Friday, April 21, 2006

Disney and Labor Unions

In my Communications 300 class, my professor lent me a copy of "How to Read Donald Duck". It's a translation of a Brazilian book, and it talks about how consumerist and imperialist values are being transferred through Disney books.

It got me thinking: I watch Disney channel pretty religiously; a) because it's one of the 6 channels I get and b) I love cartoons. But it's getting harder to enjoy them, namely because of Disney's anti-union sentiments.

There are two episodes in particular I'm thinking about: one from "The Proud Family" (PF) and one from "The Buzz on Maggie" (BoM). "PF" is about Penny Proud and her family, which includes her father, mother, twin siblings, and grandmother (in order: Oscar, Trudy, Beebe and Ceece, and Sugah Mama) and her friends: Sticky, Dijonay, Zoey, and LaCienega. "BoM" is about a fly named Maggie Pestki, and her family of flies and her friends, who are varying types of bugs (can you tell that I don't watch that one as much?).

Season One, Episode two [Strike] Penny Proud and her friends can't do anything: none of them make enough money to play mini-golf, bowl, or see a movie, anything at all (even lie in the grass: the Gross Sisters charge them a sitting fee). So, they decide to strike until their parents give them more money. The episode ends with everyone deciding that they can't hold out, and they all lose their allowances for a time.

In "Those Pesky Roaches" Maggie realizes that she is getting paid much less than her classmates, so she convinces her brothers to go on strike with her. Her parents hire roaches instead and the strike fails, with Maggie and her brothers having to take no allowance for a year to pay for the roaches.

The anti-union, anti-strike sentiment is there. You don't deserve enough to spend, you better not press the authority, or you're going to come out worse. Little kids see this, and are going to be afraid of striking, and internalize that they don't deserve a living wage, or a fair wage.

In PF, no one could keep up with inflation: they were working and STILL couldn't have anything. In BoM, Maggie didn't get what her friends got, because of the "benefits" of her family (job): presents on Christmas, and home-cooking (which, Maggie's friends should have been getting as well, so it is really a stupid argument).

I doubt that this wasn't intentional, or at the very least, that they are unaware of the sentiment. Disney has had some difficulties with unions in the past, and in fact when these episodes first aired, there were accusations of union busting.

This is scary, for an organization that is the second most powerful media organization in the world.

Me and the Mormons

Yesterday, I got a visit from two very nice gentlemen from the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints on their mission trip. They knocked on the door, and there I saw them: dressed in black pants, white-button-up shirts, and ties. They looked like they were going to apply for a job, not bring the message of Smith.

And here I am, dressed in baggy jeans, baggy green long-sleeved shirt, and hair flyaway while I was licking chocolate off my fingers. My house looked like it could be used as a waste containment center: floor that hasn't been vacuumed in month, dirty dishes piled in the sink, coats thrown over the backs of chairs, papers everywhere. If there was a model of proper female domesticity, this wasn't it.

"Hello" the pale Mormon with the blue tie said. "We're from the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter-Day Saints".

"Oh," said I, nonplussed, "Mormons. Damn, I feel sorry for you guys".

"Why so?" says the one, shrinking back a bit.

"'Cuz" I say, wiping the left over spit and chocolate on my already stained jeans "You got a crappy place for a mission trip. Yuck, Grand Forks. Not to mention, people here are pretty firmly Lutheran".

"Oh," said the tanner Mormon. "I wouldn't say that: most families have been very polite to us"

"Yeah," I thought, "North Dakota nice. Well, I'm just watching TV, might as well have a theological discussion".

"M'kay" I said, "Why don't you come on in? I promise it's hygienic, just messy. I've got some lemonade if you want, you don't drink soda right?"

"No, we don't drink soda" says the tan one.

"And we can't come in," says the pale one. "We're not allowed to be alone with a female."

"You won't be alone, there are two of you" I said. "I promise not to use my feminine wiles on you"

At this the pale one blushes quite pink. The tan one may have been blushing, couldn't tell, but he did look quite uncomfortable. "Never mind," says I. "How about that lemonade?"

