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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mailbag

    Hall shows liberals how to argue

    This is in response to Wednesday’s opinion column by Caitlin Hall about the forced resignation of Harvard President Lawrence Summers. I almost hit the floor when I actually read somebody discuss the facts stated in Summers’ speech, instead of just tearing it apart because he or she didn’t agree. That is what is wrong with the liberals in this country – they are too quick to tear someone apart because a “”distasteful or inconvenient”” comment is made. They are so afraid that somebody else might actually be right, that they will crucify those who oppose them.

    To me, the idea of “”equality”” that they preach from their high horses is the furthest thing from what they actually practice. I believe that for there to ever be equality in this world, we need to be willing to listen to those who hold opinions different from ours (distasteful or inconvenient as they may be) and not burn at the stake anybody who dares to think we are wrong. We need to realize that our ideas are not always the right ones, and that (gasp!) somebody else might actually be right.

    So bravo, Hall – we need more people like you out there who are willing to look at facts before attacking the integrity of somebody who is doing nothing more than exercising his freedom to rationally present the facts in an effort to debate an important topic facing our society.

    David Brown
    civil engineering junior

    Flag bill’s cost minimal, purpose noble

    Monday’s Arizona Daily Wildcat editorial that called legislation to place American flags in Arizona classrooms “”stupidity and the pursuit of the inane”” is insulting and shameful. The American flag stands as a symbol of freedom and equality. Throughout our nation’s history, millions of brave men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces have made huge sacrifices to protect the freedoms that our flag represents and many of them have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

    I believe that the presence of the flag in public school classrooms is a powerful teaching tool that helps young students learn to respect our country, our freedoms and our way of life. The flag represents everything that is good about America, and anything that may not be perfect about our country can be changed because of what our flag represents. The flag represents what gives us the right to support or to protest our government. Our flag represents freedom of speech.

    A properly displayed American flag should also be a permanent fixture inside classrooms at universities and colleges. While I was still in school at the UA, I created the Operation Angel: Flag Fund of Arizona, which had the goal of raising enough money through private contributions to permanently place American flags inside all UA classrooms. I disagree with the decision of UA President Peter Likins to disallow Operation Angel from placing donated American Flags in classrooms. There would have been no need to ask for help from the state Legislature, but the opposition of Likins was too much of an obstacle. As absurd as it might sound, I was forced to go to the Arizona state Legislature in order to be allowed to place donated American flags inside classrooms at a publicly funded school in the United States.

    I wholeheartedly support passage of House Bill 2583 in the Arizona Legislature. HB 2583 is similar to Florida’s Carey Baker Freedom Flag Act of 2004. This Florida legislation mandated that all public colleges and universities in Florida had American flags installed inside of their classrooms by August 2005. The Florida law gave each university president the charge of setting up and directing donation accounts to pay for the flags. Not to be forgotten, this bill was passed with bipartisan support, unanimously, through both houses of the Florida Legislature.

    Arizona’s HB 2583 contains many stipulations I wanted to be sure were part of any bill passed. It ensures that all flags are manufactured in the U.S., that all flags are displayed correctly, that this bill will not affect private or parochial schools and that ample time is allowed for completely funding this initiative with private donations. For those who might have legitimate concerns about what to do if a flag is stolen or vandalized, remember that any person who steals or destroys a flag should be prosecuted like anybody else who steals or destroys university property. With this bill, the cost to tax payers will be minimal if anything, and it does not cost anything to maintain flags either. I applaud Rep. Russell Pearce for writing an excellent bill.

    Tyler Mott
    UA alumnus

    Wildcat’s forum absence ‘cowardly’

    Earlier this year, when the Wildcat was named the best college newspaper in the country, I felt pride that our university had such a well-respected publication. However, yesterday a debate was held in the Alumni Plaza on freedom of expression, and the Wildcat was invited but refused the invitation. I am baffled as to why your editors would decline an opportunity to engage in the process that you so proudly claim to support, as shown by your response to an outcry over the Muslim cartoon you published.

    Simply put, your newspaper does not use free speech to promote debate, but to shield itself from criticism and to hide behind. You wanted to stimulate debate on this issue, but rather than face your opponents in a public forum, you choose to defend yourselves in the sanctuary of your own publication in the form of editorials and cartoons. As a journalism student, I find this reprehensible and, dare I say, cowardly. You’ve done a disservice not only to the community that you serve, but to yourselves and your credibility.

