What place is this?

In his final weeks David Self Newlin reflects on problems in Utah and what students can do about it. Randyl Nielson/UVU Review

I am leaving this university at a time when both it and the state in which it is located are faltering in ways I naively thought impossible when I first laid eyes on the colored pipes and concrete walls of UVU. There are a precious and hardworking few who are trying to prevent all this.

Here are some symptoms of this decay, and a few prescriptions to prevent it. Brigham Young once said that this is the place.

Indeed, this is the place where for years our university’s budget has been cut and then cut more, first by double digits and now by just a little less.

The responsibility for funding this school has fallen on the students even though we now, and have always, received less funding per student than any other institution.

Our tuition goes up and up.  Our student fees go up and up. Every day it gets harder for those who most need this cheap, open enrollment university to get the education they deserve.

These cuts are happening all over the world. But in Canada, in California, in Uganda and Greece and Italy, students are organizing, striking, even rioting in the thousands to prevent this from happening, to save their education and their neighbors’ education, or at least to protest its inaccessibility. Here, precious few have done anything.

This is the place where we accepted a new university president who is one of the increasingly numerous people who are proud to have succeeded in taking rights away from our fellow citizens. He is prominent and well liked, and for this everyone ignored the truth that just a few spoke out against. Our president has hurt gay people around the nation, concretely, and we let him come here.

This is the place where our elected representatives are engaged in a war against immigrants, which is also to say against real, actual people. Many have for years labeled them illegal, as though simply existing were a flagrant violation of the law. For as many years, they have been used as cheap laborers that could be abused and tossed away at will.

This is the place where rather than helping those who have already given so much and had so much taken away, they passed a law that makes into criminals real people who deserve to be here, who deserve to stay with their families and neighbors and communities.

But there is hope, though all is not well. Every day, here on this campus, there are people actively working to prevent all this, and more, from happening – those precious few people and organizations that work tirelessly. You students who remain here even as I leave must find them, and they are not so hard to find.

They are in the halls passing out flyers, hanging posters, talking and explaining and convincing people that this is the place where we need to prevent injustice.

They are organizing – meetings, lectures, conferences, rallies – writing articles and printing pamphlets that say this is the place where good is needed.

They are in classrooms, learning, debating, arguing that this is the place where we must stand up for what is right.

This, students, is indeed the place.

Hic Rhodus, hic salta.

33 Responses to "What place is this?"

  1. Scott   April 18, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I can’t wait till you graduate and get a nice middle class job. Take it from someone a few more steps down the road than you, everything you believe is either wrong or stupid or both.

  2. Scott   April 18, 2011 at 11:37 am

    On second thought I take it (partially) back. You are right about the Gay thing and the illegal alien thing.

  3. White Man   April 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    A frivolous rant. Good riddance when you leave the university, we won’t be missing you. Queer.

  4. jamse   April 18, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    it has nothing to do with LEGAL immigrants.
    it has to do with ILLEGAL immigrants.
    there is a big difference and when you can open your eyes and understand what the difference is you will understand why most states have legislation regarding the problem of ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION.

    anyone who is labled as an illegal immigrant IS IN FACT VIOLATING the law of the United States. And if you think our laws are tough, go read the immigration laws of Mexico, because they are FAR MORE STRICTER than ours.

  5. JOEY MAYES   April 18, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    dear scott, sorry you had to abandon your ethics for a nice middle class job. some people actually have a spine and stick to their guns their whole life.

  6. Lilly   April 18, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Nice, don’t worry too much about what will or will not change. Yellowstone is right around the corner…

  7. H   April 18, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    It’s pretty telling that “White Man” is the male commenter who also labels the author of an honest review “Queer,” simply for voicing a view that so many of us share: that our university is in dire need of a wake-up call. And it’s only going to come through students who care about the world that exists–not the one in which they can lamely and cowardly express their closed mind.

    The unfortunate truth is that the ratio of realistic, driven individuals to mindless “White Man”-types is far too out of whack here.

  8. Desi Arnaz   April 19, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Latin, Newlin? Really? Be more of a stereotype, you magnificent jackass.

