RHA’s Failure to Pass the CSU Joint Opioid Resolution Codifies Inaction

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),  over 600,000 Americans died between the years 2000 and 2016. Of those deaths, 42,000 died in 2016 alone—an average of 115 deaths each day. On college campuses, between 1993 and 2005, opioid use has increased by 343%–and that increase was before the current epidemic. Newer numbers would certainly be even more grim.

Despite these harrowing statistics, the Residence Hall Association (RHA) voted Monday to do nothing. To clarify, this is not meant to be read as a slight against members of the Senate; instead, it is meant to bring attention to this important issue.

The Associated Students of Colorado State University (ASCSU), the student government on campus, has already done their part by voting unanimously to approve a Resolution aimed at preventing and combating opioid abuse on campus. ASCSU further extended their hand, asking for RHA’s approval in the first ever joint resolution between the two student-led governing bodies with a goal of allowing members of Residence Halls to play a role in the passage of this historic legislation.

Some of us in the RHA were in favour of the move—it was clear that it could save lives. Others in the RHA didn’t see it that way. Unfortunately, they injected partisanship and a narrow view of the issue at hand into the debate. Those exhibiting this behavior failed to understand how the opioid crisis impacts people of all ethnic, economic and social backgrounds. This brazen insertion of blanket partisanship worked to stymie ASCSU’s progress in combating the opioid crisis on campus.

I would like to reiterate: those in the RHA Senate are good people, and their objections to the resolution were not intended to harm members of our community. Still, the criticisms they levied against the bill must be addressed, as failing to act endangers students who live on this campus.

The main concern with the Resolution was the provision which asks the University to train Resident Assistants (RAs) to identify and treat opioid overdose. Under the status quo, RAs at Colorado State University receive no such training and as a result fail to recognize the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose. To remedy this, the Resolution’s proposal encourages the University to implement training about opioid overdose and treatment, and empower RAs by equipping those “on duty” with Naloxone—colloquially referred to as Narcan.

Our RHA colleagues worry the improper use of Narcan may harm students. During debate on the legislation, a claim was made that the improper application of Narcan could lead to seizures and vomiting, but according to peer-reviewed medical literature, “The contribution [of] naloxone to a seizure is unclear.” According to another study, only 0.1% of patients had a seizure after being given a dose of Narcan, and only 0.2% vomited. In fact, Narcan is so safe that it is a standard emergency response procedure to administer Narcan in the face of even a possible opioid overdose, including when underlying drug that was ingested is unclear. The potential to save lives outweighs any potential side effects from Narcan.

Others claimed the opioid crisis may or may not be a problem on CSU’s campus and, as a result, there may be no need to act–yet ASCSU’s Resolution already addressed this concern. The language used in the resolution instructs the administration to “include the number of opioid overdoses and deaths in its annual drug and alcohol report.”

Another participant attempting to downplay the opioid epidemic argued that because opioid deaths have been declining in Colorado following the legalization of marijuana, action is not required. This actually isn’t true. Even if it were true, however, the argument is a non-sequitur. Even if opioid use has been declining, we must act to uphold the safety of our students. Homicide in the United States has been falling since the early 1990s, but would anyone argue against pursuing policies to reduce homicide simply because murder rates are falling?

The most difficult moment of RHA’s debate occurred when an individual in the room dismissed the issue entirely on the basis of race. They stated, “I just find it disheartening that in the past, ASCSU has failed to pass bills in support of minorities, but they were quick to pass this bill that is mostly affected by white people,” implying opioid overdose is a “white” problem, and that ASCSU has been a body of inaction when it comes to representing all identities on our campus. These comments boldly contradict our mission as RHA Senators. We are chosen to serve and represent all students who live in the Residence Halls, irrespective of their skin color. This is not a race issue, this is a human issue.

Lastly, CSU is not alone in its efforts to combat opioid abuse. The University of Wisconsin has already adopted a policy where both security officers and RAs are equipped with Narcan and were given training in its administration. While these reforms have been passed recently, thus unable to provide substantial empirical data regarding their efficacy, we know from a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, that for every 163 Naloxone kits distributed, one life is saved.

