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Letters to the Editor

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday Feb. 22, 2002

Aim criticism at the right target

Last Friday, a Wildcat editorial correctly pointed out that budget cuts are "threatening our beloved programs, housing, classes, teachers' pay raises and building restorations."

I couldn't agree more.

However, the editorial aimed criticism at alumni who, through donated time and resources, are creating a beautiful plaza in the heart of our campus. The Wildcat is clearly missing the forest for the shade trees.

Alumni Plaza is not just about shade and open space. It will symbolize the lifelong relationship between the university and its graduates. A relationship which alumni and successive generations of students must embrace if our university is to prosper in its mission of education, discovery and service. A committed lifelong relationship between the university and its hundreds of thousands of alumni will bring more private resources to campus and foster the political power to elect legislators who will fully support our university.

The Wildcat should focus its attention on the source of the funding problems it seeks to correct, not on those who volunteer their time and resources in the service of our university. Our university should not rely on private philanthropy to provide parking and housing.

Right now in Phoenix, legislators are in the middle of a budget battle that could cripple our university for a decade. If we allow the state to abdicate its responsibility to provide for the education of its people by shifting to generous citizens the obligation to fund basic university needs, we are in for trouble. Of course, philanthropy has a critical role in supporting our university. Private money has richly served our university. Thousands of alumni give generously to the university every year. They are motivated by pride and a sense of obligation to their alma mater. Generous donors have given our university new research facilities, endowed professorships and provided a wealth of much needed scholarships. The financial support of alumni and friends has and will continue to enable the university's quest for excellence.

Alumni Plaza is not just another pretty place. As a symbol of the lifelong bond between students/alumni and our university, Alumni Plaza will be a perpetual catalyst for alumni support for the University of Arizona. Our university is in trouble now and it needs our help. Rather than questioning the motives of our university's strongest supporters, the Wildcat should focus the attention of its readers on the Legislature and urge them to action in demanding that the state meet our university's basic needs.

Philip G. May
co-chair Alumni Plaza Committee
ASUA President 1979-1980

Non-Jewish response to Colson's letter

I am amazed and baffled at why the Daily Wildcat would allow such a horrible and disgusting letter such as the one written by Mr. Jeffrey R. Colson to be printed. Not only were his historical facts inaccurate, but his blatant and deliberate attack on Mirie Levy, who was simply trying to mourn the millions lost, is intolerable.

I am not sure what history books Mr. Colson obtained his information from, but every one that I have ever read (quite a few - I am a history buff) never refers to the 1917 Bolshevik rise to power and eventual take over of the Soviet Union as a "holocaust." In fact, it was a revolution, a revolution in which many died. However, genocide was not the ultimate goal as it was with the Nazis. Mr. Colson also incorrectly states that the Bolsheviks were "almost ... Jewish-by-race."

I could not have read a more untrue statement. Ever since the 14th century, the Russian people have practiced strict Christian Orthodoxy. Perhaps what I found most upsetting about Mr. Colson's letter was his direct and unjustified attack on Ms. Levy and the rest of the Jewish community at the UA. If Mr. Colson had actually attended the vigil instead of simply reading the newspaper headline about it, he would have found that each day the students acknowledged a different group that was persecuted by the Nazi's. The focus wasn't completely on Jews. Although I am not Jewish, I feel that they should mourn the lives of those lost in the Holocaust, just as people mourn the loss of loved ones in the Vietnam War by visiting the Vietnam Wall, millions visit the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii to observe the deaths in Pearl Harbor and in years to come people will mourn for the those killed on Sept. 11. Is Mr. Colson going to stop them too?

Certainly no one is stopping him from recognizing the lives lost during the Russian Revolution. If Mr. Colson cares enough about those lives, and it appears that he does, I invite him to hold a vigil on the Mall. Only before he does, I hope that he gets his facts straight.

Courtney Kelley
retailing and consumer science freshman

Reader questions Wildcat ad

I am writing to object to an ad in last Friday's newspaper. In that ad, the Arizona Daily Wildcat is promoting an upcoming Housing Guide. The ad copy reads "Need a place to live? This guy does," and shows a person wearing a "TEMPE ABNORMAL SCHOOL" T-shirt. It is a waste of my time to explain to you that it's not right to make fun of people who are mentally ill or developmentally disabled. Perhaps you could clarify, however, just which category your "model" with the wild expression was supposed to represent.

