Story & Photo by Hollye Carroll, Online Editor
The ongoing partial government shutdown officially became the longest-running shutdown in history with Jan. 17 marking its 27th day. There’s no end in sight after the president’s refusal to sign any appropriations bills that don’t include more than $5 billion for a wall along the country’s southern border and this has left workers in the lurch.
Unfortunately, this is not the first shutdown during the Trump administration; on Jan. 20 2016, the Senate Democrats overwhelmingly voted no on a short-term spending bill after the lack of a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program which lead to a government shutdown lasting three days and leaving 700,000 workers furloughed.
This shutdown is impeding 800,000 workers in nine out of 15 federal departments and a number of agencies are affected by this shutdown, including the EPA, the IRS, and the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, Justice, State, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, State and Treasury.
The following departments and services have been deemed “essential” or fall under “mandatory spending”: Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare although new applicants may face a wait, USPS, Veteran hospitals and benefits, Food Stamps (Dept. of Agriculture has only limited funding to maintain them without newly approved appropriations in the past but USDA says it can continue funding through Feb.), and according to a contingency plan for the Department of Homeland Security active duty military members are exempt from being furloughed, border patrol, air traffic control and TSA.
According to AmericanProgress.org, Americans are missing out on $2 billion in total for each pay period they go without a paycheck. By the White House’s own estimate, this shutdown will likely reduce quarterly U.S. GDP by 0.1 percent every two weeks that it continues. Since first-quarter GDP is projected to be roughly $5 trillion, Trump’s shutdown will cost the U.S. economy $5 billion in lost output every two weeks it continues based on the administration’s own impact estimate. That’s $2.5 billion per week, $357 million per day, or $15 million per hour.
Scotty McCorkle, the Superintendent of Bureau of Indian Affairs Concho Agency, has been with the BIA since 1975 and experienced each of the 20 shutdowns since 1976 when the current budgeting process began. Despite the fact budgets for all departments are supposed to be completed by Oct. 1, when their business year begins, McCorkle said that usually does not happen.
“In the four decades since the current system for budgeting and spending tax dollars has been in effect, Congress has managed to pass all its required appropriations measures on time only on four occasions: in fiscal 1977[first full fiscal year under current system], 1989, 1995 and 1997.”
McCorkle explained the reality of uncertainty facing furloughed workers at the BIA.
“[Employees] are standing by anxiously waiting to be called back to work,” McCorkle said. “Each agency has one or two employees designated as essential or excepted to collect the mail and be ready to respond to situations involving the protection of life and property. Those going without pay are starting to consider finding work through other jobs because they are tired of going through this almost every year.”
Another populous feeling the repercussions of the government shutdown are college students.
Lorenzo Rodriguez-Sedillo, a 19-year-old Chemistry major at Rose State College, narrowly avoided a financial-aid disaster this semester.
“Like most students, my education relies on federal aid. The government isn’t processing any new requests for federal aid and I can’t afford to pay my tuition out of pocket so I had to ask my stepdad for help. It’s very inconvenient because I shouldn’t have to make my stepdad pay for my tuition like that but I’m just thankful I could enroll,” they said.
Rodriguez-Sedillo said the only other option was to not enroll this semester and lose their scholarship.
“If I wouldn’t have enrolled this semester, my scholarship wouldn’t be processed for the next semester. When the government reopens, all of my paperwork will be processed and hopefully I am reimbursed,” they said.
“My stepdad is only paying this time because we are expecting a refund from financial-aid.”
As far as an end to the shutdown, the prospects continue to look bleak. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested to President Trump that his State of the Union address should be delayed or delivered in writing. Citing the fact that no sitting president has delivered a State of the Union address during a government shutdown and later told CNN that the address requires hundreds of people to help organize and ensure security, and many of those staffers are now furloughed. She added that Trump could give the State of the Union from the Oval Office.
Trump responded by cancelling Pelosi’s upcoming trips abroad to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan until the government reopens. In the same letter, Trump suggested that Pelosi could fly commercial if she still wanted to visit said countries.
Story & Photo by Julie Archer, Co-Editor
The Oklahoma Mission of Mercy is hosting their 10th annual free dental clinic. It is a two day event taking place at the Oklahoma City fairgrounds on Feb. 1 and 2. The clinic opens at 5 a.m. each day, with courtesy overnight waiting beginning at 10 p.m.
This dental clinic is for any- one who does not have access to dental care from either being uninsured or underinsured.
In 2017, CBS News report- ed a study stating 28 percent of Americans do not have dental insurance, 56 percent only went to the dentist if their dental problem was serious and 51 percent do not know how they can afford dental insurance after turning 65 years old.
“The privilege of being able to go to the dentist is something that you and I have been en- joying while the lack of it are costing others their lives,” Samantha Doughty, a dental assistant for OKMOM, said. “This societal problem will take years and enormous effort to solve but until then, people will continue to suffer and endure their dental problems.”
“Anyone can be a patient. We even have people travel from out of state,” Doughty said. “Some of the things we take care of are cleanings, filings, extractions and anterior root canals. We also take care of patients who need a partial when missing a few teeth.”
