Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 13, 2005

UA wasting money on ugly aesthetic 'improvements'

Why hasn't the Arizona Daily Wildcat done a story or some editorializing on the "uglification" of the UA campus the past few years? First, landscapers poured faux red rock as groundcover around Old Main and elsewhere. Then it was the silly rockretaining walls in front of the Douglass building and Old Main. These buildings were here for 100 years and no retaining walls existed.

Then it was cropping the stately filifera palm trees on the UA Mall to look like carrot tops. Now it's a chain link fence on the south side of Speedway. And what's with the silly street sweeper cruising around campus every evening? What a complete waste of money.

Stu Williams
UA alumnus

University has vested interest in serving local Hispanics

The replies to Larry Toledo's letter ("More effort needed to recruit Arizona's Hispanic students") decrying the underrepresentation of Latinos at the UA clearly indicates that we still have a long way to go in the struggle against ignorance and prejudice. Nobody is asking the university to lower admission standards or give special treatment to the undeserving. However, the university does have a vested interested in serving our local population (a majority of whom will be of Hispanic origin in the near future).

That means, among other things, working with the K-12 school system to identify and eliminate barriers to academic success faced by these students. It also means recruiting qualified faculty that can bring, besides their scholarly accomplishments, diverse personal backgrounds and life experiences. These are valuable skills that should be taken into account when hiring faculty. Skills, mind you, not simply "skin color."

Of course, there are people who will never be comfortable interacting with fellow Americans from different cultural or ethnic backgrounds. For those individuals, then, my advice would be to start seeking a rock under which to crawl and plan on staying there. America is becoming more multicultural, and this is not going to change. The only option available is to work toward effective inclusion by embracing - and valuing - all our wonderful diversity.

Francisco Gonzalez
assistant director
Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office

Affirmative action necessary to ease educational inequalities

This is in reply to the "concerns" of Treyer Mason-Gale, Rob Monteleone and Eric Campbell in which they claim that skin color and/or to be identified as an ethnic minority should not be basis for admissions to institutions of higher education. I, as an American Indian, agree with such ideas, but I have a problem with the current education system. A big problem.

The day that minorities have access to proper secondary and elementary education, the day that reservation, barrio and ghetto schools are funded with adequate resources (good teachers included), the day that minorities are allowed to think within their own cultural framework and not be subjected to Western European modes of thinking will be the day when we can begin to dream about eradicating the "crazy" notion of affirmative action.

There is no way that a high school kid who comes from a rural reservation school can compete with another student who graduated from a private or "upscale" high school. Also, the parent's socioeconomic situation has much to do with it. Until the savage inequalities that exist in U.S. society are no more, then we cannot possibly begin to judge students and hold them responsible for various culturally unbiased ideas of standards.

Until then, get out and take a look around. Not happy, Mr. Mason-Gale, Mr. Monteleone, and Mr. Campbell? Have you considered tutoring minority students in South Tucson or Sells? As long as we have people like racist crooks like Bill Bennett who fool individuals like Mason-Gale, Monteleone and Campbell then we can scream in favor of affirmative action.

Jesus Jimenez
psychology graduate student

Porn ultimately poisonous to society, healthy relationships

Domestically, porn is a harmful element to society, immersing those who watch it in the notion that sex is a shallow and superficial act only good for providing one with physical enjoyment. Many people might think that they are immune to these supposedly marginal attitudes, but in reality, in the same way that personal (and societal) opinion is formed through osmosis (the way we absorb information through the media), the general opinion of sex is formed in a similar way.

Pornography transforms sex, something pure and healthy if approached correctly (in a loving marriage), into a mindless and heartless act, which raises the amount of sexual illness prevalent in this country. A mere glance at the Internet is explanatory of the amount (and degree) of the seemingly uncontrollable sexual desire - whether it is deviant or not.

There is a demand for it, but we have to understand that it's ultimately poisonous. We humans absorb things through our society, and porn is one potent element in allowing sex, and therefore proper human relationships, to become horribly disfigured.

Yaniv Gerowitz
political science junior

Sughead: Diversity issue shouldn't be dramatized, jeered at

It is disheartening to read letters to the editor such as the ones written by UA alumnus Treyer Mason-Gale and senior Rob Monteleone. While I am not a fan of Mr. Toledo's flagrant and dramatic stance on Latino outreach either, I will be the first to say that the facts point (out) that there may be a problem. Denial of this problem or insensitivity to the issue is not the solution.

The discrepancy rests on the following two questions: Why do the UA enrollment figures fall at 13.6 percent while the Pima County Latino population percentage falls at 29.3 percent (or 25.3 percent if you believe that the UA serves the state of Arizona and not just Pima County)? And why is it that two campuses of Pima Community College and our UA South campus have achieved Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) status while the main campus struggles to hold whatever victories we can receive? While we will probably hear multiple theories posed by many figures over why this discrepancy occurs in following letters to the editor, it is my feeling that nobody will ever really know what the cause is.

Many have theorized and many have been wrong. I will not be one of those people (though if anybody wishes to address the fact that need-based financial aid has not been appropriately funded by the state since the creation of the Arizona Financial Aid Trust, I would be most appreciative) but I wish to discredit any theory that attacks the ability of Hispanic students (such as Mr. Mason-Gale's) or gives the outlandish claim that a problem does not exist (such as Mr. Monteleone's). The value of a global student body is one that should be very appreciated in this school. This is not a topic to either jeer at or one to be dramatic over. It is an issue just like any other issue; let's accept that it exists and debate it civilly.

Fernando Ascencio
political science and psychology senior

Columnist chooses wrong judicial philosophy to assault

In his column on Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court ("Miers too narrow"), Dan Post kicked a straw man so much his leg must be hurting him. Strict constructionism is as dead a philosophy of law as there can be; the concerns brought to bear by Post were what provoked strict construction's evolution to original intent and the shift of most original intent supporters to original meaning. Clearly, though, Post isn't familiar enough with originalism to comprehend its nuances and instead picks its weakest form to assault.

This all, of course, was based on Harriet Miers' statement that she will strictly interpret the law, which places her in conflict only with those who, in bad faith, seek loopholes in the Constitution and read the Commerce Clause as allowing nearly all federal intrusion into private life, and her statement that she'd respect the Founders' vision of the proper role of courts, which is probably that spelled out in the Constitution and Marbury vs. Madison. I have yet to see anything that would reveal her to be a vulgar strict constructionist.

Miers is an unknown, and is probably not the libertarian I'd like her to be, but her nomination to the Supreme Court should entail careful review, not baseless attacks or accusations of adherence to dead judicial philosophies. As for folks like Post who feel that the Constitution is somehow not suited for modern life, if they were honest they'd support amendments, rather than judicial deference to the legislature's will and the whims of democracy.

Ben Kalafut
physics graduate student