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Letters to the Editor

Arizona Summer Wildcat
Wednesday July 17, 2002

Diversity values narrow-minded

I wasnât going to remark on the recent diversity debate on campus, but after reading Shane Daleâs commentary and the accompanying letters to the editor from Kali Tal and Alan Strauss, I felt compelled to speak up.

I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Daleâs stance on this issue and would like to voice my support of his idea to hire more conservative professors, or at least truly unbiased ones.

I think it is essential for students to get the big picture during their education.

The facts are that over 70 percent of the U.S. populace believes in God, hamburgers and good-old conservative American values, but if you listen to university instructors, youâd think we were a totally humanist society intent on striking all morals and individual rights from the books.

And to read letters from the likes of Mr. Strauss who ăcould not be more embarrassed by the Wildcatä truly disgusts me.

Doesnât he realize that the Wildcat only reflects the opinions of the students, and that we, as the ăcustomersä of this fine institution, are the very people whose opinions he should be listening to?

My parents arenât paying for my education, and Iâm the one who decided to attend UA. Or are we simply children to be guided from our erroneous ways?

To me, ădiversityä is merely a catch-phrase for the erosion of a balanced society.

I would honestly prefer a professor who knew his subject matter and presented it with a balanced viewpoint, even if he was a Caucasian male of Catholic belief and Republican affiliation still married to the same woman after 30 years, to someone who was hired merely because they were a disabled female of ethnic origin and democratic politics.

Now, if you can find such a liberal person who doesnât spew biased politics and ambiguous morals in class when uncalled for, I will have no problem attending their course.

Until then, letâs call a spade a spade. ăDiversityä isnât diverse at all.

Jacob Lauser
electrical engineering sophomore

McCain should be forced to resign

Senator McCain is a turncoat. Any politician who utilizes the variety of demagoguery that John McCain and Vermont defector Sen. James Jeffords used to slip in their own mischievous and contra-party agendas should be forced to resign. Their actions, especially in regards to Jeffordsâ conduct, should be investigated by the GAO.

The Republican men and women who voted these gentlemen into office have been betrayed; some of these people voted for them simply because they were Republicans. Senator McCain had an A+ plus rating from the National Rifle Association; he is now hated in that community. If that is not proof of McCainâs malbehavior and distortion during his campaign, and his current turncoat mothering of the Democratâs platforms, then what is it?

Perhaps, though, these Senators are practicing a form of politics that has been forgotten in the last five decades. Both Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman kept their enemies closer than their allies by creating programs and speaking in defense of their political opposition, and then crushing them by cutting funding ÷ FDR with the New Deal and Truman with his famous McCarthy persecution.

It may be that McCain and Jeffords have more up their sleeves than a few leftist perspectives.

Christopher Marcum
sociology junior

Every poll has a slant

On the subject of intellectual bias, the survey Mr. Dale cites to support his diversity discussion (July 10) was conducted by the ăCenter for the Study of Popular Culture.ä

Nice, inoffensive name. Brings to mind the kind of non-partisan, academic organization one might expect to bring an unbiased, rational approach to understanding trends. The kind of folks youâd trust to publish non-slanted survey results, for example.

But whatâs this?

Even a cursory glance at the CSPC Web site reveals a serious conservative bent. In fact, it appears they could be more accurately called the ăCenter for Study and Promotion of Conservatism.ä

University students, especially the many thousands of undergrads subject to survey after survey, recognize the malleability of polls.

Even honest errors in survey design like unintentionally using emotionally charged words can tilt results dramatically.

So should we trust an agenda-driven organization masquerading as a non-biased public interest institution, like the CSPC, to publish an un-slanted survey?

Letâs check the source.

The question asked to professors about reparations to African Americans: ăThe federal government owes American blacks some form of reparations for the harms caused by slavery and discrimination. Do you: agree, somewhat agree, etc?ä

Asked to ăother Americansä it was phrased thusly:

ăDo you think the United States should pay reparations for slavery, that is, pay money to African-Americans who are descendants of slaves? Yes, No, Donât know.ä

Whoa there; thatâs not even the same question! Compensation for the impacts of both slavery and systemic discrimination on the livelihoods of African Americans over the last couple hundred years, well now thatâs different from paying someone for being the descendant of a slave.

To further your views through honest debate is respectable.

This survey is outright fraud.

Ultimately, learning isnât related to a balance between liberal and conservative views.

If universities provide students the rhetorical and logical skills needed to recognize a solid argument, and the critical skills to evaluate an expanding range of information sources, bad ideas will loose ground to good ideas.

Taking everyonesâ viewpoint as unique and a potentially valuable contribution to the marketplace of ideas, then checking sources, getting a couple dissenting opinions and judging the idea based on its merit is the basis of knowledge.

Everything else is doctrine.

Kevin Oakes
UA support systems analyst

Campus racism no myth

I have been following with a great deal of interest the ongoing debate in the Wildcat about ădiversityä at UA, and I couldnât resist the urge to contribute my story, especially since no one so far has broached the problem of harassment of ăminorityä faculty by students.

In my case, the treatment I received at the hands of some male anglo students ÷ and the feeling I had that these students had the upper hand and there was not really anything the university was willing or able to do to address the matter ÷ contributed to my decision to leave the university for friendlier climes.

The harassment I refer to took the form of ăattitudeä in class as well as a weird habit the students had of loudly yelling my name when they saw me alone on campus, in what I took as an attempt to intimidate me. As a middle-aged Native American with a lifetime of experience dealing with this sort of thing,

I know that the gesture was definitely not intended amicably.

To be fair, I sought the counsel of both my department chairs and their moral support and advice allowed me to cope for a longer time than I would have endured otherwise.

Nevertheless, I quickly realized that the problem was larger than any of us and that aside from the usual ăhow-to-deal-with-belligerent-studentsä advice there was a not much anyone could do.

I also contacted the folks at the Dean of Students office, but in truth they werenât much help.

In fact, I sensed that there was an unspoken fear ÷ university-wide ÷ of legal entanglements over thorny racial issues. In the end, I saw that I was pretty much alone and that there was, for me, only one way out ÷ literally.

Why bring this up now?

Simply put, silence is complicity.

The noxious mix of ignorance and arrogance contained in the recent Wildcat editorial mocking the value of programs intended to facilitate diversity at UA is just another manifestation of the thing that drove me from UA.

I remain an optimist despite my encounters with the misguided and ill-mannered.

It is my hope that my story will help open another level of discussion, and that in the future the university will see to it that no other ăminorityä faculty (especially junior faculty, who are particularly vulnerable) are spared my fate.

Irvin Morris
writing instructor
Dine College, Tsaile


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