Staff Editorial: Allocation of college’s funds should clearly aid student life

Students were welcomed back this week and found that over the break, the college spent presumably large amounts of money on new amenities and upgrades, such as the fancy new branded soap dispensers around campus and a revised watermark. Rather than focusing on such trivial updates, the college should concertedly invest in services that would improve student life. 

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Staff Editorial: United States must cease war crimes against Central American migrants

Many chemical weapons have been banned in combat since 1993 due to its terrorizing application, director of nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association Kelsey Davenport told The Washington Post. 

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Staff Editorial: Institutions must deal with, not deny sexual misconduct

Thanks to the #MeToo movement, coming forward about incidents regarding sexual abuse has become easier. Yet, major organizations ignore sexual misconduct every day. American institutions, from colleges to corporations, must publicly address instances of sexual misconduct if there is any hope of putting an end to it. 

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Sexist rules for NFL cheerleaders indicate necessity to change athletic industry policies

While professional athletes, especially National Football League players, are treated with the upmost respect, the cheerleaders at their games face less than ideal working conditions. This is absolutely unfair. Cheerleaders deserve to be treated like the athletes they are, not simply as accessories or objects.

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Gun owners destroying weapons post-Florida shooting indicates turning point in movement against mass violence

Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people in Parkland, Fla. in a deadly school shooting on Feb. 14, according to CNN. This tragedy was not only heartbreaking, but incredibly unsettling, as Cruz clearly had mental health issues and displayed aggressive behaviors. 

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Cape Town crisis highlights need for greater water conservation

The water levels are dangerously low in Cape Town, South Africa, according to The New York Times. 

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Staff Editorial: Removal of protection from Utah lands will trigger numerous widespread negative affects

President Donald Trump “sharply reduced the size of two national monuments in Utah … by some two million acres,” on Monday Dec. 4, according to The New York Times. This act was a clear continuation of the Trump administration’s inadmissible disregard for environmental and cultural issues. 

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Staff Editorial: Plan to eliminate net neutrality threatens web consumption, favors corporate providers

The United States Federal Communications Commission announced its plan on Nov. 21 to stop regulations that ensure equal access to the internet. If implemented, this policy will not only harm individual web users, but also have widespread effects on the media industry.

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Excessive gun violence indicative of need for universal background checks

Gun control issues have been at the forefront of political discussion after several mass shootings have taken place in the United States. One of the major concepts that must be addressed in the wake of current events is the need for universal background checks for individuals purchasing any gun, anywhere.

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Spacey sexual assault controversy perpetuates stereotypes regarding LGBTQ+ community

Anthony Rapp publicly accused Kevin Spacey of making sexual advances on him when he was just 14 years old, according to Buzzfeed. At the time of the alleged assault, Spacey was 26, and now at 58 years old, the “House of Cards” star responded by coming out as gay. 

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Las Vegas shooting embodies characteristics of terrorist attacks

The United States is still recovering from the largest mass shooting in history, which occurred in Las Vegas on Sunday Oct. 1.

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Staff Editorial: Imperative for college students to rekindle passion for reading

For students who are constantly swamped with academic reading and writing, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the literary world. It is crucial, however, for students to set aside time for recreational reading and to explore the types of literature that appeals to them.

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iPhone X lacks innovative features, priced unreasonably

Apple released its latest product, the iPhone X, on Tuesday Sept. 12 in California. While the company expected a positive reaction to this updated product, many iPhone users have voiced nothing but disappointment.

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Lavender ceremony improves recognition of LGBTQ+ students

On-campus coordinators, mentors and representatives of the LGBTQ+ community officially installed a Geneseo chapter of the Lavender Graduation ceremony for the 2017 undergraduates. 

The ceremony is a great step toward recognizing and appreciating LGBTQ+ students and allies on campus and their achievements, and will hopefully lead to more concrete and influential LGBTQ+ policies and programs.

The Lavender Graduation ceremony is an annual event dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ+ graduates at many different colleges and universities around the country. The ceremony was created by Ronni Sanlo, who was denied entry to her biological children’s graduation ceremonies due to her identity as a lesbian. 

She established the first Lavender ceremony at the University of Michigan in 1995, and over time the event has spread nationwide. Around 50 guests are planning to attend the ceremony, including 10-20 students who will be honored.

Based on the small attendance so far, it is evident that the opportunity to participate in the Lavender Graduation was not widely advertised to all graduating seniors, or other students who may want to go and to support friends. 

In addition to broadening the advertisements and promotion of LGBTQ+ events, Geneseo should focus on more preliminary programs and policies that acknowledge and support LGBTQ+ students throughout their college career. 

Currently, Geneseo’s Coordinator of LGBTQ+ Programs and Services is not a full-time position. Expanding this position and its responsibilities would validate the needs of LGBTQ+ students and would build a more supportive, allied community among faculty. 

It is particularly important to expand LGBTQ+ resources, as recent homophobic, racist and misogynistic hate crimes occurred on campus this school year. 

Additionally, a student petition calling for mandatory Safe Zone training for professors was declined at a recent fireside chat with President Denise Battles.

