Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 1, 2005

Most students unaware of herpes infection

The one important statistic missing from your "Herpes missing in STD test routine" article is that 90 percent of the people infected with genital herpes do not know it. Putting that percentage into numbers looks something like: In a classroom of 100 students, 25 will have genital herpes, yet only two will know it. So, next time you're in a classroom, look around.

I'm guessing about 90 percent of the students won't get a herpes test because they'll think it couldn't happen to them. And when being interviewed, they may be less honest about their sexual history or number of partners. So now we have students coming out of a standard STD exam, having not been tested for the most widely transferred STD, thinking they're clean.

Who's at fault, the student for not knowing what to ask for in an STD exam or the health care provider for not letting them know what they are at risk for?

Bill Dunn
UA parent

Religion-based discrimination illegal

I believe that the students in our student government should know what they are talking about and all the legal ramifications of the decisions they make. I am referring to ASUA Sen. Ryan Erikson's statement on keeping "clubs and religion on campus a separate issue."

I know that he gave Priority College Ministry - a recognized club on the UA campus - funding in the end, but he and the rest of the senate need to know they could have had a serious legal issue on their hands, because discriminating against a campus club on the basis of religion is illegal.

Why wouldn't the ASUA give funding to Priority when it has given funding to other religious clubs in the past? In the eyes of the university they are no different than any other club on campus.

Another problem I have is: Why is this even a story anyway? The reporter himself claims in the story that this is a non-issue by saying that previous religious events had been funded before. Why was this story in the paper, let alone on the front page?

Mychal Hall
history senior

ASUA has responsibility to all campus clubs

I take umbrage at Jared Hautamaki's letter on Monday ("ASUA wrong to fund religious clubs"). ASUA has a responsibility to all of the students of the university, regardless of how they choose to affiliate themselves, to provide funding to our clubs and organizations.

To deny funding to a particular club because of its mission or creed, while being potentially illegal, would be blatant discrimination. Using Mr. Hautamaki's logic, ASUA should not provide funding to any club, as doing so would be funding an organization that may not appeal to every student on campus.

Finally, as a law student, I am surprised that Mr. Hautamaki does not realize that to deny funding to a religious group would be an egregious violation of the Establishment Clause in the Constitution, which prohibits the government from making special laws and policies for religious groups separate from secular groups. If you wish to do away with the Constitution, Mr Hautamaki, I would say you are the real danger to America, not law-abiding Christians.

Silas Montgomery
Judaic studies senior

All sides working to help ITAs

As co-chairs of the University of Arizona Parents Association, we read with interest the recent exchange regarding the communication ability of International Teaching Assistants.

In our experience, both points of view presented in the exchange are correct; there is a problem, and the university is aware of the problem and is doing something about it. This is a nationwide problem; there was a lead article on this topic in The New York Times a few weeks ago.

This issue has been identified by the Parents Association as our primary concern this year, and we are providing funds to the university to support expanded and enhanced programs to help ITAs improve their skills. The university administration, particularly George Davis and Jerry Hoggle, has been very supportive. We hope, and expect, that the focus on this issue will result in improvement.

Patty and Marc Dash
co-chairs, University of Arizona
Parents Association

Court precedents support ASUA decision

ASUA cannot legally discriminate against religious groups on campus. Jared Hautamaki has asked them to do so in his Aug. 31 letter ("ASUA wrong to fund religious clubs"), but as a public university, funds cannot be denied to an organization solely on the content of the club.

Two recent U.S. Supreme Court cases, Rosenberger v. Rectors of the University of Virginia (1995) and Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth (2000) established the principles that mandatory student fees must be allocated in a viewpoint neutral manner at public universities and may not be denied on the basis of religious views.

It is highly unlikely that denying funding to an event on the basis of viewpoint would be permissible under the precedent set by Rosenberger and Southworth. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has successfully pursued cases at UNC-Chapel Hill, Pennsylvania State University, Princeton and other universities that sought to deny recognition or otherwise discriminate against student religious organizations.

Non-discrimination is not only a legal obligation of ASUA, it is also the right thing to do. Making student organization funding decisions contingent on the views of the club is dangerous. It is a small step from denying religious groups funding simply for promoting religion to denying advocacy groups funding on the basis of their beliefs.

As an educational organization, the UA should not attempt to shelter students from differing viewpoints or beliefs. Furthermore, atheists and agnostics are free to form a club and request funding. There is an active student objectivist club, which, among other principles, advocates atheism. ASUA was correct in their decision.

Sam Schofield
applied mathematics graduate student