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Letters to the Editor

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday Feb. 27, 2002

SALT Center unfairly attacked

This letter is in response to Joseph J. De La Rosa's Feb. 15 letter. In his letter, he makes some valid points about the frustrations brought on by the recent budget cuts. However, I was very dismayed by the comments in the latter part of his letter in which he attacks the existence of the SALT program and its building. The SALT program is a resource for students with learning disabilities. Students who are in this program represent a diverse cross-section of the university population from athletes to members of the greek system. Mr. De La Rosa's idea that "if you don't have a technique for learning by now, you are not a student and have no place on a college campus" is very distressing and is an uneducated assumption of the students in the program. SALT is an acronym for Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques. I stress the "alternative" in that those persons with learning disabilities need to have information presented to them differently because they process information differently. There are many studies involving brain scanning and imaging techniques which back this statement up. If Mr. De La Rosa needs references to those studies, I will gladly supply them. As far as the SALT program draining money from the university, I should point out that the program receives a substantial amount of its funding from a separate tuition paid by the students in the program. Also, the new building in which the program resides and operates could not have been built without the generous donations from people in the private sector.

I am not angry with Mr. De La Rosa; however, I do feel his attack on the SALT program is unjust and in need of clarification. You can attack and criticize those who run the university as you wish, but please do not attack the students of the university and assume they are incompetent simply because they require a little extra help in their education.

Mike Malek-Ahmadi
psychology junior
ALT tutor

SALT demands respect and awareness

As a SALT student, I am disputing some of the remarks made by Joseph De La Rosa in his letter dated Feb. 25 in the Daily Wildcat. First, Mr. De La Rosa said, "We recently gained a Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques Center." For those who do not know (especially Joseph), SALT was founded during the academic year between 1980-1981. SALT has been on campus for 20-plus years, which I would be willing to bet is older than Lil' Joey!

Secondly, he said, "(The SALT building) and the future employees that will occupy (it), are draining away money that could be put to better use." Most importantly, I would like to clarify that the money used to build the new SALT building, and pay its employees, is funded solely by the students that SALT serves and through private donations. However, to make it easier for people like Joseph to understand, this means that SALT receives absolutely no state or university funding at all!!! In addition, SALT provides employment for over 100 UA students; and because of our new building, we also helped to make room for a branch of the Multicultural Services to take our previous spot inside Old Main.

Thirdly, he said, "Certain disabilities require accommodations, but I argue that these accommodations should be extended only within reason." No accommodation, provided by either SALT or the University of Arizona, is unreasonable. This is based on the fact that all accommodations provided follow the guidelines set forth by the Disability Act of 1997 (which can be found in one of the most important, historical documents in the world, Joseph: the Constitution of the United States of America).

Lastly, he said, "If you don't have a technique for learning by now, you are not a student, and have no place on a college campus (unless you are cleaning up the place, of course)." This statement speaks volumes concerning Mr. De La Rosa's arrogance and ignorance. He must understand that all SALT students, whether he likes it or not, are also his fellow UA students and deserve the same respect and consideration that he craves.

Finally, as a history major, Mr. De La Rosa, you really need to work on your research skills. Stop by and make an appointment; SALT has some really great tutors that could help you with that!

Mark DiBone
SALT student
communication senior


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