Opinion: In defense of the suburbs

By Jacob Palmer
Originally published Nov 28, 2017

suburb houses
Over the past few decades, the negative stereotypes of suburbs have been seen many times in various forms of media. Graphic by Olivia Tocher.

The suburbs have a major PR problem. Despite being home to millions of Americans, these areas of low-density housing outside of city centers have been the subject of many negative stereotypes.

Suburbs have been depicted as white dominant communities which run on systemic racism, sprawling neighborhoods of environment destroying inefficiency and conformist rows of cookie-cutter housing which stifle individuality and make its inhabitants miserable.  Time Magazine even ran an article suggesting suburban life, with its upper-middle class wealth level, makes people more selfish.

Yet with all this condemnation, the suburbs continue to grow. Their growth has recently overtaken urban areas according to the Brookings Institution. So why are so many Americans still choosing suburbs when so many claim they are a terrible idea?

Read more at https://arbiteronline.com/in-defense-of-the-suburbs/


High turnout at Bronco Day orientation reflects rising enrollment numbers

By Jacob Palmer
Originally published April 25, 2017
Published in print only

As some students wrap up their higher education with graduation this spring, others will just be starting as they enroll in Boise State for their first year.

Many of these students attended Bronco Day orientation, which occurred earlier this month on Saturday, April 8. According to Boise State President Bob Kustra, attendance numbers for the event surpassed predictions and stood out as one of the events he was most proud of this year.

“The most recent proud moment was the Bronco Day that we just had on Saturday, which really exceeded all expectations. We had over 3,000 people here on campus on Saturday—a 20 percent increase over last year,” Kustra said.

The large number of attendees at the orientation took place after a rise in enrollment at Boise State over the past 10 years. According to Boise State’s enrollment data, the total student enrollment at Boise State rose to 23,886 students in Fall 2016—a 22 percent increase from the total enrollment in Fall 2007, which was 19,540 students.

According to Greg Hahn, associate vice president of communications and marketing for Boise State, predicting the enrollment numbers for the next semester is difficult due to a variety of factors.

College ‘go on’ rates, other university tuition decisions, state funding and scholarship decisions and many more factors can dramatically affect admission rates here—and at every university,” Hahn said.

There are some specific areas of the University that have seen more growth than others according to Hahn. Concurrent enrollment through local high schools has increased and students taking credit earning classes are counted as Boise State students in state numbers. Online courses have also increased, and is one of the factors contributing to the student population rising to over 23,000.

Another area that has seen growth is the Honors College, which has “essentially doubled in size since 2010,” according to Hahn.

“As for general admissions trends, we are still getting on the radar of more and more high school students from around the country—California, the Seattle area and other Western states already send a lot of students here,” Hahn said. “At Bronco Day, it anecdotally appeared that would continue to be the case for a while to come.”

When reflecting on the success of the orientation, one of the things that impressed Kustra was the dedication and work put in by Boise State faculty who weren’t required to be involved in the event.

“I’m so impressed with our faculty,” Kustra said. “To see such incredible support and partnership coming from the departments—and among our faculty—it was really exciting for me to be able to address these parents and students and then to see the turnout of the faculty on a Saturday when there’s lots of other things to do with your time.”

Changes coming to university foundations classes

Lewis Classroom2
University foundations classes are under review after unfavorable feedback from students. Photo by Jared Lewis.

By Jacob Palmer
Originally published Jan 10, 2017
Published in print only

New students can expect changes to Boise State’s University Foundations classes in the upcoming semester. John Bieter, the new interim director of the Foundational Studies Program, is heading up the changes after the Foundational Studies Program received negative feedback and complaints from a number of students.

Beiter has spent the past few months engaging with students around campus and seeking feedback regarding the Foundational Studies Program, which includes UF classes. While there aren’t any specific new policies in place yet, part of the general goals for Better and his staff will be changing the program into a system that helps students take advantage of all the resources available to them at college. This includes introducing incoming students to all of the available departments and activities Boise States has to offer and helping them integrate into the college environment.

