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Thursday, March 24, 2011 OPINIONS The University Star – 5

Proposed house bill

Campus Pulse Will you vote in the ASG elections? aims to vaccinate
“I wasn’t planning on voting. I don’t know what the process involves or how to go
all college students
about doing it. I actually had no idea we had an ASG. What does that stand for?”

— Luis Lira, applied mathematics senior

“I don’t know when the elections are, but I’ll vote. I don’t know who’s running,
but I have a friend in ASG so I’ll probably swing my vote for whoever he votes

for.” — Mitchell Soukup, pre-geography junior By Caitlin Clark
Assistant Opinions Editor

D istrict 26 State Rep. Charlie Howard is ready to stick

you with a healthy dose of his new bill, whether you
like it or not. Howard has filed a bill to require all Texas col-
“I’m voting, but I don’t know who for yet. I have some friends in ASG so I’ll base lege students to receive a bacterial meningitis vaccination.
my vote off of whoever they tell me to vote for.” — Richard Nguyen, exercise and But there’s no need to worry, it's just a little prick, right?

Using precautionary methods to prevent disease and death
sports science senior isn’t my issue with this bill. I’d be more than happy to go
through the less than 10 seconds of discomfort it takes to
receive a shot if it meant I was preventing myself and those
around me from contracting a disease. However, I believe
such cooperation should be voluntary rather than coerced.
I do see why Howard would like to pass this bill. In 2008 Ja-
mie Schanbaum, then a sophomore at the University of Texas,
“I didn’t even know elections were going on for anything. I haven’t seen the contracted meningococcal septicemia and ultimately lost her
signs, and I don’t know what ASG is.” — Lauren Rodriguez, marketing junior lower legs and fingers to the disease. House Bill 4189, The
Jamie Schanbaum was passed by the Legislature in 2009, re-
quiring all students living in college dorms to be vaccinated.
Howard’s concern is students living off-campus have slipped
through the cracks and need to be protected as well. Nicolis
Williams, a 20-year-old Texas A&M student was one of the
students House Bill 4189 does not apply to. Williams lived off
campus, and died from complications of bacterial meningitis
in mid-February, according to a Houston Chronicle article.

An open letter to the Internet

Howard’s House Bill 1816 would close the gap and require
all students both on and off campus to be vaccinated. Howard
said, “It is imperative that this bill be passed into law this ses-
sion. Nicolis’ death was both preventable and unnecessary,
and passing House Bill 1816 will ensure that no other young
the unfathomable infrastructure you conflict is obvious, Internet, you are a Texan loses their life from such a terrible and preventable
operate over, my family across the coun- great resource for information and mo- illness,” as reported by FortBendNow.
try would have few opportunities to tivation but, at literally the exact same Requiring all Texas college students to be vaccination for
share this with me. But, you’re also in- time, provide any and every distraction meningitis is advocating the forced medication of those who
volved with some shady characters and imaginable to keep me from putting otherwise wouldn’t give their consent. Don’t get me wrong
aren’t afraid of letting my dearest aunts that information and motivation to use. — getting the vaccination is a good idea. Being vaccinated is
and uncles co-mingle with these vile I sincerely cherish the convenience of a responsible decision that could prevent possible complica-
bastards. In fact, you showed my dis- research database access online from tions of contracting the disease, as well as mortality. Making
senting opinion of FMAFE’s Caucasian home. No longer are students forced to the vaccination mandatory, however, is not.
male scholarship to a couple hundred trek to Alkek Library to do work, thank Dawn Richardson, president of Parents Requesting Open
By Chip Wozniak loonies at, a white su- you. However, you also bring me Red- Vaccine Education, an Austin-based group opposed to man-
Opinions Columnist premacist website (Whose logo reads,,, and Netflix datory vaccinations, believes those in favor of the mandate
“White Pride, World Wide”), according whenever I want and, more often than are basing their position more on emotion than data, accord-
T o the Internet,

