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Imagine attending a completely pedestrian campus – without the ability to walk. What then?

Students with mobility disabilities may very well have heard last fall that CU would be closed to them when University of Colorado Chancellor Phil DiStefano said his vision for Boulder’s main campus was of closing the campus to cars.

While answering a question about pedestrian safety at the state-of-the-campus meeting, DiStefano said, “I would like to see this campus in the future not to have any cars … and be completely a pedestrian campus. We need to move to that because there are safety issues as we grow.”

DiStefano pitched the possibility of having off-campus parking and shuttles. He said he rode the bus to campus on days he didn’t have to drive to meetings in Denver or elsewhere. For people with disabilities, these ideas could prove to be very difficult. They may drive to campus in a vehicle modified for their disability or have difficulty getting on and off buses. Also, they may use electric wheelchairs, electric carts, scooters, crutches or walkers.

DiStefano didn’t have a detailed vision of where he’d like CU to go nor was there an official plan to ban cars on campus. However, with these statements, one has to wonder how the new “senior transportation fellow,” Kevin J. Krizek, will make CU’s transportation system sustainable.

CU’s transportation master plan includes a couple of suggestions that could work well for those with disabilities. One idea is to have an electronic space-count system to sense parking space availability. Another is to have a phone application where permit holders can reserve parking spaces or are directed to the closest ones available. These ideas could really save effort and steps for those with disabilities. Having a reserved parking space at particular times could also help.

Still, if the campus is closed to vehicles, distances may be too great to have any of these ideas bridge the gap for faculty, staff or students with disabilities. Krizek, and those who work with him, would do well to hear advice from actual people on campus with mobility disabilities. They will be empowered in finding solutions and the results could be much better than otherwise.

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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on June 13, 2009, in response to the Camera’s question: The University of Colorado is offering to lower the height of its planned four-story Institute of Behavioral Science building, but the school wants to be reimbursed by the city for some of its $620,000 in redesign fees. The changes would shave off 5 feet from the facility, leaving it 17 feet over the city’s 55-foot height limit. Council is mulling its response. What do you think?

The city definitely should not pay CU $620,000 in redesign fees for a measly 5 feet reduction in height of the building. Not only would that be a big waste of taxpayer dollars, it wouldn’t bring the building into compliance with the city’s height restrictions or resolve the issues between the city and CU. Instead, the city should chalk up its defeat to the fact that CU is not going to and doesn’t have to abide by its building height limits. If the city doesn’t believe that, the city can take CU to court. That, however, would be another big waste of taxpayer dollars and a bad move. Good relationships between neighbors have more to do with values jointly held than legality.

This current controversy underscores the fact that the city needs to come to grips with its relationship with CU. Should CU’s growth take up more acreage or more sky? Or should CU stop growing altogether in Boulder? The current battle over height limits is only the current tale-tale sign of two government entities refusing to bow to the other as they grapple with these questions.


Source: Daily Camera


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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Oct. 11, 2008, in response to the Camera’s question: The University of Colorado regents unanimously approved a plan to bring standardized testing to campus, despite a request from Boulder faculty members that the measure be revised with their guidance. What do you think about standardized testing at CU?

If I were a prospective CU student, I would not be swayed in the least by test results of 100 incoming freshmen and 100 graduating seniors. As a taxpayer, I’m swayed even less. The sampling size is insignificant. Regard for CU’s broad spectrum of curriculum is lacking, and the impact on the classroom could be damaging.

I agree with Uriel Nauenberg, chairman of the Boulder Faculty Assembly, in arguing that the faculty should have been involved before the vote as this testing is a part of curriculum. But, I also see that the regents’ move without faculty input is a vote of confidence in them. The faculty and their offerings are so sound and stable, the test was simply viewed as a marketing strategy to sell what is already there.

I can understand if students feel a little put upon if selected to take the test. Buff pride would help, but students have busy lives and lots to juggle. There is also a great responsibility in attempting to reflect the quality of the entire university educational value for thousands of students. If this test is truly for marketing the school to prospective students, I would hope the regents would screen students. Scores from students who barely made it into CU and students who will barely make it out likely won’t help.


Source: Daily Camera


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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Aug. 23, 2008, in response to the Camera’s question: A student group tried to convince the University of Colorado regents to loosen the school’s gun-control rules and allow those with handgun permits to carry concealed guns on campus. But the Boulder campus police department favors the university gun guidelines as they now stand, saying that allowing gun-permit holders to have weapons on college campuses could be chaotic. The regents, so far, have shot the concealed-carry proposal down. What do you think?

