Letters to the Editor

Rules about sidewalk chalking are biased

Last fall, a group of concerned USF students, including myself, came onto campus and began chalking messages on the sidewalks in front of Cooper Hall.

We wrote peaceful messages such as “Make love not war” and “Support our troops, bring them home.” Not a single message was overtly political. These weren’t slanderous statements against the president or the current administration. We wrote our messages next to an announcement for CAB meeting and probably a Greek event or two. Within minutes, a USF employee (I don’t know what his job description was, but he was not a University Police officer) was standing in the Cooper breezeway over a message we had just written, talking on his walkie-talkie. We waited, curious as to whether or not he was going to say anything to us. He didn’t. He made a few more statements into his walkie-talkie and watched us continue to write. He did not tell us to stop or even spoke to us. Within 20 minutes, when we returned from the Sociology building, they were hosing off the sidewalks — all the sidewalks, both inside the breezeway and in front of Subway.

Now, for the past month I have walked over chalk messages in front of the Phyllis P. Marshall Center propagating pro-Bush messages. “USF loves Bush,” “Bush 2004” and “4 More Years!” are chalked all over the sidewalks.

I just walked down the steps in front of Subway, where each step declared, “Vote for Bush.”

If our messages last fall were immediately washed from the sidewalks because of what we assumed was their implied political message, why is USF allowing pro-Bush statements to remain for at least a week without being erased?

I have no objection to the statements being there. I am a firm advocate of freedom of speech. However, I am upset by the obvious slight to the more liberal messages. Campuses should be a forum for free speech and idea exchange, not another biased outlet for one side’s ideas with total blackout of others’ points of view. Why did USF pick sides, and why is it allowed to continue? I propose another chalking of the sidewalks is in order, to offer some balance to the messages being scrawled under our feet. If we’re going to have our subconscious attacked by a barrage of political messages walking from class to class, at least allow for equal representation.

Siobhan White is a senior majoring in literature.

Bush flip-flopped on assault rifle ban

The Assault Weapons Ban, passed during the Clinton administration, recently expired. This expiration marks the breaking of a campaign promise by President George W. Bush to support the ban. He made that promise in both the 2000 campaign and the current campaign as recently as a few weeks ago.

The expiration of the ban makes us all less safe by allowing deadly weapons back on the streets. Police chiefs and other law enforcement officials across the country support the ban. More important now than when the ban was passed in the early ’90s is that terrorists will now have access to assault weapons that are of the same caliber as our law enforcement and even some that our military personnel posses. This is a dangerous situation and certainly makes America far less safe.

The ban also enjoys widespread popular support, which is probably why Bush is claiming to be a supporter of it. Of course while he supports it on the campaign trail, he is letting the bill die in Washington.

John Kerry has been in favor of the ban in the past and will be in favor of it as president. He won’t flip–flop like Bush has on this very important issue.

Cody Jacobs is a sophomore majoring in political science and a member of Students for Kerry.