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Archive for January 14th, 2007

Graphic credits for 3.1

Posted by iusbvision on January 14, 2007

Judcial Council Ruling Removes Senator

SGA Logo from:

   Gavel from:   

Going Where No Lover Has Gone Before


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Submit General Letters to the Editor (Volume 3, Issue 1)

Posted by iusbvision on January 14, 2007

If you would like to submit a general letter to the editor just click the ‘comments’ link below.  Thank you for your continued readership!

The IUSB Vision Staff

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Judicial Council Ruling Removes Senator

Posted by iusbvision on January 14, 2007

Technically the score is SGA: 1, Erkki KochKetola: 1. Unfortunately for the defendant, a Judicial Council trial tends to be more like boxing than any other sport, and the sole legal blow has led to KochKetola’s  knockout from the ring of the Senate.

Two charges were filed in the case of the Student Government Association versus Senator Erkki KochKetola. The first charge of the violation of the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct via harassment of Chief Justice Charles F. Norton resulted in an acquittal under the reasoning that the IUSB Office of Judicial Affairs – as opposed to the SGA’s Judicial Council – holds the authority to decide on such matters. The second charge of failure to follow the spirit of the IUSB SGA Constitution resulted in a conviction by the Judicial Council, resulting in the dismissal of Senator KochKetola from the SGA.

In the ruling of the Judicial Council, two specific sections comprised the conviction on this charge of failure to follow the spirit of the Constitution. The first of these sections was the clause in the constitution that “All decisions of the Judicial Council shall be final and go into effect immediately”. In this context, the charge was that Mr KochKetola dissented with a previous ruling, in a manner that undermined the authority of the Judicial Council.

Statements from the IUSB Vision Weblog by Mr KochKetola were quoted in the trial and in the ruling, disputing the ruling of the previous case of KochKetola v. Vigil. In addition, an email to the Judicial Council by Mr KochKetola stated that the decision was “null and void”, which was specifically quoted as part of the reasoning for the conviction.

The second section of the conviction revolved around accusations that Mr KochKetola voted against the appointment of Chief Justice Norton in a manner which constituted discrimination based on political beliefs. The ruling was based on a combination of testimony from an unnamed witness and Mr KochKetola’s voting in opposition to Chief Justice Norton and Justice Sherin Raval. The witness stated that Mr KochKetola was against Chief Justice Norton’s appointment “because of his mind games and political beliefs” and that he was of the opinion that Mr Norton’s political stance could affect his decisions.

Mr KochKetola disputes the ruling, considering it an attempt by the SGA to limit his right to free speech. In an e-mail interview with the Vision, he said, “I believe the ruling was intended to muzzle me. I have been outspokenly critical of the Judicial Council and of other SGA officers… I believe this sets a very dangerous precedent.” Chief Prosecutor Teresa Santos and President Marcus Vigil in interviews said that the actions of the defendant crossed the boundaries of how a senator can dissent.  “It does demonstrate that it is possible to take things too far,” said President Vigil.

The charges were filed following an email to members of the SGA from an IUSB alumnus stating that then Senator KochKetola’s statements about the Judicial Council could undermine the employment opportunities of an IUSB alumnus. While no further information is available as to whether this risk was eventually realized, 7 of the 12 senators signed a petition on 31 October 2006 requesting the Judicial Council to determine if charges should be filed. The trial was held the 8 December 2006, with Senator Teresa Santos as Head Prosecutor, and Mr Cole Belt as counsel for the defendant. Justice Joe Spencer was appointed Acting Chief Justice when Chief Justice Norton recused himself from the case.

While the case has resulted in his dismissal as a senator, Mr KochKetola said to the Vision that he will “seek whatever remedies that are available”, and a rematch in the ring of university politics may indeed be in IUSB’s future.

Dissent or the nature of dissent?

The ruling, especially in the area of Mr KochKetola’s comments on the IUSB Weblog, bring questions of the limitations of freedom of speech in the context of disagreements with the SGA. Acting Chief Justice Spencer, in an e-mail interview, said that while there would never be action taken that would limit freedom of speech of students, the role of a senator creates certain limitations.  Calling Mr KochKetola’s stance a “childish position when representing the view points of the student body”, he said that this was behavior unfit for the role of a senator. “Though (Senator KochKetola) claims to want separation of powers and a stricter due process, here he is also demanding that his view points, as a member of the legislative body, be used to make law through the Judiciary, and he would not rest until this happened.”

