Readers’ Forum: 3/23/21

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Human trafficking

Amid a shifting political landscape and global pandemic, media and the general public are paying less and less attention to victims who are being forced or fraudulently coerced into labor or commercial sex acts. Although human trafficking may not seem like a big issue because of its inherent secrecy, we must treat it like the catastrophic issue that it is by promoting awareness. 

One trafficking survivor remarked about her experience as a victim, “It’s not the land of the free if all of us aren’t free” (Grover). Indeed, it is a hypocrisy that, as a nation, we can celebrate our freedom while doing little to tear down the institutions that contribute to the limiting of that very freedom for other people. 

As current students, many may wonder how they could possibly make a difference while balancing all of their current commitments. The good news is that being an active part of the solution doesn’t require you to give up your personal goals and activities. What we need most right now are people that are educated, aware, and willing to speak up in any circumstance. Research the signs of trafficking and know how to respond if you notice something suspicious. More than anything, the victims that are currently oppressed need people who are compassionate and willing to speak up if they notice something that doesn’t feel right. 

According to Sunrise for Children, two children across the globe are trafficked every minute. Each and every one of us has the ability to make a difference and advocate for change. We’re taught that by small and simple means, great things are brought to pass. If we can promote awareness to the BYU community, each small action will work together to create an immense change and movement for good throughout the world. 

Kelton Couperus
Egg Harbor, Wisconsin

Starving student athletes

We understand the challenges and expenses of a college student, balancing time between schoolwork, social life, and working a job is difficult. Now imagine a college student with 10-15 hours of practice each week and road trips during class. This is the life of an extramural athlete at BYU. They have this time restraint without the benefits that NCAA athletes get. We can compensate these extramural athletes by offering them a meal plan that NCAA athletes already receive.

I am currently on the BYU lacrosse team (an extramural team at BYU) and when I work only 12 hours a week, I find it difficult to attend practice every day and complete all my homework. The recommended daily caloric intake for an athlete is 3,000 to 6,000 calories, (Liu) which is a lot of food and a lot of extra expenses. Offering a meal plan would save extramural athletes money and time. Twenty-one out of the 27 BYU teams receive the meal plan, which means that only the six extramural teams don’t. These teams work hard to represent their school just like the athletes of the sponsored teams.

Some claim that NCAA teams get the meal plan because they bring in revenue. It’s true that extramural teams don’t bring in lots of income, but in reality, the only sports that bring in significant revenue are the football and basketball teams. The other 19 NCAA teams still get the meal plan without bringing in hardly any income for the school. We can do better in providing benefits fairly to all the student-athletes at BYU.

I challenge the administration to consider the benefits of providing meal plans for extramural athletes. Giving them the same access to meal plans as NCAA athletes will help them better represent BYU as they compete in their respective sports, while simultaneously increasing their academic and athletic success. Are you willing to help the starving student-athlete?

Kyle Brown
Draper, Utah

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