Winter Quarter in Review

 

Barring finals next week, winter quarter has finally come to an end, and we are now one quarter closer to finishing the 2012-13 academic school year.

Of course, we shouldn’t strictly look at this quarter as a day-by-day, gotta-get-through-class progression. There are many notable events that occurred this quarter and deserve not just recognition, but also our reflection and value. What we’ve seen in the past 10 weeks are Anteaters becoming aware of their surroundings and being spurred to action, which needs to not just continue into next quarter, but also through it and beyond.

This past quarter saw four major developments that affect the entire UC system.

For one, it was revealed that the President of the University of California, Mark Yudof, will be stepping down from the position, effective Aug. 31 of this year. After five years at the post, he will undoubtedly be leaving the UC at a particularly important time, especially in the aftermath of the approval of Proposition 30 by California voters last November. Anteaters (and any UC student, really) should pay close attention to whoever is appointed for the position.

In addition, the UC announced that it would be banning cigarettes and other tobacco products over the next two years in an effort to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke and prevent others from developing a smoking habit. According to a report from the UC Office of the President (UCOP), about 10 percent of employees and eight percent of students smoke on a regular basis, which is indicative of California’s low smoking rates that reflects the state’s strong antismoking laws. As bad as smoking is for our health, we should certainly be willing to listen to current smokers and others against the ban in order to get their perspectives, which our campus has rightfully been doing, as evidenced by the forum held on campus a few weeks ago.

If there’s a significant hurdle that we need to get over, it is none other than the $57 million UC Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP) deficit, which was brought about due to the miscalculations of the former actuarial insurance company that consulted with UCOP, Aon Hewitt. The debt will need absolute cooperation between the UC administration and the students in order to find solutions that will most satisfy everyone who has deal with it. That said, we congratulate any student who attended any or all of the three town hall meetings that took place on campus in the past two weeks, and highly encourage other students to keep the UC SHIP dilemma in mind and even voice their concerns about this.

There was also UCOP’s campus climate study, which aimed to survey over 430,000 individuals across the UC system as phase one of the study. While the results won’t be published until the summer and fall of this year, we should commend the UC for conducting such a study, as it involves our participation and should provide a wealth of information that would help the UC in its purpose of providing a caring community, both here and on other campuses, for a diverse, multicultural world.

A move that’s not too dissimilar from the campus climate study, the ASUCI Legislative Council’s passage of Resolution R48-34, which calls for the creation of a separate ethnic category for Southwestern Asian and North African (SWANA) students to be added to the UC application, should be praised, as it demonstrates just how aware our campus has become about ethnic issues in the UC system. The fact that this resolution was passed unanimously in the Council, by the students, is a prime example of student activism at UC Irvine.

It’s primetime for pride when it comes to UCI sports.

Fresh off their rewarding victory over Long Beach, the men’s basketball team is heading to this year’s NCAA Tournament, which they haven’t won since 2001. Their first game is against the University of Hawai’i this Thursday at the Honda Center, and everyone should bring the ’Eater spirit there.

Furthermore, for the first time in UCI history, an Anteater has been signed to join the NFL, and that is none other than 2008 alumnus Darren Fells, who played for four seasons on the men’s basketball team. He recently signed a three-year contract to play tight-end for the Seattle Seahawks.

When we return to UCI for spring break, let’s continue to be aware of our campus and be inspired to take action through our school pride. There’s much to look forward to next quarter, like the spring elections, Reggaefest, Celebrate UCI, watching the men’s volleyball defend their NCAA title and, of course, the incoming class of 2017.

Zot zot!

 

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