Editorial, Opinion

STAFF EDIT: Dear President Obama

Today you will be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. There is certainly cause for celebration: the inauguration of a black man as president ‘-‘- in a country that once tolerated slavery and segregation ‘-‘- will be looked upon as one of the proudest moments in American history.

Soon, however, the party will be over and you can waste no time tackling the critical issues facing this country. The economy is in recession, and the Middle East is in crisis. Gas prices may be low, but the issue of global warming deserves your urgent attention. We hope that the placement of Nobel Prize recipient Stephen Chu at the head of the Energy Department results in policies being based on science, but the last eight years have led us to believe political strategies will take priority over scientific truths.

In addition to pressing national and world concerns, we don’t want you to forget about a huge demographic that voted for you over Senator John McCain by a 2-to-1 margin. This group is 18- to 29-year-olds, and we ask that you address our following concerns:

PAYING FOR COLLEGE The cost of college tuition is higher than ever, and students are finding it increasingly difficult to afford a college education in these troubling economic times. Your proposal to eliminate the confusing Free Application For Student Aid form will make applying for financial aid more convenient, but the issue of students being unable to recieve the financial aid they need still remains. You need to find the money to allow students who want to better themselves academically to attend college and apply the skills they acquire toward the greater good.

FINDING WORK In today’s dismal job market, college graduates are better off than those without college degrees. However, the unemployment rate among college graduates from last December was at its highest point since 1983. Recent graduates need jobs to pay off enormous student loans, sometimes forcing them to seek jobs based on income rather than personal interest or serving the greater good. You must follow through with your promise to put young Americans to work, first by expanding the AmeriCorps national service program, allowing graduates to reduce their debts while serving their country.

ACCESSIBLE BIRTH CONTROL The Bush administration has acted to restrict the accessibility of birth control as its term in power comes to a close. The Deficit Reduction Act that took effect in 2007 led drug companies to stop providing prescription birth control to universities at a discount. College women looking to get cheap birth control pills on their campuses saw the price increase dramatically. If college couples cannot bear this expense, they may use less effective forms of contraception and risk pregnancy. The ‘Provider Conscience’ regulation that took effect Monday suggests that women do not know what is best for their own bodies. We ask you to reaffirm a woman’s right to legally acquire birth control easily and affordably.

EQUALITY FOR ALL Being in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, many Boston University students support gay rights. You promised to repeal the absurd ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, but refuse to say when you plan to do this. As commander in chief, you need to ensure immediately that the military has the best personnel available, regardless of sexual orientation.

Since the Mass. Supreme Court ruled gay marriage to be legal in 2004, thousands of same-sex couples have wed. The sky has not fallen in the Bay State. The union of gay couples has not affected any straight marriages. You have said the gay marriage issue ‘is about who were are as Americans. It’s about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promises of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect.’ We agree, and if you want to show you are truly committed to equality and respect for all citizens, then you will show America there is nothing to fear from gay rights.

FIGHTING JUST WARS This generation is war-weary. The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have gone on for too long and were poorly managed by President George W. Bush. We are angry at Bush for misleading us into the Iraq quagmire. Many of us at BU have high school classmates who were injured or killed in these wars. We want you to end this war, but do so responsibly. This generation craves a more peaceful world, and we hope you fulfill your pledge to put an emphasis on diplomacy once again. Sometimes war is unavoidable, and if there is a true need for war during your term in office, you must be forthcoming with the American people about the reasons for taking military action.

INVESTING IN OUR CITIES You have established a White House Office of Urban Policy, which we hope will work to improve the infrastructure of our city. Increasing urban job opportunities and affordable housing as well as improving public schools is an important step toward keeping families in cities. Increasing urban activity promotes intellectualism and maximizes efficiency ‘-‘- from cutting down transportation costs to minimizing urban sprawl. In 2007, only 53 percent of Boston high school students graduated in four years, for instance. It is no wonder that in 2003 only about half of the students attending college in the Boston area remained in the city after they graduated. To retain the talent local institutions draw in and churn out, it is important that our cities become liveable and dynamic places.

As a candidate, you rode to office on the wave of our enthusiasm and devotion. As our president, you must deliver on your campaign promises and show us the often-mentioned change that will better our future.

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  1. With the economy the way it is right now, the problems of birth control and gay rights are minor. we need to focus on re-stimulating the economy right now. Everything else can wait. He is in office for the next four years we need to grow economically at the momnet.

  2. On paying for college – the solution can be provided by the free market..<br/>The solution to this problem is to engage 21st century marketing techniques and apply them to education. Andrew Jackson University is using a series of network marketing partners that have allowed the University to create the Sponsored Tuition program. Applicants to the University enroll through one of the partner sites and get access to a zero tuition plan. There is mandatory fee structure, but without tuition, the total cost per semester has been driven below $500 – and without any government subsidies. <p/>Andrew Jackson University maintains institutional accreditation through the Distance Education and Training Council. (www.detc.org) The DETC is the only accrediting association approved by the US Department of Education solely for the purpose of accrediting distance institutions. AJU is a Title IV eligible school, but is not participating, which also eliminates another significant cost factor.

  3. These are a lot of issues to take on, and these things are going to take some time. Our national economy and the ending the wars are the biggest priorities right now.