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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

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    Horowitz right to criticize liberal academia

    I must have read a different David Horowitz article than members of the Arizona Daily Wildcat’s opinions board. In their description of “”Abusive Academics: The University of Arizona”” (“”Fighting fire with … nothing””), Horowitz “”attacked members of the UA faculty”” and proposed a regime of government “”government regulations”” designed to silence the chattering academic caste.

    The Horowitz article I read, however, offered no such recommendations for stifling speech and the only attack it leveled against UA professors was to cast doubt on the universal statements and questionable course material proposed in course descriptions.

    Take, for instance, this bromide from the course description of “”Feminist Political Theory””: “”gender is socially constructed.”” It is? What’s the point to this class, then, if it only seeks to reinforce an established fact? But more to the point, Wildcat editors themselves, rather than focusing on Horowitz’s arguments, chose instead to attack his conservative credentials.

    It seems likely that the editors either did not read Horowitz’s article or are simply unwilling to accept any form of criticism from outside the UA community, a simpleminded scholastic boosterism. Moreover, they ignored the context of Horowitz’s critique of UA and other universities as part of sustained campaign for what he calls an “”Academic Bill of Rights,”” basically, a call to end ideological discrimination in academia.

    Had Wildcat editors chosen to investigate further, they may have discovered the myriad of studies that show the woeful state of intellectual diversity in the academy. Take for instance the 2005 study in the academic journal Critical Review that found in certain disciplines, Democrats outnumber Republicans by margins as great as 21-to-1 in anthropology and sociology, 9-to-1 in political and legal philosophy, 8-to-5 in history, while approaching parity in economics at 3-to-1.

    Overall, the study determined Democrats outnumber Republicans by 8-to-1 in the whole of the academy. Is this the diversity we need in academics? Horowitz contends that conservative thinkers have been systematically excluded from positions in academia expressly because of their views (essentially, discriminated against), while professors with leftist views have been given license to inject their own political philosophies into curriculums.

    While this may or may not be true, it offers an express challenge to institutions of higher learning: Why is one end of the political spectrum so disproportionately represented among faculty? An interesting footnote: The Critical Review study found more than 90 percent of Democratic professors surveyed support laws to ban discriminatory hiring practices. Apparently, these sensibilities don’t extend into the realm of ideas. Thanks again to the Wildcat for only presenting half of the story.

    Patrick McNamara UA alumnus

    Time to support the troops

    The UA College Republicans would like to invite everyone on campus to Support the Troops week today through Friday. Every day this week we will have a table set up on the UA Mall where anyone can stop by to make donations, write a thank you note and gather information regarding the United States military.

    We will be accepting cash donations as well as items that can be delivered overseas in care packages. On Wednesday, we will host a bake sale and will provide valentines that will also be sent overseas. All donations will be given to the USO, a reputable organization that provides services for the troops, as well as organizes entertainment for our men and women serving overseas. For more information about the USO organization please visit www.uso.org.

    Throughout the week, various representatives from each branch of the United States military will be on campus as well. They will be recruiting and providing information about all the important things they do. Please stop by the table and show your support for our brave men and women serving in the military who selflessly give their lives to our country.

    If you have any questions about how to support the United States military, contact me at mcmahon3@email.arizona.edu. As the proud sister of a United States Marine, I hope many people will do their part to show their support, as it is very much appreciated by anyone who is serving or is the loved one of someone serving.

    Erin McMahon junior majoring in Spanish

    Domestic exchange beneficial

    I am writing in response to the editorial in Tuesday’s Wildcat regarding domestic exchange programs (“”‘Studying’ on the slopes””). I coordinate the National Student Exchange Program for the UA. NSE is a domestic exchange program that gives students the opportunity to study at another member institution (of which there are 190 across the United States, U.S. territories and Canada) for one semester or academic year.

    I was disappointed to read your editorial in light of the experience NSE students have while on exchange. Students who go on exchange through NSE are required to be full-time students. They go on exchange to explore their majors in a different light, through different instructors. They go on exchange to explore a new geographic area and gain a different perspective on life and learning than what they have at UA.

    They are not going to have a “”vacation”” like the student you highlighted in your editorial. You state: “”College isn’t about taking a ‘vacation’; it’s exploring new ideas and, hopefully, preparing for a globalized world, neither of which seem to be addressed by domestic exchange programs.”” I agree that college isn’t about taking a vacation but firmly disagree that students who participate in a domestic exchange program aren’t giving themselves an arena to grow and enrich themselves.

