KPC News. March 7, 2021.
Editorial: Glick’s bill puts reasonable reins on governor
Last fall we reported that Indiana legislators were looking to rein in the emergency powers of the state’s governor.
At the time, Gov. Eric Holcomb’s emergency orders to combat COVID-19 had been in effect for eight months. They had restricted schools, businesses and public events in various ways.
State lawmakers believed those decisions should be made in partnership with 150 elected legislators, instead of by a single man or woman.
Now, it’s been a year since Holcomb took sole charge of protecting public health — much like other governors across the nation.
From all the ideas at the Statehouse, the power-sharing plan that emerged is Senate Bill 407, with our Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, as the lead author.
We think senators made a good choice when they passed Glick’s bill by a 38-8 vote on Feb. 23 and sent it to the House of Representatives for action.
We’ve come to see Glick as one of the best voices of reason in the Statehouse. If she’s upset about the balance of power between the governor and the Legislature, it’s probably for good reason.
The governor’s emergency powers never were intended for a year-long state of emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Glick contends.
Instead, those powers should allow the governor to act quickly in case of an immediate disaster such as a flood or tornado.
A year ago, the pandemic did require fast action. Maybe it shouldn’t have caught us with our guard down, but that’s what happened.
Glick’s bill would allow the governor to act alone for 30 days. However, he immediately would have to huddle with five top leaders of the Legislature — from both parties.
Glick’s proposed rules are a little more complex than this, but simply stated, a governor could not enforce emergency orders for longer than 60 days without approval of the Legislature.
During the second month, legislators could vote to continue an emergency order, terminate it, or do nothing and let it expire at the end of 60 days.
Most likely, some negotiation would occur as the governor tried to design an order that would meet the approval of legislators.
Over the past year, “I believe the real concern developed when there were decisions made to close down all of the economy of the state of Indiana,” Glick said at a recent public forum in Waterloo.
If legislators had been asked, she said, “We certainly would have had some input in the picking of winners and losers — which businesses could be open and which could not.”
There’s no guarantee that 150 legislators would make better decisions than Holcomb has made over the past year in fighting the pandemic.
On the other hand, there’s no guarantee that in the future we’ll have a governor who would act as responsibly as Holcomb.
If legislators had been involved, Indiana likely would have been somewhat more “open” than it has been.
Overall, we have the sense that Indiana has weathered the pandemic better than many states.
In our corner of Indiana, schools have been open all year with no controversy.
Our unemployment rates have returned to near-normal levels.
Most local residents are meeting their basic needs, while still missing the extras that make life more enjoyable — such as school and entertainment events and public celebrations.
Hope for better times is growing as more Hoosiers receive vaccinations against the coronavirus. It seems to us that Indiana’s vaccination campaign is better organized than in many states.
Holcomb may not have handled the crisis perfectly, but we credit him for steering a course between too loose and too restrictive.
Glick’s bill also finds the right balance between overthrowing the governor and letting him act as a dictator. There’s nothing wrong with forcing the governor to confirm with legislators that he’s on the right path.
The House of Representatives should join in supporting Glick’s bill, and Holcomb should sign into law this check-and-balance on a governor’s power.
Terre Haute Tribune-Star. March 5, 2021.
Editorial: Fraternity should disassociate itself with Confederate icon
It is hard to imagine an unhealthier addition to a university campus, in 2021, than a fraternity that “looks to Robert E. Lee for spiritual guidance.”
Yet, that could happen at Indiana State University.
The Kappa Alpha Order fraternity confirmed that it is actively recruiting student members on the ISU campus. If successful, the effort would mark Kappa Alpha’s return to the university after the local chapter was suspended in 2017 by its national office. The chapter got suspended for failing to meet fraternity expectations regarding academics, membership, finance and education.
An agreement for Kappa Alpha’s return was confirmed at the time of the suspension, an officer for the national organization said earlier this week. Since then, fraternity representatives have discussed the reestablishment of an ISU chapter with the university’s administration, according to a Kappa Alpha statement, and recruitment of new members is ongoing.
That prospect has drawn strong opposition from the ISU Faculty Senate. The educators hold legitimate concerns about the history behind Kappa Alpha, which regards Lee as its “spiritual founder.” Lee holds such status with Kappa Alpha — which formed months after the Civil War ended — because of his “religious convictions, exemplary ideals, values, strong leadership, courtesy, respect for others and gentlemanly conduct,” according to the order’s official website.
