Letters to the Editor 2/7

Lecturer speaking at USF is important

I am glad Rob Brannon wrote an article in The Oracle Thursday, letting students know that Scott Ritter is coming to campus. Ritter is one of the world’s leading experts on the capabilities of Iraq’s military, specifically the status of its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs. Ritter was a chief U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq under the UNSCOM program of the 1990s where he supervised the destruction of virtually the entire arsenal of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. His book, Endgame, details the UNSCOM missions and the status of Iraq’s weapons programs as of 1998, the year UNSCOM withdrew from Iraq. His testimony to Congress and his lectures since 1998 explain exactly what we know of Iraq’s capabilities.

Scott Ritter will speak next Tuesday as part of the University Lecture Series. His lecture is at 7 pm in the Special Events Center, and his documentary In Shifting Sands will be shown at 5 pm free of charge to USF students.

The weapons capability of Iraq and the issue of whether the United States should attack is certainly the biggest debate of this decade, and Scott Ritter is one of the world’s authorities on the matter. USF is truly fortunate to have such an expert speak to our campus.

Sean Kinane is a Ph.D. student majoring in biology.

Beware price-gouging on campus

I am writing this letter to you because I believe that students are being ripped off in at least two of the snack bars on campus.

Jan. 30, I was in the snack bar located in the Library buying myself some cookies and a 20oz bottle of iced tea. The price for the cookies was three for $1.19, and the price for the iced tea was listed as $1.09.

I was charged $1.28 for the three cookies and $1.28 for the iced tea (including tax). I then asked the cashier why I was being charged such a high price for the iced tea. Her response to me was the 7 percent sales tax. I disputed, exclaiming that there was no way that at an iced tea priced at $1.09 is going to jump up 19 cents after sales tax. She continued to argue that this was correct because I was being charged $1.19 for the iced tea instead of the listed price of $1.09. After hearing this excuse, I told her that she was going to charge me the $1.09 that was listed. She still continued to argue with me saying that I was going to pay her price and that I would need to call her boss if I did not like it.

Well that all but set me off. However, I remained calm and demanded to pay the list price. I also told her after she instructed me that I would always be paying that price, to change her signs if she did not want a dispute. Until she did, I would not being paying her ridiculous price of $1.28. She eventually conformed to logic and I saved 19 cents.

I have taken time out of my day to write this short story in hopes that you will get the word out that students are being charged 28 cents more for a 20oz bottle of refreshment than in any vending machine.

This price increase has also taken place in the snack bar in the business building and no tags have been changed there, either. It’s as if they are trying to rob us. Additionally, I have noticed that the snack bars tax water. To my understanding, it is illegal to tax water. At least for convenience stores, grocery stores and every other kind of store selling water.

Matthew Billa is a junior majoring in psychology.

Affirmative action falsely represented

This is in response to the column written by Alex Hardman on affirmative action Friday. Hardman’s column was full of the common stereotypical innuendo and misrepresentations which manifest when a discussion on this issue arises. I would love to engage in meaningful debate, but the spatial constraints of this paper preclude the possibility.

The term “affirmative action” is a misnomer. I prefer affirmative access. This term in itself belies the misrepresented connotation of “quotas,” a catchword commonly utilized by uninformed emotional opponents.

Its truth mandates the fact that in order to gain access, one must still have academic credentials and ability to participate and survive in an advanced academic environment.

Colleges and university do not need to “lower their standards,” for this to happen as suggested by Hardman. Quotas are a fallacy perpetuated by opponents in an effort to marginalize and jaundice opinions on this issue.

Affirmative access is not a head count, but an attempt to make the playing field accessible so that all may participate. Blacks and other minorities have historically and systemically been omitted from mainstream America especially in the areas of housing, jobs and education.

This country has an ugly history and legacy of racism, prejudice, discrimination and hatred, much of which has been mandated, perpetuated and legislated through our societal institutions. The dream of an equal, race-neutral society belies the reality.

Until better measures and truthful good faith efforts become the norm rather than the exception, affirmative access remains the best option available to reach the playing field.

The University of Michigan recognizes this and has chosen a process that makes a good faith effort at diversity in student enrollment.

Yes, the Fourteenth Amendment does protect the rights of individuals and is applicable to all persons, regardless of race, creed or color.

No one is to be excluded.

Melvin C. McQuay is a junior majoring in electrical engineering.

Club sports deserve some coverage

Why would anyone majoring in mass communications want to discourage someone from expressing their feelings?

That’s exactly what Jon Mishner did when he wrote his short letter about club sports not even being worth the ink. I found it rather amusing that we’re not worth the ink, but he could still take the time to write about it. He never really stated his point or reasoning behind his narrow-minded statements, just that his thoughts were more important than the hundreds of students at USF that are involved in club sports.

Club sports are a part of USF and should be recognized. We’re not asking for front page coverage every day, but acknowledging the fact that we exist would be nice every once in a while. Club sports can actually be really fun and exciting. Maybe more students would be able to discover that if there were more information floating around about them.

Diana Mayhugh is a junior majoring in art history.