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Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize: reward, challenge and burden

On Oct. 9, President Barack Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. Regardless of political affiliation, the news was a stunning surprise. Those who support the president saw the award as an affirmation of one man’s dedication to a new diplomatic approach. The president’s detractors saw the prize as confirmation of Obama’s apologetic tone to the world at large and a policy of appeasement to America’s enemies. In this instance, The Journal will set aside its cynicism to say, “Congrats, Mr. President.” While the list of Obama’s completed accomplishments isn’t all that long, we give the man credit for beginning to turn around what George W. Bush mucked up over his eight-year tenure in office. Under Obama’s leadership, the Iraq War is winding down and one of the biggest debacles in American foreign policy is slowly fading away. In regards to Iran, Obama accomplished in one day what Bush couldn’t manage through years of saber rattling and sanctions. Talks between the U.S., Russia, France and Iran, set for Oct. 19, are a critical, albeit delicate, first step to easing tensions in the region. Obama has also vigorously pursued a reduction in nuclear arms and backed off from a plan to install a missile

defense shield in Poland that had the potential to trigger a new arms race between the U.S. and Russia. Obama still faces the questions of Afghanistan, North Korea and the perpetual quagmire of Israel and Palestine, but the Nobel Prize is a clear signal the world wants to work with the U.S. to answer these challenges. If there’s one thing the president can potentially deliver, it’s peace, or at least the pursuit of it. Of course, nothing is certain. Facing mounting destabilization in Afghanistan, Obama may commit a surge of troops to the task of quelling this restive region. This decision may thwart the Nobel committee’s intent in awarding this prize, but America must pursue the actions it deems necessary to combat threats to its security. The Nobel Prize is an honor, but could also be a heavy burden on Obama. It is an uninsured investment of faith in Obama’s commitment to multilateralism and global diplomacy that may falter in the harsh realities of today’s geopolitical crises. In the meantime, the award is a welcome surprise. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley put it best: “Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum — when the United States has accolades tossed its way rather than shoes.”

Noisy roofing during midterms exposes lack of planning foresight At Webster University, acceptance is beginning to set in. The two entrances to the Sverdrup building will not be accessible for another month or so. People are beginning to remember that if they park in the University Center lot, they still have to walk just as far to get to their classes. Those needing a quick meal are finally accepting Marletto’s as an alternative to the University Center. What no one is getting used to, though, is the ruckus being made on the roof of the Sverdrup building. And certainly no one was hoping to hear the pounding during the week of midterms, when they had been told the noise would break for the week of intense studying. For the first two days of midterms week, however, the roofing has continued. The distraction of the combined banging, drilling, yelling and occasional falling of ceiling junk makes concentrating difficult. It’s bad enough when this is happening during a lecture, but when this is happening during midterm that can determine

50 percent of a person’s final grade, it’s downright inconsiderate. The workers did lose a few days at the end of last week due to excessive rain, but students believed construction wouldn’t take place over midterm week. No one wants to get asbestos in their lungs — though, the workers aren’t even wearing masks — but students also don’t want to fail a midterm because they can’t concentrate, and WU shouldn’t want that either. WU students living on campus are subjected to quiet hours in order to study for finals, so why shouldn’t the same courtesy be extended to actually taking finals? This whole debacle hints at another problem at WU — poor planning. Fall break is just a few short days away. In fact, problems with the new roof have been apparent for years. Why couldn’t construction have taken place over the summer months when, except for eight weeks, the campus is completely unoccupied. All we ask for, is a little foresight.


The Journal October 15-28, 2009


Tuition costs, lack of aid hurts students College education shouldn’t be reserved for the privileged few

When students have to make a decision on where to go to college, the cost of tuition is often at the top of the check list. After all, you cannot pick a school you know you could never afford. Gorloks, our tuition at Webster University is close AMY $22,000 a year when you BUCHANAN to add all the extra costs, such as parking, books and lab fees. While we all chose to attend a private university, I don’t think anyone should have to pay that much to get a college degree, unless our name will have “Dr.” in front of it. No student I know can write a check for tuition and be debt free. This is where financial aid comes in and helps reassure that your college education will not only be rewarding, but affordable, too. Unfortunately, the government wants to hand out as little help as possible. You can thank the economy for this. Banks and financial lenders today are handing out as little money as they can because they want to protect themselves. If people don’t make their payments, they lose out, causing lenders to hoard their money in times of crisis. I have seen students express concern about how they will pay for college, especially those with mediocre credit. If you live with your parents, their financial history is taken into consideration for how much aid students are eligible to receive. Not all students have parents willing to take part in their education. Furthermore, unless students have sufficient credit to qualify for loans on their own, they often have to rely on parents, hoping they have good credit. Not all parents are willing to cosign with their children because they take the attitude that once their kids become adults, they need to figure it out on their own. Other parents simply don’t have the credit to