Lee, of course, commanded the Confederate States Army during the Civil War, fighting against the United States’ Union Army. The Confederacy’s stated goal was to perpetuate the enslavement of Black people in the Southern states, which had seceded from the Union. As a result, a total of 624,511 people were killed through four bloody years of war.
No amount of elevating Lee’s personal virtues can offset his role in America’s darkest era.
ISU’s Faculty Senate passed a resolution by a 29-2 margin last month and cited Lee’s past as both a slave owner and general of the Confederate rebellion against the United States. The resolution also said Lee “allowed and inflicted cruelty on African-Americans even beyond that practiced by other supporters of the brutal institution of slavery.”
Those actions “stand in direct contradiction of ISU’s values of diversity and inclusion,” the faculty resolution stated, adding that Lee “should not be exalted on our campus.”
Kappa Alpha’s national office said the Faculty Senate “mischaracterized” the fraternity’s historical relationship to Lee. The connection, the fraternity said, is limited to Lee’s days as president of Washington College, where former Confederate soldiers formed Kappa Alpha in December 1865. Kappa Alpha also insisted its ISU chapter had a diverse membership and offered to meet with anyone on campus with concerns.
As a public university, ISU both acknowledged the Faculty Senate’s opposition to Kappa Alpha’s reestablishment on campus, based on its connection to Lee, and that the fraternity has “a historical connection to segregation and racism.” ISU also emphasized it will adhere to constitutional protections of freedom of speech and association. ISU cannot stop a campus chapter from organizing.
Kappa Alpha’s official website does not mention Lee’s responsibility for the prolonged war to preserve slavery in the South. Perhaps the fraternity can choose to overlook that glaringly significant element of his life, but history cannot.
Before Kappa Alpha reestablishes an ISU chapter, it should — of its own accord — disassociate with Lee. Last year, a Kappa Alpha chapter at Southwestern University called on the national fraternity to denounce Lee, but got suspended by the national afterward for — according to the national office — not following official protocol, the education news site Inside Higher Ed reported.
Cynics may label a call for Kappa Alpha to cut ties with its Confederate icon as more evidence of a “cancel culture.” Malarkey. For far too long, the history of the Confederacy and slavery has been whitewashed and minimized, letting subtle but real discrimination of Black Americans linger through engrained Jim Crow traditions and denials of their civil rights.
From the lawn of the Vigo County Courthouse, statues of Union soldiers and sailors overlook downtown Terre Haute. Those men would undoubtedly be astonished to know that a nearby college fraternity considers its source of spiritual guidance to be the leader of rebel forces who fought against them and this nation.
Anderson Herald Bulletin. March 5, 2021.
Editorial: Rape by deception should be a crime
In her freshman year at Purdue University, Abbi Finney was visiting her boyfriend in his dorm room.
“People were pretty much just hanging out, playing video games,” she recalled in an interview with ABC News in January 2019.
By 2 a.m. Finney had fallen asleep in bed with her boyfriend. His friends had sacked out on a futon below. At some point, Finney woke up to the realization that someone was fondling her. The fondling led to sex.
Only later did she realize the man in bed with her was not her boyfriend.
To her, what had happened was clear. She had been raped.
She tracked down her boyfriend and told him. She went to the hospital for a rape exam. She reported the assault to police. She called her mom, who immediately got the family together and drove to West Lafayette.
Questioned about the incident by police, Finney’s assailant, Donald Grant Ward, admitted he had waited for her boyfriend to leave the room and then climbed into bed with Finney.
“Ward indicated he had sexual intercourse with (the) victim ... knowing she believed him to be her boyfriend,” police said in an affidavit supporting the rape charge.
The case, it seemed, was open and shut.
Except it wasn’t.
Indiana law says rape can happen in one of three ways. The first is when a victim is compelled by force or threat of force. The second is when the victim is unconscious or unaware of the attack. And the third is when the victim is mentally disabled to a degree that makes consent impossible.
Rape by deception, it turns out, is not a crime in Indiana or most other states.
When the case went to trial, Ward’s defense attorney, Kirk Freeman, argued that tricking someone into having sex might be immoral, but it isn’t illegal. The jury agreed, finding his client not guilty.
The case drew the attention of Sally Siegrist, the state representative whose district took in Purdue University. “I was so angry my stomach was in a knot,” Siegrist told ABC News for the 2019 report.
Siegrist set out to change the law, and she has continued that effort even after losing her bid for reelection.
House Bill 1176 passed the Indiana House of Representatives last month by a vote of 90-4. The measure is now pending in the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law.
The Senate should pass this bill, and Gov. Eric Holcomb should sign it. It’s time to make rape by deception a crime in Indiana.