Internet Plagiarization a Problem at Texas Christian U.

By Jordan Blum Daily Skiff

(U-WIRE) FORT WORTH, Texas – James Riddlesperger, Texas Christian University chair for political science, asked one of his classes last Thursday if they could believe students actually plagiarize from Web sites, while speaking about the availabilty of research papers on the Internet.

“Are you serious?” junior political science major Kenny Thompson said while smiling.

Riddlesperger responded by tossing an eraser at Thompson to the response of class laughter.

Riddlesperger said he jokingly threw the eraser to illustrate his point that all students are aware of the availability of papers on the Internet and that it is a legitimate problem on college campuses.

But Riddlesperger and other professors say plagiarizing papers from Web sites isn’t a joking matter and needs to be handled seriously.

David Vanderwerken, English department chair, said it is easier for students to plagiarize from the Internet than it is to do research in the library, and those students caught are strictly punished.

“It’s easy as pie for a student to get on the Internet and download, cut, paste and print and they’re done,” Vanderwerken said. “But those who cheat risk getting in hot water … for every one we bust there’s probably three or four who get away with it.”

He said four students have already received failing grades in English classes this semester for being caught copying entire papers from Web sites.

Tim Davis, a junior business major, said he has been forced to learn the repercussions of plagiarizing from Web sites the hard way.

Davis said he copied a paragraph from a group member’s notes and turned it in as a part of his essay. He said he did not know where the paragraph came from, but that when he and his group member ended up getting caught for having the same paragraph he discovered it had come from an Internet essay. Davis said he was given an `F’ for the class because he made a poor decision about one paragraph.

“I’m sure that at least 90 percent of students at TCU have plagiarized something, whether it be a sentence or a whole paper,” Davis said.

“In my sophomore English class I got my whole paper off of, and I even got an `A’ on it,” one junior said. “I can be lazy sometimes, and then I end up getting stressed out when I’m running out of time.”

Smoking Gains Popularity Among College Students

By Christal Stone Badger Herald (U. Wisconsin)

(U-WIRE) MADISON, Wis. – Smoking among college-age people continues to pay tobacco companies’ bills. Over the past six years, smoking rates among 18- to 24-year-olds have risen by 11 percent, from 25 percent to 36 percent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 400,000 people die each year due to tobacco use, making it the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. ore people die from tobacco-related illnesses than die from AIDS, alcohol, drug abuse, car accidents, murders, suicides and fires combined.

Cigarettes and other tobacco products are implicated in a number of serious illnesses. Amy Miller, a nurse practitioner at University of Wisconsin Health Services, said lung cancer, chronic lung problems, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes are just a few of these serious conditions. There are also less well-known consequences.

“People who smoke develop gum disease and tend to end up with false teeth,” Miller stated. “There’s also a link between smoking and infertility, premature menopause, premature wrinkling of the skin and problems with impotence.”

Furthermore, smoking suppresses the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to respiratory infections.

“Cigarette smoke is a highly complicated pharmacological drug, and there are also other factors associated with quitting – from social factors to emotional factors,” said Erik Heiligenstein, clinical director of psychiatric services at UHS.

Miller said smokers should not be discouraged if past cessation efforts have not been successful.

“It takes people multiple times, the average being seven or more times, before people are successful in quitting,” iller said. “Research shows that nicotine is much more addictive than heroin.”

Another difficulty involved in college students’ cessation efforts is the link between smoking and alcohol consumption.

According to Heiligenstein, nicotine dependence becomes complicated because some smokers, especially social smokers, associate smoking with alcohol, making quitting more difficult. People are much more likely to lapse when consuming alcohol.

There are many services available to students interested in quitting. Currently, University Health Services is beginning a new campaign encouraging smoking cessation.

The program involves both external services that will include posting promotional materials around campus and internal services to assist anyone looking for help.

Howard Campus Police Increase Security After Shootings

By Jennifer Cummings Hilltop (Howard U.)

