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Letters to the Editor 9/16

Don’t be a victim of popular theory and media opinion

Looks can be deceiving. It’s a sad, painful cliche, but oh so true. Likewise, you can’t judge a book by its cover, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the list goes on and on, but basically the message is such that things cannot be subjectively judged unless objectivity and non-bias are being employed. All too often we find ourselves in a wistful dreamland of fallacies and disillusionment only to wake up to a world of hard realities and cold truths; all because we fail to put aside our fantasies and not analyze the word around us.

As a society, we are entirely too susceptible to the “herd mentality.” All follow the leader, no one thinks for himself. The misinformed, sometimes propagandist, media literally spoon feeds us our thoughts; even when there is some truth to what there is to be said, we don’t pick up on it because everything is taken at face-value. Nothing is broken down, nothing is thought through, consequences are not contemplated. We are caught up in a blizzard of emotion and may at times find ourselves consumed by a blind rage or anguish instilled in us by the media and the, often false, appearances presented to us.

A theory that seems to be more and more prevalent is that this entire campaign of support for a politically and militarily pro-active government and the subsequent delusions we may have about the world around us are in place for our own protection. Tailor the information that a populace receives, and you form their opinions for them. Some folks might be OK with that. I am not. I would prefer to think for myself, get the real, “behind the scenes,” action and not be lied to. The government should conform itself to the will of the governed, not vice versa. We should make the decisions, we should decide what actions most behoove us. Wake up America, these are our lives, and we are not in control.

Ditch the fantasies, the dreams of a perfect world and hope of perpetual peace. Actually face reality, and who knows? We may take control yet.

Danoosh Amrooei is a senior majoring in biology.

Genshaft has failed USF with the Al-Arian case

What is going on with President Genshaft? I am not a lawyer, but if I wished to steal an apple, I would not have to ask the court if it was legal or not. Imagine how packed already full courts would be if all would-be criminals asked to clarify the law. Judy, Judy, Judy, you know that it is illegal to fire a man that is innocent until proven guilty and has expressed an opinion contrary to your own. Does she seriously think anyone will see her current actions as more than a simple political maneuver to get her off the hot seat by thrusting the responsibility on to a court? Of course not. This is even more shameful than the almost one year of nail biting and hand ringing she has gone through trying to make a decision. The picture of her on the front of the Tampa Tribune last week told a story of a tortured woman trying to save a dying political future.

Most now realize that USF has to sue Al-Arian in order to get the court to make a decision. Not only are taxpayers burdened with Al-Arian being paid salary not to work, but they are now forced to pay for a lawsuit that attempts to get Genshaft off the hook. Donna Euben, of the American Association of University Professors, has it correct when she states that “It appears to be an end-run around academic due process.” Which raises the question of why do faculty need a contract if the courts are going to be asked to decide internal matters.

Once again Genshaft was playing the innuendo and rumors game with her statement sent to all faculty and staff. How many times are we going to hear from her that Dr. Al-Arian may have associated with terrorists? She began the attempted ousting of Al-Arian by preaching that he is a danger to USF personnel. The failure of this transparent, politically motivated action, because of its pathetic lack of any factual basis, has forced Genshaft to take more desperate measures. Now it is guilt by association. Is there anyone in the USF General Counsel office that understands what evidence is? By all means, if Al-Arian is a terrorist or helped to fund terrorist’s organizations he should be tried and found guilty. But as far as I am aware, being investigated does not make one guilty. If it did, quite a bit of the USF administration would be terminated.

I call upon President Genshaft to send, via e-mail or U.S. certified mail, any direct evidence she has linking Al-Arian to terrorists. If I receive such evidence, I will be the first to alert the police. It is irresponsible to suggest that such evidence exists in order to trap Al-Arian via the lawsuit into refusing to speak as is his right via the Fifth Amendment. Genshaft has lost the emotional response she had from Sept. 11 when she attempted to fire Dr. Al-Arian last year. I believe the public is now viewing the Al-Arian affair with the requisite skepticism due him. That is, how about some evidence for God’s sake?

Finally, I want to applaud President Genshaft for taking care of this matter before any students arrived on campus. It’s a nice political touch to a failed political agenda.
Marc J. Defant is a professor at USF.

Do something good for a fellow college student

A lot of things have happened over the past couple of weeks that have our attention. We’ve had to remember the anniversary of Sept. 11 and the hurt it caused. We’ve had to hear more of the ongoing Al-Arian case, which in my opinion should not be an issue – academic freedom must be preserved.

We’ve had to hear of President Bush urging the United Nations to action before we have to on our own concerning Iraq. On top of all that, many of us are taking or getting back the scores on that first round of testing that happens every semester.

In the midst of all of these things, we have the opportunity to help someone out by taking about 15 seconds (dependent upon your Internet connection) of our time. During the first week of classes, The Oracle ran an article on a student named Brooke who was competing for For Him Magazine Student of the Year Scholarship.

Frankly, I don’t know Brooke. I don’t read or subscribe to FHM. But you can be sure that I’m going to take my time to help someone get some extra cash for school if all that is required of me is to point and click. I voted on campus Sept. 13, and Brooke was in second place having 22 percent of the overall vote. The leader has a way lower quiz score and has 31 percent of the overall vote. You can be sure I’ll vote again when I get home.

The point is, we all have the opportunity to help someone get through school a little bit easier by taking a second to vote. And if every reader of The Oracle voted and told one non-Oracle reader to vote, I definitely think that money would be going to a USF student. So take one minute of your time and go to and vote for Brooke. Help someone you don’t know pay for some school. Goodness knows we all need it with the increase in fees and tuition that keeps happening.

Jordan Offutt is a sophomore majoring in microbiology.