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Arizona Daily Wildcat
August 26, 2005
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Students should respect UA alumni

As a fifth-generation Wildcat, I would like to vent my frustration at the McKale ticket office and ASUA. Wednesday's Wildcat included a sports article ("Football tickets a hot item") detailing the new policy that guests would not be allowed in the student section of the football games. McKale says this was ASUA's brilliant idea.

Back when the Zona Zoo passes were on sale in the spring, my husband bought me a guest pass. Did McKale inform us of the policy at that time or any time during the summer? No. How is it possible that ASUA could have made a decision so late in the spring semester? Did they poll the student body to see how they felt about the change in one of their "statistically significant" surveys?

This would have been my sixth year in the student section. I've been through Tomey, Mackovic and now Stoops. I've seen swarms of greeks show up in the second and leave in the third. I've sung along with the Pride of Arizona (hint to freshman: It doesn't matter if you know our fight song, just sing "fight" over and over to the melody).

This year, however, I will be separated from the current Wildcats in my family - my husband, and my brother and sister - while my mom and I will be banished to a section that sits during the game. Students should be able to bring guests to the football games. As alumni, my mom and I represent the Wildcat family that the UA is so eager to show off in a sculpture in Alumni Plaza but so often fails to satisfy in any meaningful terms.

Katherine Miller
UA alumna

Foreign TAs receive extensive training

Katie Paulson raises an important issue in her Wednesday column ("Students, TAs should speak on same page"). I feel obliged to respond.

To imply that the university is not paying attention to the problem is wrong and a disservice to the entire community. The apocryphal story of the organic chemistry TA is a great campus myth. If you'll recall, the story describes a class where students can't understand their TA "resulting in half of the class failing."

There has never been an organic chemistry class where anywhere near 50 percent of a class failed (unless you hold the view that any grade other than an "A" is failing). Even if you include drops, the vast majority of students of ITAs in organic classes are successful.

Ms. Paulson then goes on to state, "test scores are the only guides that faculty use to put teaching assistants into their new positions." If she had bothered to do a little research she would have discovered a much different situation.

In the chemistry department, the selection of ITAs begins with a telephone interview before the recruit is admitted to the program. Those who can effectively communicate in English are admitted and brought to campus two weeks before classes begin. They attend one week of workshops on the university, its culture and how to effectively communicate with American students. One of the workshops includes an evaluation of their presentation skills.

The net result of this process is that the majority of our ITAs are well received by their students and do a great job. But any screening process is imperfect, and some problem ITAs make it into the classroom. We recognize this and have mechanisms for dealing with these problems. If there are students who are struggling to understand their TAs, I work with the TAs to resolve the problem. Our success rate is not 100 percent, but it is quite high.

Ms. Paulson does her readers a disservice by implying there is no recourse to communication problems. All TAs have supervisors. I encourage any student who is struggling to understand his or her TA to see the supervisor and discuss the problem. Odds are, the situation can be improved.

Steven Brown
general chemistry lab manager and adjunct lecturer
department of chemistry

Smokers beware: We want clean air

In response to Tom Mosby's letter regarding smoking ("Smoking ban should go up in smoke"), I have to say that this is the most fallacious theory of secondhand smoke I've heard yet. Secondhand smoke doesn't kill because I've never met anyone who died from it? Given this line of thinking, perhaps leukemia does not exist because I don't know anyone afflicted with it.

Smokers take note, there is a change in the air; eventually that air will be fresh. It may not be this year, but soon enough, we nonsmokers won't have to walk through your clouds of smoke to get into our buildings or our cars or even just to see the sunshine for a few minutes.

Why do smokers have to smoke right by a door anyway? One thing that belligerent, pro-smoking advocates forget is that smoking is not a right. Nowhere is it listed in the Bill of Rights or the Constitution that smoking is a right, protected from restrictions. In fact, smoking can actually be classified as consumption of a product.

When Dan Post stated that he possibly smokes as an anti-establishment statement, he couldn't be further from the truth. Those corporations that produce cigarettes (whose pockets you fill every time you light one up) are the man! You are not rebelling against the man; you're giving him all your money.

As for a smoke-free campus, get used to the idea. Within five years, not only will smoking not be allowed in any public place in the country, the taxes and lawsuits faced by the cigarette manufacturer will drive the prices up to more than $10 a pack. Good luck with your addiction; eventually you will be joining your fellow smokers out by the dumpster in the alley, off campus where you belong.

Dan Anglin
senior majoring in English

Professors unruly, classes unavailable

After three years at this university, my expectations have lowered substantially from my original ideas about what a university should be. The difficulty of getting classes topped off with the lackluster teaching of some of the professors leaves me shocked. But even this could not prepare me for the crap one of my professors pulled this week.

This professor decided not to show up to class on Tuesday. She instead sent her TA along with the syllabus to inform us that she refused to teach in the room the class was assigned to. Apparently it was not the room she and the university had previously agreed upon, and therefore she would not teach in it.

I'm shocked. I'm amazed. I'm disgusted. I'm outraged. We students pay for these classes, and we expect to have teachers show up and teach them. A professor would not take this behavior from a student, so why should the university or the students take it from the professor?

Unfortunately, the difficulty of getting classes at this university prevents me from dropping this class and finding another where the professor actually respects the students. So I'm stuck, amazed and disappointed with this university yet again. Yes, there are some great professors to be found here, but the behavior of this professor is the last straw. You can be sure I will never recommend this university to any student who wants to receive a high-quality education. And this fact is truly unfortunate both for me and the university.

Nicole Mansker
political science senior

Nonsmokers have right to a clean campus

In response to Tom Mosby's letter, I am not a smoker and never have been, but some of my best friends and co-workers smoke a pack a day and I completely respect that. I say this to assure all readers that I am not one of "those people" who is against all smokers; I don't even think the UA should ban smokers.

But after reading Mosby's letter I found myself extremely frustrated that he would speak in print with such a lack of knowledge and extreme sarcasm toward such a serious subject. He asks casually, "Have you ever known anybody that has died from lung cancer because of secondhand smoke?" My answer to him is, "No, Mr. Mosby, I haven't because they are all dead."

By simply Googling "secondhand smoke" one would learn that. Fifty thousand deaths are estimated to occur in the United States every year as a result of secondhand smoke, and those who are exposed to secondhand smoke are twice as likely to develop coronary artery disease.

Later in his letter he says with regard to the smoking ban and the school making "those kinds of personal choices for people," "What would be next ... Mandatory jogging for everybody?" Of course not - it is not the UA's intent to control the personal choices of students, but it does have a responsibility to provide a clean and safe environment for people to learn in. It would probably be beneficial to Mr. Mosby to take some personal responsibility and research such a topic before embarrassing himself as he did in his letter.

Whitney Treon-Orton
psychology senior

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