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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, September 2, 2003

Weapons-free zone only serves awareness

This letter is in response to Kendrick Wilson's article on the UA's weapons-free zone. I commend Mr. Wilson for bringing attention to an issue that I feel should have gotten much more notice after the violence we experienced here at our own campus last fall. However, I do not agree that we should in any way feel "lucky" to be designated a weapons-free zone, nor should we feel any safer because of the title. There have been studies showing that students already feel that their collegiate world is mostly immune to the violence that affects the rest of the world; I feel that we should do what we can to discourage that kind of unawareness. I'm sure UA students are not as oblivious as other college students, due to the fact that violence has occurred right here on our own campus. I myself have to go to school every day knowing that my mother and two other nursing instructors were targeted and killed by a student who held no regard for the campus' little signs designating UA a weapons-free zone. Until Oct. 28, 2002, I myself hardly thought about the potential for gun violence at our school. Now I suppose I could consider myself to be one of the "few paranoid students" that Mr. Kendrick refers to in his explanation behind the Arizona Board of Regents' new weapons-free zone policies. Except I don't feel paranoid. And I don't claim to have any answers regarding gun-control laws. My only wish i

potential of violence in our community, the potential for that violence to affect each student personally, and for no one to allow the title "weapons-free zone" to keep him or her safe, but rather to be more aware of the actual numbers concerning firearm possession and the risks that can result.

Rachel Rogers
nutritional sciences senior

Chávez known for non-violent actions

In his Friday letter to the Wildcat, Erik Flesch presents a unique, subjective and erroneous view of the late civil rights leader, Cesar Chávez. Flesch claims that Chávez and the farm workers union he founded used violence and the threat of violence as a primary means of getting what they wanted ų humane treatment, for instance. It is well known that Chávez was a champion of non-violence, and today there are conservatives as well as liberals who have high regard for the man and his peaceful brand of leadership. For example, when the U.S. Postal Service unveiled the César E. Chávez commemorative postage stamp last April, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain was in attendance. It is appropriate that the UA is renaming the Economics building, originally named the Business and Public Administration building, in honor of Chávez. Flesch, president of the Student Objectivist Society, doesn't think so, and to make his point characterizes Chávez as the Joe Stalin of the orchards. He's entitled to his opinion, but that opinion is not based on fact and is expressed in a malicious way. But that shouldn't be surprising coming from the head of an organization based on the writings of Ayn Rand, the philosopher and second-rate novelist who was known for her intolerance to the opinions of others and her vindictiveness.

Tom Gelsinon
program coordinator,
Mexican-American Studies and Research Center

State should make education priority

This letter is in response to an editorial board piece in Thursday's Wildcat. I am afraid that this editorial shows that people still don't understand how university financing works. On the state level, funding for higher education is not a question of lack of funds. There is plenty of money in the general fund. Instead, the problem is that the state continues to misallocate those funds.

The way I (and my fellow plaintiffs) interpret the Arizona Constitution is that by saying that tuition should be "as nearly free as possible," it is directing the Legislature to make higher education one of its highest priorities. Currently, higher education is NOT one of its highest priorities. The point of the lawsuit is to get the Legislature to do its job and follow its constitutional mandate.

As far as the UA being a deal, again, it is NOT. As I cited in an earlier letter this week, the Arizona Advocacy Network has found that UA tuition is not affordable to Arizona residents. Perhaps it is affordable to the editorial board, but travel to Tucson's south side and ask if folks there can afford to go to the UA.

Additionally, please remember that the education of residents is in the best interests of all Arizona residents. What this means is that money for financial aid should come from the Legislature, which gets its money from our taxes, as opposed to a tuition hike which puts that burden only on students' backs.

Rachel Wilson
first-year law student

Chávez should be remembered by UA

I feel that the renaming of the Economics building for the UFW leader is most appropriate since César Chávez contributed to the welfare of the disadvantaged and underrepresented who work to put food on American tables.

Mr. Chávez's work had a profound effect on the lives of my family and thousands of other families of migrant workers who prior to his actions were at the mercy of the ranchers. I was a participant in the rallies that sought to gather support for labor laws for migrant workers who made up the majority of field labor. I witnessed confrontations in the fields at 4 in the morning. I attended the funeral of a fellow protester and field worker who was shot for protesting. Oh, yes. The good old days! All this before I finished my sophomore year in high school.

I remember traveling, not to Disneyland or beach resorts for the summer, but to Washington State to pick cherries. Then there were the summers at San Joaquin Valley, Calif., where the passage to manhood was proven by your skill in tossing 20-lb-plus watermelons for six hours a day. If that wasn't enough, then there was a trip to Ajo, Ariz., for cantaloupe or Imperial Valley, Calif., for lettuce, tomato and broccoli where I worked in 100-degree-plus heat. Here I remember the ranchers calling the Border Patrol a day before payday and rounding up the "illegals," assuring that paychecks were never collected by hard-working souls.

Sorry, Mr. Flesch, if I don't consider your fight a worthwhile one. I do admire your willingness to get involved in politics. Next time you look at your plate as you sit down to enjoy a meal, consider where your food came from. Ask who broke his back to pick it or what woman sorted it at the packing plant.

The Economics building should be named after a person who has contributed to the economy of the U.S., if not the world, and is also a notable native Arizonan. Chávez was not Hoffa. He was not Ghandi or Dr. King. He was a peasant who placed a feast before the American people. He should be remembered for that contribution.

J.S. Cortez
pre-education sophomore

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