"No thank you," goes pale one.

"Well, anyway, you're not going to convince me either: I'm a committed Agnostic", I said

"What does that mean, exactly?" tan one goes.

"It means that god is unknowable, so no one religion is right. Personally, I believe that religion is a tool: it can be used for good or evil. As a committed feminist, I find all western religion to be a tool of the patriarchy and I reject it. Furthermore, I maintain that the musing of a bunch of nomadic Bronze Age goat-herders isn’t horribly relevant to my day and age".

"Oh," says tan one.

"Well, did you know that the Mormon Church has one of the oldest organized women's groups?" said pale one, desperately trying to ply this back to his sale's pitch.

"Yep," I said, "That has no direct control of church politics whatsoever, and got its budget cut again this year. I also know that women can't be prophets or Temple leaders, and are encouraged to be stay-at-home mothers. We also can't be the head of the house, or even the afterlife according to your theology." They look really uncomfortable, as an out I go "Well, I'm a little busy right now, and I feel kinda silly talking in the hallway, so I'm going to have to let you go."

"Well, it was...nice talking with you" says pale one. "Here's a pamphlet for getting a book of Mormon if you're interested".

"Okay then," I say, "Make sure to pray me into heaven if you guys are right."

We share a laugh. "Have a nice day, hope it goes well for you."

In hindsight, I could have been more polite, but I have a difficult time not messing with the fundies. They were very nice, very polite, and seemed committed. I really do hope they're day went well, but seriously: WTF?

The other thing that happened was I got someone looking to put a family law reform initiative on the ballot. Him I was less polite to.

This time, my roommate Ted was home. I answered the door, and he wandered up while I was doing it.

The guy sees me answering the door, and immediately looks indoors for the MAN of the house. He sees Ted, and begins to address him, "Would you like to sign a petition that protects fathers?"

Ted, throwing it back to me, goes, "I dunno, Cass, you do politics, do I want to protect fathers?"

I answered "Well, do you want to protect your father in divorce court proceedings?"

Ted walks away, disinterested and borderline hostile. The guy has nothing to do but address me. "Well?"

"Hmm, are you a Father's Right Activist?" I ask

"Yes," he says.

"Well, then I won't waste your time. I'm a committed feminist, and a daughter of an abusive father. Buh-bye." I said. The door shuts firmly, but not slammed. I lock the door.

Two in one day, I think that’s a new record. I’ve got to say, I suppose I'd rather live under a theocracy than a world that MRAs invasion. Too bad the two overlap so frequently.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Christian Laws

North Dakota, depending on who you ask, boasts anywhere from a 70% to 85% Christian rate. According to, it's at 85.4% of the ND households are Christian.

Most of the time, this is okay as far as I'm concerned. Most of the people here are what I'd like to call "King of the Hill" Christians, nice people who are secure in their faith so don't really feel the need to preach and convert because, as Peggy Hill said, "Don't get self-righteous on me, I've Bingo-ed and Bake Sale-d my way into heaven, the same as you". The vast majority of the population is old-school Lutheran, which I honestly prefer over Catholics or Southern Baptists, because it's not quite as sexist. Anyone who's gone to a Lutheran church here knows that even if there's a male pastor, women run the church. (And there's a good chance there isn't: Lutheran allows women to take vow, and Lutheran is just Catholic-lite, so a lot of raised-Catholic women and Protestant-raised women who find the need to preach go Lutheran). Nothing direct, of course: it's just the majority of the people on the Church's board are women. The ones who organize the bake sales are women. The ones that cook for said bakes sales are women. The one who publicizes the events are women. The ones who organize the events are women. So, the guys are there, but it's pretty even for when it comes to gender roles, even though we're still taught from the hideously gender-biased book called the Bible.

Still, the fact that there ARE so many Christians here means that we get a lot of crazy, dangerous, and/or stupid policies. And it means that I'm the weird "other" in a lot of my classes.

