Help from Hillary; women at SEMO

Friday, September 27, 2002

"Hillary Clinton to Boost Donations for Carnahan's Campaign." This headline and the following story were published in the Sept. 25 issue of the Kansas City Star. Why the Associated Press failed to mention Clinton in its story on the same subject puzzles me.

"Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, whose star power has turned her into a fund-raising powerhouse, will tap Hollywood next month to aid her colleague Sen. Jean Carnahan of Missouri.

"Clinton, whose own Political action committee has already donated $10,000 to Carnahan's campaign, will be the headliner at an Oct. 5 dinner at a private home in Los Angeles. The minimum donation at the event, sponsored by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, will be $500.

"The entertainment industry traditionally has tilted toward Democrats, especially when Bill Clinton was president. HILLPAC, Hillary Clinton's political action committee, has raised nearly $1.5 million during the past 18 months, distributing donations to Democratic colleagues in close races such as Carnahan's.

"The dinner will occur the night before a proposed meeting between Carnahan and Republican Jim Talent on the NBC Sunday morning news show "Meet the Press." The show has been inviting candidates from hotly contested Senate races to appear before a national audience.

"The Carnahan campaign turned down the invitation, saying that it wanted to keep debates inside the state.

The Missouri Republican Party on Tuesday offered to buy Carnahan a "first-class, round-trip plane ticket," quoting a price of $3,352, so she could get back to Washington for the NBC show.

"'Jean Carnahan thinks it is more important to raise money with Hillary Clinton than it is to let Missouri voters see their candidates debate the issues,' said John Hancock, executive director of the state GOP.

"Carnahan spokesman Tony Wyche called that 'absurd' and said there was no connection between the events.

"Meanwhile, the Carnahan campaign thought it saw a chance to needle Talent for a fund raiser this weekend at Richard Nixon's library in Yorba Linda, Calif. Wyche called that a museum 'for the only U.S. president in the past few years to resign.' The event has been canceled, however, because Talent and two other GOP Senate candidates who were to appear with Talent could not coordinate their schedules.

Females account for high percentage of students: A trend has been forming at college campuses nationwide in which males seem to be greatly outnumbered by females. It's no different here at Southeast.

By examining the total number of students at Southeast and other schools across Missouri it becomes apparent that a pattern has been forming over the past several years.

"It's a social or cultural shift," said Dr. Pauline Fox, vice president for administration and enrollment management.

With enrollment up almost 5 percent this semester, Southeast is looking at an all-time high in enrollment. An official head count at the beginning of the fall semester was taken in order to get an accurate count of how many students are attending Southeast.

According to the statistics of the Institutional Research Center for Southeast, there are currently 7,770 undergraduates and 983 graduate students. But what some consider even more amazing is the percentage of females to males on campus.

Southeast has kept up with the current trend and stayed near the top of the class. The females dominate the campus by making up an astonishing 61 percent, while the males account for only 39 percent of the student population.

"This is a national trend," said Fox. "More females are choosing to go to college after they graduate from high school." With a few exceptions, schools across Missouri are noticing the same female-dominated trend. Truman State University in Kirksville has a ratio of 57 percent female to 47 percent male. At Central Missouri State, females make up 55 percent, while Saint Louis University has a 56 percent female population.

University of Missouri-Rolla and Washington University deviate from the trend. On Rolla's campus, males are dominant at 75 percent versus 25 percent females. At Washington University, the ratio is 50-50. The reasons for college campuses becoming more heavily populated by females very from school to school. At Southeast, it's partly because of the programs offered, said Fox, such as nursing, which is a more female-dominated area of study. Also, Fox said, as times continue to change, what was once socially unacceptable is now becoming the norm. Females are joining more male-oriented fields of study, such as accounting.

For more information about the breakdown of Southeast's population by gender, ethnicity and other factors, go to the Southeast home page, click on faculty and staff, then institutional research, then enrollment statistics. -- Kristin Erney, Capaha Arrow

Lawyers Lining Up to Chase Scooters: During its secrecy-shrouded development, the Segway Human Transporter was known by the code name "It." Sometime next year, the innovative battery-powered, gyro-stabilized, supposedly untipable scooter will go on sale for about $4,000.

Perhaps on the theory that it's never too early to plan a lawsuit, a Washington, D.C., law firm has opened a Web site,, to seek prospective plaintiffs: "We expect to be in the forefront of suits featuring the invention widely known as 'It'."

Once the Segway hits the market, the law firm envisions all sorts of actionable chaos and mayhem: crashes, pedestrians being bowled over, drunken scooter driving, scooterjackings, people risking their health by taking a Segway when they should be taking a walk and children getting injured. Notes the firm in an aside, "Courts will likely find It to be an attractive nuisance." And then there is this glimpse into the mind of the product liability bar: "If you build it, someone will find an unthinkable way of screwing it up.

Usually, this does not bring liability, because there are legal theories of reasonable use and care.

However, as the creators of It have marketed their vehicle as impossible to topple, Segway may have opened themselves up to new lawsuits, even in cases of incredible idiocy." It says something about our litigious society that even before a product hits the market, even before the first allegation of harm, lawyers are lining up to sue. -- Abilene, Texas, Reporter-News

Gary Rust is the chairman of Rust Communications.

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