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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday March 4, 2003

Students: Strike to show opposition to tuition hike, Focused Excellence

Focused Excellence is a threat to the quality of education all of us enjoy at the University of Arizona, and yet many students remain totally uneducated and apathetic to the havoc that would be wrought on this institution by Focused Excellence coupled with a tuition hike. On Thursday, the Student Task-Force for Democracy presented the Arizona Board of Regents with twelve demands that will benefit every student and faculty member at Arizona's universities.

We feel the Wildcat grossly misrepresented our protest and our presentation to the ABOR. The demands are as follows: 1. The promise of immediate increases in financial aid if a tuition hike is passed. There should be no difference between the timing of the two. 2. If tuition must be raised, it should be raised gradually, not in one giant hike. 3. Stop construction. We do not fill the buildings we have, and despite what the administration would have you believe, tuition monies do pay for buildings. 4. No graduate student pay cuts or increases in workload. 5. A freeze on administrative pay raises. However, many administrative positions should accept a pay cut. 6. Transparency in decision-making by the ABOR and other administrative bodies. 7. Peter Likins return the pay raise he accepted last summer. 8. A student inspection and approval process of the budget. 9. The administration produce a common language budget report that a layperson can understand. 10. Postpone the vote on tuition increases until a student referendum has occurred. 11. ABOR make their proposals available to students, rather than decision-making on the spot when they convene. 12. Following the ABOR's proposals, there be ample time for discussion within the community before the final vote.

We know that Focused Excellence is a huge detriment to this university, and in response, we call for a general strike on the campuses of Arizona's universities on Wednesday, March 5. This is in conjunction with the nationwide Books not Bombs! movement, in recognition of the connection between rising defense spending and a huge drop in education spending. We encourage all students, regardless of ideology to make their presence known, and to use their voices.

Patrick Bigger
political science sophomore
Student Task Force for Democracy


Attack on ROTC unfounded, soldiers do not intend to kill innocent people

In response to Michael Lewis' Monday letter to the editor "UA should demilitarize by eliminating ROTC program": I admire the ideals that you have brought forth, and I too subscribe to Einstein's perspective when it comes to ending the business of war. However, in order for that to work, the business of war has to be ended ¸ all of it, and all at once. The precarious balance in power has to be maintained throughout the entire process of demilitarization, and that is scarcely possible, at least in this time and age.

What I do have a grouse with is the personal attack mounted on the "overgrown children" of ROTC (insert smart acronym here). As of right now the defense of the freedoms enjoyed by all in this country rests on their shoulders.

As one who has served my own tenure in the military of my country, I can safely assure you that we do not go into war with the intent of killing "innocent combatants." Even the thought of killing a combatant ¸ a fellow human being ¸ is something I continually struggle with every time I take up my gun. We do what needs to be done and what we are told to do, because it is our job and function in society.

So do not chop off your arm because it is capable of punching some poor innocent soul. It is the mind that makes the decision to do so, and I think that is where you ought to direct your energy and frustration.

Lucian Teo
MIS senior


╬Baseless claims' about ROTC work to undermine activists, peace effort

Michael Lewis' tragically thoughtless letter lacks any semblance of logic. More unfortunate than his ludicrous rationale (if we even dare call his logic rational) is the poor image he projects on more educated antiwar protesters. In the struggle for peace, there is absolutely no place for name-calling, assumption, or closed-mindedness.

Mr. Lewis' denotation of President Bush as a "mentally inadequate little man," and ROTC members as "Really Obnoxious Testosterone Chumps," not only serves to slander said individuals, but also to severely undermine the antiwar effort. He further damages that effort by making fantastically baseless claims, declaring that ROTC members "define themselves by perfecting war games" and "have devoted their lives to the art of violence." This inane rhetoric should exasperate even the most ardent sections of the antiwar community.

I suggest that Mr. Lewis focus far more on reasonable ways of promoting peace and unity than bothering with factless assaults on the university's ROTC chapters.

Aaron Mertz
secondary education sophomore


Majority of campus appreciates ROTC commitment to protecting Americans

In response to Mr. Lewis' Noam Chomsky-sponsored letter, "UA should ╬demilitarize' by eliminating ROTC program": I know I speak for most of the UA community when I say that I deeply respect and admire the ROTC's service to our country, as well as their thankless task to protect and defend the freedoms that geniuses like Mr. Lewis and the rest of the anti-America Americans enjoy.

I'd also like to encourage Mr. Lewis to join his comrades in Iraq as a human shield. Saddam needs you!

Shane Dale
political science senior


All types of diversity not desirable; not everyone should get equal time

I have just read two letters by UA students whining that "all U of A professors" are against the coming war in Iraq. They than proceed to demand a kind of affirmative action for pro-war opinions: The university should hire pro-war faculty to provide "two sides of the story."

This is a really interesting idea, which could be applied in a lot of fields: Most Americans believe in astrology. A quarter of Americans do not believe in evolution. More ominously, one in five Americans doubts that the Holocaust ever happened. Following the "hire faculty with diverse ideas" principle, our astronomy department should urgently start hiring astrologers, the biology department should hire Biblical creationists, and the history department should give tenure to holocaust deniers.

I am sure this course of action would provide "diversity," as well as complementing greatly our "Focus on Excellence" program. Irony aside, people asking for "diversity of opinions" miss the point of both diversity and affirmative action. Their point is to fix past wrongs, and to give people discriminated against because of who they are a chance to compete in the academic field.

Diversity does not mean that intellectually vacuous beliefs, and the people who hold them, should be given "equal time" in the university hiring process. If those who support the war in Iraq are not competent enough, or not intellectually sound enough to get university tenure, it is not a "diversity problem" that the university should be required to fix.

Therefore, Mr. Peterson and Mr. McNamara should not be asking why "so many professors are against the war." They should be asking themselves why the U.S. media is so skewed and uniform that opinions held by so many people who've studied history, politics and the Middle East all their lives have so little chance of entering the national debate.

There is plenty of varied intellectual debate about the war, and in general, world politics in this university. It seems "one sided" because of the lack of intelligent debate, and rampant anti-intellectualism, outside of most campuses.

Giorgio Torrieri
physics graduate student


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