As an example of these stupid/crazy/dangerous policies, I've compiled a list of the worst legislation to ever come out of North Dakota. This will not include their abortion policies, as I already covered that
  • here
  • .

    1) Measure One
    In 2004, a group that called themselves
  • North Dakota Family Alliance
  • got together and decided to propose an amendment to the state constitution banning civil unions. Aside from the fact that it was useless (sodomy laws still haven't been taken off the books, and gay marriage was and is illegal) and blatantly homophobic and religiously biased, it was so poorly written as to have horrible consequences to many people. Namely, civil unions made it possible for people who were widowed to have relationships without losing social security benefits, now grandma has to choose between being able to see her new beau at the hospital or losing her $351.35/ month. A copy of the law can be found
  • here
  • . 73% went and voted for this measure, 91% of the state's total population supported it.

    2) Cohabitation
    North Dakota has had a law on the book that dates from the 1800s (although it was rewritten in 1970) makes it a class B misdemeanor to live "openly and notoriously with a person of the opposite sex as a married couple without being married to the other person". The harshest punishment one could get is 1000 dollar fine, and 30 days in jail. Now, one could chalk this up to idiotic laws that no one ever bothers with, right? Wrong. In 2005, it was moved to decriminalize cohabitation, which failed 52-37.

    3) Gambling
    Gambling is pretty much limited to the Native American reservations. This one is losing its steam: ND recently created a state lottery (mainly out of necessity: we need the money).

    4) Alcohol
    North Dakota, which although the common mythos is the hard-working, industrious, traditionally minded farmer, actually has a spotty and scandalous history. One of the more interesting pieces of history is the corrupt governors we've had, and the mafia involvement we had during prohibition. National prohibition started in 1919 and ended 1933, but North Dakota was a temperate state way back in 1905, and continued after the 21st amendment. Remnants of this anti-alcohol sentiment remain, we still have a law on the book that says it's illegal to serve pretzels with alcohol, bars cannot be open passed 2 am (and that was hard won change from 1 am), you have to wait until the day after you turn 21 to go to the bar, and it's illegal to sell alcohol before noon on Sunday. I through this in with the "crazy Christian" camp of ideas because most of the arguments used (and all of the groups behind it) have used religious language for this laws, back in 1905 when the Temperance movement was going at it, and to today's time when religious groups resisted the movement to let the bars stay open as long as they wanted.

    5) Strip joints
    This varies on a community to community level; there is no state law (which is why I'm including it last). There are a few permanent strip joints (with female dancers). The Thunder from Down Under was going to perform outside of Jamestown, recently, but the local pastor convinced his church to boycott them out, so they couldn't perform.

    Those are the big ones: occasionally, we have a problem with people wanted to teach abstinence-only education in school and creationism, but one of the very few things North Dakota boasts of is our school's high test scores, North Dakota has always been in the top 20 of the schools in unbiased ranking, and this is normally higher. We also have the most colleges per capita of any state in the nation. So, education is normally pretty respected in the state, and while most people here believe in creationism and no-sex before marriage, they aren't willing to deal with an ever dumber populace and a teen pregnancy explosion.

    The state of North Dakota is the only state in the union experiencing negative growth. No one wants to live in a place so miserably cold, barren, with no jobs, and a bunch of humorless crazies. There are a number of things that people could do to encourage migration, (Not the least of which are create some jobs), but they refuse to do if they even acknowledge a problem. And these laws just further alienate more people: I know I'm not staying here after college.

    We have this because of busy-body Christians.

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006


    A little slow on the uptake (hey, I have classes to not-go to, and papers to write at the last minute), but I wanted to comment about the body-talks going around the blogsphere. Some of my favorite are
  • here
  • and
  • here
  • . Feministe and Alas, A Blog, also had some good ones.

    This is one of those "Can't win for losing" things the patriarchy gives us so many of. Beauty is something women are "supposed" to have, and yet, we are shallow if we work at it. Not only are we supposed to be beautiful, it's supposed to be hidden. I've heard many a guy complain that their girlfriend, or sister, or friend who's a girl took too long to get ready.

