The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 26, 1994, Page 4, Image 4

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Tuesday, April 26,1994
Editorial Board
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Jeremy Fitzpatrick..
Rainbow Rowell. .
Adeana Leftin..
Todd Cooper....;.
Sarah Duey..Arts
William Lauer...
.Editor. 472-1766
Opinion Page Editor
.Managing Editor
.:. Sports Editor
. Associate News Editor
& Entertainment Editor
. . Senior Photographer
Km mm \i
You’re out
Three strikes crime bill costly to nation
This summer, across America, judges will be calling “Three
strikes, you’re out.” Unfortunately, these calls will be
made in courtrooms, not out on baseball diamonds.
As part of a crime bill passed by Congress, criminals who arc
convicted of three violent or drug-related federal crimes will
automatically be sentenced to life imprisonment.
Although this will prevent violent offenders from ending up on
the streets crime after crime, it will also imprison people who
commit lesser drug-related crimes.
Not only will this result in life sentences, it will also burden
taxpayers. At the least, an inmate costs about $20,000 to maintain.
If a Criminal commits his third strike by age 25, with a life expect
ancy of 35 years, he or she will cost taxpayers at the very least
In already crowded prisons, space and money should be reserved
for individuals who represent a real threat to citizens if left on the
This bill allows the legislative branch of government to usurp
the power of the judicial branch. Judges can give more appropriate
sentences by using digression with each individual case.
In California, where a similar law already exists, police have
had problems enforcing it. Criminals who already have two strikes
get desperate after committing a third crime. They have nothing to
lose and, like cornered anirhals, they arc more likely to become
violent with police.
It’s true that our nation needs to be tougher with violent crimi
nals, but the “three strikes, you’re out” law will not fix an already
shaky system.
Mixed legacy
Remember Nixon for resilience, mistakes
some people hated him. But no one could ignore the influence
Nixon had on the United States.
“ Unfortunately, the greatest influence Nixon had on the country
was a negative one: Watergate. History will remember Nixon as
the president who resigned from office in disgrace and lessened the
trust Americans have in their leaders.
Watergate is not all Richard Nixon was, of course. He won
great accomplishments in foreign and domestic policy. He deserves
credit for his successes as well as his mistakes.
But even Nixon, forever coming back from defeat, cannot
escape the legacy of Watergate. It would be a mistake for America
to only remember him for that dark period. But it would also be a
mistake for us to forget it.
* Most students at the University of Ncbraska-Lincoln probably
cannot remember Nixon’s time as president. He is probably the
first president we remember dying.
But his legacy still shapes the world we live in. People today
trust government less and arc more cynical about its intentions.
There arc many lessons we can learn from Nixon’s life. Some
arc about perseverance and never giving up. Others arc about the
necessity for accountability in government. In sum. they define a
very complex man.
hen Richard Nixon is buried tomorrow, America will
say goodbye to one of the most influential politicians in
the history of the country. Some people loved him, and
l.m mm \i in u k n
SUITeditorials represent the official policy of the Spring 1994 Daily Nebraskan. Policy is set
by the Daily Nebraskan Editorial Board. Editorials do not necessarily reflect the views of the
university, its employees, the students or the NU Board of Regent s Editorial columns represent
the opinion of the author The regents publish the Daily Nebraskan They establish the UNL
Publications Board to supervise the daily production of the paper. According to policy set by
the regents, responsibility Tot the editorial content ofthc newspaper lies solely in the hands of
its students.
I I I 11 K IN >1 It \
The Daily Nebraskan welcomes brief letters to the editor from all readers and interested others.
Letters will be selected for publication on the basis of clarity, originality, timeliness and space
available The Daily Nebraskan retains the right to edit or reject sll material submitted. Readers
also are welcome to submit material as guest opinions. The editor decides whether material
should run as a guest opinion. Letters and guest opinions sent to the newspaper become the
property of the Daily Nebraskan and cannot be returned. Anonymous submissions will not be
published. Letters should included tha author's name, year in school, major and group
affiliation, if any. Requests to withhold names will not be granted. Submit material to the Daily
Nebraskan, 34 Nebraska Union, 1400 R St., Lincoln, Neb. 68388-0448.
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(.i i m Opinion
Regent won’t, can’t quiet down
Editor's note: University of Ne
braska Regent Robert Allen of
Hastings has recently been criti
cized for his public criticism in The
Lincoln Star of UNL Chancellor
Graham Spanier’s leadership.
In response to ycxir “Quiet down”
editorial (DN, April 20, 1994)
— you and Regent Chairman
Charles Wilson arc wrong in suggest
ing that a regent should deal with a
chancellor “directly” on the issues I
have raised with Chancellor Graham
Please note, a regent has no au
thority to deal with a chancellor “di
rectly” as Wilson suggested or “inter
nally” as you suggested. This is the
responsibility of his boss, the presi
dent, Dennis Smith.
(Jur chairman, Mr. Wilson, docs
not seem tounderstand i t is the regen t’s
responsibility to work with the presi
dent in setting policy as a member of
a governing board of eight, not a
governing board ofonc. In order to do
this, a regent is required to hold the
system accountable by asking “hard
questions and not be a rubber stamp
for administrators” as one of our re
gents put it. “The duty of the regents
is to serve as a member of a policy
board, not in the administrative or
management role.”