    An important part of the exchange experience is living and learning in a different area; we encourage students to take advantage of all that geographic area has to offer. That, combined with the classroom experience, is what makes the exchange such an enriching experience. Students challenge themselves to go to a new place that is unfamiliar; they are most definitely not “”taking the easy way out,”” as you describe.

    Students who participate in the NSE program return to the UA saying that the exchange was one of the best experiences of their life, not because they had a vacation, but rather because they took advantage of an opportunity to step outside their comfort zone and engage in a new experience that enriched them academically, culturally and socially. Please try to do more extensive research before making such general statements in future editorials.

    Bess Ecelbarger advising specialist and coordinator, National Student Exchange Program

    Wildcat should work to dispel greek stereotypes

    Contrary to what was printed in Wednesday’s paper, Pi Kappa Phi fraternity is not on alcohol probation with the Dean of Students Office, nor was Pi Kappa Phi contacted for comment on the article as the author stated in the article (“”Seven fraternities, one sorority on probation for alcohol violations””). I find it troubling that these blatant misrepresentations of the truth are deemed “”news”” in the Wildcat. I also find it ironic that the Wildcat continues to endorse and encourage the negative stereotypes of the greek community.

    It would be refreshing to look at the front page and see an article about how Pi Kappa Phi raised more than $17,000 last semester for people with disabilities, how Pi Kappa Phi has a grade point average above the all men’s average, how Pi Kappa Phi sends approximately 30 men each year to a children’s camp to spend a weekend building nature walks, ramps, docks and many other improvements that allow children with disabilities to enjoy the same camp experiences as “”normal”” children.

    It’s time for the Wildcat to step up and help to change the stereotypes associated with the greek community; Pi Kappa Phi has been doing its part for a while.

    John Snowberger III president, Pi Kappa Phi philosophy senior

    Vegan options important for college students

    I was glad to see Alex Dalenberg’s Feb. 7 article (“”‘Vicious Vegan’ enters the ring””) because it gets people thinking about the health benefits of cutting animal products from one’s diet. Research has shown that vegetarians are 50 percent less likely to develop heart disease, and they have 40 percent the cancer rate of meat-eaters. Plus, meat-eaters are nine times more likely to be obese than vegans.

    And since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, let’s not forget that decreased blood flow doesn’t just affect your heart or brain; the controllable risk factors for atherosclerosis, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure, will often produce erectile failure before affecting the heart. Guys might want to think about that before chomping into the next greasy bite of Kentucky Fried Chicken!

    The good news is one in four college students feel vegan options are important for several reasons, including cruelty to animals, environmental protection and better health. Students go to school to be informed and apply their knowledge to the real world. Who really wants to wake up every morning knowing they are going to pay for animals to be crammed into cages, beaten and then bled to death?

    When young people learn more than 1 million animals are slaughtered for food every hour, they understandably want to avoid being part of that violence. Colleges like the UA are rapidly increasing their vegetarian-friendly options because of student demand for healthy meals that do not contribute to animals’ suffering.

    From faux BBQ “”ribs”” and soy cheese pizza to vegan cheesecakes, vegetarians can eat all the delicious food they want without supporting practices such as confining animals in tiny cages or slaughtering them. If you visit peta2.com/college, you can see the full list of peta2’s Most Vegetarian Friendly Schools and get tips on compassionate consumer choices.

    Pulin Modi college campaign coordinator, http://www.peta2.com

    ‘Slick Willy’ not impeached for sex

    Lila Burgos erred in her Feb. 8 Diss-Course response “”You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling.”” Aside from the notion that calling Bill Clinton a “”perfectly good president”” is an arguable claim, presidents cannot be impeached for “”their love affairs.””

    According to Article II, Section IV of the Constitution, they can only be impeached for “”treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”” Slick Willy was impeached not for simply immoral behavior, but for grand jury perjury and obstruction of justice. After the rabble of Clinton, Lewinsky, Starr and Jones, I’d say the American people got their fair share of drama.

    Dan Greenberg political science freshman

    Frat coverage ‘sensational’

    I would like to respond to the hideously libelous article by Kate G. Stevens on the front page of the Wildcat on Wednesday (“”Seven fraternities, one sorority on probation for alcohol violations””). I was shocked to see my fraternity’s letters under a sensational headline just under the fold of the paper, in what I hail as only the most recent of persecutions against Greek Life perpetrated by our only (and one-sided) source of campus news.

