oct. 2 when it claimed the life of a UT-Austin worker with diabetes. MSU understands that the virus isn’t as deadly as it was made out to be earlier this year, but is still approaching the issue proac- tively, according to Keith Lamb, associate vice president for student affairs. Lamb said the CDC recommended last semester that MSU close if it suffered an H1N1 outbreak, but now its advice has changed. Now, he said, the only way the school will close due to virus is if 20 or 30 percent of the faculty gets sick. “If we get to that point where there is such high absenteeism that the school can’t operate efficiently, upon consultation with the president, we would close the school for one week,” Lamb said. He maintained that although the swine flu is far more contagious than the seasonal variety, it isn’t any more deadly. He allud- ed to Washington State University, which had 2,500 students out with flu – many of them H1N1 – recently. No classes were cancelled because of the massive outbreak. “They carried on as normal,” Lamb said. Though seven students have tested positive for the virus on campus so far, Lamb estimates that many more are ill than students and faculty know about. In fact, he thinks that the virus will infect two times more people every day than it did the previous day. The World Health Organization estimated that over two billion people will be infected worldwide before the pandemic See H1N1 page 4

Oct 7, 2009

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