I need no more shootings like the ones at Columbine or Virginia Tech to support concealed firearms on campus. I support the laws governing concealed weapons and believe that if criteria remain high in granting permits, we are in better hands with the extra guns out there on CU’s campus. We’d have more chances to stop a killer that way.

I’d go so far as to say let teachers and staff carry guns like a small school district in Harrold, Texas. The teachers and staff there will carry concealed firearms when classes begin this month. The sheriff could not get there in time to protect the school. The same is true on CU’s campus. If a shooter ran into a building, the campus police wouldn’t be in a position to help until many victims fell.

I agree with David Thweatt, superintendent of the Harrold Independent School District. As reported on the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he said: “When the federal government started making schools gun-free zones, that’s when all of these shootings started. Why would you put it out there that a group of people can’t defend themselves? That’s like saying ‘sic ’em’ to a dog.”

*This title was modified from the Camera title for clarity on this blog.


Source: Daily Camera


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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on May 17, 2008, in response to the Camera’s question: Should the University of Colorado start a program to bring high-profile conservatives to teach on campus?

A Visiting Chair in Conservative Thought and Policy on CU’s campus could be a great opportunity for all students to rub shoulders with notable conservative scholars, historians, politicians and the like. The $9 million spent would be of particular value if students were given opportunities to hear conservative arguments and respond, either by assignment or in person.

As a CU graduate who was surrounded by liberals and received instruction from liberals, however, I didn’t wait upon them for help in determining whether I was conservative. I appreciated the high quality of teaching and dropped a class or section of a class when at the outset I could see instruction would amount to a liberal rant.

Regardless of whether CU moves to have a conservative chair, it needs to be sure all students have and know they have a clear avenue to complain about their instruction and to have grounds on which those complaints will be taken seriously. Conservative students should not need to feel compelled to drop classes they either need for their majors or appeal to them because of the subjects.


Source: Daily Camera


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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Feb. 9, 2008, in response to the Camera’s question: Should Bruce Benson have been named the sole finalist for the CU presidency?

Parents send their children off to the University of Colorado to get a world-class education in so many fields, no president should be expected to understand them all no matter the level of academic achievement. Though Bruce Benson, the sole finalist to be the university’s next president, has earned a bachelor’s degree only, that hasn’t held him back.

He has a passion for supporting education. The list is long, including serving as co-chairman of an education reform panel, P-20, at Governor Ritter’s appointment. He also sought a better financial and accountability structure for state-funded colleges and universities as chairman of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

For those who question how much Benson cares about education based on his degree, consider how much you value your doctor’s education but haven’t pursued the same.

Despite the trend in which university presidents lack high academic degrees, my biggest concern is the process in which Benson became the sole finalist rather than one of three. Still, Benson could be very good for CU as its new president.

*This title not part of the original Camera publication.


Source: Daily Camera


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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Dec. 15, 2007:

Two died a few days ago when Matthew Murray packed two handguns, an assault rifle and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition into a Colorado Springs Church after killing two at a youth mission training center in Arvada. Earlier in December, Robert Hawkins killed eight while randomly shooting at a shopping mall in Omaha, Neb. The worst campus shooting in U.S. history occurred in April of this year at Virginia Tech, where Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded many more in classrooms and a dorm. The list of shooting sprees goes on and on and on.

To prevent mass shootings at the University of Colorado, the regents have banned carrying firearms on campus with the exception of students living on residence halls using police storage areas. The Colorado Attorney General’s Office supports CU’s position.

In considering the regents’ move, imagine drunk and angry students expressing themselves during finals with firepower rather than couch bonfires. After these bonfires of a few years ago in the streets, the Boulder City Council banned couches on porches. While not all students engaged in making bonfires, less availability translated into fewer incidents. With that thought, the CU regents’ move seems prudent to ban guns on campus. Nevertheless, regents need to assure students and staff that they are not sitting ducks, should a shooting occur, by having a workable safety plan with response time within a few minutes to anywhere on campus. If they cannot do this, they should reconsider their ban.

Churches have another mix to consider. They are places of peace and open doors. While it is true guns and worship don’t usually mix, churches should decide for themselves their own policies. After all, Jeanne Assam, who was trained in the use of her concealed weapon she carried with a permit, saved numerous lives at the New Life Church against Matthew Murray’s massive firepower.

*This title was not part of the original Camera publication.


Source: Daily Camera


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