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Letters to the Editor

Re: May 19 CartoonLike so many colleagues and students at USF, I was both embarrassed and disappointed at the editorial cartoon that appeared in the May 19 edition of the Oracle.

I was saddened to learn that this cartoon was the only commentary our award-winning student newspaper could publish in response to a natural disaster of such immense proportions – one which has reportedly claimed the lives of more than 40,000 innocent people and has left more than five million others homeless. Regardless of one’s opinions about China’s political ideology or record of human rights, the May 12 earthquake represented an enormous tragedy for humanity and the Chinese people deserve our sympathy, respect, compassion and support at this most difficult time.

While we must always uphold our constitutional right to free speech, we also have a responsibility to show respect in the aftermath of such catastrophic loss. The cartoon does not represent the sentiments of USF – its students, faculty and staff.

At USF, we value “cultural and ethnic diversity and inclusion, along with an enhanced global experience, understanding, and appreciation.” To this end, our University’s faculty and leadership are committed to guiding students to better understand and appreciate their role as leaders in the global community.

When our nation was devastated by the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Virginia Tech shootings last year, college students around the world reached out to express sympathy and support for the victims and their loved ones. Now we have an opportunity as a community of scholars to reach out to those in need by offering financial support, volunteer service, a kind word or a moment of silent contemplation. If your readers would like to learn more about opportunities to help or how to contribute to the China Earthquake Relief Fund, you can contact USF’s Confucius Institute.

In closing, I urge the Oracle editorial board to heed the advice presented by their own columnist, Jason Olivero, presented in his column “Don’t be ‘Ugly Americans,'” which ran next to the cartoon last Monday: “…Americans can also be humble and understanding, generous to those in need and graceful in both success and adversity. Show the world your best side. Let people see ‘America the Beautiful,’ not the Ugly American.”

Ralph C. Wilcox is Provost and Senior Vice President at USF.

Re: May 19 CartoonI was immensely sad upon seeing the comic ‘Bad Karma’ in the Oracle’s May 19 opinion section in which a giant panda is killed in an earthquake as the consequence of her celebration of the Olympics.

Undeniably, the author has every right to indulge his freedom of speech under the First Amendment. But his sense of humor reflects only his indifference to and disrespect for the lives of tens of thousands of innocent human beings that were lost in the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan, China, home to the giant panda.

To poke fun at a people who are suffering 50,000 deaths and over 200,000 injuries is only cruel; to be politically opportunistic while millions of people are homeless and are fighting for human dignity is only inhumane.

For the editorial board to select such a piece to publish at the moment the entire world is mourning the enormous human suffering, its judgment is called into question. To me, not only is this comic piece distasteful, but also disgraceful, to say the least.

Yiliang Zhu is a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the College of Public Health and director for the Center for Collaborative Research