Perhaps I should use language that may be more familiar to you: Was your intent to make fun of "psychos" or "retards"?

Michael R. Robinson
psychology senior

Past cannot be forgotten

Dear Mr. Colson: Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding the 24-hour Holocaust Vigil. You raise some valid points, yet many of your claims need clarification. To begin with, I would like to address the fact that you singled out one student upon whom to center your argument. You make it sound as if Mirie Levy was the only student who was involved in the reading of names, when in fact, she was just one of more than 85 students and community members who participated in the vigil.

Perhaps you chose to focus on Levy because she was featured on the front page of the Daily Wildcat on Feb. 12. I wonder, did you actually attend the vigil, or is your argument based solely upon the caption underneath Levy's photograph?

Secondly, I would like to address the two questions you have raised.

You ask, "why is their Holocaust so special?" and then proceed to make the very valid point that not all of the victims of the Nazis were Jewish. To whom then, are you referring when you say "their Holocaust?" Had you spent some time examining our display, you would have noticed that the groups whom you name, Communists, homosexuals, gypsies and others were in fact represented. There were posters and readings set up all over the Mall stage offering detailed information regarding the genocide of every group victimized by the Nazis.

The purpose of the Conference on the Holocaust is not to deny that other holocausts have taken place in this century, and in centuries past. I agree that such atrocities need representation and urge you to commit yourself to furthering this cause.

We would be happy to work with you and any other campus organization to broaden the scope of next year's Conference on the Holocaust.

Your second question, "why do they read names 57 years later?" both distresses and saddens me.

The fact that it is necessary to defend the acknowledgement of the Holocaust is evidence that the spirit which allowed it and other genocides to occur is still alive and well. No one is safe from mass murder when the past is forgotten.

Rebecca Sodomsky
senior majoring in Spanish and creative writing

Wildcat lacks good judgment

I am writing in response to the editorial by Jeffery R. Colson and have to ask the Wildcat staff, "What the hell were you guys thinking?" Mr. Colson's letter was nothing more than an ethnic and racist rant far from historical accuracy despite his list of footnotes (I have my own to rebut his should you be interested).

While I do believe that the First Amendment is sacrosanct and should be protected at all costs, it should be remembered that our treasured Amendment was not meant to protect those who would just as soon snatch the same equal rights from those they consider inferior, as Mr. Colson so obviously does in his reference to Jews as a "hybrid race" (whatever that means).

The First Amendment was meant to free us in order to have an equal exchange of dialog! It is clear from the snarling and sarcastic tone of his diatribe that real dialogue was never his intent. His intent was to promote and further racial and ethnic hatred. For you to print such abominable nonsense shows that the staff of the Wildcat lacks good editorial judgment.

As for Mr. Colson, I would like to share with him a piece of Yiddish wisdom and advice for the next time he feels compelled to sharpen his poisoned pencil: "Dogs have long tongues and can't speak, men have short tongues and shouldn't."

Leslie Dubbin
anthropology senior

Tribes respectful, rebury artifacts

I think that there is a common misconception among the columnists who contributed to the "Issue of the Week" on Feb. 20. With the exception of Caitlin Hall, the columnists all seem to think that the Native Americans who receive the artifacts will either unsuccessfully store them, contributing to their destruction, or will sell them to private collectors in an attempt to make some quick money. I can assure you that this is not the case.

The majority of prized artifacts unearthed by archaeologists are in fact burial artifacts. These items were buried with an individual for ceremonial purposes and were unearthed many years later by archaeologists. The Native American tribes that use NAGPRA to retrieve unearthed artifacts do not do so out of greed; they do so out of their deep respect for their elders.

These tribes simply do not want to see the remains of their ancestors put on display and instead want to return them to the earth where they were intended to remain for eternity.

This is not a matter of economics, and the tribes will not "sell the items at a garage sale," to quote Shane Dale. The tribes want to see their ancestors treated with the respect and dignity that they feel is necessary.

While this does mean that many priceless artifacts will eventually be destroyed, the Native American tribes can do the right thing for their ancestors as determined by their specific culture. This may hinder archaeologists' quest to understand the lives of the original inhabitants of this country, but it will also allow the Native American tribes to finally lay their ancestors to rest for good.

Jenny Rose
journalism junior


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