According to its official website, the goal of the Foundational Studies Program is “challenging students within to think critically, write and speak well, sharpen their ethical reasoning and explore a diversity of viewpoints and cultures.”

However, the classes required under the Foundational Studies Program have come under criticism. Many students have objected to the required nature of the UF classes, finding these classes, especially UF 100, aren’t relevant to their major or goals in college. One of those students is Erika Neuffer, a junior pre nursing major.

“I took (UF100) online and I didn’t like the way it was structured. It seemed like a lot of unnecessary reading,” Neuffer said.

Neuffer was supportive of new plans to help change the first university foundations courses to a course that connected students to the different departments of the university, but also expressed skepticism on how the changes would help students who had already decided on a major.

Another student who was supportive of suggested changes to UF classes was L.J. McKenzie, a junior biology major, who stated the changes remind him of an honors prep class he took.

“It would be good to broaden the perspective of students a bit more and show them all the different departments. Honors 198 was a prep course where we talked about major, so if the whole university had something like that it would be helpful because that class helped me,” McKenzie said.

These objections have not fallen on deaf ears, as Bieter listed tying the UF courses close to other core classes (such as English and disciplinary lens courses) as one of the biggest goals he and his staff are facing. Bieter stated he didn’t want students to view all these courses as separate things to check off a to-do list, but a rather a continual path of learning.

“Students struggle with how (UF classes) fit into their majors. When you think of the foundational studies courses, which make up over a quarter of every degree, instead of thinking about it as whole series of courses, think of it as one long course,” Bieter said. “What we want to build is a connective piece (from UF100, to UF200, to the DL’s, to finishing foundations) so students can see how this sequence builds and how there are activities and experiences that allow them to develop in their major and beyond their major.”

Another common objection students have had with the UF classes is the varying level of quality, assistance and work loads between different classes and instructors.

“Some have had great professor, and some have had exactly the opposite,” Bieter said. “We are working on campus with all the departments to have more participation and greater faculty involvement. We are confident that two things will come out of that: a higher level of consistent quality instruction across the board, and greater involvement by the faculty in reviewing classes and making suggestions.”

While there are some ideas being working on, such as a new passport system which could help students think of possible majors by taking them around campus to preview all the different departments, many specific suggestions for changes are still in the works as Bieter and his staff continue to research and get feedback.

All of these upcoming changing are being pursued with the intention of helping students take advantage of the opportunity they’ve been given through college, according to Bieter.

“Those courses can orient you to the un diversity you’re attending and the beautiful city we’re connected to,” Bieter said. “It can give you the experience of really trying to understand that you ‘won the lottery.’  Six percent of the world gets a university degree and you have a potentially winning lottery ticket if you play it. I want students to really frame that and understand the incredible opportunity they’ve been given.”

Parody: NRA buys naming rights to Taco Bell Arena

The NRA Freedom Dome will be set to open to the public by next semester. Graphic by Sierra Nobley.

By Jacob Palmer
Originally published April 3, 2018
Published in print only



Cheers of jubilee rang out through Crazy Bill’s Bingo Hall when Boise State executives announced the naming rights to Taco Bell Arena had been bought out by the National Rifle Association (NRA.) The organization announced the name of the venue would be changed to the “NRA Freedom Dome” later this year.

“Frankly, even we’re surprised this happened, every other state wouldn’t allow us to buy a stadium except Idaho” said Jeth Montclair, a local NRA representative, “I heard the university was so desperate for money after they built that Kustra memorial, they’d take any bid whatsoever. We bought the arena for only 8 bucks!”

Planned renovations for the stadium will include displays of taxidermied woodland animals, personal shooting ranges in each of the restroom stalls and a giant AR-15 statue on the roof which shoots out patriotic fireworks whenever the home team scores. “

Safety is our number one priority,” said Montclair, “We will have gun checks at each of the entrances to make sure everyone is carrying a firearm. Plus we’ll have our referees wear bulletproof uniforms to protect against irate fans. I think we’ve got everything covered.”

Ninety-Nine percent of Idaho’s population welcomed this announcement with excitement. Including Billy Hobokenson a local gun enthusiast who owns 72 handguns, 12 semi-automatic rifles and a pretty pink princess BB gun for good measure.

