|Volume 29, Issue 9
||January 22, 2003
World AIDS Day
Logos photos by Rick Eichenlaub
Former Playboy Playmate Rebekka Armstrong speaks to an audience.
Logos photos by Rick Eichenlaub|
[above] Monday, December 2 in the Muse-Norris Conference Center.
[below]NIACC student Tyler Rasmussen (lower left) listens to her message.
Former Playboy Playmate Rebekka Armstrong visited the NIACC campus on Monday, December 2 to speak about her experience living with AIDS and how to prevent contracting it and other diseases.
"I felt privileged that we were able to get a nationally known speaker here at NIACC, she really got her point across in more than one way," Ann Trees, NIACC sophomore, said. "She has touched so many people and we are quite lucky to have had her here at NIACC."
Armstrong not only spoke of her fight with the virus but also about her life's triumphs and hitting rock bottom.
"I never realized that the drugs used to treat the symptoms of HIV actually cause terrible side effects themselves," Linda Rodberg, a NIACC student, said.
The night included informative videos on AIDS prevention and a documentary Armstrong's fight with the AIDS epidemic.
After the speech, Armstrong and her husband Oliver answered questions from the audience about this epidemic.
If anyone would like more information about AIDS or HIV, please contact the North Iowa AIDS Project.
Law requires sex offenders to register
The degree of safety that a NIACC student feels on campus is an important aspect of NIACC's college life.
Recently, the Iowa legislature passed a law requiring all convicted sex offenders to register on the campus they are attending. Previously, only the presence of their names on the sex offender registry list was required.
Different concerns have risen with the passing of the new law.
Regent's universities such as Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Iowa have taken different viewpoints as to how to distribute this information to the public.
ISU and UNI have decided that it is appropriate to offer a list of sex offenders who attend classes on the basis that if one asks, they will tell. The University of Iowa has a different opinion as to how to inform the public.
The University of Iowa has decided to publicly announce the names of the convicted sex offenders in order to make everyone aware of their presence.
But exactly what is NIACC doing about this new law?
Dr. Karen Pierson, vice-president of Student Services, said that there has been no discussion at press time as to whether or not NIACC will make public the information that it is now required by law to receive upon registration of any sex offender.
"In the past, we've come by this information through the sex offender and then made the instructors that they were taking classes from, aware of the information," Pierson said.
"Now that we are required by law to be notified, we (NIACC administration) have to create a formal policy. The real question is to what degree NIACC has an obligation to inform others about such information."
According to Pierson, there are many options as to how to deal with such an extremely controversial issue.
"As a public institution, NIACC is not obligated in any way to inform the public of our knowledge of this issue," Pierson said. "But there are many things that need to be discussed amongst the President's Council in regards to this issue."
According to Pierson, options include actions ranging anywhere from not doing anything to posting pictures and names of the sex offenders around campus.
"Of course there are extremes when dealing with such issues, but there are so many opinions on this topic," Pierson said.
Another debated topic according to Pierson, is whether or not to allow a convicted sex offender to reside in student housing.
"If we allow a convicted sex offender to live in the student housing on campus, there will be many with concerns, but if we refuse housing, others will argue discrimination," Pierson said. "Either way, it is difficult and controversial."
Pierson said that in the seven years that she has been with NIACC, there has only been one student that she was aware of that was a registered sex offender. The student notified her along with all of his professors.
"Maybe the most important factor of all is whether the student body feels it is necessary to be informed or not," Pierson said. "The Student Senate may want to discuss this and get feedback from the student body on the necessity of their knowledge on this subject."
As far as her opinion on the matter, Pierson said that her recommendations to the President's Council would be to keep it on an ask-and-tell basis. Pierson also said that she doesn't feel it is necessary to distribute the person's name and picture widely.
"I'm glad that we have the law. It puts the responsibility on the sex offender to inform us and brings (the information) to us in a more direct manner," Pierson said. "I support that."
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