    Thank God for people like you; for the pretense that only a cigarette can lend to a photo; for the boldness that compels you to prove, beyond a doubt, that this is the place for impotently judgmental sententiousness.

    You noble soul, so fraught with concern for the plight of immigrants: are there no real, actual ramifications for real, actual people on either side of a more open border? There can’t possibly be. To hear you tell it, the debate is over: immigrants are RAP; what we’re supposed to do about it must be obvious.

    But you weren’t writing this to sway anyone’s opinions on the issues, were you? You were writing this to pander to your Facebook friends. Thank you for reminding us that this is the place where absolutely everyone loves preaching to the choir.

  9. Mykle   April 19, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I find the comments in response to this article interesting. Few seem to be willing to engage him in some sort of constructive way– they refuse to substantiate their positions or claims with links, logic, or any spirit of cooperation.

    While I don’t agree with everything he says, I am aware that I haven’t done some of the research. I, like JOEY MAYES, am sad that people are not only so willing to abandon their positions on things once they have a comfortable job, but are somehow comfortable with that fact.

  10. Bryan   April 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    People with Scott’s attitude are people I don’t care to know.

  11. The guy sitting next to you in class.   April 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    I am queer and proud.

    Why won’t anyone respect my religious freedom to be queer?

    PS We aren’t afraid of you anymore.

  12. anonymous   April 20, 2011 at 1:08 am

    @ Desi Arnaz: Using an overinflated vocabulary and dancing on the toes of high spirited individuals doesn’t make you intelligent or civilized. It makes you a bipedal ape that missed the fine print on the thesaurus, warning that abusing it’s contents only makes you pretentious. Constructing overly fancified sentences and compounding their loquaciousness doesn’t assume to lend any merit to the contents therein. And before you write me off as an educated hypocrite I’d inform you that do not attend a university. In fact, I nearly dropped out of high school. I’m actively exploring my open –if admittedly confused– sexuality. I work full time at a minimum wage job alongside the LEGAL immigrants who do more honest work in a week than most men do in a year. I do so in an effort to raise money for myself, that I might not have to leech dear old Uncle Sam any more than he has to put up with…

  13. Chris Manor   April 20, 2011 at 8:43 am

    @jamse They’re undocumented. If you wouldn’t refer to somebody who drives with out a license as an ‘Illegal Driver’ then you shouldn’t refer to those who come here with out documents as ‘Illegal’. It’s dehumanizing.

    @White Man When you use the word ‘Queer’ as a pejorative you sound like an idiot.

    The bigotry in here is so thick you can cut it with a knife and believe me, many of us would like to.

  14. Jesus   April 20, 2011 at 9:06 am

    What Would I Do?

  15. Jorgen   April 20, 2011 at 9:46 am

    When the rebuttals to the article constitute nothing but name-calling and saying ‘you’re wrong’, you know the opposition probably lacks any sort of good argument or reasoning as to why they feel so defensive…

    What? You believe in God? Well guess what, buddy. You’re wrong! Fag! Take that! Check and mate!

  16. professor   April 20, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Hey! Don’t forget about the professors! We too are not hard to find.

  17. Desi Arnaz   April 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    First off, I’m not sure what word made you reach for the dictionary scratching your head, but I’m sorry the embarrassment offended you so enormously.

    Next, maybe you can explain to me why you care more about the style of my reply than its substance. I don’t think I impugned the character or work ethic of immigrants, and your sexuality is a non sequitur.

    Let me clarify: The humanity of immigrants doesn’t demand legislative change on its own. More accommodation for immigrants sounds nice, but a more open border has potential human impact neither you nor Newlin has addressed: It can stymie economic development in the immigrants’ home countries, lead to increased ghettoization in regions where that is already an obstacle to human rights, and, some would argue, devalue workers here by providing a glut of cheap labor. The people immigration affects are more than just…

  18. Desi Arnaz   April 20, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    … immigrants.

  19. Chris Manor   April 20, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    “It can stymie economic development in the immigrants’ home countries, lead to increased ghettoization in regions where that is already an obstacle to human rights, and, some would argue, devalue workers here by providing a glut of cheap labor.”