    They don't seem to understand this: beauty is a talent. Like any talent, it takes some level of potential, but mainly, it's learned. Just in case this wasn't pointed out to you, women aren't born with the ability to slather goop on our face or taunt, tease, and tie our hair into whatever the current social trend is. We had to learn how to do it, (much like a guy in theatre had to learn it). It is a skill. We also had to learn what combination of colors, styles, and cuts were considered beautiful, attractive not too-slutty, too-prudish, too-whatever.

    Talents take TIME, EFFORT and MONEY. If someone is busy being beautiful, they're not busy learning how to speak a foreign language, learning how to draw, learning a sport, or any other thing.

    Then you get the whole "women are shallow and vain thing" that devalues that talent. The one talent that women are DEMANDED to have, no matter what, and it's not even appreciated like it should be.

    Also, the standards that women are held to are not the standards men are held to. Men are not socially coerced to scrape the hair off half their body, and in fact aren't really compelled to shave their face (the whole "rugged" look). Turn on the tv: it's full of men who run the whole gambit of "attractiveness", but women who are pretty much held to the "pretty-thin" model.

    Then there's the moving goal-posts thing: not only do you have to look "attractive" but since attractiveness varies from environment and in fact person-to-person, and you can't be what you as YOURSELF considers attractive, you have to squeeze, tuck, pluck, and paint to meet this hazy definition of what is acceptable to OTHER people, and then have to deal with people openly ogle you and then say "well, when you look like that, what do you expect? Shut up, it's a compliment".

    The truth of the matter is beauty should be its own little talent, not a base talent that every woman is supposed to cultivate. Beauty doesn't have anything to do with many other talents: in fact, acting towards what is normally considered beautiful is constraining to many other talents and just general movement. Heels, for instance, are hard to walk in (especially if you are not used to it), harder to run in it (if you wanted to play a game of football, or something, or if you needed to flee an attacker) and next to impossible to fight in. Tight shirts make it difficult to have proper breath support to sing and speak in. Short skirts and tight pants make sitting down an exercise in and of itself, to not flash anyone and not to press too much against your stomach, not to make any pudge appear, and everything else you need to worry about. Being skinny and small makes it difficult to be intimidating, makes you appear much more insignificant, and makes it harder for you to stand up to people.

    Especially around here, fashion is asinine. It's North Dakota, it's COLD here. Short skirts, tight clothes, halter tops: these make no sense to wear in an environment that routinely goes below freezing. High heels? Those, being backward in the best of times, are downright DANGEROUS when there's ice on the roadways.

    Yet, I see women who wear these things right through January. My guy-friends castigate the women, going so far as to as to laugh at a sorority girl who face-planted on the sidewalk when she slipped while wearing heels. I must admit, it would be very easy to just go "stupid girl" and laugh along with everyone else. I am so much more superior than those stupid sorority sluts, going along their way sucking up to the patriarchy.

    Except...I'm not. That could have EASILY been me, had I not run across some feminist reading, or had any number of random occurrence that lead me to adopt feminism. That could have been me that hurt myself, denied myself, and considered myself less-than in order to get the crumbs thrown by the patriarchy. That could have been me slipping on the ice, with my skirt flown up showing my undies, my nylons ripped and my ankle possibly twisted: because I know that when I look pretty (as I'm sure this female did) people treat me nicer. I'm noticed by guys, other females give me compliments and jealous looks, people look at me when I speak, doors magically open, people act like they're listening to what I'm speaking. Those are all real fucking benefits.

    And on the other side, I'm sure she knows that if she DIDN'T act pretty, she'd get nasty comments, and would have to assert herself more to get noticed and listened to. Doors would stay shut, and she may find herself alienated with people talking to her.

    She probably knows, as do I, that if she goes to a job interview and does not look "good" she will probably not get the job. Or, if she's going the other route, she probably knows she needs to look good to attract a husband.

    If beauty is not important to someone's job, it should NOT be considered as a factor when hiring someone. Period. Unless your a model, or a pageant contestant (which I have problems with anyway) beauty is almost entirely superfluous. It's like telling a pilot that they have to be able to play the piano: it has NOTHING to do with the job.