cosign because of their own debt. The bottom line is, no student should ever have to be on his or her own when it comes to financing education. The government needs to step in. Instead of making college more affordable, the government dishes out $860 billion for the war in Iraq. While I respect the troops who serve us, I can’t get behind the insane cost of war. The government needs to take more time to budget for education and loans so students can get their college degree without burying themselves in debt. The system’s broke and something has to give. With the economy the way it is now, young students, especially those on their own, are struggling just to make ends meet. Worrying about tuition costs and whether they will qualify for financial aid shouldn’t be so stressful. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 34 percent of students in debt have resorted to selling their possessions to make ends meet. No one should ever have to resort to such measures just to make an education possible Everyone deserves access to an education. People can’t always afford to shell out the tuition costs, especially when they have a family to take care of. People who work full-time get the boot because the government thinks they make too much money. My good friend works full-time as a waitress. She makes less than $1,000 a month, but that pittance is enough to put her out of contention for any government assistance. Students with jobs, especially full-time jobs, are the ones working the hardest to get an education. The government has no right to say these students make too much money to get financial aid and it needs to reevaluate the real cost of living and paying for an education. The government obviously does not consider other bills and necessities people have. If we made the same amount of money as these legislators, most of us wouldn’t be in

debt right now. Why do those in charge of making these decisions live in such a different reality from the people those decisions affect. Student’s who graduate from college worry how they will pay for it. It takes a year for some students to find a steady job and most student loans require repayment six months after graduation. This gives no time for error, only more time to accrue more debt. Those who are fortunate enough to be employed in a timely fashion still have to worry about how they are treated by their employers. These students have to stay and work off their debt, no matter how poorly they are treated because of the nuisance of finding a job. Employers know this and think they have the right to treat new employees like indentured servants. Acquiring a college degree should not be so overwhelmingly stressful; it should be rewarding. After graduating, students don’t feel a sense of accomplishment, they feel the crushing weight of enormous debt. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 39 percent of students have said it will take them more than 10 years to pay off their debt. A college diploma should be a reassurance for our future, but instead it is often a worry of what bill will have to be left unpaid at the end of each month. It’s not right and until the government steps in and reexamines what is really needed for the future, we will remain in debt for years to come. The more debt students accrue, the harder it will be to dig out of it. The government must fund more money for college education across America. It’s the only way to a successful economic future, not only for students, but for everyone. Amy Buchanan, a senior journalism major, is a staff reporter for The Journal.

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Vol. 63 Issue 9

Editor-in-Chief Kelly Kendall Managing Editor Matt Blickenstaff News Editor Amir Kurtovic Sports Editor Jonathan Webb Lifestyle Editor Amanda Keefe Copy Editor Andrew Roach Online Editor Colleen Reany Layout and Design Editor Nikole Brown


Staff Writers Amy Buchanan Brittney French Kendra Henry Adam Johnson Karen Myers Anya Orzel Vincenza Previte Veronica Szostalo Toni Thrasher Deena Watts Ashley White Amanda Wichern

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Advisers Editorial Don Corrigan Photography Robert LaRouche

The Journal is the official student publication of Webster University. Unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the newspaper, not necessarily that of the university or the Publications Board. The opinions expressed by columnists and contributing writers do not necessarily reflect those of The Journal. All text, photos, graphics and other content are copyrighted by The Journal and may not be reproduced without permission. Any photograph that has been substantially altered or staged for use as a graphic will be labeled as a photo illustration. Weather forecasts courtesy of the National Weather Service. The Journal reserves the right to reject advertising, stories, columns or letters to the editor that it deems graphic, obscene or that discriminate on the basis of race, culture, gender or sexual orientation. Single copies of The Journal are free; for additional copies, contact the business office, located in the Sverdrup building, room 247, on the Webster Groves campus.

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AMY BUCHANAN The News Source for Webster University Vol. 63 Issue 9 The Journal October 15-28, 2009 470 East Lockwood Avenue St. Louis, Miss...