Over the Spring Break holiday, we

to The Star’s Web statistics.
The caricature one commenter, SCD-
harmaBum, drew of my FMAFE opinion
not, when you probably shouldn’t (ad-
mittedly thanks to a few shortcuts I
made, but still). There’s an inverse cor-
ing to a Feb. 23 Texas Tribune article.
“It’s a machine gun approach to try to prevent an isolated,
rare event,” said Richardson in the article. “We are in a bud-
seldom saw each other and I must come was especially entertaining, outlining relation between my Alkek database us- get crunch in Texas, and this vaccine is available to anyone
clean — this was intentional. I needed a what he or she believes to be my solu- age and time spent on sites like Reddit, who wants it. If a family decides not to take it, that should be
break from the disheartening exposure tion to racial problems and ultimately a relationship dangerously hazardous to their decision.”
to negativity and constant distraction criticizing said plan for wanting “to in- my academic progress. Exactly. The decision of whether or not to inject something
from my life’s ambition you’ve encour- stigate genocide against blacks.” I firmly The bottom line is I love you. It’s easy into your body should be yours, not that of a politician. Men-
aged. In our time apart it was important believe your allowance for anonymity to see I need you, regardless of minor ingitis is obviously an extremely contagious, lethal disease
I entertained and educated myself dif- enables individuals to be more honest misgivings. I can’t ask you to end asso- that needs to be prevented by all means possible. However,
ferently than how I was accustomed to than in a public forum but with you ciations with certain individuals I don’t the ends of this bill don’t justify those means. I’m not anti-
with you. Now, I’m writing you to say I there’s always a catch, where it benefits agree with or hold you responsible for vaccination, and I do believe measures should be made to
accept you (and the billions of individu- my protesting commenters to remain my poor time management. So, I may protect the lives of college students. However, while I believe
als you represent) and am ready to lay a virtually unknown to me, I may never hold close to my friends, avoid some of this piece of legislation does have good intentions, the way
few issues to rest so we can continue to realize someone I one day work with yours, and not necessarily see you every in which it seeks to go about accomplishing its goal is ag-
move forward. (or sit next to in Spanish, for instance) is day but just know it’s not you, it’s me. gressive an unreasonable. If you believe you have complete
First, let me say I love seeing my bashing my point of view online. control of what happens to your body, then you should agree
name on The University Star's Opinions Lastly, let’s talk about how your — Chip Wozniak is an advertising the only justifiable option in this situation is to let the choice
page every week, and if it weren’t for ubiquity affects my work ethic. The senior remain an individual one.

— Caitlin Clark is a pre-mass communication freshman

HB2454 proposes entrance of

intelligent design into higher
What do
YOU think ?
education curriculum D
What do you think the act of students
was a violation of the Establishment Clause removing candy from the Art Gallery
of the First Amendment.
I spoke with the representative, and was
surprised to learn his bill was neither fu-
eled by public outcry nor constituent re-
quests. He said he was just “looking out for 4%
the little guy” by protecting teachers and
working to ensure academic freedom.
When you take a step back, and consider
this bill in terms of the man who is propos-
By Asha McElfish ing it and his political ambitions, it becomes
Opinions Columnist clear “academic freedom” is the last thing

T here are a few truisms about Texans

on Rep. Zedler’s mind.
In a conservative political climate like 10%
and their mindset that tend to hold
firm throughout the course of our great
Texas’, it is common to see bills spawned
from a legislators’ “good intentions” or per- Don't care
state’s history. One that rings truest of all is sonal convictions. However, none in recent
the unabashed love of God, guns and coun- memory have worked to so blatant and
try. Namely that of a Judeo-Christian God. flagrantly disregard the boundary between

This mindset doesn’t personally bring me church and state in the academic environ-
too much stress, because when I enter my ment. This bill implies intelligent design
classrooms each semester I know the clear “researchers” across Texas are being disen-
divide between church and state will still be franchised professionally because of their
there. Well, maybe — until now. beliefs. A claim that is simply false.
On March 8, Rep. Bill Zedler (R-96) in-
troduced HB 2454, a bill that would pro-
I spoke with James Ott, associate profes-
sor of biology, about the impact this bill 19%
hibit discrimination against students and
faculty who wanted to research (or teach)
the theory of intelligent design, or “other
would have on Texas State academics, facul-
ty and published research. He explained the
bill is unnecessary as academic freedom is
alternate theories of the origination and already vigorously protected by the univer-
development of organisms.” This would be sity’s own volition. Noting the bill “encour-
a great act on behalf of academics, save for
two pesky little problems. Intelligent de-
ages the university to promote academic
fraud, and we are simply not in the business 31%
sign isn’t taught as a theory in classrooms
because it is religiously based (grounded in
Biblical theology), and disregarded by the
of doing that,” said Ott. Furthermore, the
major professional societies in the scientific
community have all drafted policy state-
scientific community as an unsound theory. ments in support of evolutionary biology —
i.e. Not science. not intelligent design.
In 2005 U.S. District Judge John E. Jones As it stands, HB 2454 is not the purported
III ruled in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School beacon of academic protection it claims,
District that intelligent design "cannot un- but a self-serving publicity stunt by another NEXT WEEK'S QUESTION:
couple itself from the creationist, and thus
religious, antecedents" and therefore was
Palin-band-wagon-wannabe. Who are you planning on voting for in the
not science. This ruling made it illegal to — Asha McElfish is a public administration Associated Student Government elections?
teach these ideas in a public classroom, as it senior — Caitlin Clark is a pre-mass communication freshman
Vote online at

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