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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mail Bag

    Engineering more ‘useful’ than liberal arts

    In response to the letters I have read (both on the Web site and in print) I would like to defend both myself and all the devoted engineering students. First off, a liberal arts degree does not make one more culturally literate than a “”boring”” engineer (or architect, doctor or scientist). A person can substantially broaden one’s horizons by “”simply”” reading a book, just as many of the most famous self-taught authors, statesmen, theologians and philosophers of previous eras. Our entire civilization was built by engineers, technicians and people such as mentioned previously.

    This has been a bone I have wanted to pick for some time now and the present debate on the issue of academic political bias was merely an impetus to finally do so (though I must admit my attack was as crass as those accusations have indicated; God, I love messing with people who take themselves so seriously). I am also annoyed with the mass of opinions tossed around by liberal arts majors in this publication and I would like to see more contributions by students in useful majors (yes, I will use that term).

    Sadly, it is hard to do so with the challenging class load that we are subject to (ask any engineering student with a liberal arts roommate about the disparity in study times if you don’t believe me). Luckily here in this modern era of ours I need not talk to a professor of history, philosophy or music appreciation to learn all I want to about these things because they are at all at our fingertips on the Internet (for instance, Project Gutenberg has made so many great classics available with a quick download).

    However, the medical, science and engineering disciplines require rigorous study and training, and are truly the core of our society. In the end, the best proof I can offer is to raise the point that every engineering student (including many from lower economic classes motivated to improve their lives) I know is taking at least one general education class, but how many religious studies majors are taking medical, science or engineering elective courses? Few, I’d imagine, and not nearly enough.

    Antony J. Mills sophomore majoring in optical sciences and engineering

    Blame parenting, not racism, for low scores

    Jessica Wertz’s fabrication of “”rampant”” school segregation is baseless and irrational (“”Still separate, still unequal””). Wertz says, “”According to statistics, only 10 percent of white students today attend schools that have a predominantly minority population.””

    Her statistics are irrelevant. The first problem with this is that numbers aren’t necessarily indicative of segregation. A second problem is that the subject is segregation of whites from blacks; in other words, not just any minority will do. The third problem is that a minority, by definition, has fewer people than a majority, so there’s no reason to complain if most schools have a predominantly majority population.

    In fact, the current trend indicates the opposite. To use our current example, the student population in Little Rock High School is now around 70 percent black. Far from segregating based on race, public schools seem to do their job of accepting anyone regardless of race.

    The only segregation apparent is an economic one: Those with the resources and the will to send their kids to effective private schools do so, while those without such resources or will leave their kids in public school systems that have been ravaged by teachers unions, bureaucracy and inefficient management of the money given to these public schools (averaging over $10,000 annually per student). These public school problems would dissipate if exposed to capitalism and the competitive market that successful private schools operate in.

    Wertz’s fellow columnist Justyn Dillingham also jumped to the conclusion that a racial disparity in Arkansas test scores is directly caused by racism. In doing so, the primary people getting let off the hook are those most responsible for test scores: students and the people who brought them up. It’s irresponsible to put all the blame on supposed sentiments of African genetic inferiority and ignore the important and more visible factors of good parenting and work ethic.

    Dan Greenberg political science freshman

    Native American stereotypes harmful

    David Francis’ “”counterpoint”” yesterday needs to be addressed (“”Opposition to Indian mascots exaggerated””). Not only are his “”factual”” assertions patently false, but he relies on a racist view of Native Americans that is clearly a product of not knowing any Indians.

    First, the supposed 2002 poll he quotes has been thoroughly discredited. That he doesn’t know this or didn’t bother doing any research before printing reflects poorly on him. Second, he does not get to decide whether it “”honors”” Natives to have ridiculous mascots parodying their culture. That determination is for Native people alone!

    If you don’t think these mascots are harmful, then you need to do a little research. Even the American Psychological Association has called for the end of Indian mascots due to the harm they are causing Indian children. Finally, I would suggest that Mr. Francis, instead of repeating stereotypes he heard on Fox News, take the time to learn a little bit about the Indian culture that he is surrounded with.

    Visit the American Indian Studies program here on campus or take time to visit the Tucson Indian Center. He might just realize how wrong he is.

    Geoffery Stauffer first-year law student

    Pro-life activism has no place in government

    In a recent letter (“”University money shouldn’t fund abortion training””), graduate student Laura AviÇña ironically exemplifies the egregious conflation of government and religious morality that afflicts American government. In her letter, Ms. AviÇña chides ASUA President Erin Hertzog for vetoing an Appropriations Board denial of funds to Medical Students for Choice (MFSC), a pro-choice organization.

    Ms. AviÇña interprets the veto as pro-choice activism, although governmental pro-life activism seems fine by her. Regardless of Hertzog’s personal opinions, her veto was governmentally and morally sound, aligned with her sworn position to uphold the bylaws of this university. Ms. Hertzog seems aware that as an elected official she is not afforded the luxury of pontificating over the morality of abortion.

    Millions of people like Ms. AviÇña superciliously believe their morality should rule every branch of government, as well as my girlfriend’s body. I say over mine – dead. I don’t like abortion. I also don’t like guns, or stupid people, neither of which will be outlawed soon. But if my sister, girlfriend or any other woman wants to abort a pregnancy, or 30, that is their choice to make, and their personal or theological consequences with which to deal.

    Abortions are legal medical procedures, and doctors should know how to perform them. Loathe abortion? Don’t get one, simple as that. But don’t you dare tell anybody else how to live his or her life. You have an opinion and to that you are entitled, but don’t think for one second your overzealous approach belongs anywhere near the political arena.

    Mad about MFSC needing “”your”” money? Blame pro-life activism. The group ensures doctors receive adequate training ludicrously unavailable in this state; thank goodness tuition money, including Ms. AviÇña’s, will send them to Florida where they can be trained. Democracy sucks, huh?

    Noah Pollock senior majoring in Spanish linguistics and creative writing

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