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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Editorial: The Staff On…

A state senator from Surprise, Ariz., is pushing forward legislation that would permit university and community college faculty who earn a state-issued permit for carry concealed weapons to carry guns on campus. Supporters of the legislation say that a weapons-free zone, such as a college campus, offers criminals an opportunity where they know no law-abiding citizen will be able to defend him or herself. With this new legislation, they claim that faculty members could serve as the first line of defense.

A college campus is no place for a deadly weapon. Having guns of any kind on campus will create fear much greater than the fear of the hypothetical criminal might. Further, if it is widely known that a staff member has a gun in his or her office, there is a greater risk of that weapon being stolen and used for the very type of incident against which this legislation purports to protect.

The state-issued concealed weapons permit that would allow professors to stash their handguns next to their office copy of In Cold Blood requires few hours of training. This is hardly enough training to justify the expectation of professors to defend the student body against this type of criminal. With so little required experience, the danger of accidental discharge or improper storage of weapons is much greater than the risk of an incident in which the weapon could be of use.

The UA already employs campus security officers who carry weapons and have the training to defend students and faculty. University faculty should be packing students’ minds­—not packing heat. Legislators should trust the existing campus security and leave both the lecturing and the firearms to their respective experts.

Humanities helpful, if hefty

In a guest column for the Arizona Daily Star, UA staff member Eric Toso argued that programs in the humanities should no longer bear the greatest load of budget shortfalls and staff cuts. He cited the Writing Program, which has been cut by nearly half, as an important part of the undergraduate learning experience that is in danger of being eliminated. “”In times like these we need more of the humanities, not less,”” Toso wrote.

Toso is correct to note that “”poetry, literature, cultural and language awareness, civic discourse, ability to frame and present an argument  and to listen to others with a critical, self-reflective stance are all being shoved into the background of the student experience.””

Toso also noted that humanities programs face more cuts than, for example, the Eller College of Management, but this is a practical and defensible discrepancy.  The largest purpose of the university education is to provide students with the skills to have a job in the real world. Graduates with a degree in business from Eller have much better career prospects than any graduate in the humanities.  According to a December article in the New York Times (“”At Colleges, Humanities Job Outlook Gets Bleaker,”” Dec. 17), the Modern Language Association reports that the number of jobs available in the humanities will decline by 37 percent in the next year.

However, as Toso notes, those business majors do need to know how to write. Many Writing Program students are also native speakers of other languages, and the university does need to provide for the needs of all students. While Toso is correct in that programs in the humanities should not be cut altogether, the trim they are experiencing is not entirely without reason or benefit.

Staff editorials are written and determined by the Arizona Daily Wildcat editorial board. This column was compiled by Lance Madden, Dan Sotelo, Steven Kwan and Anna Swenson. Disagreements, comments and rebuttals may be sent to letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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