Letters to the Editor

Ann Coulter visit paid for by taxes

I think the University should not spend money to bring Ann Coulter to USF, and I think Coulter would agree with my position. In a June 2005 column titled “Thou Shalt not Commit Religion,” Coulter blasted liberal (and some just plain stupid) speech that was paid for with tax dollars. Unless Coulter wants to be a hypocrite, she also should be opposed to using tax money to pay for her speech.

That is the core of the issue: The government placed a gun against your head and told you to give it money, and then spent that money on Coulter. The money being spent is derived from students’ fees, so theoretically, if you don’t attend USF, you aren’t paying for Coulter. However, USF is a state-subsidized institution. Therefore, tax dollars are being used to pay Coulter.

Think of it this way: The state subsidizes university education, ostensibly because there is a public interest in having educated students. Students make a decision to attend USF based on the total cost of attending, not merely the cost of tuition. If the University did not pay for speakers, it could provide that same education for a lower total cost. The government could then educate the same number of students for a lower subsidy. Thus, the burden of payment for speakers is on the taxpayer.

The University even acknowledges this to some extent: The speeches are open to the public in general, not just to USF students.

If the protesters of Coulter’s speech are opposed to all the speakers paid for by tax dollars, then I applaud them. However, I think they are opposed only to spending the money on such a conservative speaker. What they are saying is, “We don’t have a problem stealing your money to make our views heard; we just don’t want to pass the stolen megaphone.”

To this I say either, “Woe to ye hypocrites,” or in my best sarcastic and disdainful Jay Leno, “Shut up.”

As for Coulter: Don’t give the money back, even if it is stolen. They wouldn’t give it back, but would just use it to pay some socialist to speak. There already are enough of those on campus.

Scott Grizzard is a graduate student majoring in economics.

No preaching outside Cooper

I am writing concerning the actions of the visitors on USF’s campus Tuesday. Two men stood in front of Cooper Hall, proclaiming Christ while shouting insults and condemning words at students.

The scene did not sit right with me. These men, presenting themselves as followers of Jesus Christ, were totally misrepresenting the Christian faith. Many students questioned their statements only to be met with insults and harsh judgments. One student was called a pothead over and over again by the man who wore the “Trust Jesus” sign.

I do not understand the purpose of having these men on campus. If it is only to incite thinking and unify the students, why is Christianity – a faith that is precious to many USF students – being misrepresented to do so? Were these men allowed to defame my God simply for the sake of debate?

If these men truly were attempting to evangelize, they were not effective.

Many students just walked away in frustration. I ask that the USF administration consider the effectiveness of this event, which caused the same type of dissension last year. Yes, maybe the students are standing together in one voice when these men come on campus throwing insults, but is that worth putting Christianity at stake? Many people already characterize Christians as hypocrites and fools; the activity of these visitors only promotes those stereotypes.

Molly Bender is a junior majoring in communication sciences.