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MyTake - Tuition - Why the increase system doesn't make sense

Tuition - Why the increase system doesn't make sense 
Monday, June 17, 2002, 3:00 AM - Public Policy, Law
This is about an issue that has really been bothering me for a long time, especially since a 10% tuition increase was announced for all Purdue University students in the Fall of 2002. Most of you know that I am not from Indiana, and therefore pay out of state tuition to attend Purdue University. So take this however you like, but I like to think that I am being very objective here. The last that I checked the following two things were true:

1. The state of Indiana is having budget problems and has therefore cut the Purdue University budget by approximately $80 million for the 2002-2003 year.
2. Students that are residents of Indiana pay considerably less tuition than non-residents because the state government supplements the Purdue University operating budget.

Assuming that these two facts are true, there is no reason that the status of Indiana's state budget should have any effect on the tuition price for non-residents, since the state of Indiana is not paying for any part of the tuition for this group. These people do not pay taxes to Indiana and therefore should not expect any assistance from the state. Therefore the same should hold true the other way around. If Indiana is having budget problems, non-residents should not be expected to make up for any of the deficit. But with a constant increase in tuition for all students, this is not the case. This makes the false assumption that an Indiana budget cut effects all students. It does indeed effect the overall University operating budget, but no part of the shortfall should be placed on those that are already paying the full price without help from the state. The simple answer to this problem is to have two different tuition rate increases, one for residents and one for non-residents. The non-resident rate would be much more likely to be stable (no yearly fluctuation due to state budget) and lower (either at or just above inflation). This also would result in the attraction of more non-resident enrollment.
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Saturday, February 17, 2001, 3:00 AM - Computing Technology, Software, Law

I believe that the copyright holder should have control of their music. That is the definition of a copyright. However, I still think that Napster deserves to live. Whether the users of this service decide to share copyrighted material is up to them. Many unsigned bands that do not have copyrighted music and even ones that do have copyrights like the idea of music-sharing programs like Napster. Don't groups like these also have a right to have programs like Napster available as a form freedom of speech? Napster is merely a tool that can be used within the law. Are gun makers held responsible when a homicide is committed with their product? Do crowbar makers have to pay for damages and theft caused by people misusing their device? Of course not.

All of these actions are the sole result of how the customer decides to use it, not the product itself. In my opinion the RIAA is targeting the wrong party. Instead of putting Napster in the crosshairs, they should be charging the individual users that choose to illegally share their music. These are the people that are infringing on copyrights. The RIAA has two reasons for not doing just that. First of all, it seems like an impossible task to prosecute every one of the thousands of users that share copyrighted music on Napster and similar programs, which is tough luck for them. The second is that the RIAA does not want to directly upset the very group that generates their profit, the music lovers. I realize that the RIAA is just trying to protect its copyrights the most effective way it can, even if they must prosecute the wrong party to do it.

See it as it appeared in the March 1, 2001 edition of The Exponent.
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ResNet Advisory Council - As it appeared in the Purdue Exponent 
Sunday, February 11, 2001, 3:00 AM - Computing Technology, Law

Students may help to improve ResNet

By Rachael Conley
Assistant Campus Editor

Students experiencing problems with their residential network, or ResNet, now have a voice in the improvement process.

The ResNet Advisory Council will allow students to contribute in the efforts to improve the network that provides connectivity to students in University residences and off-campus student and faculty users.

"This new advisory group, co-chaired by the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology and University Residences, provides a mechanism for direct student participation in developing solutions to ResNet issues," said Jerry Sheehan, the associate vice president for information technology.

The council is made up of approximately 10 to 15 students living in the University residence halls, as well as people from the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology and the University Residences.

One student and member of the council said he feels there will be improvements in the ResNet service.

"I think we're going to see a lot of improvements with the quality of service in the future," said Travis Sugarbaker, a freshman in the School of Science.

Sugarbaker also said the approach that is currently being taken to fix the system is not pleasing many students.

"The approach they're currently taking to fix it isn't sitting well with students," he said.

The bandwidth limiting method currently used to allocate bandwidth includes primarily grouping everyone using ResNet into one category. Then each individual is pushed into one of three categories depending on the amount of information downloaded over a certain time span, said Sugarbaker. Those downloading too much can be throttled back to keep an even dispersal of bandwidth. Sugarbaker said the main issue is the network's lack of flexibility.

"The biggest problem is limited resources that Purdue has for computing with ResNet," he said.

When the network is very busy, some students using the system have problems checking e-mail and signing on to instant messenger services, Sugarbaker said.

The University is taking steps to make this dispersal more adequate and even for all users, said Sheehan.

"Disproportionate use by any one user reduces the availability of the resource for all users," he said.

The University also implemented a policy that placed limits on how much data a student could send or receive in a 24 hour period in the spring semester of 2001.

Recently, the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology has made efforts to re-examine current rate limits.

In the last month, small technical modifications have been made to the way users are limited, and members of the council and the University are still trying to improve performance.

Neil McNab, a sophomore in the Schools of Engineering and also a part of the advisory council, said another problem was logging on to the Internet.

McNab said it was comforting that when this was brought up in the meeting, the University officials had already fixed it.