While there are still measures that need to be taken to create a more accepting community for LGBTQ+ individuals at Geneseo, the Lavender Graduation is a step in the right direction. 

Hopefully this ceremony will encourage all Geneseo students to acknowledge the incredible contributions LGBTQ+ individuals make on our campus and will pave the way for more events like it.

Fox News values reputation over employee rights, safety

It isn’t comforting when the news media are in the news themselves—because it usually isn’t for a positive reason. Fox News is in the spotlight, as they recently fired primetime host Bill O’Reilly amid court settlements involving sexual assault allegations against him.

This firing follows nearly a year after Roger E. Ailes was removed as chairman of Fox News due to similar allegations in the summer of 2016.

On their website, Fox News shared reasoning from their parent company, 21st Century Fox: “After a thorough and careful review of the allegations … the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”

While Fox News did the right thing in the long run by firing O’Reilly, they didn’t do it for the right reasons. The New York Times published an investigative piece about the O’Reilly scandals and subsequent court settlements in April, which launched more bad press about 21st Century Fox. 

This investigative report found that the company stood by O’Reilly during the allegations and settlements.

Fox News and 21st Century Fox do not care about the legitimacy and severity of the allegations against O’Reilly—their motive in letting him go is solely based on saving their own reputation as much as they can.

O’Reilly is one of the company’s most popular personalities. His talk show “The O’Reilly Factor” first aired in 1996, and, according to Fox News, relative content related to the show, “ … [produced] a slew of best-selling books and [found] [O’Reilly] in demand for lucrative speaking engagements.”

O’Reilly was a cash cow for the conservative-leaning network, and this was possibly a motivating factor for sweeping his sexual assault allegations under the rug. Now that the network faces public criticism and journalistic investigations against them, it’s in their better interest to let him go.

It isn’t surprising that Fox’s decision to fire O’Reilly comes after The New York Times’s investigation, and not earlier when the allegations were first brought upon the host. 

That is a clear indication that the network cares more about profits and views than the rights and safety of their employees—something that unfortunately, is unsurprising.

Trust in technology reflects unhealthy consumption habits

At this stage in our society’s technological development, it is common knowledge that our cell phones and social media accounts collect and record our personal data and information.

 Sites such as Facebook monitor users’ searches to collect data on their assumed interests and hobbies for advertisers to buy. Recent controversies surround Apple iPhones, as advertisements on Facebook and Instagram coincidentally appear after users have in-person discussions about them. 

It begs the question—are our devices listening to us, and if so, why do we put so much trust into them?

Reporters for the BBC investigated these claims and published findings in March 2016. While they couldn’t confirm that cell phones were always listening to their users, they did hire cybersecurity experts to write a prototype app that can listen to users.

Reporters spoke through a microphone, and the prototype app could identify key words within their speech. If applied to cell phones, the app would be able to send this information to advertisers. 

Their conclusion was that it could be possible for companies such as Google to use similar codes to listen to their users without their awareness.

This theory is like our musings about government surveillance, what we often refer to as “Big Brother.” Potential surveillance by our cell phones is a familiar sentiment, one we could refer to as “Best Friend”—surveillance by a device we are mentally, emotionally and socially attached to despite our knowledge of its risks and flaws.

But the issue is greater than “Big Brother.” With the Internet constantly at our fingertips, the way people think seems to be shifting and attention spans are decreasing. In an essay by Nicholas Carr from The Atlantic, he writes, “My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles.”

While we are actively aware of the fact that potential breaches of privacy exist and that our personal information is sold to advertisers, we continue with our daily habits and attachments to our devices. 

It is imperative that we remain cognizant of our cell phone and social media usage because it may be affecting us more than we think.

Social media activism ignores international tragedy

The flow of global news tends to travel in one direction. In his book News Revolution, former professor of communication at the University of Georgia Mark D. Alleyne describes this “structure of global news flows” as largely north to south—meaning media agencies in northern, developed countries hold major influence over southern, developing countries.

In many ways, global news also travels west to east, and the western response to recent events shows the stark differences between coverage of tragedy in key developed nations, and those considered “other” to Western societies through a xenophobic worldview. 

The lack of social media coverage on events such as the United States airstrikes in Mosul, Iraq—suspected of killing upward of 200 civilians—in March and a suicide bombing on a metro in St. Petersburg, Russia illustrate this fact.  

A Colombian mudslide killing approximately 250 people on Saturday April 1 and a chemical attack in Syria that killed and injured hundreds on Tuesday April 4 also show the discrepancies in attention given to international catastrophe.

While the Paris attacks of November 2015 garnered a huge response on social media—including French flag filters for profile pictures on Facebook—almost nothing appeared in response to the events that occurred this past week.

There is a level of dehumanization that occurs when we view tragedies differently due to the country or region in which they occur. It is no secret that the general American attitude toward Iraq, Russia and Syria is not particularly friendly—yet we let this cloud our view of the innocent people who live there. 

We are desensitized to violence, to the extent that we are not bothered when it happens in countries we’re conditioned to ignore or even to actively rally against. The persistence of social media filters, symbols and hashtags for countries we deem important, as well as the lack of media coverage of the distant or developing world, further emphasizes this inherent bias in our subconscious.

