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Students debate Prop 2

On Friday, November 4, student groups held an open mic at the sombrilla on the University of Texas at San Antonio’s 1604 campus, to discuss Proposition 2, which would define marriage as between a man and a woman in Texas’ Bill of Rights. The amendment has been the most controversial aspect of this election’s referendum, spawning intense debate throughout the city.

At UTSA, student groups set up tables with literature and flyers and a petite stage and microphone, the soapbox on which students could voice their opinions. The topic up for discussion was whether Proposition 2 violates our civil rights or is a religious issue.

In energentic tones various speakers explained their opposition to Proposition 2, sharing their experiences and encouraging their peers to get out and vote. A student talked about how she and her brother were raised by two fathers, and what it was like to be ostracized by conservative members of her community, who told her that her family was disgusting and unacceptable. A No Nonsense in November campaign representative scolded students for the low voter turnout on campus, and strongly urged them to get to the polls, regardless of their position.

The only opposition to mount the stage was Amy Stewart, a member of the newly formed conservative, nonpartisan group Movement for the Future, who cited statistics from the Family Research Council, a Christian organization that promotes “the traditional family unit.” She had been advised by the president of Movement for the Future not to speak at the rally at all, reported Dante Small, vice president of the College Democrats.

Although few students stayed for the duration of the event, the College Democrats, the Stonewall Democrats, the Lambda Alliance, and the Progressive Student Association maintained their posts.

– Francesca Camillo


Military recruitment targets low, middle income

Residents of Mexican descent account for 32 percent of Texas’ 22.4 million population.

Texas Latinos made up 29 percent of U.S. Army recruitment in 2004. African-Americans accounted for 13 percent of the 15,594 recruits that were reported in 2004. Bexar County’s contribution of recruits in 2004 totaled 1,473; Dallas County contributed 1,888 recruits, and 2,186 came from Harris County (Houston area), but none of these counties were in the top 15 Texas counties in recruiting.

Texas county recruitment rates ranged from a high of 46.5 per 1,000 (recruitment-age youth, 18-24) in Terrell Countty to a low of 1.4 per 1,000 in Starr County. Nearby Blanco County ranked among the top 15 counties with the highest recruitment rate for Army, Navy, Air Force Active Duty, and Army Reserves.

Sixty-four percent of Army recruits came from households that are below the median U.S. household income level.

According to data gathered by the non-partisan National Priorities Project, lower- and middle-income communities experience higher military enlistment rates than higher-income areas.

The database includes 2004 military recruitment numbers for branches of armed services broken down by high school, zip code, county, and state. Data also is available by ethnicity and gender at nationalpriorities.org/militaryrecruitment, and at nationalpriorities.org/database.

“As the Iraq War continues and the number of soldiers killed and wounded mounts, this data makes clear that low-and middle-income kids are paying the highest price,” says National Priorities Project Executive Director Greg Speeter. “It’s young people with limited opportunities that are putting their lives on the line.”

The highest recruitment rates, or the number of recruits per thousand of 18-24 year-old population, were found in counties that were relatively poorer than the rest of the nation. All of the top 20 counties in the United States had median household incomes below the national level, and 19 of the 20 had median household incomes below their respective state level.

The Gary Job Corps Center in San Marcos and two GED-based programs in New York are the three largest educational institutions from which recruits are drawn for military service.

The database also provides other information about federal policies and their impacts on local communities. For example, Texas taxpayers will pay $17 billion for the Bush War in Iraq, instead of hiring 310,148 elementary school teachers, building 224,863 affordable housing units, putting 408,598 public safety officers on patrol, or bestowing nearly 4 million scholarships for university students.

Michael Cary


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