The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, June 16, 1994, Summer, Page 4, Image 4

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    Opinion Ne&an
JL-L 1 1V 71 ^1' ' Thursday, Juns 16,1994
Editorial Board
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Deborah D. McAdams.. . . :.Editor, 472-1766
Matt fVoody.. .Features Editor
Martha Dunn.....Copy Desk Chief
Derek Samson ... .Skiff Reporter
Brian Sharp. . ....Staff Reporter
Bus fuss?
Students kept out of university loop
Many actions by officials of this university arc probably
more complicated than they seem to students who
bankroll for those actions. The student media and the
student government may be guilty of oversimplifying issues and
polarizing students and administrators, but administrators arc
also guilty of being vague about their intentions.
The increase in parking fees and the subsequent pending
contract with StarTran appears to be another classic case of big,
bad officials manipulating poor, defenseless students.
Students will get whipped-up into an indignant frenzy, the
media will have a cause, student politicos will get a white horse
and university officials will continue to pursue their agendas
knowing full well this crop of brats will soon graduate. Succes
sive generations of students will continue to receive fragmented
information about official actions and continue to react incogni
zant bravura.
Free, city-wide bus service for students is actually a very
good idea. Plenty of students have days when they don’t have
enough money for bus fare, much less a parking permit, much
less a car. More commuter students will probably ride the bus,
relieving overcrowded parking lots.
The unfortunate aspect of the bus service contract was the
circuitousness of its provision. City-wide bus service and
parking permit increases were “being considered” by officials in
January. Increases proposed in February were to raise permit
prices by about 25 percent. The added revenue was intended for
parking-lot maintenance, free shuttle service between campuses
and a parking garage. The permit prices approved in March—
while students were taking mid-terms and dreaming of spring
break—were nearly twice as much as previous rates.
The protests began in April and officials didn’t understand
why students were suddenly upset about the change. Additional
money would be going strictly to parking and transportation
improvements, they said. Smoke filled the air as one group of
officials said parking fees wouldn’t partially pay for a parking
garage while another group said $2 million in parking fees
would help fund the garage.
Now that most students arc gone for the summer, their
parking fees arc being turned into bus fare.
It may be easier for officials to carry out long-range plans by
keeping students marginally informed, and students get an
interesting demonstration of business ethics.
Fee increases often pay for benefits not enjoyed by students
who make the original investment and move on. Students might
be more inclined to make such an investment if it didn’t sneak up
behind them.
r* " 1 " " - 1 ' 1 1 ■ .. —■■
FAX NUMBER 472-1761
The Daily NebraskanfUSPS 144-080) is published by the UNL Publications Board, Ne
braska Union 34,1400 R St., Lincoln, NE, Monday through Friday during the academic year
weekly during summer sessions.
Readers are encouraged to submil story ideas and comments to the Daily Nebraskan by
phoning 472-1763 between 9 a m and 5 p.m Monday through Friday. The public also has
access to the Publications Board For information, contact Doug Fiedler, 472-2588
Subscnption price is $50 for one year.
Posimaster: send address changes to the Daily Nebraskan, Nebraska Union 34,1400 R
St.,Lincoln, NE 68588 0448 Second class postage paid at Lincoln, NE.
D/MuY ^RAfKA\\<E> mt
---1 I
Executions aren’t celebrations
The capital punishment debate
has picked up added steam in
recent years as the number of
executions rise throughout the United
States. Far more interesting than the
debates however, are the often dark
and disturbing responses to the execu
tions. Carrying out a death sentence
has always drawn a crowd, from the
days of the Reign of Terror to the
hangings of the Old West. However,
when this morbid curiosity of death is
combined with modem commercial
ism, an unsettling glorification of the
criminal is sometimes the result.
Take for example the execution of
John Wayne Gacy, who killed thirty
three young males, mostly teenagers,
in Chicago during the 1970’s. Gacy
was executed by lethal injection last
month. Family members of the vic
tims were not allowed to witness the
execution, but a large throng of people
gathered outside of the prison where
the midnight execution took place.
Some of those present protested the
use of the death penalty, but many
cheered in a party atmosphere as the
midnight hour approached. Vendors
sold T-shirts and partiers toasted in
celebration of Gacy’s impending
death. Some of these same people no
doubt called Gacy’s900-line where he
professed his innocence to the mur
ders. All told, it was a revolting end to
the life of a revolting human being.
Such celebrations appear to be more
common at execution sites around the
United States. Even low-key Nebras
ka, which has’t executed an inmate
since the Eisenhower administration,
may soon participate in this festive
atmosphere as convicted murderer
Harold Otey waits for another execu
tion date. Itappears unlikely that Otey,
who came within hours of having his
death sentence carried out two years
The tail-gate party attitude
toward the death penalty may
have been created in part by
the execution of one of
America’s most notorious
criminals, Ted Bundy.
ago, will win another delay.
Meanwhile, as Otey ponders his
fate, Roger Bjorkland is to be sen
tenced later this month for his part in’
the murder of UNL student Candice
Harms, and there is a strong possibil
ity that he too will be sentenced to die.
The Harms case triggered an emo
tional response from those living in or ‘
around Lincoln, especially on the uni
versity campus, ir Bjorkland is sen
tenced to death, celebration will be
sure to follow.
But should there be any celebra
tions at all? It would seem to make
more sense to follow the example of
Stan and Pat Harms, Candice’s par
ents, who have dealt with their very
public tragedy with a sincere grace
and dignity that followers of the case
can’t help but admire. While they may
not be opposed to Bjorkland receiving
the death sentence, they prefer to fo
cus on their daughter and the joy she
brought into their lives, not on the
man who killed her.
The tail-gate party attitude toward
the death penalty may have been cre
ated in part by the execution of one of
America’s most notorious criminals,
Ted Bundy. Bundy killed at least thir
ty young women across the United
States until he was apprehended in
Florida in 1978. He flaunted his crimes,
showing no remorse for his actions.
As a result, his January, 1989, execu
tion date was met with unbridled an
ticipation. Radio stations played “On
Top of Old Sparky,” and cookouts,
termed “Bundy-cues” began popping
up in several parts of the nation. As his
7 a.m. execution neared, crowds set
off firecrackers outside of the prison,
and chants of “Bum, Bundy, Bum”
echoed outside the walls. In granting
Ted Bundy this attention, his greatest
wish was fulfilled. Sadly, his victims
were largely forgotten.
It appears certain that soon Harold
Otey will be executed by the state of
Nebraska. It seems equally certain
that under the aggressive policies of
the current Attorney General, more
executions will soon follow. Will Ne
braskans, who cheer an overmatched
football opponent for its effort, also
cheer the deaths of the inmates on
Death Row? Or will they give the
executed criminal a more fitting re
sponse, a quiet memory of the victims
of his murderous spree? Time will
provide the answer. But one thing is
certain, if the day comes when Roger
Bjorkland will take his turn in the
electric chair, the family of Candice
Harms will not stand in line to buy a T
shirt of the occasion.
A. Neil Spears la a Juaior Psy chology/Kaglish
n>»j»r and a Daily Nebraakaa coluaialst