ENG103: Final Paper Topics

For your final paper (8-10 pages) prepare a treatment of one of the issues below. In your work, be sure to fully research and document the issue, identify key arguments and counterarguments (as well as their warrants and backing), evaluate all evidence, and propose solutions (using the Rogerian method if applicable).

Issue 1: AB1266 (School Success and Opportunity Act) was designed to “ensure that California public schools understand their responsibility for the success and well-being of all students, including transgender students. It will allow transgender students to fully participate in all school activities like sports team and have access to facilities that match their gender identity” (ACLUNC). Opponents of the measure, however, claim that AB1266 is “an invasion of student privacy to open sensitive school facilities such as showers, restrooms and locker rooms to students of the opposite sex” (Privacy for All Students). The opponents of AB1266 have begun a referendum to prevent the California law from being enacted on January 1, 2014.

Issue 2: On November 6, 2013, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments over whether the “mostly Christian prayers” (New York Times) that begin some town meetings are constitutional.  The two women challenging the prayers assert the invocations are “often explicitly sectarian […] and town residents were forced to listen to them in order to participate in local government” (New York Times). While the First Amendment states that there is to be no government establishment of a religion, the town (Greece, NY) claims it’s always been done that way. The case, Town of Greece v. Galloway, is also addressed in a NYT editorial.

Issue 3: In November 2010, WikiLeaks, the information dissemination organization fronted by Julian Assange, made secret US State Department cables available. The State Department claimed that US security and personnel were jeopardized by the release of the cables; the US Justice Department has an ongoing investigation of Assange, who may be guilty of espionage (Washington Post). In May 2013, a NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, release classified details about the agency’s mass surveillance program (Washington Post). The US charged Snowden with espionage, but he fled to Russia, where he now lives as a fugitive. Views on the incidents are widely divergent (as shown by this piece) and pit the freedom of information against national security.

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