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Letters to the Editor 2/28

Tolerance is the most important ideal

Attendance at a university is supposed to be a time to open your mind — a primarily collegial thing — you learn about the world around you, gain knowledge that carries you into a career of your choosing and make friends that you will stay in contact with for the rest of your life.

A couple years ago, I attended a lecture in which the speaker described college as being “the incubator of ideas” for a lot of its attendees. This is the period of time when you will expand your knowledge into realms you never saw or heard of during your prior education; where you will learn new ideals. However, what ideals are being learned on this campus?

With the issues swirling around Sami Al-Arian, many followers of the Islamic faith are concerned about anti-Muslim sentiments.

Do they have a right to be concerned?

Yes, because there are people who are narrow-minded enough to believe that the actions of one person should condemn an entire group of people.

On the other hand, those who speak out against Al-Arian are concerned about reprisals from his supporters. Do these people have the right to be concerned? Yes, because there are some people who are so passionate about the issue that they sometimes cross the line.

The month of February is Black Emphasis Month, a time to reflect upon and celebrate the culture and achievement of one of the largest groups in the melting pot that is the United States of America.

So, how do we celebrate at USF? Someone defaces the bust of a great man in the center of our campus, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The centerpiece of this beautiful plaza, which is dedicated to a man who stood for peace and civility, was vandalized during this time of celebration.

There have been other exceptionally improper statements made that are not just offensive to the black population of this campus but that should offend every single member of the university community. Again, we have narrow-minded individuals who take it upon themselves to make their personal opinions known and forced upon our community.

As a college community, we must stand up and tell the world that we will not tolerate this sort of behavior. Everybody is accorded the freedom of speech that is the cornerstone of the Bill of Rights, but there are limits to that freedom.

What is occurring goes beyond those personal liberties guaranteed to us by our forefathers, and it must end. We, as a community, must take the stance that any form of hate speech is not acceptable.

If you are a member of the university community that harbors ill will against a group of people due to their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or any other factor, then you do not belong here.

It’s as simple as that. If you cannot show respect for other cultures and ideas in this academic environment, then leave; we don’t want you here.

Michael Berman is a senior majoring in finance and is president of the Student Senate.

Media irresponsible with war coverage

Media socialists are reporting on an impending war with Iraq and then following it with reports that prices are going up at gasoline stations — not because of the impending war but because of so-called price gouging by greedy businessmen.

The media and the government rah-rah a war with Iraq and then blame someone else when gas prices go up. The officials who the media interview are never asked, “Aren’t you, the government officials, responsible for gas prices going up?”

It never occurs to any media socialists that the elected clowns who are investigating price increases should also be asked, “Aren’t you also responsible for price increases by adding more government hassle to the cost of supplying gas?”

The media never interviews any libertarian or even any free market economics professors who would gleefully point out blithering idiocy of media coverage. The Iraq-War-gas-price-gouging stories question the sanity of media socialists.

Media socialists rehash anti-growth stories about going broke, describing how more people mean more problems. The articles never mention the great economist Julian Simon (nor his many followers among free market economics professors) who refute the tired Malthusian/socialist claims.

The media will never title an article “More people mean fewer problems,” because it is the complete opposite of the lie that media socialists keep repeating.

The media articles never note that all of the so-called overburdened services are government services, while private services gladly supply new customers without any problems (other than those problems caused by government provision of services).

Media socialists rehash problems in government schools and never compare how private schools, and parents who reject government schools, quietly and happily solve or avoid the same problems. All of the above demonstrate why the media may be the best evidence of the need to end government schools.

Rex Curry is a resident of Tampa.