Students take stand against hate symbol

Students from different faith-based groups came together for the first time at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis-St. Paul after a swastika was found painted on a campus sidewalk. More than 30 students attended a discussion to talk about the hate crime.

Steve Mullaney, president of the Episcopal Students Association, commented, “This isn’t a Jewish issue or a Christian issue; it’s a human issue.” The swastika, long associated with Nazism, continues to symbolize racism and anti-Semitism.

Nandita Rahman, event coordinator for the Muslim Student Association, stressed the importance of unity among the groups, saying, “We need to stand together.” Sami Khwaja, president of MSA, recommended creating a campus coalition against hate crimes.

One student said, “We could be a type of [United Nations] of people versus hate crimes.” Other campus groups involved were Hillel and Al-Madinah.

Candidates making friends on MySpace

MySpace has rapidly risen to become the second-busiest site on the Internet in the U.S. and is also a political tool for candidates running for office.

Phil Angelides, California’s Democratic candidate for governor, has more than 5,000 MySpace friends — and counting. The Angelides campaign has embraced the youth-heavy site by using his personal profile page to post position papers and by scanning the comments section to gauge what’s on youths’ minds.

Campaign spokesman Brian Brokaw said, “It [MySpace] can help you reach an audience that otherwise might be more difficult to reach. Not as many young voters watch the evening news.”

Democrat Ned Lamont, who defeated Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut primary, had more than 175 MySpace friends. Supporters of political figures have created profiles, unofficially, for the 2008 presidential race. One MySpace page for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, for instance, declares her to be “The President of the United States of America.”

U.S. students begin med school in Cuba

The sixth group of American youth recently arrived in Cuba to study medicine at the Latin American School of Medicine just outside of Havana — for free. The program is organized by the Cuban government and the U.S. Pastors for Peace group, associated with the New York-based Inter-Religious Foundation for Community Organization.

Joaqiun Morante, one of the new students from New York City, noted many U.S. cities have poor public health conditions and high costs of medical care. Morante said that about 2 million people have next to no access to health care in NYC because they do not have medical insurance.

“I’m sure that Cuba will teach us how to improve the health situation in my city,” said Morante. U.S. students, upon graduation, plan to return to their communities and work as medical doctors in areas where they are needed the most. There are currently 88 U.S. students from lower-income families enrolled at the school, whose registration has increased to more than 10,000 students from 100 ethnic groups and 27 different nations. Over 1,500 new doctors from 29 countries have recently graduated the six-year program.

Pepe Lozano