    I'm sure anyone who reads this is going to say I'm just sour grapes: I'm not beautiful, I'm not a model, I'm just jealous. Let's attack my motivations, not my argument, that's not a logical fallacy or anything.

    And maybe my motivations are skewed. I mean, I'm not conventionally attractive: I never wear makeup; my clothes tend to be jeans, or stretch pants, baggy shirts and sweaters. I don't ever do anything to my hair short of comb it. My 5'4" frame weights, right now 170 pounds. I would like some of the benefits of being conventionally attractive on occasion.

    And yet...I was a model when I was little. I did beauty pageants when I got slightly older (and won them). While I'll never be a size one (even if I starved myself, my frame's too wide), I was down to a size 6 at one point in my life.

    And you know something? I didn't like it. When you are tiny, it's hard to be taken seriously. You don't get people to think you are intelligent, you're "cute". It's hard to be intimidating when the person outweighs you by a good 500-150 pounds. It's hard to throw your weight around when you are 110 pounds. I get taken seriously now, and I don't worry about taking up space. This is MY space, it's mine. Not to mention, although being noticed is nice, most of the time, it isn't. I'm relatively invisible right now, when I was "pretty" I was ogled, stared, and leered at. I didn't like: it made me feel un-human. Now I'm just a face in the crowd, unless I do something about it, which feels much safer. And I STILL don't have trouble finding a guy to like me, or find me sexy: the quality of guys has in fact gone up.

    I'd like to be able to do more physical activity, but honestly, I don't give a flying fuck about losing a single ounce. You can't win when you play the patriarchy, you can only win if you play your own game.

    Monday, April 10, 2006

    Grand Forks: Loves our Money, Hate students

    Like many other students, I am valueless in the eyes of Grand Forks.

    I am not an athlete, I am not a willing drudge, nor do I bring much revenue to the city. In fact, since I am quite fond of parks and libraries, I actually am taking up revenue as opposed to bringing them in. I also am (unintentionally) bringing down average wages in the city, which makes the "townies" resent me in some small measure.

    For you see, Grand Forks hate us. We are the "other". We are the out-of-towner that disrupts their peace and status quo. We are too loud, too liberal, too criminal, too immature, too not-us. And this can be seen many places.

    To wit: every year, as soon as the bulk of the snow melts, and a suitable Saturday can be found, hundreds of University of North Dakota students descend on University Park to participate in the near-ritual tradition of Springfest. In recent years, this event was not sponsored by anyone: a few bands just "happen" to show up, port-a-potties just "happen" to appear, and a few hundred people just "happen" to decide on the same day that they wish to go to University Park and drink. This year, Student Senate decided to sponsor it, and Suite 49 decided to provide the alcohol.

    One of the reasons that the Student Government was getting involved in something that has been a largely informal event was Grand Forks passing a City Ordinance requiring a permit to have alcohol on public properties. Before, people just brought their own booze, and it was a "share and share alike" event. Now, there is going to be a segregated beer garden for those above 21, and anyone who wishes to drink may only drink the beer that Suite 49 is providing, because of another city law that says that beer gardens must be segregated by age.

    Call me cynical, but I think that if they could have gotten away with it, the city of Grand Forks would have banned the event entirely. I also think it was the fact that we had a business this year sponsoring us had more to do with us getting a permit than the City Council's great concern for the University students. Grand Forks has shown time and time again that they like our money much more than they like the individual students.

    My freshman year of college I became aware of the ambivalence and downright hostility the community towards us. I thought that they liked us: coming into the city, I saw businesses everywhere proclaiming "Welcome back students" and signs posted everywhere saying "Student discount". The whole community seemed to be welcoming us with open arms.

