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Feb 282005
 
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I'm responding to two letters printed Friday (from Monica Owens and Justin Davis) that criticized Vincent Adams' Tuesday column.

First, Justin, Ward Churchill's writings are clearly not pro-violence, in that he criticizes the violence perpetrated by the American government upon other peoples (Native Americans, Middle Easterners, etc.), merely pointing out that we shouldn't be surprised when those who feel we've pushed them push back. His writing is inflammatory, yes, but anti-American hate speech?? Here's an imperfect, but perhaps useful parallel: would you have called those in the Civil Rights Movement "anti-American" for decrying the racist injustices perpetrated by the U.S. government upon blacks?

Whether we agree with Churchill or not, this is what the academic community should do: point out when issues are gray, not black and white, and force us to question our assumptions, especially when it makes us uncomfortable. We shouldn't treat academia like a product, where we only pay for views we like.

Next, I don't know what led you to claim, "liberals are more tolerant of Saddam Hussein than they are of President Bush and Gov. Bill Owens," but this is ridiculous. Liberals disagree with the administration, and you say they're supporting Saddam Hussein? As vice president of CSU College Republicans, you should be ashamed of such simplistic rhetorical attacks.

Finally, I'm sure Gov. Owens is a good person. Regardless, it's legitimate for Adams and others to criticize what they see as Owens' wish to mold the academic community more to his liking. How is this "suppressing" his opinion, Monica?

I suggest we all try to minimize the outrageous accusations, so that we don't just dismiss those who disagree with us.

Joe Fass

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Faculty

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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To the editor:

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Feb 282005
 
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Should Religion be a Diversity Issue?

A recent article in Wednesday's Collegian entitled "Advocacy with a religious twist" raised the possibility of including religion as a "diversity issue."

The idea of religion as a diversity issue is interesting, but numerous questions call for detailed analysis.

For openers, if a fundamentalist religion clearly discriminates against homosexuals and women, how are we to adjudicate the inevitable conflicting claims among the various advocacy groups? If a government agency were involved in such adjudication would that violate the separation of church and state? Other problems would need to be addressed. For example, if it were clear that a mental disorder had resulted from a religious belief, what are the implications for professionals in the counseling center who must treat the disorder? Would those of us who teach evolution or participate in women's studies programs face constraints because of the presence of certain religious groups in our classes? If religion becomes a diversity issue, must we now factor religious orientation into the demographic make-up of the faculty and the student body? If so, we are sure in advance to fail to achieve anything close to a representative demography. Think for a minute about the sheer number of different religious orientations. Furthermore, would atheists, deists and humanists be factored into the equation? Would those who teach courses dealing with theories of knowledge run into problems if they attempt a critical examination of authority and revelation? These and a host of other questions must be addressed, if we are to think clearly about religion as a diversity issue.

Wayne Viney

Department of Psychology

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

To the editor:

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Feb 282005
 
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As I was passing by the Lory Student Center this morning, I couldn't help but notice the multi-colored flags symbolizing the roughly 11 million innocent people (i.e. civilians) that the Nazis killed in the course of WWII. I find myself thinking of this display, the recent news of diplomats visiting the sites of concentration camps and of my visit to the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C., and I wonder: have we learned the lesson? What is the point of remembering the Holocaust dead if we do not also acknowledge that the United States has had a hand in the death of almost as many civilians since the Holocaust, either through direct action, as in Iraq, or by supporting powers who perpetrate the crimes upon their own people (South American death squads come to mind…) and finally by inaction (Rwanda, Sudan.) I am not saying that we are akin to Nazis – I am just saying that in order for the lessons of the past to be learned, we must take hard critical looks at ourselves and change the way we operate in a world that seems to be growing ever smaller.

Keir Fogarty

Chemistry graduate student

 Posted by at 5:00 pm