The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 09, 2001, Image 1

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March 9,2001
Volume 100
Issue 124
Since 1901
Simon Ringsmuth and the
case of the Vending Machine
In Opinion/4
Sprinter Chris Chandler
gets a second shot at the
NCAA title in the most
unforgiving 60-meter dash
In SportsWeekend/10
Kenny’s cornin’
to Pershing
In Arts/5
Derek Lippincott/DN
SWEET WEATHER: Spanish graduate student Eva Paris comforts agricultural economics graduate student Ramiro Garcia during a late lunch break
Thursday afternoon at the Nebraska Union.Temperatures Thursday reached the upper 40s.
Bill could pull plug
on death penalty
It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.
Or do they?
If Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha gets
his way, no one will have to pull the switch to
execute inmates in Nebraska’s electric chair.
His bill, LB 18, is the next edition in a
long line of bills introduced in past years to
abolish the death penalty and replace it with
life in prison without parole. The bill also
requires inmates to provide restitution to
the families of their victims.
Chambers' annual efforts have never
been successful. But last year lawmakers
passed a bill to temporarily halt executions
until a task force could study whether
Nebraska judges apply execution sentences
Gov. Mike Johanns vetoed the death
penalty moratorium but allowed the task
force to form; its report is due on Aug. 1.
Despite his prior failures, Chambers
stepped up to the plate again Thursday
introducing his bill to Judiciary Committee.
A slew of proponents flanked
Chambers; not a single opponent surfaced
during the l-V^-hour hearing.
Former Gov. Frank Morrison said the
state’s model of justice was “equity before
decades of
government work, the 95-year-old governor
said he noticed a consistent trend in court
decisions where judges march minorities
off to their deaths, while whites get shuffled
away to prison.
Anyone who thinks differently, he said
“is living in a dream world.”
And Morrison said government-sanc
tioned killing buffered the country’s “epi
demic of killing” highlighted this week by
school shootings in California and
Proponents of capital punishment say
the state has to destroy its most dangerous
members to insure the safety of its citizens.
Kelly Keller, a representative of the arch
diocese of Omaha, said such a claim was
simply false.
“We do not need to kill criminals to ren
der them harmless to society,” she said.
These murderers, she said, can be
locked away in secure facilities for as long as
they live.
Please see EXECUTE on 8
MIT professor
to speak on
gender issues
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Committee
on Gender Equity will present the second “Honoring
Womens Voices” conference today.
The keynote speaker for the event will be Nancy
Hopkins, MIT professor of molecular biology.
In the 1990s, Hopkins
became nationally known for her
study documenting gender bias
against women at MIT’s School of
In 1999, in response to
Hopkins’ investigation, MIT
released a report acknowledging
discrimination against female
faculty members.
Since publishing the report,
Hopkins has become a national
spokeswoman on gender dis
crimination in academia.
"The results of our study were
presented in a faculty publica
tion. Later that article got picked
up by The New York Times and Boston-area papers,"
Hopkins said in an interview. “Afterwards we were
completely overwhelmed with e-mail on the topic.”
Hopkins said soon after being featured in the
national press, her office was flooded with phone
calls from female researchers who said they were fac
ing the same problems of discrimination at their
An important part of Hopkins’ discrimination
study focused on the amount of laboratory space
given to female scientists.
“In the early days, I went around to every lab with
a tape measure,” Hopkins said.
I wasn’t
MIT professor
of molecular
Please see MIT on 8
Students fight to keep Chinese courses
Coral Su wants to make sure the
Nebraska Union s Imperial Palace
Express restaurant isn’t the only bit of
Chinese culture UNL students see.
When Su, a UNL graduate stu
dent, heard the Department of
Modern Languages and Literatures
would phase out introductory
Chinese courses next semester, she
set up shop in the Nebraska Union to
rally student support.
Thursday, she and students in
Chinese classes spent the day at a dis
play, asking for signatures from stu
dents enrolled or interested in
Chinese courses.
Su has been teaching the universi
ty’s Chinese classes in the absence of a
“Chinese culture has really influ
enced a lot everywhere,” Su said. “I
think that the university, at least,
should keep any kind of opportunity
for students to explore through lan
Su said while people may enjoy
Chinese food or Chinese movies, they
could never really “dip into the cul
ture” without speaking the language.
“Once you know the language,
you can really eat the culture,” she
said. “Language is a power.”
