Letters to the Editor 1/17

Pastor on campus hurts Christianity

As a student and Christian, I wonder about the visit by “Pastor” Benny Hinn, his “ministries” and the questionable motivations of this popular man.

Recently, on a Dateline news segment, startling information surfaced about Mr. Hinn that led me, as well as others in the Christian faith (and those who are not religious), to question his validity.

This so called “faith healer” has come under fire by religious watch dog groups for his accounting practices along with his “healing.”

My question is, does USF worry about attaching its credible name to such a debatable figure? In this world of religious doubt and turmoil, promoting a questionable individual under the flag of God only promotes the negative aspects of my religion.

My concern is that Mr. Hinn, along with the ever-present shouting “preachers” near Cooper Hall, will give students and faculty the wrong impression about Christianity.

Hugh Herndon is a senior majoring in English.

Hollywood doesn’t belong in politics

What is with the Hollywood left? There’s no doubt that the disease of extreme liberalism has been ruining our country for decades, and Hollywood isn’t helping. For over a year now, the Hollywood left has been cramming their anti-war campaign down our throats. Do actors and singers getting together and signing petitions think, “This will change foreign policy in the United States”? Give me a break. I don’t think we need Sean Penn going to Iraq, attempting to find answers in the middle of Baghdad. Seeing Sheryl Crow on the American Music Awards with her “War is not the answer” shirt turns my stomach.

So what is their solution? They don’t have one. All they have are T-shirts, Web sites and petitions to try to persuade uneducated people who think Hollywood actors are political advisors. Now I hear Ben Affleck wants to run for Congress in the future. Does he think that celebrities have a free pass to political power? I can see it now, President Ben Affleck sitting with Vice President Rosie O’Donnell in the Oval Office speaking with the House Majority Leader, Pee Wee Herman.

Let’s keep foreign policy to the highly educated. Expressing your opinion is one thing, but forcing your agenda is another.

Mark Laps is a senior majoring in electrical engineering.

USF’s administration has injured reputation

I believe that Florida’s governor and USF’s Board of Trustees, president and general counsel have — by their noncollegial actions of the past two years — done irreparable damage to the reputation of our university. There have been a number of negative articles in The Chronicle of Higher Education revealing that the administration has: voted to fire a tenured faculty member without due process of law, unilaterally written and promulgated personnel rules that limit faculty members’ freedom of speech and ignored the state’s laws on continuance of collectively bargained contracts.

In my college, I know of two searches for full professors, which resulted in one qualified applicant for each position. While we still have numerous novices who apply for entry-level positions, we are unable to attract senior scholars who understand the nuances of academic freedom and collegiality, which are severely lacking at USF.

It is ludicrous that administration is afraid to voluntarily recognize the United Faculty of Florida (as the official bargaining agent of the faculty) for fear some unknown entity will file an unfair labor practice complaint against them with the Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC). The State University System was never afraid in the past when their actions invoked such complaints. And if some other union did file a complaint, what would happen? Would the president be put in jail? Would USF be fined 1 million dollars? Would administration have to stop the action that caused the complaint and post public notices?

(The answer is the latter, and how could this further damage USF’s already tarnished national reputation?)

Does administration know how much money they will have to pay for their half of a certification election for mandatory recognition? It will surely be sizeable and require that some summer courses be cut, or some deserving employees get no raises, or some administrator will lose an extra perquisite.

More than 60 percent of the faculty members have signed cards that authorize UFF to be their official bargaining agent, and these have been filed with PERC. I ask that the University of South Florida Board of Trustees and president stop hiding behind General Counsel’s bad counsel, recognize UFF and extend the current contract so we may begin bargaining next year’s raises.

Per USF Rule 6C4-10.109.B-6, opinions expressed are my own and not those of the University of South Florida.

Nancy A. Anderson, Ed.D., is an associate professor for the department of childhood education.