It’s time to abolish the electoral college

Joshua Magnone – Anchor contributor

Every four years, the electoral college elects the president and vice president of the United States. The electoral college consists of 538 electors and a candidate needs an absolute majority of 270 votes to win the election. Each state has the same number of electors as they do senators and representatives; Rhode Island has two senators and two representatives, so we have four electors. States with larger populations have more representatives so they have more electors; such as California with 55. When you vote on election day, you’re not directly voting for the candidate you want to win, instead the electors vote for you.

The Elctoral College Photo courtesy of Wikkicommons

At the end of the day, everyone’s votes are tallied and a candidate will have won the state’s popular vote. Normally the electors of the state will reflect the popular vote; here in Rhode Island, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, so all four electors of the state voted for Hillary Clinton. I say “normally” the electors of the state reflect the popular vote because, believe it or not, in some states electors can totally disregard voters choice and choose their own candidate, even someone who isn’t on the ballot.

Generally, the electoral college will elect the candidate who has won the nationwide popular vote; except that’s not always the way it happens. The 2016 presidential election is one example of when the candidate who had won the popular vote, Hillary Clinton, did not get elected president by the electoral college. Donald Trump had approximately 63 million votes and Hillary Clinton had approximately 65 million– that’s a difference of two million more people who voted for Clinton over Trump. With all due respect to President Trump, he should be sitting on a gold-plated toilet somewhere in Trump Tower right now, not sitting in the oval office.

There is something inherently wrong with our country’s electoral process when a majority of people vote for a candidate and the candidate with less votes assumes office. Is the United States a true democracy? Do we really value our democratic ideals? If we do, then I believe we must abolish the electoral college. It makes no sense why we would have an indirect election when we have the technology to account for everyone’s ballot and the education to make a relatively informed decision.

 

Intersecting the RIC commute

Alison Macbeth – Anchor staff

We have all experienced the great obstacle of parking at Rhode Island College. I have found that getting in and out of campus has become equally challenging, especially when it comes to the intersection between 6th Street and College Street.

As major class periods turn over, this intersection experiences an influx of students trying to exit and enter the campus. Obviously there will be some traffic– it is inevitable, but there are five lanes of traffic.

What makes this intersection a real headache is that the car traffic is compounded with the pedestrian traffic coming from Sweet Hall and Penfield Hall. As a result, the cars heading towards east campus are turning left into the I and J lots causing them to have to stop for crossing pedestrians. Meanwhile, impatient cars pass on the right which make it hard for cars coming out of 6th Street to gauge their left turns.

The chaos is real.

One solution rests in eliminating the denoted pedestrian crosswalk. Not having to stop for walking students will help cars get through. It seems easy enough, but getting rid of the pedestrian crosswalk will mean that law-abiding students have to walk up the hill to the student union parking lot and then down. We know that students will cross over even if there is no crosswalk.

Another solution is installing a traffic light to create a process for the intersection. However, a traffic light must cost a lot of money.

I think that rather than getting rid of the cross walk and installing a traffic light, campus security could help direct traffic at the busiest points of the week. Often the 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. slots on Monday until Thursday are especially busy. Simply managing the flow of traffic in a fifteen minute window could eliminate a commuter student’s daily stress as well as alleviate RIC’s congestion by the Fruit Hill entrance, and maybe this is worth exploring for those who want to make student life less stressful.

 

A priceless gift

Catherine Enos  – Opinions editor

As an employee of a drug store, I witness the greatest wallet-related tragedy every day: the purchasing of a greeting card. Greeting cards range in price, but the average greeting card is around $6. I’m not a cheap person, but $6 is a lot of money for a piece of paper that most people are going to throw away.

Stores usually do have more affordable cards (around $2), but the greeting-card industry is definitely aware of the fact that people would rather save money on a thrifty card so they compensate by making these cards look ugly. Nothing about these cards is attractive or witty. Most of them have corny poems and weird font on them. Now, would you rather get your friend a birthday card that has a hilarious joke on the inside or would you rather get them a card that they’ll just grimace at? Most people go for the funny expensive one.

What does this situation say about us as people? It says that we care enough about our friends, family, coworkers or acquaintances to get them a good looking card. That doesn’t mean anything. I don’t remember the last card I’ve gotten, so clearly the attractiveness of the card doesn’t matter. But I do remember the memorable ones; in fact, I still have a few of the cards that I thought were really important.

Maybe the takeaway is that it’s important that we’re wasting money on cards; it’s important that we care about our friends enough to spend money on them once in a while. What’s more important, however, is what you put in the card– that’s what makes it memorable. So, go for the cheap card, if you want to. But if you’re going for the $6 card, get your money’s worth. Write your friends an actual letter about what the occasion means for you and them. Make it so great that they have to keep it and then your card goes from $6 to priceless.