Erkki KochKetola seemed to have the same opinion of the Judicial Council, that “The student body should be alert that they (the Judicial Council) consider themselves a law unto themselves.”  describing his comments as being “outspokenly critical” of the Judicial Council and other SGA officers, said that the decision of the Judicial Council limited the right of freedom of speech of senators. “I believe that this sets a very dangerous precedent, in that it allows future SGA members to be removed from office for being outspoken about their disagreements”.

Head Prosecutor Santos, in an interview with the Vision, said that it was not only the existence of dissent, but the nature of the dissent which resulted in charges being filed. In the ruling of the Judicial Council, Mr KochKetola was quoted as using words such as “I have little patience for bull****”, and that the Judicial Council “botched” the previous decision. Prosecutor Santos said, “If he had spoken in a reasonable way, the charges may not have been filed. There is a reasonable way to handle things and an unreasonable way to handle things.”
Mr KochKetola stated that while the tone of his statements may have been strident, he asserted his right to free speech. “It likely exacerbated the problem, and I think that it was unnecessarily harsh, but I stand by my right to express these opinions.” He added that he was given no warning that his actions would lead to legal repercussions. “I believed I was legitimately exercising my rights to free speech and due process.”

The arena of politics

While the SGA is inherently a political system, the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities holds political beliefs as a protected class.  When asked about whether a distinction should be made between discrimination on the basis of political beliefs and basing a vote on a person’s ability to set aside political beliefs, Acting Chief Justice Joe Spencer replied, “Yes… the nondiscrimination policy does not apply to someone’s character. Where we disagree is what kind of character Chief Justice Charles Norton has. I have seen him only act in a professional manner while acting as a justice.”

To the same question, Mr KochKetola replied, “My decision to vote against the appointment of Chuck Norton was not based on discrimination of political beliefs. If that had been the case, then I would have voted against Ms. Reusser’s elevation to Vice President, Mrs Renfrow’s appointment to the fifth Justice seat, and Ms Muncie’s appointment to the Senate. I have a clear voting record of voting for people whose political beliefs I know to differ from my own.”

A conservative bias?

When asked whether the decision could be construed as an example of a conservative bias, Mr KochKetola replied instead, “I believe that it’s an example of a Student Government which has been poorly led and poorly supervised and which… has abridged the rights of one of its members.” Acting Chief Justice Spencer said that he is personally not a conservative, and that the politics was not a factor in the decision of the Council.  He said, “Though there may be a conservative bias on campus… we would never make a decision based on a political bias. Individuals may err, but that is why there were four justices, who came together and made a unanimous decision.”

Constitutional grey areas

Chief Prosecutor Teresa Santos, in relating the chronology of the events leading to this ruling, said that Acting Chief Justice was appointed by Chief Justice Norton who recused himself from the proceedings. The question which arises is if the person who is recusing himself appoints the successor, what is the point of recusing oneself? Addressing this apparent conflict of interest, SGA President Marcus Vigil in a telephone interview said that no specific provisions exist for this situation, and that “in moments of ambiguity, it is up to the branch itself how to handle it.” President Vigil also mentioned that the key factor was that Chief Justice Norton removed himself from a voting capacity, and that the main role of the Acting Chief Justice was keeping an order to the proceedings, while the decision was made by majority vote of the remaining justices.

President Vigil was also asked whether instances like this demonstrate constitutional uncertainty. He replied, “Overall, the Constitution does need some refining” and said that it was a goal of 2007 to settle those constitutional grey areas.

Andrew Filmer

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Clinton Top Man at National Security Stole Documents to Thwart 9/11 Commission

Posted by iusbvision on January 14, 2007

Sandy Berger was Bill Clinton’s National Security Advisor and was the national security campaign advisor for the Kerry campaign in 2004. The story broke in 2004 that Berger had been caught taking documents from the National Security Archive and that some were never returned even after his home was searched.

So why is this news today… keep reading.

