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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday Januay 29, 2003

Students who have learning disabilities are ╬hard-working'

I'm writing in response to Brian Danker's Monday letter saying that SALT students are dumb. They most certainly are not. I've worked with many of them and find that they are intelligent, hard-working people who simply have some sort of learning disability.

I can also tell Mr. Danker that the Honors College personnel are perfectly happy with Slonaker House. I should know ¸ I worked there.

Perhaps Mr. Danker also supports sterilization for undesirables. I mean, come on ¸ compared to me, Mr. Danker is a snail when it comes to intelligence. Maybe we should send him to ASU.

Andrew Tuohy
political science junior, SALT tutor

SALT students, grant money provide majority of funding

I am writing regarding Brian Danker's letter in Monday's Wildcat. Mr. Danker and those readers who may have been influenced by his letter should have more accurate information concerning the University of Arizona's center for students labeled "learning disabled," SALT. A bulk of the SALT program's income, used to fund the program and the new building mentioned in Mr. Danker's letter, does not come from the University of Arizona. SALT students pay additional fees (that can be over $700 per semester per student) for SALT services. Grants from organizations outside the UA also fund the SALT program. Contrary to what Mr. Danker assumes in his letter to the editor, President Likins did not allocate a large money sum for the new SALT building we now have on campus.

The other matter in Mr. Danker's letter is the misconception associated with students labeled as "learning disabled." Mr. Danker describes these students as "slow" and "unable to keep up with other students scholastically." If Mr. Danker would have completed some research on learning disabilities on the SALT Web site prior to writing his letter, he would know that "learning disabled" students are not intellectually slower than other students at the university. Learning disabled students typically have average to above-average intellectual abilities, as assessed using IQ scales (SALT Web site). The difference between a typical "learning disabled" student and other UA students is that the "learning disabled" student will score very high (sometimes at genius levels) in some subjects on the IQ test while scoring slightly below the average on other sections. The overall IQ average is higher or right at the level of most other UA students who will score similarly on all IQ sections. If anyone considers "learning disabled" people as intellectually slow, they should remember that some people thought of as the most brilliant thinkers, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein, had "learning disabilities."

Vanessa Zirakzadeh
communication senior, SALT student

╬Nationally known' program draws students from all over

This letter is in regards to Brian Danker ╬s article suggesting shutting down the SALT Center. Mr. Danker, obviously you don't know the first thing about journalism. You broke one of the cardinal rules of journalism, keeping the facts straight. So I'm going to key you in on a few facts. Fact: The SALT Center is privately funded and so was the building it occupies. Fact: SALT students have to pay a fee to be a part of the SALT program. Fact: Students with learning disorders have higher IQs than the average college student. Fact: the SALT Center is nationally known for what it does, and it brings in students from around the world. Fact: Albert Einstein had a learning disorder; would you want to weed out a man like Albert Einstein? I am not just frustrated with you, I am also frustrated with the Arizona Daily Wildcat for allowing the letter you wrote to go to print. So Mr. Danker, by cutting the SALT Center, the UA loses national attention and appeal to out-of-state students with learning disorders.

David Kemper
journalism freshman, SALT student

Focused Excellence will lead university down wrong path

I attended the President's town hall Sunday and am gravely disappointed by the direction he has chosen for our humble institution. It seems he has convinced himself that through administrative mandate we will be able to achieve excellence in the fields he and his committees have chosen.

It should be clear that excellence comes from within, and the programs at the university that have achieved it are a result of passionate and creative endeavors on the part of their faculty and students. By eliminating programs which serve such a pressing need in our community, state and region, we are not only turning our backs on the recipients of those services, but we are restricting the potential for excellence. What happens when those programs President Likins has identified fall behind in this "international recognition"? There will be nothing left.

I don't pretend to understand the complexities of funding the University, but the contradictions are too striking to overlook. The university is building at a feverous pitch, the administration is leasing an enormous building, the old TEP, at the same time our professors don't have white board markers.

I know the standard answer: "Well, those are different budgets and have nothing to with each other." As I see it, it's all coming from taxpayer money, and whatever they need to do to change things so that we can focus our excellence on something other than keeping the construction companies in business needs to be done. Thank you to the library sciences folks for your impassioned remarks; you all definitely need to be a part of this university.

Ari J. Posner
planning graduate student


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