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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mailbag

    Union fee editorials ill-informed

    I appreciate your extensive coverage of the proposed student union fee. However, I was disappointed to read the Arizona Daily Wildcat’s editorials Monday and Tuesday regarding the proposed fee. Although editorials are clearly not bound to the same levels of factual reporting as a news piece is, I was disturbed by the lack of accuracy in both pieces and the shallow approach to the issue.

    Most important to understanding this issue is to truly understand the mission of the student union. Only about half its total space is dedicated to retail enterprises. The rest of its space is dedicated to its larger role of serving as a campus community center. More than 35,000 students, faculty and visitors use the student union daily. The lounges, art gallery, Social Justice Center, Center for Student Involvement and Leadership and the information center among others are not meant to generate revenue, nor should they. Therefore, dining services and a modest amount of university support totally support the entire enterprise.

    Your premise that the food service is being run in a deficit and inefficiently is absolutely untrue. The dining services are well-managed and are making a profit. In fact, the newer business models of the Highland Project and IQ Fresh have been especially well-received by the campus community. However, it is virtually impossible for the food services to completely support the rest of the facility.

    Rising employee costs and building maintenance on a 400,000-square-foot building are significant.

    The staff in the student union has been proactive and creative in looking for alternative ways to find support. CSIL is not only viewed as a national model for the quality of its leadership programs but also for the innovative partnerships with business that fund significant portions of this program. All the outside businesses that are part of the student union also provide critical support to student programs.

    Even with a well-managed food service and successful fund development efforts, there is a gap in being able to maintain the level of quality in the student union. This is not unique to the UA! Unfortunately, the authors of the Wildcat editorial did not look at models in other schools around the country or in this state, or they would have seen that fees and/or mandatory meal plans are the norm rather than the exception.

    The goal of this fee is to provide a modest base of income to the student union to support those areas not supported by food service revenues. The fee will ensure the continuation of world-class programs serving all students and the maintenance of world-class facilities. Because of my professional role on campus, I am aware of the esteem in which the student union is held. Colleagues from around the country (over 200 so far) visit this campus regularly as they get ready to plan their own expansions. It is unfortunate that the Wildcat chose a parochial, ill-informed approach to its decision about whether to support the fee.

    Whether or not the fee passes, my hope is that students will have accurate information upon which to make their decision and that students will thoughtfully study this issue.

    Melissa Vito
    associate vice president for campus life and dean of students

    Christians have little to fear from recent challenges

    There are some facts that were missing from Janne Perona’s Tuesday column, “”Christianity under fire.”” First off, while the “”Gospel of Judas”” does contradict the rest of the Gospels on certain long-held beliefs, the popular misconception is that the Gospels were actually written by the names attributed to them. The difference in the dates between the Gospel of Judas and the rest differs by only a few decades, but that difference in time means very little when all the Gospels were written more than a century after the event they described took place and subject to the transformation of more than 100 years of oral tradition. That’s not even accounting for the council that took place to establish an acceptable collection of books more than 1,000 years later when it was first translated into English. That’s more than enough time for folklore to enter the equation.

    I would not view these “”attacks”” on Christianity to be much more than reasonable doubt placed upon a belief system based on a set of books with no provable veracity beyond faith and the supposed influence of the Holy Spirit through centuries of oral tradition. I say there’s nothing wrong with questioning Christianity. A Christian would just as soon claim Judaism, Islam or Wicca is missing the point as the reverse. Christians ought to keep in mind that these “”attacks”” are not personal but pointing out doubtable portions of a religion they do not believe in. And with about 78 percent of Americans (according to CIA estimates) claiming some form of Christianity, I really don’t know what all the hullabaloo is about; Christians can hardly be victims when they claim the majority.

    Ryan Brestel
    creative writing sophomore

    Union fee the lesser of evils

    The coverage I have been reading on the proposed student union fee from your newspaper has been saying that the fee will end at $40. However, in a student employee session, on the union Web site, and the ballot itself, the fee is stated to be capped at $20. The difference between a $40 fee and a $20 fee is great, enough so that it could cause people who would have otherwise been pro-fee to be against it. So what is it, Wildcat, $20 or $40?

    Across the nation, many universities and colleges either run off of money from the institution, a mandatory meal plan or a fee. In the face of a mandatory meal plan, which was widely rejected, or higher prices, which is sure to come without this $20 fee, it seems like the lesser of evils.

    Ronnie Novacek
    political science and sociology senior

    ASUA position shows group doesn’t care about grad students

    I find the Associated Students of the University of Arizona leadership’s position regarding graduate students to be mind-boggling.