(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – To curb loitering outside the Howard Plaza Towers, Howard University Campus Police installed steel barricades, guarding the front and rear entrances to both Towers on Friday.

The move is a response to the Oct. 13 fatal shooting of Silver Spring, Md., resident Tavers M. Tayzio which has sounded alarms for an increased police presence around the dormitory.

“When things like this happen, we re-evaluate security tactics and security measures change frequently. We also make adjustments for planned events,” Chief of Campus Police Reginald Smith said.

Students at first thought the barricades was placed outside Friday in preparation for what many thought would be a chaotic crowd following Midnight Madness basketball in Burr Gymnasium. Those sentiments are based on last year’s unruly event where fights erupted in the gym and sprinkler system were triggered in the West Towers, causing extensive water damage and the suspension of visitation.

“When I saw it up [the barricade], I thought it was for crowd control for Midnight Madness, but then it stayed up all weekend,” said sophomore English major and resident of the East Towers Eric Dudley.

Throughout the weekend, Campus Police and security guards stood in front and behind the barricade, requiring students to show their IDs before allowing them entrance into both buildings. However, many students question the effectiveness of the barricade to prevent crimes and violence.

“It’s nice that it’s there now, but it’s a little late,” said senior accounting major and resident of the West Towers, Denise Jackson.

“Whether the barricade was there or not, what happened [Oct. 13] could not have been prevented by anything else than more police out there,” Jackson added.

However, many students appreciate the added safety feature.

“I think it’s something that they have needed to do for a long time. Our campus is right in the community and we need some kind of enclosure like campuses in rural places,” said West Towers resident and junior film major, Johannes Fry.

The privatization of campus has been a long debated issue for university leaders and decision makers.

Some residents of the Towers wonder how long the metal fencing will remain a barrier to the entrances to both dormitories. Junior political science major Raya Thompson suggests that the barricade and an increased campus police presence be a permanent fixture in front of the Towers.

“I honestly do not feel safe on campus and this weekend I heard that a female student was robbed and taken away from campus, so I think Campus Police should be everywhere constantly patrolling,” Thompson said. “They are supposed to protect us from situations like [Oct. 13].”

“Small mistakes resulted in a murder that could have been prevented,” added Thompson.

Gory Costumes Not In Demand This Halloween

By John Ransier Independent Florida Alligator (U. Florida)

(U-WIRE) GAINESVILLE, Fla. – In past years, costumes for Halloween were thought of as the more horrifying, the better.

But the events of Sept. 11 have changed the tastes of costume shoppers in Gainesville, Fla.

“There is not as big of demand for things like Freddy Krueger,” said Jim Hankins, co-owner of Halloween Express in the Oaks Mall. “The bloody stuff is not selling like it used to.”

Blood-soaked body parts and weapons are not selling like they have in the past. Halloween Express even has placed some accessories in a back room, only selling them if asked for by the customer.

The owners said certain gruesome costumes are in bad taste because of the situation in the world right now.

“You can have a good time without having all that,” Hankins said.

At Nina’s Costumes, patriotic costumes have grown in popularity. Several people have rented Statue of Liberty and Uncle Sam costumes.

George W. Bush masks are also much more in demand at area stores.

” People want to show their support for the heroes of our country in any possible way they can,” said Kara Montelione, an employee at Halloween Express.

College students traditionally look forward to finding some humor in their costumes and that has not changed.

Also, pimp costumes have soared in popularity this Halloween.

Family Sues Texas A&M Over Death of Student in 1999 Bonfire

By Rolando Garcia & Brandie Liffick The Battalion

(U-WIRE) COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The family of Christopher Breen, one of the 12 Aggies killed in the 1999 Aggie Bonfire collapse, sued Texas A&M University and five top administrators Wednesday, including A&M President Dr. Ray M. Bowen.