People often forget the real importance of dental care or outright lack the money or access to care. A simple toothache can be a cavity, and if untreated, it will need more than just a filling. That tooth could need a root canal or various other procedures depending on the severity of the cavity.
“[People who ignore their dental health] develop a perio disease where the gum tissue comes away from the teeth because they get food down inside there and they get so much buildup and plaque,” Carol Boston, practice manager at Gentle Dental in Midwest City, said. “It can cause bone loss and loss of the teeth if they don’t get it taken care of.”
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 12 percent of adults ages 20 to 64 have not been to the dentist within the past five years. A lot could happen to a person’s teeth in five years time, even in just one year, a lot could happen.
“When we ask a patient why they haven’t gone to the dentist for so long it’s usually one of two things, either ‘my children needed it more’ or ‘I’m terribly frightened and I had a bad experience and couldn’t bring my- self to go back,” Boston said.
The OKMOM is run by volunteers ranging from dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienists and even non-dental related volunteers to help the event run smoothly. They have been able to help more than 2000 people every year with their dental services.
Story by Yesenia Gonzalez, Co-Editor
Legislation protecting the rights of people with disabilities was limited prior to 1990, when former president George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Dis- abilities Act into law. Prior to the ADA, legal rights of Americans with disabilities were limited, as well as accommodations in pub- lic and private spaces. The ADA made it illegal for employers to discriminate against people with disabilities. Since then, accessibility has improved and equal opportunities for employment now.
On college campuses across the country, students can visit student access services to arrange accessibility. Students can file paperwork and receive services to aid in their education for a variety of disabilities, including learning disabilities and for mental illnesses and disorders. According to Director of Special Services Dr. Joanne Stafford, although college students may request accommodations, one of the key differences between public schools and institutions of higher education is that students may have an individualized education program (IEP) in their public school where they receive a modified curriculum.
“A college student is expected to meet the essential components of every course,” Stafford said. “So, that is defined primarily by the instructor but it’s pretty evident that it’s important for students to do the same work that all student do.”
Accommodations are used to ensure equality so that each student has a baseline level of opportunity to succeed. According to the amended version of the ADA, students must be provided with reasonable accommodation which lowers barriers for students with disabilities. Rose State offers services such as adaptive listening devices, text- books in alternate formats, assistive software and accessible parking.
The Human Resources office is another campus resource where students can file discrimination and sexual harassment com- plaints. Employees in the human resources department receive training to better assist students with disabilities.
“A section of our Grievance Procedures explains the complaint process, and within that process, the procedures detail the level of training and experience one must have to review, handle, investigate or adjudicate a complaint of sexual harassment,” Senior Director of Human Resources Bertie Nutter said. “Those individuals comprise the College’s Title IX team, and include our Deputy Coordinators, investigators and advocates. Since research suggests people with disabilities are among the populations who may underreport or be underserved when incidents of sexual harassment occur, our formal annual training includes modules addressing the considerations of the ADA accommodation needs of parties in a sexual harassment complaint; whether those parties be the complainants, respondents or witnesses. We also have local organic quarterly meetings which feature special emphasis exercises, including ADA scenarios.”
The ADA is a fairly recent civil rights law and has undergone revisions. In 2008, former president George H.W. Bush signed amendments to the law. The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act overturned Supreme Court decisions which limited the extent that an impairment could be considered a disability. Under the ADA, a disability is defined as a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The amended ADA kept the ADA’s definition of disability but the overturned Supreme Court rulings because they defined disabilities too narrowly and limited which individuals could receive accommodations.
Life before the ADA excluded people with disabilities from participating in public life. Places like parks and museums were largely inaccessible for people with wheelchairs; public and private transportation did not take into account those with limited mobility or vision impairments; people with disabilities were routinely sterilized without their consent. Children with intellectual disabilities did not have access to specialized curriculum in public schools. Many US cities enacted so-called “ugly laws” which prohibited people considered unsightly from being out in public spaces. In fact, Chicago was the last US city to repeal such a law in 1974. Now, the ADA continues to protect the rights of people with disabilities.
“Disability law as a whole is relatively young,” Nutter said. “The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was the first federal law to suggest disability as a protected class, and the Americans With Disabilities Act (1990) expanded those protections to include the private sector. More than 25 years elapsed between the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the ADA. Disability Law has continued to evolve. For example, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was amended by President Clinton in 1998 and the ADA was amended by President George W. Bush in 2008. Based on the number of emotional support and service animal incidents in recent years, another amendment may be on the horizon.”
Last year, American Airlines refused to allow a woman to board a plane with her emotional support peacock. Emotional support animals, therapy animals and service animals are not one and the same. An individual can obtain an evaluation from their doctor or therapist stating that their pet is an emotional support animal. This means that a landlord cannot refuse to rent a home for that person if pets are prohibited on the property. However, emotional support animals do not undergo training to assist their owners as a service dog or service miniature horse would, for those who have dog allergies.
“What I say is, [service animals are] an extension of that person,” Stafford explained. “And just like you wouldn’t come up to me and [start pawing my ear], it’s performing a service for me. It’s part of my body, don’t touch me with- out my permission. A service animal is performing an essential function for their owner and we are not to distract them or touch them because that’s the law. They’re at work.”
