Letters to the Editor 4/18

‘Cross lighting’ a racist ceremony

On Wednesday Jason C. Argo informed all the “ignorant people” of the Ku Klux Klan’s true meaning of cross burning. He stated “what ignorant people call ‘cross burning’ is, in fact, a cross lighting. One of the purposes of the Cross Lighting Ceremony is to show that Jesus Christ is the light of the world.”

Wow, how amazing. As a black female, I never knew when the Ku Klux Klan burned the cross that they were just trying to share the light of Jesus Christ with ethnic minorities.

Gosh, I guess their victims could not hear “Jesus is the light of the world” over all the screams of “Nigger” and “Go back to Africa.”

I just have one question for Jason: What do the white sheets represent? The Holy Ghost?

April S. Walker is a junior majoring in psychology.

Defending KKK not a ‘bright’ idea

This letter is in reference to Jason Argo and the Tuesday Klan cartoon. First, this cartoon is distasteful, and The Oracle staff should be ashamed to have published a cartoon like that.

Second, Jason, what light did you bring up? Instead of saying that this cartoon was wrong because of the hidden meaning behind it, you try to defend the Klansmen by saying they were doing it as a lighting ceremony.

Please believe if you were a slave in Alabama you didn’t see three men dressed up in white as friends. I don’t understand why you write this letter thinking you were doing something helpful.

The next time you have a bright idea, why don’t you write it down, go home and wait for a better one to hit you.

Michael Smith is a junior majoring in biology.

War unfounded if weapons not found

I’m sick of conservatives rubbing the fall of Baghdad in the face of the antiwar movement, as if it’s “proof” that they were right all along. They seem to forget that the antiwar movement never denied that Baghdad would fall quickly, if anything the speed at which this war was concluded only vindicates the antiwar position.

Before launching the war on Iraq, President Bush told us that he was taking us to war because he thought that Iraq and its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction posed an imminent threat to the United States. The speed at which the Iraqi regime collapsed tells another story. What kind of ‘”threat” crumbles after only 20 days of war? The argument that Iraq was a threat has become a victim of the war’s success.

Up to this point, no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq. They might be around somewhere, but that is beside the point. It’s not very useful to have a bottle or two of VX gas lying around in some lab refrigerator. What this war has proved is that Iraq has no significant biological or chemical weapons production facilities.

In other words, they might have some in a lab, but in order for weapons of mass destruction to be useful, they need to be mass-produced and weaponized. The fact that weapons of mass destruction (thankfully) were not used against our troops demonstrates that Iraq probably did not possess the capability to deploy those weapons.

The success of this war should not be judged solely by the speed and comprehensiveness of our military victory. There is still a country to rebuild and a region to stabilize. Whether this war is truly “successful” will be born out in the coming months and years.

Bisher Tarabishy is a senior majoring in biology.

St. Pete actively pursuing accreditation

Though the editorial printed in Wednesday’s Oracle regarding accreditation for the St. Petersburg campus makes a valid point that separate accreditation will be a tremendous benefit for the campus, I would like to correct the writer’s misconception that USFSP has not been seeking separate accreditation. In fact, USFSP has been actively pursuing separate accreditation for well over a year.

In 2001, Florida Statute 240.527(1)(c) mandated that: “As soon as possible, . . . the President of the University of South Florida shall begin the process of application to the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools [SACS] for separate accreditation of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.” USFSP therefore made its initial application to SACS in August 2001.

On March 12, 2002, USFSP received a response from SACS requesting clarification of several issues, most notably regarding the viability of its autonomy.

In an effort to document and clarify this issue, a memorandum of agreement was put in place between the USF Board of Trustees and the USFSP Campus Board. The memorandum detailed the terms and processes through which USF would transfer all responsibilities and operational authority necessary for USFSP to achieve separate accreditation.

In September 2002, USFSP submitted the required documentation and responses to all of SACS’ concerns. To date, we have not received a reply, but we are actively proceeding toward a future site visit by the accreditation team.

I can assure you, separate accreditation is not an issue that the faculty, staff, administrators, and students “just talk about.”

The establishment of my position to oversee SACS activities speaks strongly to this endeavor. We all are involved in the accreditation process and are working together to make separate accreditation a reality.

Elizabeth Steinhardt Stewart is the director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness at USF St. Petersburg.