Berger pleaded guilty under a deal where he told the court that his actions were unintentional and that he accidentally discarded some of the documents. Berger had made statements to the press such as “I deeply regret the sloppiness involved, but I had no intention of withholding documents from the commission, and to the contrary, to my knowledge, every document requested by the commission from the Clinton administration was produced,” and “When I was informed by the Archives that there were documents missing, I immediately returned everything I had except for a few documents that I apparently had accidentally discarded” (AP July 19, 2004).

All of this was a pack of lies and Berger was let go with a small fine.

The Inspector General of the National Security Archive has released a report just before Christmas explaining Berger’s actions in detail.

Berger had taken documents and memos that concerned the Millennium Bombing After Action Report that was written by Richard Clarke who worked for Berger on the National Security Council. Berger took those documents by shoving them down his pants and in his pockets, told the people at the National Security Archive that he was going out for a break and took the documents and put them under a nearby construction trailer and later went back to retrieve them – so much for unintentional.

So what was in this report that was so damning that Berger risked jail for which to destroy?  Former Attorney General John Ashcroft referenced parts of this report in his testimony to the 9/11 Commission. Ashcroft said in his testimony “This National Security Council Millennium After Action Review declares that the United States barely missed major terrorist attacks in 1999 and cites luck as playing a major role, according to Ashcroft’s testimony. It’s clear from the review that actions taken in the millennium period, Y2K should not be the operating model for the US government.”

What is known of the report tells of “glaring weaknesses” in national security that are too lengthy to report here but suffice it to say the Clinton Administration knew about substantial Al-Qaeda cells in the United States a full 17 months before the September 11 attacks, and did not make begin to implement the recommendations made by Richard Clarke and the rest of the National Security Council staff and that is what they wanted to keep from the 9/11 Commission and the press.

Bill Clinton himself lied about the Millennium Bomb Plot when he said, “Well, we did a great job on that. Our plan really worked well. We got it. We got it”. The Millennium After Action Report refutes that statement because it makes it clear that there was no plan.

This also helps to shed light on why leading Democrats were strong-arming ABC Television to not air their 9/11 movie which criticized the Clinton Administration for just such lapses.

Berger lied to the courts, to government investigators, and to the press. He lied in his plea deal and got off with a fine. So why did Martha Stewart go to jail for allegedly lying to investigators? Oh that’s right; Berger is a leading Democrat so that’s different.

Chuck Norton

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Super Bowl XLI?

Posted by iusbvision on January 14, 2007

The holiday season is behind us and the football season is at its peak. Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to watch the Indianapolis Colts (12-4) play an unbelievable game against the Kansas City Chiefs (9-7), raising concerns for those of us Bears (13-3) fans hoping for a Bears victory over the Colts in this year’s super bowl.

Although many know it is far too early to anticipate a Colts vs. Bears super bowl, I am definitely one of wishful thinking. Although if the Bears quarterback Rex Grossman keeps playing the way he has been, the Bears are definitely in trouble in their upcoming game this weekend.  Right now, many Bears fans are struck with a miniature panic attack every time they see the ball leave Grossman’s hand. In their last game against the Green Bay Packers (8-8), Grossman threw four interceptions in the first half.  In the second, they brought out their backup, Brian Griese, who managed to throw two more interceptions before the end of the game.  Most feel the Bears would have a better chance if their renowned defense had the ball the whole game. One fan stated in his frustration, “When Evil Grossman shows up we should take a page from Coach Red Beaulieu’s [The Waterboy (1998)] play book and just have the offense take a knee for three plays and punt it back, at least then we’d have a chance.”

However, last night the Colts defense was very much looking like the Bears. The Kansas City Chief weren’t allowed a first down until the end of the third quarter.  Meanwhile, the Colt’s Peyton Manning had already instigated a number of drives accumulating over twenty first downs.  Overall Manning didn’t have a par game; he threw three interceptions and failed two very important drives at the beginning of the game. In fact, he was looking much like the Bears Rex Grossman when he’s having a bad, dare I say normal, day.

The buzz around town right now is a Colts vs. Bears super bowl. If Rex Grossman can pull himself together for the playoffs and the Colts defense keeps playing the way they played last night, there is a good chance for it to happen.  Although if the Colts defense plays the way they did last night, I’m afraid the Bears will not stand a chance against the Colts in the end game. Now if somehow Rex Grossman gets as good as Peyton Manning, Bears fans like myself don’t have anything to worry about.  Hoping for something like this would be living in absolute denial. Then again, many said the same thing about the Colts defense about two weeks ago.

