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Editor's Note

Guns, Adjuncts and Art

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This week we look at a range of issues relating to Idaho's biggest institution of higher learning.

On Page 8, Boise Weekly News Editor George Prentice goes into detail with Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson on controversial Senate Bill 1254--the so-called "guns on campus" law fronted by Nampa Republican Sen. Curt McKenzie.

The law would strike down universities' power to regulate gun policies limiting who can carry concealed weapons on their campuses, and McKenzie has brooked no opposition in pushing the bill through the Statehouse. That includes cutting off testimony before public safety officials like Masterson could have their say.

With more than 20,000 students at Boise State, and more than 12,000 at the University of Idaho's statewide campuses, the potential is for a lot of people carrying guns where they couldn't before, and that has Chief Masterson and other law enforcers around the state understandably concerned.

On Page 11, frequent BW contributor Jessica Murri digs into another higher education issue making headlines across the country: the increasing reliance of universities on adjunct professors who often face the same plight as low-wage workers in other industries.

It's no different at Boise State, where adjuncts--who make about $1,000 a month--amount to nearly half the teaching force.

University officials argue that adjunct positions are not intended to be full-time jobs, and lay the issue of low pay on budgets made tight by years of recessionary budget cuts. Adjuncts, meanwhile, maintain that their ever-greater contributions to the nation's university classrooms should be reflected in their compensation--in the state of Washington, that has meant part-time professors at two private colleges advocating for union representation.

Whether that happens in Idaho is, by union organizers' own admission, unlikely, but the frustration among Boise State adjuncts runs high--albeit mostly silent.

Finally, on Page 20, contributor Christopher Schnoor takes readers on a tour of the art collection of Driek and Michael Zirinsky--one of the finest assemblages of contemporary art in the world and housed right here in Boise. The current show, Now Read This, opened Feb. 20 at Boise State's Arts and Humanities Institute Gallery, located at the Ron and Linda Yanke Family Research Park, and is not to be missed.