    I feel as though the Wildcat made every effort to display the greek system as one riddled with stammering drunks who continuously engage in wild feats of alcoholic consumption until the dean or police have to corral us into decency. Ye gods! What will the UA community do with this scourge of frat boys and sorority girls gone wild?

    Well, stop heading to greek row with your picket signs for a moment, fellow students, because the paper got the facts a bit mixed up here. First of all, our fraternity is not on social probation. We have been able to hold registered parties with alcohol for the entirety of the year. The facts are that while there have been hiccups, fraternity parties are the most controlled events on campus where alcohol is served.

    Greeks are all regulated by strict rules handed down from the university, which keep everyone in attendance much safer than, say, a random house party thrown by non-greek students, which happen far more frequently and where literally anything can happen. The greek houses also face harsh retributions for breaking these rules, as you can undoubtedly note.

    However, what the reporter failed to mention was that probation can be brought down upon a house for a myriad of reasons, not just alcohol, and that’s true in most of these cases. This information may have been brought to light sooner if the reporter actually checked with representatives of the fraternities that have been viciously libeled instead of copping out with an “”officials from all seven fraternities declined to comment”” quote.

    Maybe that is because said officials were never asked, since I know I certainly wasn’t given the opportunity to comment.

    Rhys Williams president, Sigma Phi Epsilon freshman majoring in English

    Reid Park Zoo unfair to the elephants

    Andi Berlin’s Feb. 8 column (“”It’s all happening at the zoo””) was a mildly amusing discussion of human antics until Ms. Berlin stated “”the cool thing about the Reid Park Zoo is that you can see all of the animals up-close”” because the cages are smaller than the ones at the Phoenix Zoo.

    Yes, the cages at the Reid Park Zoo are “”built with the viewers in mind.”” And many of the needs of the animals were, and continue to be, passed over in consideration of seeing “”all the animals up-close.”” Many of the enclosures are so small that it’s disturbing to any contentious and compassionate individual. A number of the animals exhibit severe physical and psychological disorders because of their captivity and the lack of space, including stereotypical behaviors, joint diseases, skin disorders, reproductive problems and even premature death.

    The Reid Park Zoo currently has the opportunity to improve the condition of many animals residing in its care and has made an affirmative decision not to. Over a year ago, The Elephant Sanctuary offered to take both elephants at the zoo, at no cost to either the zoo or the city. Despite the overwhelming support to send the elephants to the Sanctuary, the zoo persuaded the City Council to spend $18 million of taxpayers’ money to construct another, inadequate enclosure for the elephants. This new exhibit will not improve the elephant’s condition.

    The largest U.S. zoo enclosure for elephants is less than eight acres and that is still woefully inadequate for the world’s largest land mammal. Reid Park Zoo is only 17 acres and yet is home to over 500 animals. By not accepting the Sanctuary’s offer to take the elephants, the zoo is diverting funds and space these other animals desperately need. Instead of commenting about how wonderful the small exhibits are, the Wildcat should encourage the Reid Park Zoo and the City Council to act responsibly by putting the best interest of the animals before the entertainment of zoo-goers.

    Nikia Fico director, Save Tucson Elephants

    ‘Free’ music punishes small artists

    I am writing this in response to Lillie Kilburn’s column in Friday’s Wildcat (“”Music becomes a little more free””). I am a recording artist and composer, and her article sounds like she is advocating stealing from artists.

    Does technology thatÿenables anyone to “”rip”” aÿCD – and there’s an appropriate word, coming from “”ripoff”” – justify doing so? Kilburn asks where Gwen Stefani would get her hairspray money from if her royalties were not collectable. How about artists like myself who depend on revenues from our music in order to eat? Do you do your work for free? If you write a book, do you want to get paid for each copy, or just let people download it for free because they can?

    As for Kilburn’s suggestion that music CDs contain advertising as a way for artists to be able to collect income from their work, what should someone like me sell besides the music? Hairspray? Do you enjoy watching commercials on TV?ÿWhy would I want to have a bunch of advertising polluting my artwork?

    Kilburn says to big music companies, “”we’re looking at you.”” As much of an unfair profit as these companies make off their artists, at least they pay their artists.ÿBe careful about advocating theft. You don’t want people stealing from you, do you?

    Danny August tutor, SALT center

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