Last pitch: Column-worthy topics that weren’t

_Editor’s note: As we bid adieu to another school year, we took a moment to reflect on the highlights of the 2010-2011 academic year. Through the midterm exams, apartment searches, practicals, internship interviews, daily grind of homework and general hustle and bustle that consumes collegiate life, we missed the chance to cover certain issues we had on our to-do lists. In The Daily Illini’s 2011 Year in Review edition, our columnists expand on three topics they didn’t get to touch on during the year._

h2. Tolu Taiwo

*The shooting at the Market Place Mall*

First of all, this is unnerving to me, especially, because the mall is my place. I know it’s naive to think about it this way, but if I’m not safe at the mall, where am I safe? And secondly, what in the world were these kids from Wisconsin doing there? Did they all of a sudden get bored and say, “Oh, today seems like a beautiful day to go down to Champaign, 227.93 miles away, and cause a riot.” Get another hobby, kids. Playing cards trumps aggravated battery any day.

*Locking our doors*

Yeah, it’s kind of a hassle to have to bring your key to unlock the bathroom or to open the outer doors of the dorm in the afternoon (ah, apartment life in only three months). But as annoying as it is, it’s better than the alternative — someone creeping around in the shower and posing as a threat to the residential-life community. As someone who was in one of the dorms that got attacked, I’m down with lugging my key everywhere.

*Illinois is the second most costly Big Ten University*

This displeased me when I heard the news, and obviously, I wasn’t the only one. It was the first time that I was ashamed of U. of I. being in the top. The state really needs to get it together and contribute more, because I want to pay the $19,584 that Ohio State pays too. (Why should we pay $5,000 more than them?)

_Tolu is a sophomore in Media._

h2. Charles Tabb

*Higher education’s place in society*

Today, more and more young adults enroll in college even as tuition rises much faster than inflation. Too many “students” spend their college years engaging in subsidized debauchery.

The existence of business schools is somewhat puzzling; if you are smart, willing and able to begin a business career, you should be able to without several intermediary years of fluff.

I wonder if anything more than two years is necessary.

The world of academia is insular, becoming ever more specialized and cut off from society.

I’m not ready to dismiss higher education, but maybe some pruning is in order.

*‘Freedom’*

I hear the word “freedom” bandied about a lot, especially in political discourse and especially from one side of the aisle, yet its meaning is often unclear or ambiguous. “Freedom” is a malleable term that applies to lots of areas (economic, moral and political, for example) and has multiple interpretations (freedom from and freedom to), so I often frown when I hear the word thrown about (Operation Iraqi Freedom, anyone?). As a term, “freedom” must be used carefully, and its meaning clarified. Otherwise, political discourse could do better without.

*iPhone schmiPhone*

Without any factual support, I sometimes wonder about the ability of modern technology to dramatically change our quality of life. Certainly, I don’t wish to dismiss technology’s ability to affect numerous parts of our lives, but when I hear about the newest, multi-functional smartphone, I think: Who cares?

_Charles is a senior in LAS._

h2. Josh Esses

*Rand Paul *

Paul is by far my favorite new Congressman (and should be yours too). He is nonpartisan in his criticism of both politicians and their policies and has even pointed out that true conservatives should prefer President Clinton to President Bush. He’s got a genuinely witty sense of humor that seemingly targets Republicans more often than Democrats. My favorite Paul moment, however, was the time he spent five minutes in a Congressional hearing with the Department of Energy complaining that their energy efficiency rules means he can’t find a working toilet anymore. Classic.

*Necessary Gen-Eds*

In a nod to Charles’ column earlier this year, here are my two suggestions for general education requirements: microeconomics and personal wealth management. As a finance major, I take it for granted that everyone knows the difference between a stock and a bond and understands the power of compounding interest. And too many students graduate college without ever having etched a graph of supply and demand and, subsequently, have no idea what determines the price of the goods we buy and sell.

*Stimulus package*

Speaking of economics: Hopefully the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus blowout has signaled the long overdue death of the Keynesian ideology. Remember when Obama economic advisor Christina Romer said Obama’s stimulus package would keep unemployment below 8 percent? How’d that work out? (Unemployment is now at 9 percent). This also applies to the supposed “multiplier” effect of unemployment benefits as well. Nancy Pelosi argued ad nauseum that unemployment benefits should be extended because they are an excellent job creator. That makes perfect sense. Paying people not to get a job creates jobs. Brilliant. Why didn’t I think of that?

