The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, December 11, 1996, Page 7, Image 7

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tell tales of
; campus betting
By Mike Kluck
Senior Reporter
Lex Varria just had three things to do for his
job: answer the phone, do a little baby-sitting
and collect money.
Varria, who spent 10 years running a sports
betting operation for an East Coast mob, spoke
Tuesday ni$it with Sonny Goodman and Tom
Grey at the Nebraska Union’s Colonial Room.
Goodman (not his true identity) is a former
mob gambling boss and Grey is a spokesman
for the National Coalition Against Legalized
All three were in Lincoln to talk about gam
bling on college campuses. The talk was spon
sored by Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity and Gam
bling with the Good Life.
Varria spoke about how he would trick col
lege students into placing bets and then use in
timidation and threats to make them pay their
His extortion techniques included threaten
ing mob violence, taking vanloads of students
to the blood bank to give blood and making col
lections on fraudulent insurance claims.
Varria, who was speaking at a college cam
pus for the first time, said once he collected the
money, students often would bet again.
But Varria, who worked in the Boston area
with clients who attended Harvard and Brown
University, always knew one thing the gamblers
didn’t know.
“I’m on this side of the fence and you (the
gambler) can’t win,” Varria said. “There is no
way. I’ve never been a gambler, it’s all about
money. I’ve got a plan for you and all you are
going to do is be a loser. The only choice you
have is how big of loser you are going to be by
, the end of it.”
Goodman, who spoke at UNL in April, said
the belief of winning is the big myth of gam
I i
Racing fans
Matt Miller/DN
GAVRIL HEGREA (left), an engineering graduate student, helps judge the all-terrain vehicle competition held by the
Mechanical Engineering 101 class in Mabel Lee Hall Tuesday afternoon. This entrant, called “Functionality,” was designed to
float over the ramp at the end of the T\irf, Surf and Climb Challenge — a competition in which engineering students had to
design vehicles powered only by wind.
Human rights activists blame ignorance for racism
By Brian Carlson
Staff Reporter
Area human rights activists gathered in Lin
coln Tuesday to unify their efforts and renew
their call for progress in human and civil rights
around the world.
Sponsored by a diverse group of area orga
nizations, the celebration of Human Rights Day
featured panel discussions, speeches and work
shops covering a wide range of human rights
Panelist Martin Ramirez, a counseling psy
chologist for the University of Nebraska
Lincoln’s counseling and psychological services,
said human rights advocates must continue their
struggle despite the price they pay for their
“Once you cross the line, I don’t think you
can ever go back,” he said. “But when you speak
the truth, when you speak about the unjust and
how rights are being violated, there’s nothing to
apologize for.”
Ramirez said prejudice he experienced as a
child made him feel ashamed of his family’s
Mexican-American heritage. It took him years
to realize the toll that the prejudice had taken
on his self-esteem, he said.
Prejudice and human rights violations can
be traced to ignorance, panelist Kelly Morgan
said. Morgan, a Native American who repre
sented a group for parents of gays and lesbians,
said rampant human rights abuses have deci
mated her people’s way of life.
Any movement toward improved human
rights conditions must begin with an increased
appreciation for diversity, said Rick Wallace,
president of the NAACP’s Lincoln chapter.
let fire ants eat you alive
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