Filed in a U.S. District Court in Galveston, Texas, the suit alleges the university and the named administrators violated Breen’s constitutional rights by encouraging participation in an activity they knew was dangerous and by refusing to correct safety problems associated with Bonfire.

The other defendants are Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. J. Malon Southerland, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Bill Kibler, Rusty Thompson, the Bonfire advisor and John Koldus, who was vice president for student affairs from 1973 to 1993.

Steve DeWolf, the Breen family’s attorney, said the family never has asked for financial compensation from the university. The Breen family took legal action only as a last resort because A&M officials refused to meet with them until after the two-year window to file a lawsuit expires Nov. 18, DeWolf said.

“All the family wanted was for someone to step up to the plate and take responsibility,” DeWolf said. “It would be much easier to let it go, but this is about honor and dignity.”

The lawsuit asks for both actual and punitive damages.

University Spokesperson Cynthia Lawson declined to comment.

The Bonfire stack collapsed Nov. 18, 1999, killing 11 students and Breen, a former student, and injuring 27 others. Breen, 25, was a member of the Corps of Cadets from 1992 to 1996 and graduated in Dec. 1997.

DeWolf said the Breen family did not join the lawsuit filed in arch by the family of Jerry Don Self, one of the Bonfire victims, because they did not want to include students as defendants. The Self case has not yet come to trial.

“It’s the administrators, not the students, that should be held accountable, but all the university did was blame the students for the accident,” DeWolf said.

The Breen family’s lawsuit cites numerous internal documents and memorandums to argue that A&M administrators were aware for some time of Bonfire’s hazards and did nothing to eliminate the safety risks.

DeWolf said Koldus is named as a defendant because when Bonfire was moved to the Polo Fields in 1992, Koldus knew the field’s slope posed a safety hazard but recommended against leveling the ground. In the years leading up to the accident, there were several warning signs, including the 1994 collapse of the Bonfire stack that administrators chose to ignore, the lawsuit claimed.

Nobody was injured in the 1994 collapse, and the stack was rebuilt and burned.

The special commission tasked by A&M to investigate the 1999 collapse concluded last May that the root cause of the accident was a “tunnel vision” approach to decision making by A&M administrators, in which they disregarded safety concerns and allowed a complex structure to be built by untrained students without professional supervision.

Professor Critcizes On-Campus Tobacco Sales

By Kara Cogswell Oregon Daily Emerald

(U-WIRE) EUGENE, Ore. – The sale of tobacco products earns the Erb Memorial Union thousands of dollars in revenue each year, but one University of Oregon professor says it’s not right for the school to profit from smoking.

V. Pat Lombardi, a professor in the biology department, said he was “appalled” when he learned that Erb Essentials, a convenience store in the EMU basement, sold cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

“Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of premature death in the U.S.,” he said. “For the university to profit from [tobacco sales] … is absolutely a tough thing to swallow, to say the least.”

Lombardi intends to ask the EMU Board to ban all tobacco sales in the EMU.

EMU Board Chairwoman Christa Shively said the students, administrators and staff members who sit on the board want to find out whether students support selling tobacco products in the EMU before they make a decision.

If the EMU lost tobacco revenue, she said, it could mean more student fee money would have to be spent on EMU expenses such as utility and maintenance.

EMU Food Services Director John Costello said tobacco sales accounted for 7.5 percent of total EMU food service sales last year.

Of the $317,360 Erb Essentials brought in last year, more than one third of that money – $103,686 – was from tobacco, he said.

But those figures don’t reflect corollary purchases by tobacco customers, he said. If Erb Essentials stops selling tobacco products, the store may lose those non-tobacco sales as well, he said.

Senior Shari Takara, who works in Erb Essentials, said banning cigarette sales in the store wouldn’t discourage students from smoking because students would still buy them somewhere else.

“If we don’t sell them, they’re just going to walk to 7-11,” she said.