Craig Chamberlin

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Pregnancy Scares

Posted by iusbvision on January 14, 2007

Ever ponder that feeling of whether or not you’re pregnant before you have or miss your period? It’s like that two week worry in limbo of what to do. You kinda want to find out, but then you are too much in denial about buying a test to be sure. They do make pregnancy tests that read positive or negative less than two weeks after conception. Plus, you’re period’s due in two weeks anyway, so you’ll just hold tight until then. Right?

Since the female mind over-analyzes everything she encounters, this two week standby can be excruciating. Every aspect of your day points to a neon sign saying “PREGNANT”. Breast tenderness for normal PMS morphs into milk ducts filling up. Craving sweets or excessive food intake is “for the baby”. Any nausea or sickness is automatically linked to morning sickness. For a challenge, tampons go on sale the same week as diapers. Anything is open for interpretation.

I’m assuming many of you have had your share of pregnancy scares, denials, or worries when all along it was due to over-active imagination. I am wondering if any of you changed your lifestyle over this scare (i.e. didn’t drink, smoke, etc.) just in case you were with child. After your period, you are reassured, and life goes back to normal again. Does anyone actually learn from these pregnancy scares? Normally, we say “I’m glad that’s over” and the next month or six months from now—it’s the same thing.

I’m not promoting unprotected sex because even in protected sex, things can go wrong. Conception is conception regardless of what measures were taken for prevention. I am just baffled at how worked up women get over pregnancy scares. I’m not sure what triggers them. From my own experiences, I am trying to figure out if the scares are fed by sincerely wanting a baby or for other reasons like a guilt trip for the father (yes I am that malicious, and yes, I am better than that to actually do it).

Whatever the reason, we girls can be just stupid and we think we know our own bodies inside and out thanks to the sexual revolution. What we don’t know is whether or not we are pregnant and how to deal in that pre-test/pre-period phase. We over-analyze to the point we start to believe we are carrying, or worse, we fall into denial and ignore symptoms until it may be too late. My advice is to go get tested the minute you have that scary feeling you might be pregnant. That way you will know for sure and stop worrying over every discomfort your body encounters.

Stacey Rummel

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Going Where No Lover Has Executed Before

Posted by iusbvision on January 14, 2007

Lovers and Executioners by the IUSB Theatre Company

Lovers and Executioners by John Strand, was staged in six performances last December by the IUSB Theatre Company.  The seven-character play was entirely in verse, and included a blend of comedy and drama.

Two characters of particular note were the extravagant conquistador Don Lope played by Abbey L. Frick, and the avenging wife Julie, played by Crystal S. Ryan. Both of these performers carried powerful voices that filled the theatre, and brought out the comedic lines of the script effectively. “What is this, conquistador humor?” was made particularly humorous by the exaggerated accent and motions of Don Lope, complete with an exuberant costume.

Their swordplay scenes, together with Zachary Hickle’s Octavius – with the amount of rehearsal effort so often underestimated – were exciting to watch. Bernard, played by Michael Kennel, was somewhat better as a jealous suitor in the comedic sections than as a remorseful husband later, but held a strong presence throughout.

Guzman and Constance, played by Brittany Gardener and Cassandra E. Nwokah, showcased some of the most impressive acting, with visual nuances and maximizing the full use of the stage floor being their fortes. Their shared main weakness was in enunciation.

The only other matters of concern were missing areas of repose and overall pace that lacked dramatic variety.

The stage effects, though few in number, added additional flavor to the play. Of particular note are the water in the fountain (in which Bernard is dunked several times) and the dramatic execution scene towards the end.

The script carried many parallels to works of Shakespeare; however, the overall tone of the play mirrored Mozart’s Don Giovanni, with the dark drama of the second half standing well away from the comedy of the first.

Any Trekkie in the hall would have quickly drawn a comparison of Julie’s magistrate robes with Q as judge in Star Trek. Despite some setbacks, it looks like the stage careers of IUSB theatre majors will indeed “live long and prosper”. Yes, my geek is showing…

Andrew Filmer

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