Radha Balasubramanian, interim
chairwoman of the Department of
Modern Languages and Literatures,
said the choice to phase out introduc
tory Chinese - secondary Chinese
courses would still be offered - was
not an easy choice. She said the main
reason for the decision was a lack of
“It was not a decision of choice
from the modern language depart
ment, but the budget we have has
made us decide,” Balasubramanian
She said the return of introducto
ry Chinese to the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln was possible if the
department could get grants to hire a
She said she would begin looking
into grant programs in May.
Associate Dean of the College of
Arts and Sciences Mike Steinman said
the Department of Modern
Languages and Literatures made a
decision based on budget and stu
dent interest.
He said last fall, four students
enrolled in Chinese 201; this semes
ter, he said, one person enrolled in the
same course.
He said while the department had
a tough decision to make, administra
tors decided to put their resources
into programs where there was more
student enrollment, such as French,
Spanish and German.
Sophomore international busi
ness major Jon Puett, who is taking
introductory Chinese, said the course
was fun and beneficial.
“It’s a lot of fun," Puett said. “It’s
really good for people to (learn)
Chinese to explore a culture that’s
pretty cool."
He said he was going to Beijing to
study and hoped he would have
somewhere to go for instruction
when he returned to UNL.
“I think language is important and
should be kept at the university level,”
he said.
Su said she hoped many student
signatures would show university
administrators the interest in
“I want the student voice to be
heard,” she said.
Though money is an issue, Su
said, the university should look at the
long-term effects of not exposing stu
dents to the language.
It's especially important to offer
Chinese, Su said, with the country
Jennifer Lund/DN
Graduate Student Coral Su asks passing students at the Nebraska Union Thrusday to sign a peti
tion to keep Chinese classes at UNL.The Chinese program is in danger of being cut from UNL's
curriculum because of a lack of funding and low student enrollment.
developing as an important econom
ic market.
She said she hoped the program
would return but with more courses
to develop students’ skills.
“Language is the power,” Su said.
High schoolers visit senators to discuss politics, generate ideas
Although many of them aren’t old
enough to vote yet, Nebraska sena
tors want to hear their opinions.
On Monday, Nebraska high school
students will have a chance to debate
and discuss political issues with their
The Warner Chamber in the
Capitol building will serve for discus
sion and debate among the students.
Sen. Marian Price of Lincoln said
she was excited to hear the ideas of
the participants.
“I find it exciting to be around
young people,” she said. "They help
me be a better senator.”
Susan Cassata, a world history
teacher at Lincoln Southeast High
School, said the students had been
studying four topics of discussion:
the environment, immigration, inter
national relations and trade.
"I think the discussion series
offers an opportunity to discuss top
ics they’ll be making decisions about
in the future," Cassata said.
Brown University provides high
schools around the country, includ
ing those in Connecticut, Illinois,
Massachusetts, North Carolina and
Rhode Island, with the curriculum as
part of the Capitol Forum on
America’s Future.
Students at Southeast met for four
weeks after school to discuss the
readings. Jillian Savage, a junior at
Southeast, said the series sparked her
interest in world issues.
“I’ve gotten a lot out of listening
and working with others,” Savage
"It's really helped me gain a deep
er understanding of the types of
things that are going on in the world
Savage said her involvement in
the group led her and a friend to start
an environmental newsletter to pro
mote environmental awareness.
“It helped me see things you can
do on a smaller scale to affect what’s
happening within the bigger picture,”
she said.
Program Secretary with the
Nebraska Humanities Council, Angie
Kruml said the forum at the Capitol
would wrap up the series on contro
versial issues.
“It’s a culmination of a year-long
program that students have been
studying,” Kruml said.
This is the third forum in
Nebraska, and Price said the students
came well-prepared for discussion.
"It isn't just a day off from school,"
Price said. "They’ve done their home
She said each year had been a suc
“I look forward to this event every
year,” Price said. “I can’t think of a
better pulse of the community.”
Sen. Jon Bruning of Sarpy County
said students would benefit from
exposure to the workings of state gov
“Any time young people can see
how the government works, it’s valu
7 look forward to this
event every year. I can’t
think of a better pulse of
the community.”
Marian Price
Nebraska senator
able,” he said.
Price said the students weren't the
only ones who learned from the
“They aren’t just picking my
mind,” she said. “They get a chance to
express what’s on theirs. No one goes
home without new ideas.”