Friday, August 10, 2012

Commentary on "University of Texas Sued For Race As A Factor In Admission"

Reading "University of Texas Sued For Race As A Factor In Admission" from the blog Don't Mess With Texas, Government, I found the article very pertinent to many of us college students. I took the time to read the article about Abigail Fisher mentioned by Serena as well and found several parallels to Michael Williams' story. 
According to The Daily Texan, the UT Academic Index and Personal Achievement Index evaluate students' eligibility of admission. The Academic Index measures applicants on class rank, curriculum completion and SAT/ACT scores. The Personal Achievement Index is slightly more controversial as it evaluates essays, extracurricular activities, leadership, awards, service and special circumstances which include race and ethnicity. 

Though Serena did not mention it, the article also reports that UT is the only public university to consider race and ethnicity as a factor, Texas A&M and Texas Tech do not. I found this very interesting considering all three are public universities (Texas A&M a partner flagship school). Why is that? 

I did some research and found that reverse discrimination lawsuits are growing in number across America. In an NBC News article "Does Reverse Discrimination Punish Whites?", many lawsuits are now originating on a racial basis. Firefighters, college faculty members, and of course college students are suing on behalf of racial discrimination. 

Roger Clegg makes an excellent point by saying "Quotas do not end discrimination. They are discrimination. The law makes clear that race, ethnicity and sex are not to be a part of who gets a government contract or who gets into a university or where someone goes to school". 

Serena's conclusion is very unbiased and agreeable. She claims that students seeking admission should aim to earn good grades, build their resume and do extracurricular activities. Her overall post is informative and important for college students to be aware of.

I personally think any sort of racial factor or quota should be prohibited. If we are to end discrimination, we need to stop fostering and providing instances where it is applicable in any way. 

Financial Aid of the Illegal Kind

     Texas public universities offer many wonderful and challenging opportunities to students these days.
As college student entering my junior year, I've seen a lot of what a public university has to offer. Students can seek out disciplines of study, double major, study abroad, go to sports events and receive financial aid to enjoy all of these things. However, a startling issue regarding financial aid is dividing legislature. Many illegal immigrants are receiving the financial aid for higher education and citizens are questioning its fairness.
     In 1996, federal law prohibited in-state tuition for illegal immigrants seeking higher education. Twelve states have passed legislation allowing in-state tuition for immigrants including California, New York, New Mexico and of course Texas. According to FinAid, students in these states must attend high school for three years. More states are considering passing similar legislation including Nevada, which requires legal citizenship status to receive financial aid. Texas law however allows illegal immigrants to receive financial aid. Is this fair?
     Texas citizens pay taxes that benefit public universities. Those universities in turn offer and distribute financial aid to students who meet certain eligibility requirements. Such factors could include family income, student merit, research grants, or even oversea studies. The bottom line is that Texas citizens pay taxes for these schools and in turn receive benefits. Illegal immigrants don't pay taxes, yet are still offered other citizens' hard earned money in the form of financial aid. USA Today's report on the issue featured Michelle Bachmann who stated "The American way is not to give taxpayer-subsidized benefits to people who have broken our laws and are here in the United States illegally". As harsh as it sounds, rewarding those who break American laws doesn't sound quite American at all. In the same article, University of Tampa student Boston Ross claimed "It is unfair to give benefits because it essentially rewards those who break the law... I do believe illegal immigrants are hurting the economy: Simply put, they pull from the system without putting anything into it". Of course there are those who oppose this mindset.
     University of Tampa professor Dr. Ryan Cragun declares "Scholarships should be need or merit based and everyone should be treated equally". Cragun does bring up a good point; many aspiring students desperately need the aid and could exhibit the merit to boot. It can be further argued that the illegal immigrant parents put their children in a difficult position. Of course a counter point can be made that not everyone should be treated equally if they do not pay equally. Any parent or student receiving  financial aid for their studies should seek out citizenship first. Though the process is known to be lengthy, many students can easily obtain it before finishing high school.
     I am a strong advocate of requiring citizenship before receiving financial aid. Tuition rates are only rising and many students, myself included, are struggling to make payments. Families who have been paying taxes all their lives should not see that money go to those who don't.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Commentary on "Welfare and Drug Testing"

     I've been meaning to discuss the Welfare/Drug Screening Issue myself soon, but I have not had the opportunity to. I agree with Seth Arteaga's blog post Welfare and Drug Testing. The implemented Florida law requiring drug screening for welfare eligibility is something to be considered.
     Though it is incorrect to assume those on welfare are not employed, it is undeniable that many abuse the program. The idea of welfare was intended to be a safety net that offered temporary provisions to those who needed it. There are many people who have been put in situations, some unforeseeable, who desperately rely on welfare to help make payments on time. I know personal friends who have lost everything, work, and still need welfare. However, it is quite a different story to rely on welfare when that individual is using those benefits to purchase drugs. Many companies require employees to take a drug screening if asked. Though this is not a mandated law, drug testing a right that private businesses hold. The point: job applicants are often subject to drug screenings if they wish to work. Should not the same be asked of those who rely on government support? If I am a hard working tax-payer, why would I want my tax money to support even a few welfare recipients buying drugs?
     Some may cite the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution in opposition of the welfare/drug testing law. However, welfare itself is not a guaranteed right in the constitution. Welfare is a privilege that has eligibility requirements. Welfare is a governmental charitable benefit. Also, the $12 cost to citizens for the drug testig has been improperly researched by some. Colorado State Representative Sonnenberg reports that the cost of $8-12 would be reimbursed to those that pass. Those that do not must get clean and reapply.
     Agreeably, the law in Florida yielded less than promising results, yet it has not been tested in other states such as California, which boasts 32% of the nations welfare cases. Florida's implementation did indeed cost the state $46,000, yet the same cannot be said for future cases in other states.
     The act of welfare drug screening is certainly controversial, and both sides have credible arguments. As welfare is currently a government privilege, it is certainly legal to drug screen applicants.