Letters to the Editor

Beware of clever advertising ploys

I received a free pita from the Pita Pit. The problem, however, is that all students who jumped on this offer will get hit up with credit card offers out the wazoo a few weeks down the road. The requirement to fill out a credit card application seems harmless, but it is nothing of the sort.

I know a lot about credit and financial planning, but the average student does not. Most students do not realize that when a credit card company checks on your credit rating, it drops your rating a few points. Most also do not realize that opening a new line of credit can detrimentally affect one’s credit rating as well. These issues are only the manifest concerns.

Another problem is simply the perpetuation of credit card debt among college students. New bankruptcy laws are about to pass, and these are stemmed from endless credit card debt among many within our society; catering to college students who already have financial pressures does nothing to help this situation, and surely harms it.

While the credit companies may argue that it is the responsibility of the consumer to monitor and cope with how much they charge, ultimately this rampant availability of credit harms those who use it; things come up in life, and the more credit available to someone the more they are likely to charge.

I am not so naive as to think that soliciting credit applications from college students will end, but I would like to see some accountability. Mainly, I would like to see USF not allow these types of solicitations to occur; not only should they not be allowed to advertise this sort of thing on campus, but they should be fined for doing so. Once again, I am not so naive as to ignore the power of money and advertising, and judging from the vast spread of the Pita Pit’s presence on campus, they are surely a monetary source of advertising for USF.

The pita was good, if that means anything.

Steven M. Wilson is an honors students majoring in economics and psychology.

Baxley does not deserve praise
Re: “Open letter to Congressman Baxley,” May 19

The sight of former USF professor Sandlern’s letter praising Congressman Baxley’s onerous bill HB 837, titled the “Student and Faculty Academic Freedom in Post-secondary Education” appalls me. In reality, this should be called the “Professors No Longer Have Free Speech Bill.”

What does this bill do? First of all, it specifies that faculty cannot introduce controversial topics if deemed inappropriate. It offers no means by which to test what is or is not controversial.

I teach in the Communication Department. Given that our republic is based on how and what we perform, discuss and debate in our daily lives, it is imperative to look at multiple views. Who gets to choose which are appropriate? Who will be enabled to tell us what we can or cannot teach?

One Episcopalian’s blessing is one Baptist’s curse and vice versa.

Secondly, the bill says that students have the right to expect that alternative views will be presented. As many of us realize, K-12 is one manner by which children become socialized into American culture. Students get history, literature, civics, sciences, etc. in fairly standardized doses. Add to this the saturation by youth via corporate news, our media drenched society and our generally unquestioning populace. College and university professors are battling 17 or 18 years of accepted, uncritical, unthinking, cultural inundation. In postsecondary education, students are to expand, open up and become critical thinkers and individuals, not mere cogs or receptacles of conventional wisdom. Postsecondary education presents alternative views extremely well.

Some students don’t like this. Tough. As a student, I didn’t like everything I heard either, but I was critical enough to understand what I believe and why, as well what I didn’t believe. I did not run to mommy and daddy (or my state Congresspersons) about my professors being strict Calvinists, or tongue-talking Pentecostals, or anarchists, or directors of an energy company, or pinko-commies. No, I stood my ground.

If this bill passes, the lawsuits will start. It encourages students to sue if they feel they have been discriminated against. Did students feel the text was controversial? Did students resent the fact that the course required auto-ethnography although they believe in the post-positivist methods? Did students feel they were discouraged to participate by the classroom climate?

This bill is not about academic freedom. This is about ideologues attempting to control postsecondary education, much as they now run think tanks, Washington D.C. and corporations. Postsecondary education is the last and only place where alternative views can be heard. That is why Baxley and those like him are so upset.

Andrew F. Herrmann is a doctoralstudent in the departmentof communication.