Regardless of whether students buy cigarettes elsewhere, Lombardi said, it is not ethical for the university to indirectly support the tobacco companies and profit from tobacco sales.

Lombardi, who has several relatives who have died from smoking-related illnesses, said tobacco profits are “tainted money” because they are made at the expense of people’s health – smokers directly and non-smokers indirectly from secondhand smoke.

Student Displays Rebel Flag, Draws Criticism

By Chase Davis The Maneater

(U-WIRE) COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Confederate flag now flies two stories above Rollins Road – a mark of Southern pride displayed by University of Missouri freshman Mathew Pitts.

Pitts, born in Florida, said his Southern heritage is what convinced him to raise the flag. And, he said, “It just looks cool.” Since he put the 3-by-4 foot flag in his window, Pitts said he has been subjected to verbal assault and criticism by those who believe his displaying the flag is intended in a racist manner.

He said that people have yelled up to his second floor window calling him a racist. Also, he said, people have banged on his door causing several dents.

“It has nothing to do with racism because I’m not a racist,” Pitts said. He said that residence hall staff have come to his room and reported grievances, but he has heard no more official complaints. But not everyone agrees with Pitts’ action.

“Considering that there is an African-American on the floor, I don’t think he should have that up,” said freshman William Pizzitola, who lives on the same floor as Pitts.

The African-American student, sophomore Michael Henderson, said Pitts talked to him about the flag.

“As long as he came to talk to me, it wasn’t that big of a deal,” he said. Pitts said he believes his rights to free speech are being violated by offensive protests.

“They’re discriminating against me,” he said.

Director of Residential Life Frankie Minor said Pitts is not violating any MU codes or rules. The only way administrative regulation can take place is if material displayed is harmful or obscene.

He also said there are plans to encourage discussion between both parties in an attempt to create a sense of understanding between the two and possibly a compromise.

“We’re going to encourage more dialogue about this with the students who might be supportive of him or students who are objecting to this,” he said.

He said it is important to foster an understanding between both sides of the argument. “We’re an institution of higher learning, and we’re here to learn, so we’re going to see if we can encourage some understanding,” Minor said. Despite protests, Pitts and his roommate have no intention of taking the flag down.

“I see no need to,” Pitts said. “It would make me look like I’m backing down.”

Two Students Assaulted Near U. Arizona Campus

By Jeff Sklar Arizona Daily Wildcat

(U-WIRE) TUCSON, Ariz. – A man attempted to sexually assault two University of Arizona students while they were walking near campus Thursday night, a UAPD spokesman said.

University of Arizona Police Department Cmdr. Brian Seastone said the incident does not appear to be related to the sexual assault of a UA student near campus Oct. 3.

The two victims were power-walking along East Second Street near North Martin Avenue at about 10:45 p.m. Thursday when they heard someone yell “Hey.” When they turned around, they saw a man with his pants around his knees, masturbating, Seastone said.

They turned to run in the opposite direction when the man came up behind them and groped them. He forced one of the students to the ground, pulled her pants down and attempted to rape her.

The other student managed to escape and began to kick the man, Seastone said.

A man then came out of a nearby fraternity house and yelled. The suspect ran to his car – a small, black two-door sporty vehicle – and drove away.

One of the victims said that the man ejaculated on her clothes before he ran away.

The suspect was described as six feet three inches with a skinny build and buzz haircut. He looked to be 18 to 20 yearsold, and was not wearing a shirt. He was wearing green boxer shorts and had blue jeans around his knees.

Both victims said they will now take additional precautions when they walk around campus and said they are now carrying mace and walking in large groups.

“I’ve always felt really safe walking around campus. I never thought something like this could happen around campus,” one victim said.

Both the victims and Seastone said students should use Safe Ride, a service operated by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, to get around campus at night.

The service offers free rides in the UA area from dusk until 12:55 a.m. on school nights.

Seastone said UAPD will also escort people to destinations near campus at any time.

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