I have received a number ofscrious
complaints from constituents, faculty,
administrators and students regard
ing Spanier’s continual effort to push
his agenda for political correctness
and his very liberal sociological be
liefs, as well as his craving for public
attention. These people want the uni
versity to pursue an educational
agenda; not a social agenda that em
phasizes pi nk triangles and crisis coun
seling for homosexuals.
In the same issue as the editorial,
you published a story that said “Re
gent Chairman Charles Wilson said
'if Allen had a problem with the way
Spanicr handled things, he should
take ilupdircctly with Spanicrorwith
the University of Nebraska Board of
Regents or NU President Dennis
What Wilson seems to forget is
that what he is suggesting is exactly
what I did do. On March 24 at a Friday
regent meeting on academics. I
brought up my concerns to Chancel
lor Spanicr. The president, the chan
cellor and regents, including Wilson,
were all part of the meeting. This is
what a regent is supposed to do. A
regent has no authority to issue in
structions to a chancellor. It is a
regent’s obi i gal ion to follow up on the
concerns of his constituents by seek
ing information and by keeping the
public informed.
The story went on to quote W ilson,
“1 don’t sec what purpose is being
served by criticizing the chancellor,
criticizing in tho press. Why write a
What Wilson seems to forget is
that what he is suggesting is
exactly what I did do. On March
24 at a Friday regent meeting
on academics, I brought up my
concerns to Spanier.
Idler lo the editor? What’s the editor
going todo about it?” W ilson also said
in the story that my view of Spanicr
was not widely held and “offthc mark. ”
“My perception is that his views arc
not shared by other persons on the
board,” Wilson said.
These remarks by Dr. W ilson show
how out of touch he is. It is further
proof why some of us asked Wilson
not to be chairman this year. We were
told 2 1 n years ago, when John Payne
was elected chairman, that it is cus
tomary toclcct a regent chairman who
is up for election. Regent Rosemary
SkrupaofOmaha wanted the position
and is up for re-election (Wilson is
not); however, Wilson insisted on
being chairman anyway. The two of
us exchanged several letters regard
ing this.
Had Regent Wilson bothered to
ask, I would have been happy to ex
plain to him why the information I
provided to The Lincoln Star was
published in its Letter to the Editor
column. When a newspaper writes an
editorial in which you arc mentioned,
it will normally grant you the oppor
tunity to make a response. Most news
papers put your response under the
title “Another Point of View.” The
Star puts these responses in the Letter
to the Editor column. The editorial I
responded to was headlined “Criti
cism of Spanier unfair and inaccu
rate.” This editorial was written be
cause of Regent Wilson’s criticism of
me for quest ioni ng Chancellor Span icr
at our March 24 meeting. I wrote an
explanation for each of the points
mentioned in the editorial.
The information I brought up at
the meeting and in my explanation to
the Star was not unfair and inaccurate
— it was information that had been
brought up earlier by the Daily Ne
braskan as well as the Lincoln and
umana newspapers.
The Daily Nebraskan published a
news article Dec. 1, 1993 entitled
“Student leaders: UNL should get back
to basics.” The article was very criti
cal of the things happening under
Spanicr’s leadership. It quoted former
University of Nebraska at Kearney
Student Regent Robert Caldwell as
saying, “We know we’re headed in
the wrong direction when on over 600
radio stations across the nation. Rush
Limbaugh is calling the Big Red the
Big Pink. Let’s get back to the basics.
Let’s get back to academics.”
This article quoted former UNL
Student Regent Andrew Sigerson as
saying UNL had the wrong priorities
when it focused on the controversial
"pink triangle” stickers.
An Oct. 15, 1993, editorial in the
Star entitled “UNL is robotically PC”
said, “University officials have be
come robots to political correctness.
Pink triangles arc thclalcst example.”
The editorial went on to say “this
personal symbol quickly becomes a
political emblem in the current cli
mate of almost obsessive attention to
The Omaha World-Herald pub
lished on their editorial page an ar
ticle entitled “Political Correctness
Taking Root at UNL,” which was
written by a senior from UNL. The
student criticized a memo that was
circulated, mentioning the facilita
tion ofconfidcntiai contact with other
gays, lesbians and bisexuals. The
writer called this a “dating service."
Besides having a problem with
Spanicr’s style of leadership, we’re
having a similar problem with Regent
Chairman Wilson.
After our March 24 meeting a
World-Herald story said: “I had to
restrain him." Dr. Wilson said Satur
day of President Smith. “He said
‘Should I say something?’ and I said
‘No, it’s just Allen rambling (about
students and academics).’"
Here we have an example of our
chairman not only attempting to dic
tate what the regents should say, but
also what our new president should
Wilson s criticism of me to tnc
reporters after our March 24 meeting
is the reason the Star editorial was
written. My response to that editorial
is what Wilson is now objecting to.
Wilson is well aware that I am in
the midst of a re-election effort, and
his comments arc obviously designed
to hurt me in this regard. However, I
will continue to talk about the con
cerns that have been raised to me by so
many of our Nebraska citizens
throughout my campaign.