Thumbs up, thumbs down: Who deserves praise and criticism this week?
Debra Bonner performs during the Together We Rise panel discussion and concert in Kaysville on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020.
Northern Utah Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners executive director JeanLee Carver displays a sexual assault evidence collection kit in the locations examination room Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, in South Ogden.
Kudos to the state of Utah for finally doing something about the sizable accumulation of untested rape kits that had piled up over a number of years.
Jess Anderson, commissioner of the Utah Department of Public Safety, briefed a legislative committee this week on the progress, relaying that only seven kits were left to process — down from around 2,690, as reported in a 2014 state survey.
The kits long sat untouched in law enforcement evidence rooms, a tragic fate that served only perpetrators’ interests.
After so many years of neglect, it’s no wonder JeanLee Carver, executive director of Northern Utah Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners in Ogden, reacted with surprise to the news. “If our state has made a commitment to process this backlog and that has been accomplished, it’s commendable,” she said.
Sexual assault is a global scourge, a deeply traumatic invasion of privacy that no one should ever have to endure. It’s about time Utah approached the issue with the urgency it’s due.
Kaysville City Manager Shayne Scott doesn’t mince words when it comes to his town’s demographic profile: “We’re not diverse at all.”
But that doesn’t mean residents can’t or shouldn’t be bothered to educate themselves about other races and cultures. In fact, that’s just what some in the majority white suburb are taking pains to do.
Adopting the name Together We Rise, a new group is aiming to capitalize on the national conversation about minority experiences in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis earlier this year, with efforts afoot to introduce the community to different perspectives.
“You can drive around here and not see any of this upheaval happening, but we can still address this in a positive way,” said Annie Ogbuehi, who founded the group with her husband, Chike, a native of Nigeria.
And it isn’t just ordinary folks who have accepted the spirit of inclusivity. While small in number, the Kaysville Police Department has made strides toward diversification, accepting into its ranks officers of all genders, races, religions and sexual orientations.
These are all commendable endeavors. Long ago characterized as a melting pot of people comprising myriad backgrounds, America is supposed to be a place where all are welcome — even if we’ve never quite lived up to that lofty expectation.
Ask any parent of college-age children what keeps them up at night and we’d bet money a lot of them tellingly clutch their pocketbook. So we’re sure there was a collective exhale from households across Utah when word got out that all of the state’s public universities would be trimming student fees for the upcoming fall semester.
The decision was made after consultation with the Utah System of Higher Education, recognizing that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been a financial headache for many families. Weber State announced Tuesday it would scale back fees by 15%, or $75 for a full-time student. (Think of how much ramen that could buy!) Other universities similarly slashed costs, ranging from 25% to 40%.
Right now, the change only impacts fees for the fall term, and we hope schools revisit the issue in the spring, but even a one-time move means students will be keeping a little more of their money for themselves.
Moreover, all services funded through student fees, like WSU’s Student Health Center, Disability Services, Campus Recreation, and Counseling & Psychological Services Center, will be fully maintained.
It’s been a long five months since the coronavirus threat put the kibosh on sports. And after suffering through the drudgery of limited entertainment options, getting to experience honest-to-goodness, live athletic competition again has been like a breath of fresh air.
Of course, it hasn’t gone smoothly. (Bad break, Miami Marlins. Our sympathies, Bingham Miners.) And the exhilaration of games has been tempered without the thrill of the crowd.
But boy, oh, boy is it good to have sports back.