By Cassondra Kirby

Needs of students not put first at Eastern, student saysI haven’t bought all of my books yet. It’s because my husband and I don’t have enough money left over after we pay the monthly bills. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have this problem. That’s because I’ve never had to go through the “student verification” process with financial aid before. Basically, the people at financial aid, in their infinite wisdom, don’t believe the information you provide on your FAFSA. So you have to prove it by sending in W-2’s, income tax returns, pay stubs, etc. Then they review your documents and decide what kind of aid you will receive. Since this puts a hold on your account, you would think they would try to have it done as quickly as possible, but I submitted my papers three weeks ago, and I’ve been informed it will take up to a month for them to process the verification.

OK, so then my tuition bill should be suspended until they determine my aid, right? Wrong. I have to come up with the money to pay for tuition by tomorrow. I also cannot apply for a loan until my financial aid is settled. So where does that leave me? I’m broke and unable to pay for tuition. Fortunately, my parents are willing to help me out for a while, but other students may not be this lucky.

Financial aid’s student-verification tripe is one item on a list of my grievances against the university. The biggest pain is that Eastern does not care about students who stay on campus all weekend. This may come as a surprise, but not all students are commuters, and some of us don’t go home every third day. Closing down the university at 4:30 on a Friday and keeping it closed until 5 p.m. on a Sunday is not exactly convenient. Especially if you might like to, say, eat downstairs in Powell perhaps? Or maybe you have a paper due and you want to use the computer lab? You might even want to exercise Saturday night or Sunday morning.

But who needs to do those things? Really, it’s a brilliant plan, encouraging the whole suitcase college atmosphere.

I’d like to go onto parking, but that horse is already dead. The bottom line is that perhaps “the powers that be” don’t realize how asinine they are being. It hurts the students. Unless I missed something, I’m pretty sure that the students are exactly why this place was founded.

Sarah Tomlin,

Student: Theft of political bumper sticker shouldn’t be blamed on Democrats

In regard to the theft of the Bush-Cheney paraphernalia from Christopher Thomason’s car: I agree that this was a nonsensical and thoughtless thing for a person to do. The right to free speech has been violated, and I think it was both correct and important that this was reported in The Progress. Having said that, it is assumptive and careless to immediately blame campus Democrats and Kerry-Edwards supporters for this action. Unless the thief took the time to indicate her own political beliefs in the space left by the absence of the Bush-Cheney sticker, such an accusation cannot be reasonably made. Any number of people from any number of political affiliations could have removed the sticker, including disenchanted Republicans who no longer support Bush and who do, frankly, exist.

There are also many other factions of the student body to consider: those who are registered as Independents, like myself; there are those who haven’t adopted a political party, perhaps even anarchists; and let us not forget that college campuses always have their fair share of recreational vandals, as well as those who are merely pulling pranks for kicks without any political agenda whatsoever. In short, the assumption that only a Democrat could have done such a thing is not only wrong-headed but also absurd. Such a counter attack is rarely ever productive, and while I know that this incident is particularly emotionally charged because of the political sentiments involved, it is not fair to attack a community of persons who, by and large, are also “freedom-loving Americans” who believe that every Bush-Cheney supporter is entitled to brandish that belief in just the same way that every Kerry-Edwards supporter is.

Megan McHale,

Graduate Assistant