 

Mac Miller: a blameless loss

Ariella Jeter – Assistant copy editor

As many of you readers already know, musician Mac Miller tragically passed away on Friday September 7. What you may not know is that people are blaming the musician’s ex-girlfriend, Ariana Grande, for his saddening death. Grande and Miller dated for two years. Two months after their break-up, Grande got engaged to comedian Pete Davidson. During this short time period, Miller had gotten arrested for a DUI. Upon listening to Miller’s latest album, “Swimming,” you can tell that Miller was very heavy-hearted on the events that transpired.

Instantly following his death, fans of Miller were harassing Grande so terribly that she had to turn off the commenting feature on her Instagram posts. These comments mostly all consisted of putting the blame on Grande for Miller’s death. I myself love Miller, but am not as fond of Grande. Never in a million years would I put the blame for something so tragic on her. Miller had been struggling with drug abuse/addiction for a while and Grande was one of his biggest supporters to help him fight it. You could tell she wanted nothing but the best for him.

Aside from the obvious reasons as to why she is not to blame for his overdose: she loved this man. She has memories with Miller and had built a life with him. She lost somebody too. She’s hurting and grieving and it is not fair to her for people to make her feel guilty too. Just because the relationship ended did not mean the love did.

Getting engaged to another man two months after getting out of a relationship was not the greatest thing she could do, but sometimes, as we all know, the things that create happiness for us are not always the greatest (not to mention none of us know either of them personally and know the exact situation that was going on). Yes, Miller may have felt a terrible pain most of us have felt before, but that does not mean we get to blame somebody else for his own mistakes.

There are multiple resources that Miller could have used to receive help, whether it was family, a friend, or a professional. Grande was not his only source of help. The two made a decision that they thought was the best for the BOTH of them– so stop blaming one person for the decision another person made entirely on his own. Miller would not want the person he had so much love for to be getting so much hate during the time in which she needs love the most, especially because he was someone who believed in the message of spreading love. So please stop. Nobody is to blame for Miller’s death. Instead of creating a wave of hate residing within something so terrible, “wouldn’t you rather get along?”

 

Voting is more than a right, it’s a power

Josh Magnone – Anchor Contributor

“We the people” are the first three words written in the U.S. Constitution. They are large, boldfaced and memorable. I’d like to think that these words were made so large and visible as a purposeful reminder; a reminder of where the true power of our government and elected officials originates from: we the people.

Voting for which people will best represent our interests at local, state and federal levels gives us the power to control who is making decisions on our behalf and allows us to (somewhat) control the public policies and laws that will affect our lives.

I Voted, Photo courtesy of OpenClipart

It is interesting, however, to take a look at the 2016 presidential election where nearly 100 million Americans (approximately 46% of the U.S. population) did not vote. If “we the people” are in charge, why were so many of us apathetic?

Now imagine you’re a low-income family and you don’t like Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton, so you decided not to vote. It’s important to note that as a low-income family, you may utilize government subsidies and public assistance programs to afford food, housing or healthcare. Suddenly, Donald Trump wins the election and he and his colleagues want to get rid of (or significantly decrease) programs that assist you. In this instance, you may not have liked Hillary Clinton, however, she wouldn’t have made the same decision to cut some of these programs. Do you regret not voting?

Deciding not to vote is understandable. Choosing which candidates to support gets tricky when you feel like none of the candidates represent your personal beliefs. Here is where you may or may not disagree with me but I believe that even if you don’t like any of the candidates you should still vote. If there are no candidates that you strongly support, you should vote for the candidates that you believe will do the least harm– “damage control,” if you will. It’s not ideal, but whether you like it or not, some of these candidates will become elected officials and they will be making decisions that will impact your life.

For people that don’t know how to vote or who to vote for, there are plenty of resources to help out. www.vote.ri.gov can help a person register to vote and find out when elections are. There are a plethora of other great resources on how to become a more active participant in our political process.

The political process is far from perfect for far too many reasons to list in one article. But that doesn’t mean that “we the people” don’t have the power to enact change. Our founding fathers were bold enough to enact change in their government by way of militias, democratic ideals, and hard work. Let us enact change in ours by promoting active participation in the process, expanding our knowledge, advocating for our beliefs and by showing tolerance and civility towards those with whom we disagree.