“I’m so excited about this!” Hobokenson said. “It gives the phrase, ‘He Shoots, He Scores’ a whole new meaning. Plus instead of changing ‘De-Fence!’ at the athlete’s we can chant, ‘Stand Your Ground!’”

Local food vendors are already clamoring to secure food stands at the arena. According to the NRA, the only prerequisite for owning a stall is that all vendors provide “free reloads” for all food and drinks.

“For too long the elites have told us what we can eat, what we can drink and what we can shoot. But at the NRA Freedom Dome, everyone can consume whatever they want like a free American,” said Montclair.

Not everyone welcomed the news with open arms. A small group of Boise State students stood outside the bingo hall chanting and waving signs. One student, named Lebralle Snowphlaik, wanted to speak with the Arbitrary to voice his disapproval, but ultimately declined because, “He couldn’t even…” So instead, we talked to a random teenager named Billy.

“Guns are cool I guess…” Billy said, “I once saw the Mythbusters chop a tree down with bullets, and that would be cool to do. I asked my parents if I could do that for my last birthday but they told me I’d shoot my eye out, so yeah…”

Billy is expected to enroll at Boise State next semester.

Parody: Don’t be fooled, the earth is flat

FACT! The earth is flat. Photo by Taylor Humby

By Peter Huguenin
Originally published April 3, 2018
Published in print only


The earth is flat, and people are stupid if they don’t believe it. I went for a walk in a park, and I noticed something really strange. There was no curve. Stunned by this development, I went to a local reptilian I knew and asked him if the earth was flat. He told me to leave or he would eat me, so I left.

I was stunned by this. For my entire life people had been telling me the earth was round. I ran to the nearest Home Depot (in retrospect it would have been a lot easier to drive) and grabbed a level. I found a spot that wasn’t on a hill and set the level down, and SHOCKER, it said it was flat.

According to Wikipedia there’s some dude from Tunisia who proved the earth was flat during one of the recent eclipses (does anyone actually know the difference between a lunar and solar eclipse). He also proved the earth is the center of the universe and only about 13,500 years old.

Which if this is all true, it means the Bible was right, and all you people who don’t believe in Jesus are going to hell.

They didn’t have the guys name on Wikipedia, and I was too lazy to keep researching so I didn’t reach out to interview him, but I did find a homeless guy in Boise that agrees the earth is flat. His name was Issac and he had a really cool dog with him.

“The earth is flat … (inaudible muttering),” Issac said while staring blankly at a fire hydrant. “Back in Vietnam I saw the earth get lit on fire for miles, but it was always in a straight line. It never curved.”

I honestly don’t know how people think the earth was still round, that would be like believing that the US went to the moon or that Lee Harvey Oswald worked alone in assassinating John F. Kennedy.

Like seriously, Oswald barely passed his marksmanship test. The shot he made would have been hard for an expert sniper let alone Oswald. Not to mention that Kennedy made enemies of his own vice president Lyndon B. Johnson, the CIA, the mafia, the Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro, and the security agency of the Soviet Union the KGB.

Some people argue the earth can’t be flat otherwise cats would have pushed everything off the edge of the earth by now, but that isn’t possible due to the polar ice walls around the earth. Other people will argue we have satellite photos of the earth being round, but I also saw a photo of a rhino that had the legs of a giraffe, and found out later that was photoshopped so I’m sure these photos of the earth are photoshopped also.

I had someone ask me why don’t people climb over the ice walls if the earth is flat. I thought everyone knew by now that NASA guards the ice wall to prevent people from climbing over it.

Imagine trying to play any sport if the earth was round, when ever you dribble to ball it would just roll around.

The globalist elites of society want you to believe that the earth is a globe, but I will not lay down and let them get away with this. Have you ever wondered why they use the world globalist, it’s because they’re tricking you.

What you don’t know is that the globalist have convinced people that the earth is round for one reason … to sell more globes! Globe sales sky rocketed once people stopped believing the earth was flat. It was really a smart business plan. They cornered the market.