It is shameful and disheartening that we continue to perpetuate dangerous xenophobic ideologies—even when we think we are doing good, or spreading awareness. People who experience violence and loss in the countries we are taught to ignore do not deserve the injustice.

Ride-sharing services could benefit Geneseo students

The Village of Geneseo is incredibly small—Geneseo students walk almost everywhere, especially when the weather is warm. Trips farther off campus to places like Wegmans, however, require a car or a trip perfectly scheduled with the campus shuttle bus.

Unlike other SUNY schools, such as SUNY Oneonta, it is not popular for students to use taxi services to travel around the greater village area. Ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft have become increasingly popular across the country—yet its absence is not particularly missed in our small college town.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a deal within the New York State budget to allow ride-sharing companies to operate in upstate New York on Tuesday March 28. Currently, upstate New York and Alaska are the only areas in the United States that do not have explicit legislation approving—or rejecting—ride-sharing services.

Even in our small college town, ride-sharing can drastically change the transportation and travel habits of students. 

If services such as Uber or Lyft come to Geneseo, businesses on Lakeville Road could potentially see an increase in business. While the campus shuttle bus makes frequent daily stops on Lakeville, students who want to travel on their own schedule—or travel late at night—can do so easily even if they don’t have their own car. 

During the winter weekends, students would not need to plan their nights out per the shuttle bus schedule to avoid walking up hills or walking in the snow. Even though the shuttle bus is free, the cost of an on-demand Uber ride for such a short distance could be worth the traveling freedom.

Students—in addition to residents—can benefit from the job opportunities that ride-sharing services would bring to Geneseo. Students who are at least 21 years old and pass proper background checks can earn extra money as drivers on weekends and can potentially help monitor the safety of their peers at night.

Although it’s easy to be independent and to walk around Geneseo, there is no doubt ride-sharing services would change the way students explore our village.

Spring concert acts repeatedly lack diversity, student inclusion

There is always high anticipation for the announcement of the spring concert artist—and a lot of controversy and complaint. Booking a band for the spring concert is not an easy task because it is impossible to satisfy every student’s wishes for certain genres or artists. 

The past few spring concerts, however, have noticeably lacked diversity in both of these criteria.

Geneseo Campus Activities Board recently announced that the 2017 spring concert will be British rock band Catfish and the Bottlemen, which was received with mixed student reactions. The past few spring concerts hosted similar indie-rock bands—such as New Politics and Walk the Moon—while there are plenty of hip-hop or R&B artists that are within the concert budget.

Part of the difficulty of choosing the artist is due to the different methods used to gain student interest and input. This fall, students were emailed a genre and artist survey. They were later welcomed to an open student forum—which was attended by approximately 15-25 students, according to GCAB.

In previous years, surveys included specific artists that were already approved for the budget and students could only choose from those bands. With this year’s survey, it was challenging to pinpoint a popular artist, as students had the freedom to choose from any artist available for booking. 

While this was beneficial because students could offer suggestions for different bands and genres, it did not necessarily narrow down options and garner most student interest.

There will always be mixed reactions to spring concert artists when not enough students fill out the survey or when some are generally unaware of when or how they can contribute. But when the decision must inevitably be made for booking an artist, it would be appreciated if majority-white, indie-rock bands are not the repeated choice for the spring concert. There is a lot of potential for students to be happy with the spring concert choice, and hopefully more students will be further involved in the process in the future. 

Choosing more diverse bands and genres of music will relate to more students and will make students feel as if their opinions were heard.

Media solidarity crucial in light of recent political climate

In the age of President Donald Trump’s media-denouncing administration, it is particularly important that media outlets commit to reporting accurate news and to supporting the right of free press.

On Friday Feb. 24, Trump barred news outlets such as CNN, the New York Times, Politico and the Los Angeles Times from attending an informal, non-televised White House briefing. 

More conservative outlets—such as Fox and Breitbart News—and more moderate outlets—such as CBS, the Wall Street Journal and Time—however, were welcomed without incident. 

By picking and choosing which media outlets to exclude—including outlets that were publicly critical of Trump—our current political climate shows how the relationship between media and politics can be divisive and petty.

With this in mind, it is crucial that we the media continue to uphold standards that emphasize a practice of ethical, unbiased journalism. 

Social media has, in recent years, become a crucial tool for the marketing and branding of all kinds of businesses. It isn’t uncommon for media outlets to get caught up in negative publicity or social media attention, because national and local media are essential and have an influence on Americans’ lives. 

Recently, local media outlets were distracted by social media arguments that contributed unnecessary drama and distractions to the real task at hand: providing citizens with important, genuine content. 

The function of media outlets as watchdogs of our society and government is more important than comparing one’s reputation or financial success to another’s, for example.

From national media like the New York Times to local outlets such as the Genesee Sun and Livingston County News, it is the responsibility of the press to serve their respective communities with factual, dignified reporting. 

Competition within media outlets is inevitable, but at a time when journalists are under fire, it is encouraged that the media maintain solidarity to report the truth.