    I participated in the recent Graduate and Professional Student Council referendum as well as an earlier vote by the English Graduate Union on the same issue. In both instances, I voted to sever ties with ASUA. In my mind, they do not represent me or my concerns; the GPSC does. My peers overwhelmingly agreed. How can the ASUA claim to value the graduate students when they are ignoring what we have to say on this issue?

    I’ve read the claim by Erin Hertzog that one voice is stronger than two, but I have yet to see that assertion backed up with reason or evidence. It seems that the true rationale behind Hertzog’s rhetoric is “”my voice is better than anyone else’s.””

    The ASUA needs to realize that the graduate students do not want to be associated with it any longer. Further insistence of their “”right”” to represent us is bullying, plain and simple.

    Ryan Paul
    graduate student in English

    New gospel poses little threat to Christianity

    I must voice my strong disagreement with Jonathan Latson’s letter yesterday. It would seem that Latson did not even read Perona’s column, as she never claimed that the Gospel of Judas was inauthentic. Indeed, she asserted the exact opposite sentiment when she said, “”there is no question that the document is real.”” She correctly argued that there are those in positions of influence in this country (National Geographic among them) that are using an obviously gnostic gospel to discredit the four Gospels accepted by orthodox Christians worldwide.

    As one who did study textual criticism (in addition to the other higher literary criticisms) during my undergrad years at the UA, and as an evangelical Christian, I find Perona’s argument to be very relevant. The Judas text merely confirms what we already knew about it and about the gnostic movement in general; it is singularly irrelevant to today’s Christian theology. However, because it allows a pale of doubt to be cast on orthodox Christian theology, it is propped up by those who seek to damage the historical credibility of the Christian faith. To deny this conclusion concerning the attention that gospel has recently received is to deny the blatantly obvious. Latson, perhaps you should use your perch high up on your soapbox to examine all of the evidence pertaining to this issue before you grace us all with a woefully ill-considered opinion.

    Silas Montgomery
    UA alumnus

    Immigrants should embrace American tradition

    Kudos to Francisco J. Gonzales and his grandfather in expressing their patriotism for this great country of ours. However, I feel inclined to take protest to some of his remarks.

    Gonzales asserts that Spanish-born speakers prefer to cherish their culture, heritage and language. While this is great and shouldn’t be forgotten, it should also not be forgotten that we are in an English-speaking society, and those same speakers must respect that. As someone who works here in Arizona, I cannot say how frustrating it is when customers come and expect me to speak Spanish; in fact, there were several times when a customer became vocally upset because of my “”ignorance.”” There should be no reason why one should abandon one’s heritage, but those same people should also embrace ours and not force theirs upon others.

    Second, Gonzales states that the real threat comes from white, Protestant southerners who “”unleashed a bloody civil war.”” Southerners did not start the war; they were legally able to secede from the Union by the ratified Constitution of that era. In fact, it was the beloved President Lincoln who actually invaded a then-separate nation (in the CSA via Virginia) with 175,000 men to “”preserve the Union;”” the war was not fought to preserve slavery, but to keep Yankee politicians from demanding Southerners to conform to their reforms and agendas. The Union was not as innocent as perceived, for they themselves practiced indentured servitude, which is simply another form of human degradation.

    Gonzales, while he is a fine example of a true American patriot, seems to fail in his grasp of the “”true”” villains of America. It is not based on skin color by any means, but it is based on someone who devalues American culture (including speaking English) and customs. Let any person who values everything about America wholly be a welcome addition to our great citizens, no matter the skin color. But let those who are keen on insisting that all of the “”naive”” whites must accept their culture without accepting ours

    remain in their native lands until they can accept to take on American culture and heritage in addition to their own great heritage.

    Matt Winter
    classics and history junior

    Flying Spaghetti Monster the true deity

    I feel in my bones – with every ounce of my being – that this world is guided by Invisible Pink Unicorns, blessed be their holy hooves. They are extremely powerful. I know this because they are capable of being invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, the Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is based upon both logic and faith. I have faith that they are pink; I logically know that they are invisible because I can’t see them. The IPUs, of course, were created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster with His Noodly Appendage. Again, I feel very strongly about all of this and as such know it to be true.

    I also know that on a day-to-day basis, I am persecuted by scientists trying to offer natural explanations for the world who ignore the immense power of the FSM and IPUs and blatantly contradict the stories they (FSM and IPUs) have given us. I can think of no reasons why scientists would attempt such undertakings.

    It is so clear that the FSM and IPUs exist, so clear that the FSM himself inspired the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, that there is no reason to ask questions.

    While I realize that you also feel very strongly about your beliefs, they are completely ridiculous, and as such I have no qualms with offhandedly dismissing their validity.

    Matt Styer
    international studies sophomore

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