We’re fighting for out right to live, to exist. And should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American Holiday, but as the day when the would declared in one voice: ‘We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive!’

Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!
The earth is flat. Me and hundreds of other people have proven it. Now stop believing in fairy tales and just accept the earth is flat.

Parody: Pineapple, the un-woke pizza topping

By Jacob Palmer
Originally published April 3, 2018
Published in print only



It has come to my attention that certain students, who shall go unnamed, have recently written into the Arbitrary arguing pineapples should belong on pizza. This suggestion is appalling, atrocious and insulting to every fair minded individual who reads this fine publication. Oh sure, those pro-pineapple deplorables will argue it “tastes good” or “livens up a pizza,” but as a three and one-quarter year macrosectional studies major, I and many other enlightened individuals see this topping for what it truly is, cultural appropriation.

Who’s culture are whe appropriating? The rich and valuable culture of the Hawaiian people, of which I have been an expert on ever since I watched that Moana movie. I read on a some Tumblr blog that all pineapples come from Hawaii, and with every bite of this imperialist pizza, we are crushing the rich history and culture of the Hawaiians between our cavity filled teeth. Whatever bits of pineapple that aren’t eaten get stuck between our teeth of oppression, and have to be picked out by either dental floss or my uncles really long fingernails. A more perfect analogy for imperialism can not be formed.

What’s more is that the ancient Hawaiian spirit that rests inside the pineapple is actively fighting against our imperialist dining preferences. Do you know why a pineapple tastes tangy? It’s probably never occurred to your privileged mind, but here’s a reality check: That tangy feeling is acid dissolving your skin! Clearly it’s an ancient polynesian curse punishing us for our flagrant disrespect of their culture!

And if that wasn’t enough. Our so-called President Trump (who might I remind you didn’t win the popular vote) voiced his approval of the topping. The writing is on the virtual wall.

Now as a reader you may say to yourself you’re innocent in this whole endeavor. You might even say you’ve never even had pinapple on pizza. But do not be fooled. The act of not having pinapple on pizza is only more proof, in an ever building pile of proof of your complete ignorance to problem of cultural appropriation. How are you expected to speak out against it if you haven’t participated in it yourself?

Thus I have created a perfect solution to this extreme problem. Anyone who whishes to order a Hawaiian pizza must first travel down to Hawaii to take an intensive eight week course on their culture. Then they must cut the pinapple down themselves and spend a customary ten hours morning the pinapples slaying. After which, they must carry the pineapple in a coffin back to their local pizza place for the pizza to be made.

Then, when the pizza is being made, the person who wishes to consume the pineapple pizza must stick their hand into the oven for a total of fifteen seconds to experience the pain of a culture being destroyed. Then, when the pizza is done, they must fly back to Hawaii to ask for the locals blessing to eat it. Then, and only then, can the person comsume this abomination of foodstuffs. I shall have the most important role in the procedure. I will supervise everything from behind my keyboard.

And just in case all of this perfect logic hasn’t enlightened you enough, let me ask you, what color are the teeth, rolls of dental floss, and really long fingernails that toy with the poor Hawaiian pineapple? They are, wait for it…white. Boom. End of debate. I owned everyone else. Bring on the finger snaps of approval.

Parody: Why pineapple belongs on pizza

By Brandon Rasmussen
Originally published April 3, 2018
Published in print only


When I was a young boy, I must have spent years of my life at my local Pizza Hut. I fondly remember shading in coloring page after coloring page with my three free crayons and purchasing tiny “Sticky Handz” from the quarter machines. All the while, an overwhelming scent dominated the space. The smell of my favorite pizza—Hawaiian.

As we all know, the subject of pineapple on pizza is one that has generated a fair amount of controversy as of late. The conflict has even reached Washington D.C., as seen in a scuffle last Thursday on Twitter between President Trump and Minnesota middle schooler Andrew Taft, where Trump called Taft a “weak loser” for preferring more traditional toppings.

“Pineapple is the KING of pizza toppings,” Trump tweeted at 3 a.m. on Thursday, March 29. “Little Andrew Taft are dumb and wrong.”

