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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 31, 1997)
Senators disagree on equal protection clause
By Erin Schulte
Only one senator voted Thursday against
advancing a constitutional amendment that
would add an equal protection clause to the state
- Sen. Kate Witek of Omaha said the amend
ment, introduced by Sen. Doug Kristensen of
Minden, would be unnecessary because it al
ready exists in the 14th Amendment of the fed
eral constitution, where equal protection un
der the law is extended to all people.
“There’s no other level I think is necessary,”
Other senators hotly disagreed.
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha said people
still suffer today from the effects of slavery and
need special constitutional protection.
“There are insensitive, shallow-minded
people who say ‘Well, that’s in the past, I don’t
want to talk about that You have all the rights
you need today,”’ Chambers said. “They have
He said recent stories about the Sigma Chi
cross burning, a Jewish National Guard mem
ber who said he was harassed by American of
ficers during a visit to a concentration camp,
and Gary Lauck’s use of Lincoln as his home
base for distribution of anti-Semitic materials
prove that racism abounds.
‘To Sen. Witek and others who say that we
are past the time where we need protections in
the constitution, consider this: As the complex
ion of the country changes, you may find your
self in a minority,” Chambers said. “You might
then pray that there are protections in the con
stitution so people will treat you not unfairly.”
Perceptions of the state could go downhill
if the Legislature rejected the amendment, other
“I can’t imagine a greater condemnation for
a state than to say we were not in favor of equal
protection,” Sen. Jerome Warner of Waverly
Chambers also, pointed out more practical
reason for having a clause not only in the fed
eral, but in the state, constitution.
“Let’s say that you always have to gcwnto a
federal court to vindicate a right under the U.S.
Constitution because a federal right is impli
cated, and the federal courts are jammed,”
Chambers said. “Justice delayed is justice de
Witek said adding the clause would not
“Sen. Chambers makes it sound like if only
we have this equal protection clause, violations
will never occur in the state of Nebraska —
that’s ludicrous,” she said.
Witek said she was also opposed to the
amendment because of its possible effect on
same-sex marriages. She said it would be easier
for the court to afford legal protection to such
Chambers, who supported the same-sex
marriage bill, said Witek’s reason wasn’t valid,
and rejecting the amendment would draw rac
ist attitudes to the state.
“We put things into the constitution not be
cause we think it's the abracadabra, magical
incantation that will automatically change ev
eiything,” Chambers said. “It provides the ba
sis for seeking change.
“How difficult would it be to explain to
people that... not only is it not a part.of the
Nebraska constitution, but the Legislature spe
cifically rejected it?
“They will remember around the country the
burning of the cross and the Confederate clothes
by a fraternity from the University of Nebraska
— No. 1 in football, number nothing in hu
Sen. Chambers makes it sound like if only we have
this equal protection clause, violations will never
occur in the state of Nebraska — that’s ludicrous.”
Sen. Kate Witek
Resources available to assist
Ph.D. graduates in finding jobs
By Jim Goodwin
Landing that first job after gradu
ation can seem like a chore.
For doctoral graduates seeking a
suitable career, the process can be any
thing but busywork.
With an increasing number of doc
toral graduates and congressional cuts
limiting educational and research op
portunities, many Ph.D.s seeking that
initial career step find themselves frus
trated, said assistant professor of phys
ics and recent graduate Dan Claes.
According to the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln Office of Institu
tional Research and Planning, 130
science and engineering Ph.D. stu
dents graduated from UNL between
July 1, 1995 and June 30,1996.
More than 26 of them could fail to
find work appropriate to their educa
tional achievements, according to a
1995 study on science and engineer
ing Ph.D.s co-written by Stanford
University’s William Massey.
The study, based on conditions in
the early 1990s, concluded more than
one in five doctoral students could
have trouble landing their first signifi
Secret to success
Claes considers himself lucky, and
he should, according to Massey’s
After Gaes graduated from North
western University in 1991 and com
pleted a nearly ubiquitous requirement
of post-doctoral research performing
high-energy experiments at Fermilab
in Giicago, he landed a job last fall in
the UNL physics department.
The entire process happened fairly
quickly, and some of Gaes’ classmates
weren’t so lucky, he said.
“Many ended up leaving the field
or at least changing their aspirations
from academic to industrial,” Gaes
In the flurry of some 40 applica
tions Gaes sent to both large and small
universities, he said he included a few
for industrial positions. He said he
interviewed for some industrial jobs
and even considered them.
He didn’t prefer one, though.
“Those wanting academic posi
tions would be disappointed to settle
for one in industry, as I would have
been if it had happened to me,” Gaes
Edward Schmidt, associate dean of
the College of Arts and Sciences, said
open assistant professorships, like the
college’s other available positions, are
advertised in professional journals.
Anywhere between 20 and 200
hopefuls apply for about 12 positions
available leach year in the College of
Arts and Sciences, so the competition
is difficult, Schmidt said.
“We try to find the best person,”
he said. “There are cases when a
search goes into the next year until we
find a qualified applicant. We’d rather
do that than hire someone we felt
wasn’t the best.”
Help lor the hopeful
Janet Ehlers, assistant director of
the Career Services Center, said her
concern was to assist Ph.D. candidates
and graduates, in their searches for
post-graduate degree positions.
She said many students were un
aware of the center’s counseling, vi
tal preparation and job search assis
tance services. She said she felt they
made job-hunting more palatable.
Ehlers said those interested in the
center’s services should stop by or
browse its web site, which includes
links to search engines listing avail
able positions by field, region and job
The site’s web address is http://
www.unl.edu/careCTS. Career Services
is at 230 Nebraska Union.
“We encourage them to come over
and explore what we can do for them,”
Ehlers said. “It lends an air of authen
ticity to have your university’s official
seal on your documents. Many people
like the convenience and profession
alism that comes with that.”
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Task force to check
NU’s gender equity
By Erin Gibson
A new task force will examine
the University of Nebraska's gen
der equity goals and recommend
revisions, NU President Dennis
Smith announced Thursday.
the task force will also “pro
vide advice and counsel regarding
the future agenda for the univer
sity in the area of gender equity,”
Original gender-equity goals
were' set by the NU Board Of Re
gents in 1991, Smith said.
Goals included placing more
women in university leadership po
sitions, facilitating the hiring and
retention of female faculty and staff
members, creating a welcome en
vironment for women at NU and
establishing effective channels for
the review of gender-equity issues.
A report released by University
of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor
James Moeser’s Joint Commission
on the Status of Women in Decem
ber 1996 said the university still
ranked at the bottom of its peer
group in gender equity.
Joe Rowson, NU director of
public affairs, said the task force
was planned previous to the
commission’s December report and
was not a result of the report's poor
ranking of NU in gender equity’
The task force, which includes
representatives both on and offtA
NU campuses, will make recom
mendations on changes needed in
the Board of Regents 1991 gender
equity goals and report its findings
by July 31, Smith said.
Linda Pratt, a UNL English
professor, will serve as chairwoman
•of the committee, he said.
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