Special Convocations – Bradley Thompson

Special Convocations - Bradley Thompson

Special Convocations today as we take time with Bradley Thompson to discuss capitalism and morality. To change things up, we will be in the Sharwan Smith Student Center Theater (base of the stairs across from the SUU Bookstore) today at Noon. Come support and share your thoughts!

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by | April 11, 2014 · 11:05 am

Getting the 411 from Your Local Leaders

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Today in the Sharwan Smith Student Center we have the opportunity to hear from our direct local leaders. Sen. Evan Vickers, Rep. John Westwood, and Rep. Brad Last will be reporting on the recent legislative session. Join us today at 2:00 to learn more about how your representatives spent their time at Utah’s State Capitol.

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Legislative Report

This week’s Pizza and Politics will provide an update of some of the legislative happenings going on at the state level. The Leavitt Center recently sent six SUU students to intern at the Utah State Legislature. These students spent 45 days working side by side with state senators and representatives on issues from water rights to Medicaid expansion, cockfighting to educational policy, election procedures to the official Utah State Tree, and medical hemp to the so called “Zion Curtain”. While these interns will share their experience, one topic that led to several bipartisan panels, protests and arrests during the legislative session will be the main point of Wednesday’s discussion –special rights for the LGBT community.

 

In December, Judge Robert Shelby ruled the third amendment to the Utah State Constitution in violation of the constitutional standards set out in the United States Constitution, the latter of course having ultimate authority of the law. Judge Shelby is a newly-appointed federal judge, the lowest ranking judge at the time of his ruling on Utah’s 3rd Amendment. Utah has filed an appeal and will argue their case before the 13th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver this month. Several other states, including Oklahoma, have since been facing similar issues. The pending court case was hush-hush at this year’s legislature, however, it did lend to the leadership’s refusal to allow Senate Bill 100 – introduced by Senator Steve Urquhart (R-St. George) – to even be debated in a standing committee.

Senate Bill 100 sought to make it illegal to discriminate against someone for employment and housing opportunities on the basis of their sexual orientation. It is already illegal under federal law passed in the 1960s to discriminate against someone on the basis of age, race, gender, ethnicity, and religion among other things such as disability and economic status. The big question is, should sexual orientation be included? 21 states and Washington D.C. have outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation and 17 states plus Washington D.C. outlaw discrimination based on gender identity. Mississippi just passed a bill titled the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” that allows discrimination by “all public and private corporations”. Similar bills have failed, such as in Arizona when Governor Jan Brewer vetoed S.B. 1062.

Many people feel that the government should not force their hand when it comes to private homes and businesses. They feel that employers and renters should have the ability to select employees, renters, etc. that have similar values as them. The other side argues that denying someone the opportunity to live in a certain place or work at a job they are qualified for because of the sexual identity or sexual orientation is morally wrong and the government should step in. What do you think? Come let us know at Pizza and Politics at noon this coming Wednesday, April 9th!

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Should College Athletes be Paid?

If you were an essential employee to a company that was worth billions of dollars but you were only paid a sliver of what was made, would you want to change that? Recently College athletes have been fighting for a change in the system that makes Universities rich and often leaves them with little.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the governing body for every college and every sport played at those colleges. This includes Divisions I, II, and III. In total, the NCAA is in control of over 1200 colleges. Division I and II schools are allowed to offer scholarships to their athletes; Division III schools are not. After all is said and done, the assets of the NCAA and the schools it oversees equal billions of dollars. NCAA President Mark Emmert made a cool $1.7 million in 2011 and his COO, Jim Isch made $977,531. Head coaches are most often the highest paid public employee in any given state. University of Alabama Football Head Coach Nick Saban was paid $7 million last year, and University of Kentucky Basketball Head Coach John Calipari was paid $5.5 million plus bonuses. More recent attention has been paid to College Athletic Directors (AD’s) and coaches who are earning bonuses due to the extraordinary play of their athletes. Ohio State University AD Gene Smith received a $17,000 bonus because an Ohio State wrestler won a national title.

Student-athletes are usually offered full ride scholarships which include tuition, rent, a meal plan, books, and health care. Depending on what university you attend, the benefits can vary widely. At Harvard, such a deal would be worth nearly half a million dollars, while at SUU it can be worth as much as $100,000. During this time, student athletes are forbidden from accepting gifts or profiting from their status in any way. The question has arisen as to whether or not this is just compensation or a raw deal to athletes who often generate a great deal of revenue for their schools. 2013 Heisman Trophy winner (The MVP of College Football) Johnny Manziel led his college team to an 11-2 record. During this time Texas A&M had $740 million dollars donated; more than $300 million more than any other similar period of time. This past season, Manziel was suspended for half a game because evidence surfaced that he had sold his autograph, a violation of NCAA rules. Manziel’s coach, University of Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin made $3.1 million last year.

The NCAA has been in court several times over the past several years but perhaps the most significant are the cases brought by former UCLA athlete Ed O’Bannon and the Northwestern University Football players. Ed O’Bannon sued the NCAA because they were using his image in marketing. O’Bannon argued that he was entitled to a percentage of the money generated by the NCAA for using his image. His case has gathered several former student-athletes under his name, and the case is still ongoing but looking promising for these former players. More recently, the football team of Northwestern University was granted the ability to unionize with the National Labor Relations Board ruling that they qualify more as employees than students. This case is being appealed but has the potential to majorly shake the foundation of the NCAA.

So what do you think? Are these students benefiting by playing a game and getting their college education paid for? Or are they employees of a University who are being exploited?

1)      Should student-athletes be allowed to unionize?

2)      Should student-athletes be paid, if so how much?

3)      Are college coaches overpaid?

4)      What about smaller programs; tennis, golf, wrestling, etc. what happens to them?

5)      Should the percentage of money generated by Athletic programs be more in favor of the University in general? Or should it stay with the programs? 

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The Waiting Room and Obamacare’s Impact on Utah

The Waiting Room and Obamacare's Impact on Utah

The wait is almost over! Stop by the Living Room Thursday at 6 to join the discussion on healthcare and learn how it impacts those living in Utah!

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by | March 31, 2014 · 11:23 am

Sen. Bennett on SUU Campus!

Sen. Bennett on SUU Campus!

Seize the opportunity! We’re happy to welcome Sen. Bennett and hope you’ll join us in his discussion on Conflict Resolution and the New American West. Be there Tuesday, March 25th at 11:30 in the Great Hall!

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by | March 21, 2014 · 3:11 pm

Let the Madness Begin!

Let the Madness Begin!

Think you have the winning bracket? Stop by the Leavitt Center to sign up and give a little charity! Deadline is Wednesday March 19th @ 5:00 pm.

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by | March 17, 2014 · 12:08 pm