Rose State has its own therapy dog; Carly, a soon-to-be three-year-old Bichon Frise. Unlike service animals, other people can interact with a therapy dog and are free to pet them while on duty.
“She knows when she’s at school, with me, she’s working. And her job is, what I say, a therapy animal is kind of like a thermostat in a room. It’s to make the room feel more comfortable. And that’s the purpose of a therapy dog, to make the person, the environment feel more comfortable.”
Civil rights movements in the 1960s and 1970s paved the way for legislation that exists today. The ADA gave millions of Americans legal rights to equal opportunities, particularly for employment. Disability law is still evolving and changes may be in the horizon.
Story & Photo by Kessley Miller, Advertising & Social Media Director
There are many opportunities for students to attend events and be- come involved within the school, but what most people do not realize is there are also many different things that go on behind the scenes to allow for RSC to hold events.
This is what the Physical Plant does. Students have most likely seen them around campus, either swiftly driving by in a golf cart, or working to beautify the school’s butterfly garden.
Kenzie Holland, Rose State early childhood education student, said, “I appreciate what the Physical Plant does for Rose State as a whole.” Holland continues, “They do so many projects and jobs that go unseen but make a huge difference here.”
These are the people who work from sunup to sundown to make sure Rose looks its best for the students and faculty. The Physical Plant is available 24 hours a day, with a staff that takes shifts in to help RSC whenever needed.
“Well, in a nutshell, we keep the campus running,” Richard Andrews, Associate Vice President for Campus Operations at RSC, said. “There are around 120 acres that we have to maintain here.”
They help keep the campus operating by maintaining any buildings, parking lots, landscape, or indoor areas. This also includes buildings not on the Rose State campus itself, which are located on Midwest Blvd. and the Atkinson Heritage Center located in Midwest City.
With a staff of only 43, taking care of so much can be overwhelming. Andrews explained that the operations staff takes pride in what they are doing and receives a great deal of satisfaction from making the campus look good.
There are several different teams that are within the operations team that work together. There is the facilities maintenance crew which takes care of all the electrical and structural needs, the grounds maintenance crew that takes care of the outdoor needs, the motor maintenance crew who takes care of all vehicles that are at Rose and the office staff that does all the paperwork for the whole operations team.
The operations crew works constantly to take care of the campus.
Andrews stated, “Our administrative and executive staff of operations have a combined years experiences of 155 years here at the college.” He added, “I think it is a great honor to be associated with the operations, they are all such overachievers in everything they do at the school.”
Story & Photo by Selena Williams, Features Editor
Depending on a student’s living situation while attending college, they might stay on campus. If that person decides to live in a dorm, they will most likely have a roommate. Cohabitation can be complicated, especially when the person is a complete stranger. Knowing what to expect beforehand can make things easier for students living on campus.
Alyssa Loveless, Director of Residence Life, said students who are living with a roommate should respect one another and have clear principles and expectations.
“Having clear guidelines about expectations from the beginning is always the best practice,” Loveless said.
When roommates have a disagreement such as someone eating their food without permission, they need to be proactive about having a face to face conversation about it. She explained things can get misinterpreted over text messaging.
“It’s when little things go unchecked that they fester into bigger issues,” Loveless said.
“Residence Life staff is always available to mediate roommate disagreements, but the roommates need to first have a conversation amongst themselves to try and resolve the issue.”
Loveless recommended having weekly roommate dinners, and cooking together, attending Residence Life events together, and keeping the lines of communication open are other important tips for students to remember. Knowing someone else who is living on campus can help make a student feel a sense of security while staying in a dorm.
Rose State sophomore Artavia Walker is a political science major who has lived on campus before.
“I recommend that students living on campus should at least know someone personally who will be living on-campus as well because that way the student doesn’t feel alone,” Walker said.
Learning how to see people for who they are and understand that no one is the same is key for students trying to get along with their roommates. To do this, a person must be willing to abandon any assumptions or emotional baggage, such as resentments or ego clashes, that prevent a person from seeing someone clearly. The key is to remain unbiased and receive information without preconceived notions.
Amber Mitchell, Director of Trio Student Support Services, said that a student should have an open mind, appreciate people for who they are and recognize that not everyone has the same life experiences or perspectives that you do.
“A student should come in with a positive attitude and communication is key,” Mitchell said. “Also, a student should be strong enough to express when they’re frustrated or upset, but be patient with those that are frustrated with them.”
Mitchell has some personal experience living with roommates. When she attended the University of Oklahoma, she did a six-week summer internship in Washington D.C. and attended classes at Georgetown University. She was housed in the dorms and had to live with a couple of students. She said that it was a part of other the learning experience at Georgetown.
“Living in a dorm was a good experience because I had already been in college for several years and I never lived in a dorm,” Mitchell said. “Most of the time I think we have options if we don’t like someone. We can walk away or choose not to spend time with them, but living with someone that isn’t your choice forces you to find alternatives to develop that skill set. So, you can say, I’m in this situation, and I have to make the best of it.”
The 15th Street News is a student publication at Rose State College.