While I don’t agree with Trump’s methods, I do think he has a point. Pineapple pizza has been a staple of our country’s culture for at least tens of years. And to be fair, Taft does seem like kind of a loser. I checked his Facebook page last night and he has “accordion” listed under his interests. Sad.

But getting back to the issue at hand, a recent poll I conducted at the end of my Psych 101 class among a few of my friends shows that 80% of Americans actually prefer pineapple on pizza. Joey is the only one who said no, because he’s an asshole. The tangy aftertaste and welcoming color tone of everyone’s favorite fruit adds nothing but sunshine and flavor to Italy’s greatest dish.

According to my cousin, Brody, my great uncle was actually from Italy, and was one of the first people to ever put pineapple on pizza in the 1980s. He was kicked out of his country for his beliefs, at which point he sailed to America to find religious freedom. By banishing pineapple from pizza storefronts across the nation, we would be spitting on our heritage, a proud history of immigrants who came to this country to combine tropical fruits and lightly-smoked pig meat on a pasta dish. What is more American than that?

Furthermore, custom flavors like Hawaiian pizza are the backbone of mom and pop businesses like my local Pizza Hut, which rely on the unregulated selection of pizzas to survive. Where’s the sense of adventure and experimentation? Innovation is vital to the food industry in the United States. If pizza purists had their way, then before long, all we would have to eat is pepperoni. And I hate that stuff—it’s way too spicy for me.

In fact, I not only support pineapple on pizza, but why not other fruits? Blueberries could be good. What about strawberries? These sweet, healthy fruits were excellent additions to the yogurt in my breakfast this morning—let’s add them to lunch and dinner as well. I want to see a cantaloupe-sausage pizza with garlic crust. I want to see a New York-style pie with strawberry jam spread on an inch thick. This is the future of pizza. This is the future of America.

I know I’m in the minority on this issue—or, at least, I’ve decided I am—but the advancement of American ideals has always met opposition at first. I’m confident that we pineapple warriors will overcome, and we will not be silenced by the marinara elites. Stay strong, friends. We shall overcome.

Parody: Students vote for UF-100 as their favorite course

UF-100 has taught many students important life skills, such as not talking with your mouth full. Photo by Axel Quartarone.

By Jacob Palmer
Originally published April 3, 2018
Published in print only


UF-100 has been named Boise State students’ favorite class after the results of the first ever “Name Your Favorite Class” ballot were made public. A whole 12 students voted over the weekend and unanimously chose the introductory class, citing the valuable skills it teaches as the reason.

“The class has like, taught me a lot and stuff,” said Amanda Wullriver, a freshman Icelandic studies major. “I thought I’d have to take some boring English class or something for my first class, but now I just listen to some professor talk about passion and following your dreams and we take a trip to the library…it’s pretty sweet I guess.”

Other students, such as Radisson Newfefer, a sophomore taxidermy major viewed the class a vital lifeline. Newfefer said there are many skills he now uses in his other classes that were taught to him in UF-100.

“I didn’t know how to even look at a book, let alone read one before UF-100,” Newfefer said. “I would just stare at the cover and wonder why I wasn’t learning anything. Now I know that I have to open the cover to read the book. But I still don’t know what those weird markings inside the books are. I guess we’ll go over that in UF-200.”

Reactions from professors who teach the class ranged from surprise to spontaneous speeches about teamwork and collaboration. Biology professor Jennifer Zibrillastin said teaching the class has been her greatest accomplishment.

“Teaching students biology and STEM-related topics has been nothing compared to the true skill UF-100 gives to my students,” Zibrillastin said. “If my students hadn’t learned how to pick up a pencil in that class, the rest of my classes would have been a complete uphill battle.”

In celebration, Boise State has announced they will now offer a UF-400 class for advanced students, teaching skills in breathing through your nose, eating with a fork and walking backwards. This class will be mandatory and will have to be taken a minimum of four times to qualify for a degree.

They have assured students this new class is absolutely necessary to teach people “the skills they need” in the workforce. All of the sections for the new course are already fully enrolled in with standing room only.