    Good. All economic development should be reduced. When NAFTA passed in Mexico, it disenfranchised many subsistence farmers all to the benefit of rich corporations. This really funny dynamic happens in capitalism where the rich continually get richer and the poor continually get poorer. This happened in Mexico. Calos Slims is the world’s richest man while people have to make decisions like stay in Mexico and die or risk everything to cross the border in search of work.

    Rather than capitulate this in terms of worker against worker, one must instead frame this as Class War. The working class here, united with the working class in Mexico…

  20. Desi Arnaz   April 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Stateside immigration reform can’t help the working class in Mexico that remains either unable or unwilling to emigrate out of Mexico; it potentially leaves them in an economy even more dominated by illicit activity. Stateside immigration reform can’t unite socially and linguistically disparate working classes. Stateside immigration reform won’t narrow the wealth gap. And NAFTA is a perfect reminder that U.S. policies ostensibly enacted for the benefit of Mexican citizens often have counter-intuitive, deleterious effects.
    I can’t even begin to imagine what extraordinary world view you’ve constructed that has you believing the solution to a “Class War” is reducing economic development. The trick to not concentrating the wealth in the hands of the super wealthy is to make sure there’s less wealth to go around? Congratulations: You are the dumbest Marxist.

  21. Chris Manor   April 21, 2011 at 12:09 am

    The false supposition is that Marx was all about ‘spreading the wealth around’. Ergo, you don’t tell me Marx, I tell you Marx.

    Furthermore, the economic development that has ensued since NAFTA has disenfranchised the people of the country. That should come to halt. What the people of Mexico need is National Liberation, they need the ability to control their own destiny independent of the demands of the US. Again, the rich are getting richer off of the economic development, the poor continue to get poorer. They should expropriate the expropriators and take back control of their lives.

    Also, who is calling for Stateside reform here and what does that entail? What I want is an immediate end to racist legislation like HB 497, SB 1070 and I want full legalization for all undocumented immigrants.

  22. Desi Arnaz   April 21, 2011 at 9:17 am

    The niceties:
    You: “The rich continually get richer and the poor continually get poorer.” “All economic development should be reduced.”
    Me: “The trick to not concentrating the wealth in the hands of the super wealthy is to make sure there’s less wealth to go around?”
    You: “The false supposition is that Marx was all about ‘spreading the wealth around’.”
    When did I suppose that? Or did you just assume I supposed that? Sorry, I’m not made of straw. Could you address something I’ve actually said instead of just relying on the philosophy major’s standard repertoire of condescending fallbacks? I think I’ve earned at least that much. By the way, Marx is public domain, and I don’t think anyone appreciates you declaring that you’re the sole proprietor of a school of thought. Or, put another way, Marx tells us both Marx, comrade.

  23. Desi Arnaz   April 21, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Onto business:

    “Who is calling for Stateside reform here and what does that entail?” You are. “I want full legalization for all undocumented immigrants.” Changing immigration policy is called immigration reform.

    Succinct as I can be: Economic development improves quality of life. It increases average life expectancy, literacy rates, and the availability of information; decreases infant mortality rates, childhood malnutrition, and inefficient farming on increasingly scarce arable land. When a government fails in supplying these benefits to citizens, that isn’t the fault of economic development, but the fault of inadequate regulation. Sounds noble, Mexico in charge of its own destiny. But American policy inescapably alters Mexico’s destiny, just as subsistence farmers shaping their own destiny also affects the hundreds of people who could rely on that land if it were better farmed.

  24. Vandana Shiva   April 21, 2011 at 10:00 am

    @Desi “Economic development improves quality of life. It increases average life expectancy, literacy rates, and the availability of information; decreases infant mortality rates, childhood malnutrition, and inefficient farming on increasingly scarce arable land.”

    Well actually, economic development does not always, or even mostly improve quality of life. NAFTA was economic development. And look what happened. United Fruit economically developed Guatemala. When a country is poor, dies young, is malnourished, and illiterate, it is absolutely the fault of economic development when development is put before justice and basic human ethics. Which it almost invariably is in places like, for instance: Afghanistan, Liberia, Haiti, Macedonia, the Congo, Madagascar, to just name a few.