Empowering individuals on our campus to save lives is a perfect example of a policy that all Rams should support, partisanship aside. It is time for our community to come together as one to enact change that directly benefits the student body. We are strongly optimistic that a solution can be found. This Resolution has the potential to save lives. It is true that Rams take care of Rams–and we implore our colleagues, classmates, and anyone involved in the CSU community to support the ASCSU project to reduce the number of opioid deaths on campus. We will not, and cannot, let this initiative fail, because the lives of our fellow students are at stake. We will continue to fight for this project on our campus, because no student should die from a preventable death.

 

Join us in this historic movement on our campus by contacting your ASCSU and RHA Senators to express your support.

 

Signed,

Sen. K. Alexander Adams, Residence Hall Association

Sen. Alex Moss, Residence Hall Association

Sen. Brendan J. Kaelin, Residence Hall Association

Sen. Brandon J. Northrop, Residence Hall Association

Pres. Sydney Steinhoff, Allison Hall Council

Pres. Ethan Burshek, CSU Young Americans for Liberty

VP. Nelson Bopp, CSU Young Americans for Liberty

Pres. Elijah Ullman, CSU Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Speaker Isabel Brown, ASCSU Senate

Sen. Liam Aubrey, ASCSU College of Business

Sen. Josh Williams, ASCSU Multi-Faith and Belief Council

CSU Parking: Pros, Cons, and Reformations

A lot of people complain about parking on campus.  Parking permits are expensive, $1.75 an hour (for people who don’t have a permit) gets expensive quickly, and the fines for breaking the rules are too high.  They can be as much as $45, when the parking fines from the City of Fort Collins for parking too long in a two-hour zone are only $25.  It’s not hard to see why people are so irritated. 

Since the parking lots are property of CSU, CSU has the right to charge people to park in them (it would probably be foolish of CSU to make parking free).  Therefore, CSU has the right to charge whatever it wants for parking.  However, having the right to do something does not always make it ethical to do that thing.  You have a right to insult random people to their faces, but it is still unethical.  You have the right to charge whatever price you want for your goods, but not every price is a fair one.  

As for parking fees and fines, there are many students that have very little money and struggle to get by, and the high prices of parking certainly don’t help. CSU could stand to show a little more mercy and compassion to the students.

That being said, there are merits to the parking situation on campus.  First, high prices deter people who aren’t affiliated with the University or are not guests from parking on campus.  If parking prices were too low, patrons of the businesses around campus might park at CSU for lengthy shopping trips.

Second, there is plenty of free parking between 4:00 pm and 7:30 am.  This allows people to attend student organization meetings and other functions on campus at night without having to worry about parking.  

Third, the parking facilities are well-maintained.  They are clean, and they do not reek of urine like some other parking structures do.  In addition to all this, there is a free alternative to parking, and that’s taking the bus.  Parking at the South Transit Center is free, and all the bus routes are free to students.  It might be inconvenient to take the bus, but things that are convenient (getting to park on campus) tend to be more expensive than things that are not (taking the bus to campus).

Campus parking has its positive elements, so the system does not need to be overhauled, but it could use a few reforms.  One of them could be to reduce parking fines of members of the University community with proof of affiliation with the University, such as a CSU ID.

 Another could be for people affiliated with the University to turn their parking receipts in for a partial refund, so that they would not have to pay the full $1.75 per hour.  These policies would serve the purpose of preserving parking for students, faculty, and staff, the very people the parking policies ought to be in place to help, without penalizing them harshly when they break the rules.  Parking rules should not be used to collect money from the members of the University community, but to make sure parking is available for them by collecting money from “intruders” who take their parking.

Recently, Parking & Transportation Services teamed up with Rams Against Hunger.  If you donate $10 to Rams Against Hunger, you can get $20 off your parking fine, unless it is a billed fine.  This is a good policy, as it makes the cost of fines more reasonable.  However, this deal is sadly temporary, it started on December 1st, and will end on the 21st.  This should be in place year-round.  Aside from the fact that it makes costs more reasonable, it also brings more money to a worthier cause than managing parking and facilities.  