    Nick Hornung
    journalism junior

    Underfunding cripples teaching grad student’s progress

    Yesterday I had a conversation with a student about her grade on an assignment. She said, “”But I e-mailed you about this, and you never responded.”” I want to apologize to her, and to all of my future students in advance of ever meeting them. It’s true; I cannot respond to every e-mail. Believe me, I want to be a resource person for you, not only with your writing in my class, but with your writing in all of your college classes – because I am your writing teacher.

    Please know that I am doing my best, but as a full-time graduate student teaching a 2/2 courseload, I am stretched to my capacity. I realize it shouldn’t be your job to concern yourself with my studies; frankly, I agree. It’s the dean’s job to concern himself with the material conditions of graduate students in the humanities, but since he’s not doing his job, it falls on you by default. Again, sorry.

    I also would like to apologize in advance that I will be unable to read every single page you turn in to me with a keen eye. Further, I cannot give you the opportunity to revise every assignment you turn in. Even though it’s against my pedagogical better judgment, I simply don’t have the time to re-read the work of 50 students. I know that revision is critical for the improvement of your writing skills, and I could absolutely engage in that kind of work if I was teaching one section of writing. But the dean has not considered the expertise of the faculty and staff in my department or that of our professional associations. If he had, he would be negotiating to attain better conditions for all graduate students in the humanities.

    I apologize in advance that I will be unable to continue to write letters of recommendation for all of you. I realize that because I know your name in what is a smaller class than most of your lecture courses, it seems logical you would ask me. I agree here as well. But with 50 students per semester, I just don’t have time to accommodate everyone. While in the past I have done so, it’s time I start “”allocating my resources”” and “”maximizing efficiency,”” to use Dean Charles Tatum’s language.

    As my excellent teaching evaluations both from students and from my overworked teaching advisers will testify, I have clearly been devoting more time to you than to my degree. And now, despite the fact that I began my program with a master’s degree and that I am in my third year, I still have three years to go. Unfortunately, I only have a teaching stipend for five years, and therefore, it appears that I have shot myself in the foot by prioritizing your education over completing my own.

    It is my sincere hope and plea that Tatum will advocate for graduate students in the humanities, rather than continuing to wash his hands of his responsibility and throw budget numbers at us. It is not my job to be an administrator who understands the intricacies of college funding – it’s his. It’s my job to be available to my students, to help them with their writing – exercising the expertise that my graduate education has afforded me. When the dean does his job, I will be better able to do mine.

    Samantha Sansevere
    Rhetoric composition and the teaching of English graduate student graduate associate teacher, UA Writing Program

    College a ‘liberal’ experience

    I would like to congratulate Donald Wilson for completely missing the point in his letter. It is a waste of his, or anyone’s, time to sit around at a computer writing angry letters to the Wildcat belittling other people’s opinions and broadcasting hasty generalizations to the world. Many of Wilson’s points were simple opinion and some were downright false facts. Every single “”characteristic”” that he listed belonging to “”liberals”” is a generalization, and I’m sure if someone who labels themselves liberal had written a similar letter about conservatives, Wilson would have been outraged.

    Ironically, in many ways college is a “”liberal”” experience. The dictionary definition of liberal is one who is “”not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.”” This does not mean that everyone who comes to college must be a liberal or have the same opinions. What it means is that we come to college to learn and open our minds to new experiences and form our opinions from those experiences. If we come with closed minds, what’s the point of even attempting to learn? We might as well stay at home.

    Every person who claims to be a liberal, or a conservative for that matter, may hold different opinions from another liberal or conservative. There are as many opinions and ideas as there are people. The one thing I do know is that writing letters like Wilson’s will get us nowhere in our current political climate. If we can’t learn to actually sit down and speak intelligently with those that we disagree with and learn to compromise and acknowledge the opinions of others, we’re never going to get anywhere. Writing angry authoritarian letters is no way to persuade someone to your side, no matter where on the spectrum your affiliation lies.

    Lastly, America will indeed be the “”enemy””, Wilson, if it is full of people like you who are unwilling to listen to both sides of an argument. We’re all flawed. Conservatives are by no means perfect, either. Hypocrites can lie on either side of the fence. Maybe before Wilson commented on how “”messed up”” liberals were, he ought to have stopped to think about just how “”messed up”” his own letter was shaping up to be and lay the fault where it truly belongs: on the flaws of humanity and our inability to communicate effectively with those who believe differently than us. Thanks for the lesson, Wilson.

    Ashley Warren
    creative writing junior

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