The independent student newspaper of the University of Tulsa.

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Barricade of the Week: Sloviansk, Ukraine

Photo courtesy Aljazeera America

In the picture above, protestors are guarding a barricade in front of one of Sloviansk’s police headquarters. They are part of a group of pro-Russian separatists who captured the building along with the executive committee building and SBU (the Ukrainian secret service) office. Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has called this group terrorists. 

letter from the editor

26 days. In 26 days, the semester will be over, the seniors graduated, the summer started and the 2013–2014 school year behind us forever. While the end of the semester is still three weeks away, the Collegian’s semester will end next week, as our last issue of the year will hit the stands on April 21. 

We’ve had a pretty good year here at the Collegian, and over the last few weeks we’ve received some awards for all our hard work. But we know we’re not the only club out there that’s been doing exciting stuff all year. 

If you or your club has done anything cool this year or won any awards recently, send us a picture and a short description of what you did and we’ll run it in the paper next week. TU is a awesome place because students like you do awesome things, and you deserve to get to show off a little! 

Email photos to collegian@utulsa.edu and have a great last few weeks of school. 26 days!

J.Christopher Proctor

Editor-in-Chief

Current poverty line formula outdated, not useful

The federal poverty line for a single person in 2013 is $11,490 yearly or $5.45 per hour in a 40-hour week. On paper, this seems reasonable. A single person with no dependents working full time at minimum wage should be able to make more than enough to support themselves.

However the method used to determine the poverty line is outdated and a poor indicator of a living wage. 

The federal poverty line is determined by multiplying the minimum cost of food by three, because when it was being developed in the 1960s, the average household spent roughly a third of its income on food.

The poverty rate has since been adjusted to take into account inflation. However, the average household now spends only about one seventh of their income on food. 

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Restricting minimum wage increases is not the answer

By Fraser Kastner
 Staff Writer
J. Christopher Proctor
 Editor-in-Chief

Last week the Oklahoma state legislature passed a bill that would forbid cities and counties from raising the minimum wage higher than the state minimum. 

If signed by the governor, this will create a uniform minimum across the state that is in line with the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.

This move comes in the context of the Obama administration’s recent push to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour. 

While cities and states across the country have embraced this change, willingly upping their minimums, these efforts have been met with ample criticism, especially in more conservative states like Oklahoma.image

Graphic courtesy of the Center for Economic and Policy Research

The above graph compares minimum wage adjusted for inflation in 2012 dollars (the lower line) to what the minimum wage would be if it were tied to the growth of economic productivity.image

Graphic courtesy of city-data.com

The map above shows by state how many hours per week of minimum wage are required to afford rent for an apartment at Fair Market Rent, which is the estimated rent for a piece of property given amenities and other rates for rent in that market.

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WHERE DID THE WALL GO?

Remember when the mysterious sandstone rectangle appeared last spring next to the library? Well, on Friday it just as mysteriously disappeared! This disappearance raises questions, questions that the University of Tulsa student body demands answers to, questions whose answers make for award-winning investigative journalism, questions like: What? For whom? For what purpose? How? We could go on and on, but we shan’t. Check next week to see if we discover what happened.

Heartbleed: bad guys have your information

By Abigail LaBounty
 Staff Writer

On April 7, openssl.org published an official security advisory for an internet security flaw commonly known as the Heartbleed Bug. Heartbleed is a vulnerability in OpenSSL, a free encryption tool used by an estimated two-thirds of the internet. 

The bug, which has been present in OpenSSL since early 2012, allows attackers to access the private encryption keys, usernames, passwords, emails, instant messages, sensitive documents and pretty much anything else you’ve told the internet. 

The Heartbleed Bug is particularly scary for a number of reasons. It leaves the vast majority of data on the internet vulnerable. Exploitations of the bug leave no records, and there is no way to protect data intercepted during the two years the bug has been live. 

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Does TU need a creative writing major?

By Helen Patterson
 Staff Writer

I am not opposed to creative writing or creative writing classes. I have taken four writing workshops at TU and abroad, and I think that creative writing courses are terrific for encouraging people to improve their writing and the writing of their peers. 

I am even getting a certificate in creative writing as a supplement to my English and philosophy degrees. However, I do not think that creative writing should ever function as a stand-alone major for undergraduates.

First, I will address the issue of practicality. As a double-major in the humanities, I hate to use this point. However, it is a useful consideration. Most students graduate with debt. The expectation is that future employment opportunities will offset this, making the whole project of a college education financially viable. 

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Does TU need a Creative Writing major?

