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Letters to the Editor 2/13

Seek energy alternatives to oil consumption

In my opinion, the rich, powerful, undemocratic Saudi Arabian royal family is moving much too slowly in reforming Saudi Arabia’s dangerous policy of financing hostile, intolerant, fanatical, Medieval, dogmatic, theocratic, anti-democratic and anti-American schools throughout the Middle East.

In protest, and in memory of Sept. 11, I hope Americans of all philosophies, beliefs, churches, mosques and temples throughout the USF area might work together in a creative spirit of patriotic volunteerism and write to The Oracle about how Americans might use free will to voluntarily choose to live energy-efficient lives, thus decreasing Saudi Arabia’s dangerous oil money to zero forever, or at least until Saudi Arabia becomes a rational, egalitarian democracy.

  • Tom Bateman is a USF alumnus.

Al-Arian’s situation could set bad precedent for future

I was watching the Nuremberg trials, and I heard a U.S. uniformed leader advising the U.S. prosecutor of the trials that we need Germany as our friend in order to insure the prosperity of our nation. He continues, saying that we will not get that support by levying severe sentences upon their nation’s leaders of that tragic period.

Whether this is the reason that only 11 men were hanged for the 11 million that were killed in the concentration camps, it bears consideration. It bears as much consideration as the six million votes for the Nazi party, which bore an eerie resemblance to the six million deaths of European Jewry in those same camps.

I don’t mean to veer too much from my point so early, nor do I mean to devalue in any way the lives that were lost in this tragedy now known to us as the Holocaust.

However, all of this quickly connected in my head with regard to the events on this campus.

I have worked at the Honeybaked Ham Company for four years now. In case one is not aware of the clientele, it is substantially well-to-do. In any case, I waited on a woman who purchased quite a few items. As it was too much for her to carry out to her vehicle, I volunteered to help her.

Upon reaching her SUV, I noted her USF license plate and inquired as to whether she had children in school there or went there herself. She informed me that she was an alumnus and followed with her take on the events taking place on campus. She said that she and her husband gave sufficient funds to the school and that she had written Ms. Genshaft a strongly worded letter concerning the future of her contributions if that “terrorist” were to keep his employment.

As I did not share her views, I quietly placed her hams into her SUV and told her to have a nice day. She thanked me and drove away.

Now, I don’t pretend to know our school president’s predicament, but I have been acquainted with the plight of our tenured professor facing termination. As I understand it, one of the focal points of professorship is to receive tenure, a sort of lifetime guarantee that one’s speech will be protected within the walls of one’s university.

The spirit of academia is the thought and feeling which lies beyond the realms of for or against. To be given two options only, and then to choose a third and to be fired for the choosing is to be cheated of that First Amendment right we hold so dear.

Our president called upon the shield of public safety. I am an average student (certainly, not every student), but neither my life nor my health were ever threatened. I never had to skip a class for fear that I would be injured for attending the same institution where an alleged Palestinian supporter held his occupation.

However, I here wish to explore these implications. I am an American. As such, I suffer from the unfortunate incident of not being fully aware of everything going on in the Middle East.

I understand that the Palestinians were disenfranchised, as were the Jews who are now occupying the state of Israel due to the inability/unwillingness to find a place to put them. I know that it goes further back and forward, but from here, I can see both sides.

The unfortunate and dangerous thing about this position is that if I were a professor, which I hope to be one day, I could be fired for vocalizing my position. As I am now experiencing the many hours, tears and dollars it takes to even aspire toward tenure, I have to say I hope that all of it won’t be in vain. Indeed, that my life won’t come down to politics.

  • Charity Kiser is a junior double majoring in English literature and women’s studies.

    Position of Faculty Union on Al-Arian shameful

    It is amazing as well as shameful that the state teachers’ union has taken the stance it has concerning the firing of Al-Arian from the University of South Florida. To say that this stance is self-serving is an English understatement.

    It is known that this teacher, and I use that term loosely, has called for the destruction of the United States and Israel. It is also known that he associated with known terrorists. I have a child attending this university, and this is not the direction of instruction that I wish for my child or anyone’s child for that matter.

    University President Judy Genshaft’s only mistake is the time it took to come to the conclusion she did. If by some selfish way, the United Faculty of Florida gets its way and the university does not fire this man, it will be the last alumnus dollar sent to this institution by myself and, I suspect, many others.

    As for freedom of speech, it has been my observation for many years that faculty members defend this sacred right selectively and only when it suits their agenda.

    “What people need to understand about the culture of academic life is that the intellectual freedom in this environment is more important than whether you like any individuals who exercise that freedom,” said Tom Auxter, president of the state union.

    In the ’70s, when a student of this university, I looked forward to a visit and talk by Dr. Henry Kissinger. This man is part of a tremendous amount of our recent history, yet the faculty raised such a clamor that his visit was canceled. So much for freedom of speech and academic freedom. Dr. Kissinger was also not charged with a crime, as the faculty reminds us often about Al-Arian.

    • James F. Bustin is a USF alumnus.

    The Oracle makes good protection from the rain

    I just wanted to say thank you for the precious minutes you all devote to your fine paper.

    Your brainless, typical, college-aged viewpoints on such things as homosexual marriages and “academic freedom” provide quite a good chuckle and a shake of my head when I read them.

    Your paper also provides a wonderful head covering as I make my way from class to class in the rain. Keep it coming, because I love it.

    • Joel Eastlick is a freshman majoring in political science.