"It's good to know that they're on top of these things," he said. "Now we know that there's something being done."

McNab also said the council creates a bridge across the gap between University officials and students.

"The council certainly opens up a dialogue between the University and the people that are using it," he said.

The council is not the only step the University is taking to improve the ResNet service.

A new research network called I-Light was made available in December of 2001 and is now being used to speed messages from Purdue to other research institutions.

"We're actually using I-Light to speed those messages to other research institutions," Sheehan said. "Off-loading this demand created improvement in the overall ResNet connection to the Internet."

The University is not only trying to improve the ResNet service to its users, but it is also trying to warn students about new viruses, said Sheehan.

A formal procedure to post information about viruses on "table notices" throughout University Residences and sending electric alerts to the Resident Computer Consultants is being created, Sheehan said.

McNab said although he didn't see a lot of problems with his Internet connection, he was glad the University is open to the council's ideas.

"I personally didn't really see a whole lot of problems with ResNet, but I know that there were a lot of people that did," he said. "The first thing I noticed right off the bat, was the ResNet staff that we're working with is really open to what we have to say."
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Fuel Prices - A special three part series about the issue 
Wednesday, September 27, 2000, 3:00 AM - Public Policy, Economics

What You Can Do

For the past six months at a minimum the topic of fuel prices continues to recur in American politics. Why? Apparently some people think that they have a God given right to cheap petroleum products. But the truth is that gas is still cheap compared to any decade when inflation is taken into account. Apparently, gas prices are not that important because gas guzzling SUV sales are still increasing. Even if a person buys an SUV for $20,000 or more, what is the big deal about a few more cents at the gas pump? Those that whine about getting hit in their pocketbook need to figure out how important their money really is to them. I have a few options that they should try. one is to organize a carpool. Instead of a bunch of people driving separately to work or wherever wastes much more fuel than all going together. another option is always public transportation, which in effect is one giant carpool. Thirdly, there is buying more fuel efficient cars (not SUVs). A fourth and final option, which could be the most obvious and easiest, is to consume less fuel. How you might ask? For one, don't use the acceleration pedal unless you need to. if you can see a stoplight is red ahead of you, then you can take your foot of instead of the "hurry up and stop" mentality. Also, the need to bolt ahead after a stoplight turns green is a key point where gasoline is wasted. Speed up at a nice pace and don't work the engine too hard. One final point of advice is to shut off the engine when you are not moving anywhere.

Note: This approach has since been confirmed by experts.

The Politics of Fuel

Many politicians continue talking about fixing the problem of high fuel prices (which as I stated in Fuel Prices - What You Can Do). Considering that these "high prices" could be a problem, why should the government do anything about it? I think that is is absurd that the United States thinks it can meddle with the world economy, just because some prices seem "out of control". The truth is if any long term effort of fighting these prices is to be successful, it needs to be done in the form of alternate energy resources. I am not saying go buy an electric car yet, but the public should begin to accept alternate energy sources that are cleaner and more abundant and in the future, will be cheaper. this is only the beginning. What do you think is going to happen as the world begins to run out? prices are going to continue to rise higher and higher, until we are forced to use some other sort of energy which is cheaper (but for now remains more expensive). I would just assume that we choose to convert our power consumption now, rather than as a stopgap measure when it is too late.

Tapping the Reserves

What kind of stupid idea is that? If you haven't heard or can't remember, President Clinton has authorized 30 million barrels of crude oil from the national reserves to be released to combat the price of heating oil this winter. What happens if the price of fuel continues to go up after the winter, what happens then? There is also no proof that this approach will even work. The United States uses 19 million barrels of oil a day and does not even have the capacity to convert much more crude oil into heating oil for homes. Also, this is not solving anything, it just means the government is "biting the bullet" of high prices instead of the people actually buying or using it. Not to mention that this depletes the supply in case of a national emergency. If anything, get rid of the federal taxes and at least we would still have a full reserve for an emergency.
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What If? 
Saturday, May 6, 2000, 3:00 AM - General
"What if?" is a question that I have been asking myself a lot lately. At this time of graduating from high school, I have been thinking about what would be different now if i had done things differently years and months ago. My life could be significantly different, or exactly the same. At any given point in time there are infinite possibilities yet to come dependant on how I or someone else reacts. This is not necessarily a good or a bad thing. An example is World War II. If Hitler had never come to power, or never been born six million Jews could have lived. Or someone else could have taken power and done the same thing. Or killed off a different group of people. There are also long term results. If six million Jews would have lived, how many descendants would they have today? How would this effect hunger and the economy not only in Germany, but also on a worldwide scale? (Don't think about it too much, it can give you a headache.) As you can see, the possibilities are truly endless and it intrigues me to see how many different ways things could be different and many ways that the present as we know it could be effected. I particularly like to think on a smaller scale, how different people and events effect my own life over both the long and short term. By doing this you can see how each individual that you come in contact with plays a role in influencing the rest of your life. This leads me to ask the question, "Why?" Why is this person with me, what is their significance to my life? I do not always know the answers to these questions. I find comfort not in knowing the answers, but thinking about the question and realizing how amazing that interaction between individuals is.
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