 

Sorry Sallie Mae, I spent my tuition payment on concert tickets

Lucille DiNaro – Business Manager

The devil is alive and well and you can find him at the box office. If you spent any time this summer enjoying live music, you are well aware of the age-old antihero that is the ticket scalper. Your favorite band announces a tour, and somehow every show is sold out seconds after tickets go live. What has happened here? Die hard fans and seasoned concert goers manage to work around ticket scalpers, but let’s be frank. Knowing the in’s and out’s of presales, fan clubs, memberships and credit card affiliates has transformed concert going from pedestrian to pipe dream, and artists need to be held responsible.

Ticket scalpers have been around for more than a century and have worn many masks. Some are easily identifiable, like the man lingering around the venue on show day hoping to pass off a set of tickets to an unlucky passerby. Others, like automated offshore bots, are much more elusive and far more damaging to consumers. Some bots are capable of purchasing upwards of three hundred tickets at once, without ticket brokers, venues or artists batting an eye.

When resale profits are soaring above 200%, who takes the blame? Ticket brokers often rely on consumers to flag unusual activity, and don’t necessarily have much incentive to investigate as they collect a fee for every ticket sold. Although some states have passed legislation to regulate ticket resale, actual prosecutions are few and far between due to the complex nature of online ticket sales.

The answer lies in the artists themselves. Artists sell tickets at a fixed rate, never fluctuating to meet market value or take part in the profits to be had by ticket scalpers. When fans are disgruntled after being given the choice between spending hundreds of dollars on nosebleed seats and listening at home, ultimately the artists take the heat. Consumers will be back on StubHub tomorrow.

There are several preventative measures to be taken against ticket scalping, such as paperless tickets, verified fan purchasing and delayed ticket delivery. So why isn’t it happening? Live concerts provide artists the opportunity to express their gratitude to fans and to engage in their shared love for music and creative expression. Plain and simple. Why have they lost touch of this?

As the sole entity with full logistic control over where concerts are held and how tickets are sold, artists must act as a catalyst for change. Ticket scalpers will certainly not disappear any time soon, but artists will not be able to maintain their complicity much longer. By allowing this to continue, artists promote a culture of exclusivity in the music industry. When positioned between a diverse fan base and a society driven by profits and technological convenience, it’s up to artists to find a middleground. In the meantime, you can find me on Spotify.

 

Just turn off your car

Alison Macbeth – Anchor staff

If you are part of the 85% of students that commute to RIC several times a week, then your car has most likely become a mobile home of sorts. Over the semesters you’ve spent here you’ve discovered how to navigate the parking lots (or maybe it has become your permanent excuse for being late). The one thing we all have in common as commuters is that we use our cars a lot. Every time we turn on our car we contribute damaging emissions to the atmosphere.

The Environmental Protection Agency has reported that motor vehicles constitute 75% of carbon monoxide pollution in the United States. Stanford University provides a commuting calculator that not only measures the amount of emissions your car releases, but also the economics of your transportation. The results are determined by the Energy Information Agency, who have determined that 19.6 pounds of carbon dioxide are produced per gallon of non-ethanol gasoline. This means that RIC students who commute by car create nearly 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each month.

Now, part of this is unavoidable of course. The only way many of us can get to school is by car, so don’t feel too guilty. However, we all have a choice as to how we use our cars. I want to suggest that our cars are not a hang out spot.

Often when I walk through the parking lots I see students with their cars on. Typically, they are using their phone. If you need to charge your phone, you can use the mobile charging stations at Adams Library, instead of unnecessarily contributing fossil fuel emissions. If you need somewhere warm (or in the case the last couple of weeks – air conditioned) then use the great study spaces in the Library, Gaige Hall or the cafes. If you need a good nap, the bottom level of Adams Library has good couches and the Learning for Life center always welcomes commuter students. Your car is pollutant by just being on.

Here is the point, RIC students: we can talk the talk of environmentalism but let’s start walking the walk by being mindful of the emissions our cars create, particularly by using the great spaces we have here on campus instead of using our cars like mobile homes.

 

Don’t hate on my laptop

Catherine Enos  – Opinions Editor

Laptop in Class, Photo courtesy of PCWorld

The first day of classes is always an annoying formality— professors going over syllabi, telling you what they expect and what they prohibit during lecture. It makes complete sense that most professors don’t allow you to talk on the phone or have loud conversations with your classmates so you are not disrupting the learning of other students. However, there’s a more contentious policy that some professors have snuck into their syllabi and that is the prohibition of using a laptop during lecture.

There are plenty of arguments against the use of laptops in class. Students may be doing other things on their laptop unrelated to taking notes like sending emails, playing games, or scrolling through Twitter. Professors say that these activities distract the individual participating in non-lecture leisure and those around them. But I can honestly say, as an individual who is very easily distracted, I have never hyper-focused on another person’s emails or game of solitaire.

