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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 13, 1997)
More jail cells won’t
Crime definitely does not pay. Just ask
the residents of Saunders County.
Last week, the Saunders County Board
voted to join other counties in the 5th
Judicial District that are considering
building a regional jail. It seems Saunders
County - and many of the counties in the
11-member district - can no longer keep
its prisoners under control, simply
because the county has too many inmates
for its county jail to contain.
seems to be
that more cells
equals a good
The result is
that many of
“farm” out their
inmates to other
local jails, if for
no other reason
than to make
room for more
prisoners in their
own jails. The
$60 per day per
And the trend
shows no sign of slowing.
Built in 1929, the Saunders County
Jail has just 20 beds, and no way of segre
gating female inmates. Those inmates are
often the ones farmed out to other jails,
costing the county a total of about $40,000
per inmate each year, up $7,000 from
three years ago.
In Platte County, the Columbus jail
was built with a capacity of 27, but now
averages 120 inmates per month. The
county spends $154,000 more on inmates
now than it did three years ago.
These counties believe the building of
a regional jail - paid for and operated by
the counties in the district - would allevi
ate the pressures of modern correctional
problems. The popular viewpoint seems to
be that more cells equals a good solution
tor rising crime rates.
Such a mind-set begs the question,
should county tax dollars be spent on a
new jail, or on a new way to look at han
dling Nebraska’s rising crime rates?
Obviously the more the state grows,
more crime will exist. But is the solution
to lock away criminals after the fact?
That’s like trying to heat the house by
using the doors and window sills for fire
These counties do need a jail similar to
the proposed facility, but after it is built,
maybe some attention should be given to
prevention and rehabilitation programs,
both in the jails and the community.
That would perhaps show the most
growth of all.
Unsigned editorials are the opinions of
the Fall 1997 Daily Nebraskan. They do
not necessarily reflect the views of the
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Treatment of sorority members during outage unfair
JIM VANCE is a senior
physical and health edu
cation major and a Daily
It was a dark and stormy night.
Not an appliance was on, not even
a light. Sorority girls nestled frigid in
bed, with hopes the cold weather
would not leave them dead.
The sisters waited at 16th and R,
with hopes LES would not be far.
But it seemed they never showed.
OK, so maybe it wasn’t quite a fairy
tale; but it wasn’t fun, and now there
are a lot ot maa women.
When I first heard what happened
to the sorority houses without power
during the blizzard, I was sympathet
ic. I thought they were getting a raw
deal, much like they felt.
Heck, they aren’t even getting a
refund, since natural disasters aren’t
covered in their contracts.
“They just threw us out into the
cold, literally,” said Jessica Ferguson,
a sophomore who was one of about
250 members of the four houses
which went without power from the
evening of the snowstorm on the Oct.
25 until Halloween.
So it was off to find a home or
seek shelter at a friend’s place. Some
were gathered as large as 15 in one
house. One family I talked to told me
the five girls who stayed at its house
probably cost it around $100 to $150.
So, of course, people got mad.
They got mad at Lincoln Electric
System for not turning the power
back on quickly enough. They got
mad at Chancellor Moeser for having
school in session, since it was very
tough for them to get to class, given
the circumstances. Lastly, they were
mad at University Housing for not
coming to their aid, since they are stu
dents of the university and live on
Being mad at LES is pointless.
They worked hard to help rejuvenate
the city, and everyone knows this.
Getting mad at Moeser is understand
able, since coming to class after
sleeping in strange locations is never
Being mad at University Housing
is also understandable, if you are not
fully aware of their situation and
position. I would even go so far as to
ask if it was ethical for this university
to not do everything possible to help
l nere is one problem - this is not
about ethics, it’s about money and the
Doug Zatechka, who is an alum
nus of Phi Sigma Epsilon and is in
charge of housing, enlightened me on
a few unarguable points.
First: Only four houses, located
near Harper, Schramm and Smith
residence halls, are funded by rev
enue bonds. This means people buy
bonds to help pay for the facilities
which are built, then make money
off the business which is produced
from the facilities. The business in
this case is the private corporations
- the chapters of these fraternities
and sororities - which rent out the
facilities and pay University
Housing for its services.
Second: The four houses which
lost power do not have a contract of
business with University Housing.
Therefore any money which would
go toward helping the four houses
would be a misappropriation of funds
and could subject Mr. Zatechka to a
“These are individual, private
corporations with no business
arrangement with the university, on
private property,” stated Mr.
He was unable to even send work
ers to help these houses because he
could not cover the liability for the
workers or the work they would do,
since these workers were hired to take
care of dorms and university housing,
not private corporations.
By Oct. 29, Mr. Zatechka
attempted to do what he could legally,
which was open the doors of the
dorms and its cafeterias. And he will
bill the private corporations for the
services legally provided.
Another argument is that if hous
es are not taken care of by University
Housing, they shouldn’t have to fol
low University Housing rules. There
is a slight misconception here,
because these houses follow recog
nized housing rules, not University
Housing rules. University Housing
and housing are two separate entities.
Students have a choice of where to
live when they attend school here: the
dorms (which are University
Housing), fraternity or sorority hous
es (only some of which are University
Housing), at home, or off campus.
Even in a place where Mother
Nature’s wrath is nothing new, this
university was totally unprepared to
aid its students immediately.
It’s sad there were no pre
arranged emergency plans provided
by the private sorority chapters for
not only its kids, but for its patrons.
I am most disappointed though,
that money and the law can actually
prevail over our conscience to do
what is right.
God bless America.
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