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Letters to the Editor 10 – 4 – 2011

In response to the Sept. 28 article “Ducklings at risk on campus”:

I was deeply moved by the tragic story of the helpless little ducks chronicled in The Oracle. This has inspired me to propose another necessary reform: squirrel crosswalks.

As a young child, I once witnessed a squirrel cross the street and get struck by a car. This senseless tragedy, no doubt, occurs daily on the USF campus with its large population of squirrels. Sadly, Students Protecting the Environment and Animals through Knowledge (SPEAK) does not seem to share in my commitment to protecting the squirrels, no doubt because they think baby ducks are cuter and thus their lives are more valuable.

The “Save the USF Baby Ducks” Facebook page may have more than 900 followers, but the “USF Squirrels” page has more than 4,000. What SPEAK neglects to understand is that all animal life is valuable, regardless of cuteness. This is a form of what I like to call “animal discrimination” that is prevalent among many so-called “animal lovers.”

I propose the following detailed plan. First, we should paint squirrel crosswalks on all roads bordering squirrel habitats (trees). Then, we would hire a squirrel crossing guard to monitor these crosswalks and guard the squirrels from reckless, barbaric drivers. This plan will cause minimal closures of USF’s major roadways. Obviously, cost shouldn’t be an issue, because you can’t put a price on a squirrel’s life.

I hope that my fellow students at USF who share my contempt for animal discrimination will stand up. I hope that those who share my enthusiastic passion for recklessly wasting my schools‘ budget in the face of massive budget cuts realize what’s important. It is selfish to wish that those funds go to improving the school for its students. Save the squirrels; their lives are at stake.

Rob Stein is a sophomore majoring in political science.


In response to “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal:

We finally saw the end of a dishonorable policy that prevented gay and lesbian American citizens from serving openly in the military. The end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is long overdue, and while its demise is cause for celebration, we should not be fooled into thinking that all is just in our armed forces.

Regardless of whether service members are married to their same-sex partners in states that recognize such marriages, they will not receive the plethora of spousal benefits that are freely given to heterosexual couples. In order to redress this injustice, we must do away with another policy that hinders the liberty of our citizens – the Defense of Marriage Act. Until gay and lesbian service members can offer their spouses the same benefits and protections enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts, they will remain second-class citizens. If we are truly willing to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, then it is time to honor their service and sacrifice by granting them the same benefits other military families receive.

Christopher Wheldon is a graduate student majoring in public health.