_Josh is a junior in Business._

h2. Jason Febery

*Misplaced sentimentality of the Tea Party*

Nostalgia is one of the greatest lies we tell ourselves, and nobody does it better than the Tea Party. It might not be worth trying to engage in reasoned debate with anyone who resists change on the basis that the founding fathers were utopian geniuses, free of fault and worthy of worship.

But my message would be simple: I would rather love my country for what it could be rather than for what it was 235 years ago.

*Revamping how we handle unemployment insurance*

People should not be handed money for doing nothing. There are merits to the short-term stimulative arguments for unemployment insurance, but we need to start tying those checks to real work. At the very least, we should require the physically able to log community service hours — cleaning up parks and volunteering in homeless shelters, for instance — commensurate to their welfare checks.

*Ongoing tragedies in Syria, Yemen, Darfur, Bahrain …*

… and a whole host of other countries that did not receive nearly as much attention as Egypt and Libya. The crackdown on peaceful demonstrators by totalitarian regimes has been simply unacceptable.

Last week, we killed Osama bin Laden with a bullet. But, as Thomas Friedman concluded, the time has come for freedom-seeking Arabs across Africa and the Middle East to rise up and kill the hateful ideology of bin Ladenism with a ballot.

_Jason is a senior in Engineering._

h2. Ashley Abramowicz

*Royal wedding*

So much has happened this year, but the first thing I should’ve covered was the royal wedding. Yes, I did wake at 4:30 a.m. to watch Kate and Will walk down the aisle. Yes, my roommate did bake scones and drink English tea to celebrate this monumental moment.

Yes, I did watch the Lifetime movie to get pumped for the big day.

It would’ve been interesting to see what University students were doing in the early morning when the wedding was aired live. After the fact, I heard about so many different parties; the royal wedding was definitely not forgotten on campus.

*Green Street fire*

I would’ve also liked to comment on people’s reactions to the fire on Green Street that took out Mia Za’s Cafe, Pitaya and Champaign’s very own Zorba’s. The Save Zorbas! website hosts a live stream of Green Street right where the fire hit. Even though Zorba’s is a Champaign original, I’ve heard more talk about the restaurant since it was burnt down.

*The job hunt*

I also would’ve liked to write about the under-the-radar difficulties of finding the perfect summer internship or landing your first after-graduation career. The search is challenging, but it’s important to know that you’re not in this alone and tons of students all over campus are going through the same struggles. We are constantly bombarded with resources to help make the search a little easier, but no one likes to talk about how hard it actually can be.

_Ashley is a senior in LAS._

h2. Alex Roth

*Ongoing clout scandal*

Although the University is contesting the ruling, a federal judge ruled in March that the University must release the names of the 800 ‘Category I’ clout students to the Chicago Tribune. The Chicago Tribune would release pretty much all information about the students, including their names, hometown, high school GPA and ACT scores and their clout connection.

We had to part ways with gifted University administrators to account for the wrongs done, and I think it’s time for the Tribune to further investigate these clout connections.

‘Category I’ students may feel shame, but they must realize: What’s done is done.

*Impulse Magazine*

Based off Chicago’s high-society publication Michigan Avenue Magazine, the University’s newest lifestyle magazine made its debut last month with its “Power” issue. Publisher Aleksia Culafic, junior in LAS, said she intends for Impulse to be a progressive, aesthetically pleasing read for all students.

I was wary at first glance because of its theme and ritzy look. I flipped through, saw the modeling pictures and all but dismissed it as another puerile campus publication. (Check out the ‘It List’ section and you’ll know what I mean.)

It’s a bit sophomoric as is, but the section featuring “powerful” students won me over. Their responses to the question “What makes you feel powerful?” gives me reason to look forward to the Fall edition.

*Mayor endorsement*

On April 4, The Daily Illini editorial headline read: “Mayoral candidates don’t value UI students.” That election day, sixteen voters turned up on campus. The next week: “Increased student voter turnout could have swayed mayoral election.” There are better ways to get candidates’ ears.

_Alex is a senior in LAS._