Another argument professors have recited into oblivion is that “research claims that taking notes by hand is better for your memory” and this is true. However, it goes without saying that you should be able to read your notes after you take them. And for those of us afflicted with bad handwriting, anti-laptop policies don’t really help the studying process.

In our day and age, one would expect for professors to become more computer-friendly, especially in classes with heavy note-taking. Laptops, for all their flaws, certainly help class move a little bit faster.

It is understandable, however, why these policies exist– professors generally want students to be as enthusiastic about the material as they are and it’s disrespectful to show up to class and not listen to a word that’s being said. As one of those enthusiastic students, it is irritating to see a person show up to class and spend the class texting or going through emails. However, as a student, you are financing your own education and if you want to spend the class doing nothing, that should be up to you– but these apathetic individuals should not decide the fate of me and my laptop.

 

Attendance should be a choice

Lauren Enos – Assistant opinions editor

For me to be a successful student, I need to attend class. I get nervous that I missed something vitally important, then I worry about getting all caught up, and it’s just not worth it for me. After being a college student for a respectable amount of time, I’ve learned this about myself through experience.

Yes, I have skipped many classes. Most times it wasn’t because I was sick, or had a funeral to attend, or because my car broke down on the road. I just didn’t want to go and I feel that I should be able to make that choice without repercussions.

I cringe when I’m confronted with a syllabus that outlines the penalties for unexcused absences. It makes me feel as if the professor thinks that I’m incapable of making my own choices causing me to feel like I am still in high school.  In my opinion, I should get to decide my own attendance policy because I’m the one paying to be here.

People in Classroom Photo courtesy of ThoughtCo

I realize that college is preparation for a students’ chosen profession and serves to ready students to enter the professional world. Attendance and punctuality is certainly important no matter what field you go into, but students aren’t professionals yet.

Instead of punishments for non-attendance, professors could simply say that attendance is vital to doing well in the course and that they highly recommend attending class regularly. If a student performed well, did their assignments on time, and participated in necessary discussions, why does attendance matter? If a student rarely showed up for class, did poorly, and expected anything but a poor grade, then that’s their own fault. They paid the tuition, chose not to be there, and reaped what they sowed.

Students have to make choices every day and it’s certainly not always easy. To pick up an extra shift at work or turn it down and study? To push that doctor’s appointment out another two months or go during class? To stay in bed or to go to class to watch a movie that’s available online?

Students need to discover for themselves how they work best and what they need to be successful. Part of allowing us to make our own choices involves the choice to attend class, even if it’s not advisable to miss it. We are adults, who pay to be here, and we should have the choice to not attend class without penalty.

 

To our legislators, from a future educator

Lauren Enos-Assistant Opinions Editor

As someone going into the teaching profession, our current gun legislation, or lack of, terrifies me. School shootings have escalated in the past few decades, and it seems that every time it happens it’s “record breaking” or “the deadliest school shooting yet.” Some feel that the solution to this problem is arming teachers and faculty members with guns.

I personally feel that nobody but law enforcement needs to own a gun in this day and age. We don’t live in the 18th century, so we don’t need to hold on to the archaic Second Amendment any longer. We abolished slavery and gave women the right to vote, now it’s time to smarten up about guns. If guns didn’t make their way into these people’s hands in the first place, we wouldn’t be in this situation. Besides, is your right to own a gun really more important than children’s lives?

No amount of legislation will ever stop mass shootings as long as it’s legal to own a gun. There’s no way to control the buying and selling of guns on the street, no matter how hard the government tries to regulate it. That illegal market will always exist as long as guns are legal to own. Regardless, it doesn’t look like the Second Amendment is going away anytime soon with this administration. We need to come up with other ways to control guns and the havoc they create.

I don’t think the solution to school shootings is more guns. I don’t think you should fight violence with violence. As a future educator, I don’t want a gun anywhere near me, my classroom, or my children, regardless of who’s in control of it.  It’s too easy for an accident to happen or for it to get into the wrong hands. I don’t own a gun, I don’t know how to use a gun, and I don’t want to. I’m becoming a teacher because I want to teach, not to patrol a classroom with a gun.

This isn’t even to mention the atmosphere it will create in the classroom. Can you imagine your second grade teacher walking around your classroom with a gun on their hip? How would that make your seven-year-old self feel? How would that affect your perception of your teacher? School is a place of learning, fun, creativity, and development.

As we’ve learned, bringing a gun into the classroom changes all of that.

I don’t know what the solution is right now, but I do know that it’s not to bring more guns into the classroom.