    Then I heard about the voting policies of fair Grand Forks, the city that seemed to be welcoming our students so openly. Most cities have elections in November, but not Grand Forks: they're elections are held in June, when a quarter of the students are gone, and the information on how to register seems to be want to be kept a secret, because they never publicize it. My suspicion the Grand Forks citizens are distrustful of students knowing how to take part in the democratic process was further execrated by the 2003 city-wide vote on whether or not the city should build a water park, and UND students were actively discouraged from voting. A Grand Forks Herald letter to the editor was titled "Water Park Supporters Struggle For Campus Votes, Students Don't Know Much About It And May Not Care To Vote" (Oct 23) and told university students not to vote because we didn't have "a stake in the community".

    Then there were the problems at the Ralph Englestead arena. Some citizens complained that the UND students were too rowdy, too vulgar, and they couldn't take their little kids to the hockey game. President Kupechella caved in to their demands, and the students were given a lecture reminiscent of a Kindergarten class to sit down and shut up. Now we weren't allowed to stand except for when they said we could, now we couldn't cheer except the cheers that weren't "vulgar", and now there was a security guard standing at every game by the student section that was going to summarily boot our nalgas if we didn't tow the line. Instead of getting to enjoy the university hockey team, our teams, university students, adults, were being treated as if we were infants.

    Then there's the rezoning of the area around the University to single-family houses, so university students could not live near our own university. Many students came out against the rezoning, and it still did not matter, the rezoning passed by a large margin, limiting where students could live while we are furthering our education.

    Then there's the businesses not giving anyone a decent wage because they can exploit the steady stream of student laborers, the credit card companies that descend on the campus every fall and spring trying to tempt us out of our money, the apartment owners that overcharge for apartments because none of us have built any credit, the police department making money hand over fist from ticketing the university students, the list goes on and on.

    University students number 13,200 people according to, which is over a quarter of the Grand Forks population. We bring money, jobs and labor to the community. We deserve to be treated with respect, not contempt.

    Those signs I see every year might as well say "Welcome back Student's money" because that's what they really mean.

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    How I Became a Foot-soldier in Political Correctness

    One of my classes this semester is "American Political Thought" with Prof. J. Prof. J's pretty cool; he's a little crazy and tends to tangent off like crazy during his lectures. So far in this semester, we've covered Ben Franklin, Booker T. Washington, David Thoreau, Abraham Lincoln, Fredrick Douglas, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. Yesterday, we talked about Betty Freidan.

    Now with the exception of Freidan, all of the pictures of these philosophers have been photographs or professional portraits: with these men looking serious and important. But with Freidan, it was a colored character of her smiling, her lips exaggerated.

    I raised my hand, "Professor, why did you do a character of Freidan when all the others were portraits?" I made sure to keep my voice neutral.

    I honestly could feel the eyes rolling behind me, and the whispers started.

    Prof. J look chagrined. He apologized, and said that he should be aware of what he posts, as he's in a position of power.

    Hearing the angry whispers, I back tracked a bit "I didn't mean to imply anything" I said.

    "Yes you did." Prof J. replied. "That question has a whole host of implications behind it. Mind you, I don't think you meant to insult me or imply something about me personally"

    I blushed. mainly because I did that furious back-pedaling when I should have stuck to my guns.

    I am very much aware of the smallest things can be used to persuade. Hell, in my persuasion class, they talk about how half of the country takes peripheral route when deciding something: they do it just 'cause. They wouldn't be able to explain how they were persuaded if you asked them, they just were. It's interesting; they might just take the mental shortcut and like somebody's arguments because they look pretty. Or because she keyed the right connotative words. Or because he had the right backdrop.

    So when people are going off on me being "too sensitive", I can see why they think that, but I also think that they are wrong. Dare I say it; they are ignorant and not sensitive enough. Well, yes and no. A cartoon isn't enough to set anybody's mind one way or the other. But, multiple showing of it, or contrasting showing of it (like in this case, I wouldn't have minded if they all were cartoons), makes people devalue it.

    The culture is gender biased, hell, the LANGUAGE is gender biased. So when people say "free from political correctness" I get annoyed; yes, how dare we want to not want to hurt people's feelings, how dare we want to respect diversity, how dare we want to subvert the dominant paradigm.