Local Libertarian Closes in on City Council

If you don’t live in Loveland, you may not know that this November there was a local election for city council, but I’m guessing that, had it been in Fort Collins, most of you still wouldn’t have known about it or anything about the candidates. Unfortunately, 2017 politics, for too many, is centered on evaluating how the President is doing, with maybe a little bit of news out of congress. Often, however, the most important parts of our lives and communities are being affected right here, by the elected officials in our cities.

John Ryan Keil, 26, is one such individual who is paying attention to local politics and has realized that leaving our towns in the same old establishment’s hands is doing more harm than good. John has run for City Council in Loveland Ward 3 in last spring’s special election and this November’s general election, garnering 10% and 29% of the vote respectively.

Keil’s goals are to, “End corporate welfare that creates a dependency on taxation for viability of business. Reduce the debt binge, and the budget because being heavily reliant on sales tax and over committing ourselves can be devastating in a recession where sales tax drops by any substantial amount. Look at the springs in 08.”

By calling out the rampant corporatism and crony influence in city government, Keil is giving residents of all ages a new voice that would result in more sustainable and effective policies. It is our younger generation, especially, that realizes more and more that we can’t just keep kicking issues like these down the road and hoping that someone else will pay for what we are doing now.

Keil doesn’t just talk about fiscal responsibility. He has been very successful for a 26 year old, already being a home and business owner as well as a loving husband and father of two. His business, a hemp farm that produces medical CBD oil, is an example of John’s forward thinking and acceptance of new industries and ideas. That kind of thinking is the type of thinking and understanding we need in our community to help guide things in the right direction. One that is different from the bought out politician’s that is only putting ours and future generations into unsustainable debt and is only benefiting the already rich developers.

So as we look this coming year, and approach midterm elections, I urge you to take more of an interest in what is happening not only at the state level but also at the county and city levels. More often than not, those elections are more important to your bottom line. Make sure you look at not only what they are promising and saying, but what kind of people they are, because we can’t afford to keep financing our future.

Reference:

http://www.reporterherald.com/news/election/ci_31437004/election-2017-live-results-from-loveland-larimer-county

Trophy Hunting as a Conservation Strategy

On November 15th , the media reported that the Trump administration was planning on reversing an Obama 2014 ban on the importation of elephant trophies. On November 17th , President Trump announced the ban would stay in place. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which proposed the change in policy, argued hunting, “will enhance the survival of the species in the wild.” Despite the political backlash, the FWS’s decision to reverse the Obama-era ban does not suggest malevolence. Quite the contrary, in fact: reversing the ban reflects sound economic and environmental judgement.

Private property is integral to environmental conservation. Governments, who have gobbled up African land in order to conserve it, are a threat to conservation efforts. Illegal poaching still occurs on these lands, and local governments—with no economic incentives to do so—have often failed in taking the necessary steps to protect wildlife from poachers. In fact, the dearth of economic knowledge among policy makers has made the situation worse, as they frequently destroy ivory they acquire from poachers instead of selling it into the market, which restricts supply and increases prices, fueling even more poaching.

The root of the problem for elephants is their public ownership, and the fact that they are worth more dead than alive. A century ago, the American bison were in the same situation, but now that bison are often privately owned and sold for meat, their populations are stable. Cows, chickens, and pigs will never go extinct because they are economically valuable to the farmers and ranchers that raise these animals. As Aristotle once noted, “What is common to many is least taken care of, for all men have greater regard for what is their own than for what they possess in common with others.” In order to ensure conservation, putting land into private hands and monetizing it is a tried and true method of conservation.

In other words, in order to save elephants, we must kill them in an open and legal marketplace. If elephants were privately owned, landowners would have every incentive to keep the populations high enough in order to continue selling tickets to wealthy westerners who wanted their shot at killing an exotic beast. Pachyderm lovers should be leaders, rather than opponents, of trophy hunting liberalization.

The empirical evidence backs up the theoretical case in favor of wildlife privatization. In 1900, only 20 white rhinos were left after decades of uncontrolled habitat loss and slaughter, and all the remaining individuals lived on a single wildlife reserve in South Africa. The number of rhinos left barely functioned as a breeding population. However, by 2010, the number of white rhinos in Africa ballooned to over 20,000 individuals—an increase of 99,900 percent!