  25. Vandana Shiva   April 21, 2011 at 10:07 am

    The US, Eruope, the IFM and the World Bank have, each in their time and way, been “developing” these nations for decades, in some cases for as long as they have existed. Absolutely nothing has gotten better in any of them.
    You know what happened when economic development came to central Asian states after the fall of the USSR? Lower life expectancy, lower income, less health care availability, lover nutrition, more rape, more bride kidnappings, more domestic violence and a slew of other social problems. But I thought you said development only ever helps things? I guess basic empirical examination of the conditions in developing countries proves you wrong – a science major’s condescending old fallback I suppose.
    Also, you know what country is alternately right next to or beats the US and most developed nations in literally every indicator you stated above? Cuba.

  26. Vandana Shiva   April 21, 2011 at 10:08 am

    The amount of imperialist, capitalist “economic development” it took for Cuba to attain all that: None at all.

  27. Desi Arnaz   April 21, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Physician, heal thyself: Does correlation imply causation?

    Has increased farm yield ever starved a man? Has improved infrastructure kept children isolated from schools? Have better and safer factories enslaved their workers, or was that their employers? A rising GDP doesn’t have to accompany a ballooning wealth gap.

    A confident scientist like you has a fully tested hypothesis. Your perfect control: Cuba. So, only economic development precipitated these countries’ woes: No pre-existing social institutions facilitated mass denial of human rights based on ethnicity or gender. Their noble governments exercised every available power to staunch the sickening tide of poverty and rape, rather than actively participating it. Foreign involvement was a non-issue, and no external influence was exerted either in terms of willing financial or political exploitation.

  28. Desi Arnaz   April 21, 2011 at 10:51 am

    You’re conflating capitalist expansion with economic development. That’s a great way of making economic development sound like a monstrous, inhuman thing, but it’s a terrible way of participating in a larger conversation—one in which people prefer to keep distinct terms distinct. I can’t believe that you honestly have such tremendous respect for capitalism that you think it is the only viable way for an economy to develop. And I can’t believe that you’re really so ignorant as to think an economy becoming developed leads by itself to the misery you’ve described: The data don’t support the conclusion. The First World has less rape, disease, illiteracy, etc. Empiricism, right? Don’t confuse my realism with imperialism and I won’t confuse your idealism with imbecility.

  29. Sushiboy   April 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Unlike the ‘editor’ I didn’t come to school for a revolution. I didn’t come here to be part of a revolt or uprising. I came for an education, I got a fantastic education at a bargain basement price, and I’m leaving grateful for the experience.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, in my opinion that is all people are entitled to. Everything else you have to earn. The ‘editor’ seems to feel like we are entitled to a great many things, whether or not we work for the or follow the rules of society (aka laws). Bologna.

    You would think, that after 4 years of education at a fine University that David would have evolved above the mindset of a spoiled teenager. Apparently not.

  30. Jason Shaw   May 9, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    David “Self” Newlin is a malcontent, we all know that. His band isn’t that great either. With him gone, we only need to wait for J.R. Boyce to graduate and maybe we can have a good newspaper.
    Yes, he’s a pretentious jackass. He’s a decent drummer, though, although his band isn’t going to go anywhere.
    If you have a little Newlin in you, remember that you are part of the upper crust, the aristocracy of the world, because you’re going to college (for dirt cheap, like Sushiboy says) and no one has raped your mother or shot your father and you don’t have anything to complain about.
    The rest of us, be happy with the knowledge that Davie will now go out into the wide world, stripped of an outlet for his ranting, and will have to pay taxes and find a job like other people. His position is gone. J.R. Boyce, his wormtongue, has been ejected from his pet project, the V, and has been…

  31. Jason Shaw   May 9, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    put in charge of the opinion section, which he hates.
    that’s the White Man at work 🙂

  32. Jason Shaw   May 9, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    @Scott, I’m glad your comment is the first one on here. It serves as the perfect summation and response to David’s swan song.

    @Desi Arnaz: I’m glad this University has people like you here.

    Its a wonder why people who are unhappy with UVU continue to go there. There are thousands of good schools in the US. I would never gain a degree from a school simply because of convenience. That sounds like laziness.

  33. Jason   May 10, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    interesting. I posted on here, and my comments have been removed. Free speech much, UVU Review?


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