    I like "politically correct". It's not rebelling to be "Politically incorrect" it's rude. So I've joined the PC Police, and it was almost entirely by accident.


    Here are the pictures that caused such consternation:

    Here's Martin Luther King, Jr

    Here's the one of Malcolm X

    And finally, the last slide of the day, here's Betty Friedan

    Monday, April 03, 2006


    Here at UND, there is some tension in the School of Communications. None of the students are privy to the complete story, and I am not going to speculate on what happened. However, this lack of information lead to a walkout last Tuesday by the students, demanding that they quit disrupting classes (ironic, slightly) and that the administration explain what is going on.


    Here are the facts, which I know to be credible, reportable, and true:

    - SComm lost it's accreditation in the early 1990s (a fact that my advisor neglected to mention, and is not stated on it website)

    - The place has had multiple problems with tenured professors becoming the director, and then causing problems when new people becoming directors. (massive power struggles). This has lead to the school not be able to get the accreditation back, (and a problem seemingly unable to fix: you can't fire tenured professors). This also means that the SComm keeps getting funding reduced by the University.

    Unrelated, but adding to the tension
    - Last year, the director of the Native Media Center, Mr. B, was invited to a panel discussion organized by Prof. L. The panel was poorly organized, and Mr. B ended up feeling snubbed. When he talked to Prof. L, Prof. L felt intimidated and filled a restraining order against Mr. B. (difficult, since they work in the same building).

    - Mr. B recently was in a vehicle with Student Professor X. Mr. B died falling from this vehicle.

    Directly related to the tension:

    - SP X has recently filed a restraining order against the Director of SComm (again, a problem since they work in the same building). This has lead to classes being cancelled because of court hearings, and stressed professors.

    I don't know why SP X filled restraining order. I don't know if Mr. B's death was accidentally (I have not heard of any investigation). I do not know who's primarily to blame.

    I DO know that there is a series of informal alliances/enemies between professors, which leads to minor power struggles for classrooms, equipment, and offered classes, all of which disrupts students’ lives. I do know that these struggles can be either for the student's "advantage" or "disadvantage" (if you play it right, you can get into, out of, homework, tests, and other things). I do know that I don't like classes where the professor is tense and I do not like that this makes the professors even more unapproachable. I do know that grown adults (ESPECIALLY in this field) should know better than to act like ego-laden children. And finally, I do know that if you teach journalism to a bunch of already interested students and then expected them to a) not notice problems and b) not expect them to want to know what's going on is at best willfully ignorant and at worst and insult on our intelligence. Finally, I do know that this in-fighting is making a communication degree useless (and is one of the contributing factors of why I'm moving to aviation).

    The picture above is from the resulting walkout. The protest was mostly organized by the Dakota Student, and about 25 students actually stayed there the whole day. Many students did walkout, not in support of the demonstration, but because they felt it was a good excuse to not be in class and make up some work. Some professors were harsh towards those walking out, some were very lenient. Kupecella, our Dean, (being the absolutely worthless excuse of a student administrator that he is, but that is a different rant) issued "no comment". Our Provost, however, formally came out in support of the students and demonstration.

    The walkout was a result of students feeling frustrated: frustrated with the "Closed lips" policy, frustrated that they may have wasted 4 years (and a lot of money) frustrated with not learning anything. This was, they felt, the only way to get attention: students have asked for information, now they demanded it.

    On the other side, some felt that this was "airing our dirty laundry" as it were. They felt that further disrupting the process was harmful, that the demonstration was a result of impatience, and that the problems were not the students concern and would "work themselves out".

    I tend to come down on the side of the protesters. I feel every avenue was covered before it came to the demonstrations. I also tend to believe that the administration and faculty do not have the right to play Russian Rolette with our tuition money.

    I can understand the "let's not tell anybody" view though, as well. SComm is the campus joke: I swear if I hear the communication department is having trouble communicating pun I'm going to scream. But hiding the problem doesn't make the problem go away: only through light can the darkness be vanquished.

    Still, I'm leaving. Aviation, here I come!