Headline: Leave our school alone!

Conservatives are supposed to hate government intrusiveness-yet this trait is exhibited on a yearly basis by the Utah Legislature.

Utah conservatives love to meddle in other people’s affairs, particularly those of U students. Every year, the Legislature passes laws that have to do with higher education.

In the current legislative session, there are 11 bills that involve you, as students, which you will have no say over. More bills are most likely forthcoming.

Most of these bills, like sales-tax exemptions for students purchasing textbooks and making returned military officers eligible for in-state tuition, are positive bills and probably would be looked upon favorably by the student body.

But other bills, like appropriations bills and bills that would allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus, probably should be looked upon with more scrutiny by U students than by the Legislature.

No matter how you personally feel about the gun issue, sales-tax exemptions or illegal immigrants paying in-state tuition, you have no voice over the solutions to these issues-except for one vote for your legislator.

We should not accept such intrusion and meddling into our affairs. Why should someone-a legislator, lobbyist or attorney general-who never steps foot onto our campus be able to craft decisions regarding our safety?

State Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said in 2004, “The University of Utah still is a part of Utah and has to obey the laws and rules of Utah.”

Yet Utah’s constitution guarantees that Utah universities should retain control over their functions. The constitution, the supreme law of the state of Utah, says, regarding institutions of higher education: “All rights, immunities, franchises and endowments originally established or recognized by the constitution for any public university or college are confirmed.”

U attorney Alan Sullivan said, “Striking down the (U’s) ban on guns would strike at the heart of academic freedom and could possibly open the door to the Legislature dictating everything from hiring practices to subjects taught on campus.”

The constitution also makes clear that universities in Utah should remain free from “sectarian control.”

I can’t think of a greater force of sectarian control than that of the Utah Legislature and attorney general.

The U is an autonomous creature, and we ought to make our own decisions regarding our institution.

Why do we even elect a student body president or a student senate if they aren’t being utilized to make decisions like this? Is their only function to organize the next Crimson Nights?

These are our representatives, not those up at the Legislature. They should be making decisions regarding our safety, welfare and finances.

Decisions that only affect us really shouldn’t be made by our representatives, but by all of us united together. Progressive, deliberative democracy really is the only way for us as students to develop as citizens of a 28,000-plus community. If government “by the people, for the people and of the people” is ever going to exist, then why not start right here at the U?

[email protected]