By Alex White
 Web Editor

A recurring topic of late among faculty and students at the University of Tulsa is the current state and future of the arts and humanities. Many involved in these areas are concerned about budget cuts in humanities departments by universities and slowing enrollment in liberal arts majors. 

TU certainly puts an emphasis on the humanities, from the new Center for the Humanities to the three academic literary journals funded by TU, but slowing enrollment in the humanities majors persists. Now the question is, what else can we do to ensure the continued relevance of these subjects? I say, a creative writing major.

 Of the liberal arts majors, creative writing is one of the few that continues to grow. The creative writing program has a short history; the first graduate program was the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, founded in 1936. By 1984, there were 150 graduate degree programs, and by 2004 there was 350 graduate programs and 720 programs if undergraduate degrees are included. 

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Barricade of the Week: Oklahoma City

Oklahoma educators, officials, parents and students amassed outside of the Oklahoma Capitol building to protest further cuts to the education budget. Many are appalled that Oklahoma is 49th in the nation in funding per student. Posters in the above photo say “Education Funding = Economic Growth” and “Testing: Too Much Time, Too Much Money.” The education budget of Oklahoma has fallen farther since 2008 than in any other state.

 Photo courtesy of The Huffington Post

Mass rally protests cuts to education

By Giselle Willis
 Staff Writer

The words “economic recession” permeated media outlets in 2008. Many states, including Oklahoma, were forced to cut spending and consequently reallocate what money they could afford to spend.

Fast forward to 2014. There are 1,500 fewer teachers and 40,000 more students than there were six years ago, according to Together OK, a grassroots education advocacy group funded by the Oklahoma Policy Institute (OK Policy). The Oklahoma Education Coalition claims a 200 million dollar decrease in public school appropriations since 2009. 

Educators worried that the recession-fueled cuts to education of 2008 would become the new norm, despite increasing amounts of students and tests, as well as more money in state coffers.

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Graph of the week: Tuition vs. time

Randy Olson, a graduate student at Michigan State University, wanted to calculate how many hours at the minimum wage (since that is typically the primary sort of wage that a student is qualified for) a college student would have to work to afford an average year of tuition at a public university over time. While in the mid-80s, a student only had to work what amounted to part time for a summer, a potential student must now work the equivalent of full-time for half a year.

Students should have the option of a gap year

By Elizabeth Cohen
 Business Manager

In the United States, a child is expected to complete his or her education in marathon-like fashion, not stopping for breaks and only quitting once the ultimate goal has been reached: a job. 

But what happens to the kids who come to college not knowing what they want to do? 

According to a recent New York Times article, fewer than two-thirds of people who attend four-year colleges and universities graduate, and when combined with community colleges, that number drops to 53 percent. 

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Justify Your Major: Computer Science

By Connor Fellin
 Managing Editor

In one sense, justifying computer science in today’s cultural landscape feels like preaching to the choir. When I say I am majoring in computer science, I never receive skeptical questions about what I plan to do after college. Entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg enjoy a legendary status. 

Buzz surrounding new technologies like the Google Glass (Google’s new attempt to incorporate smartphone-style computers into eyewear) is ubiquitous. And though its perspective is rarely entirely positive, popular entertainment is saturated with images of a future filled with cyborgs and artificial intelligences.

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Calm Down: Social Media Pros

By Giselle Willis
 Staff Writer

Recently, one of my parents’ Facebook friends shared a comic depicting a young man’s addiction to social media. 

With the picture, he wrote a generic and demeaning comment about “kids these days,” specifically calling out Generation Y, anyone born from early 1980s to late 1990s.

What bothered me is that this man posts to Facebook at least four times a day. My newsfeed is often filled with pictures he has liked or posted, or even his ridiculous goodnight posts. 

Seeing him accuse millennials of social media addiction was laughable. 

Obviously, that problem is not exclusively ours.

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Freak Out! Social Media Cons

By Alex White
 Staff Editor

A knife is a tool and its use comes with certain risks and benefits. One risk would be accidental cuts; a benefit would be its utility in food preparation. These risks and benefits apply to all tools and are biases inherent to their design. I posit that social media is a tool, and, like all tools, has biases that will either cut or benefit you. 

This article functions as an outline of the socially detrimental biases that social media has, most of which can be lessened if members of the millennial generation examined the way this technology affects them and adjusted their behavior accordingly.

Superficiality is a motif in both the design of social media and in the way many use it. As a platform for communication, it puts many limiting factors on how people communicate (i.e. the 140 character limit that Twitter uses, or Instagram’s exclusive use of pictures). Little can be communicated within these small spaces; they often highlight larger issues or events in people’s lives, conveying only part of the whole. 

image

Graphic by Sarah Power.

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