White rhinos are effectively privatized. Rhinos are valued using an auction system and both private land owners and the government has an economic incentive to conserve rhinos and their habitat in order to receive an income stream from trophy hunters.

Contrast the successful white rhino conservation efforts to the failing efforts to protect the black rhino. Black rhinos live in nations where it is illegal to privately own and hunt trophy animals. As a result, their population has fallen from 100,000 individuals in 1960 to about 2,500 today.

In Zimbabwe, trophy hunting is common on privately owned wildlife reserves. A study published in 2001 by the journal, Science, argued trophy hunting in Zimbabwe has “doubled the area of the country under wildlife management relative to the 13% in state protected areas.”

The Great Elephant Census, a peer-reviewed publication which tracks elephant
populations, found overall African elephant populations have declined thirty percent between 2007 and 2014. Zimbabwe, however, has had a stable elephant population over the same time period. The best performing nations in terms of elephant preservation—South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana—have some form of legalised elephant trophy hunting. The worst performing nations tend to rely entirely on government conservation and the prohibition of the ivory trade.

If a resource is being overused, it is important to establish ownership in order for private land owners to conserve the resources being extracted. A lack of ownership of big game animals in Africa has led to a dwindling population and shrinking habitat. The marketplace may seem cold and calculating, but putting an economic value on wild animals is the best way to protect them.

The Lindsey Shepherd recording reveals a larger problem

Earlier this month, Lindsay Shepherd, a TA at Wilfrid Laurier University was brought into a meeting with her superiors to be corrected. Her “crime” was that she showed a news segment to her class showcasing Professor Jordan B. Peterson. Peterson is a professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto who is openly opposed to the idea of compelled speech pertaining to pronoun usage towards transgender people, which is enforced by Bill C16 from the House of Commons in Canada. Shepherd recorded this meeting, posted it online, and the recording has now become the talking point for those involved with the discussion of political correctness on university campuses. This recording and the discussion surrounding this event is pertinent to all Universities, so as to not commit the same wrongs that Wilfrid Laurier has.

There are many things to learn from the recording alone. The biggest red flag is that you have academic superiors posturing, slandering, and equating Professor Jordan Peterson’s values of free speech, to the values held by Adolf Hitler while chastising this TA. The academics that did the correcting clearly had no idea what the ideas of Jordan Peterson are and were intellectually dishonest in their portrayal of his ideas. They claim that Peterson’s views are “problematic” as well as “transphobic.” An audacious claim, considering they don’t even back it up through reasoning or evidence. Nothing about Peterson’s views suggest a fear or hatred toward trans people. Instead, his argument against forced pronoun usage is based on ideas of freedom, enlightened by influential writers like Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who spent years of his life in a gulag, oppressed by the radical left wing politics of the Soviet Union.

The assertion that Jordan Peterson’s ideas are academically dishonest is frankly laughable, considering that the claim itself is rooted in false suppositions about who Peterson really is. Peterson cites many sources and psychological studies to back up the reasoning behind his beliefs. If you don’t believe me, I encourage you to watch some of Peterson’s lectures on his YouTube channel, and see if you can find evidence that refutes my claim to that.

Wilfred Laurier University has since apologized due to the backlash they have received since the release of Shepherd’s recording. Many people online and offline have since condemned the behavior of the involved staff members.

Misrepresentations of Jordan B. Peterson’s views aside, the fact that Ms. Shepherd was brought in for correction after essentially showing both sides of a debate, is absolutely shameful for a University. If there is a public discourse in society, then both sides must be represented equally in the hopes to find the truth, and if the search for truth is not a core tenant of universities, then I don’t know what is.

The raising of a single political view to the rank of unquestionable is the sign of a rising tyranny, and I point to Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia as historical examples of why that is the case. This is an important issue that everyone involved in Universities should be aware of. It is in the best interest for everyone that Universities maintain a better standard for free speech and equal representation of substantiated ideas. If any of you at CSU have encountered some of the same Orwellian treatment that Shepherd has, please share your experience with us by contacting us via our email.