To the editor:

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Sep 292004
 
Authors:

I read with great interest the article concerning professor Steven Helmericks.

My sister is a graduate student at CSU and she wanted me to see a glimpse of what’s going on at home.

I have served the Army in Kosovo, Bosnia and, until February of this year, Iraq. I can tell you that the people of Bosnia and Kosovo are profoundly grateful to America for the sacrifices we have made on their behalf. And I can tell you that Iraq is a mess and I understand why anyone with a deployed family member would hold the notion of wasted sacrifice so threatening and hollow. Ask my wife.

One of our uncles fought in Korea and served two tours in Vietnam. To him Vietnam was a mistake and to his death he maintained that if it wasn’t for the protesters we’d still be there today. But today is different. The media is much more controlled, costs are hidden in deficits and university professors are silenced by students who refuse to have the strengths of their arguments tested because they have the recourse of censorship that the university offers.

I don’t hold out much hope for you. And as we prepare to return to Iraq after less than a year at home station, I can only take solace in knowing that if things keep going the way they’re going I’ll definitely see some of you there whether you like it or not. I like to think the draft will bring justice for your failure to participate in the world around you.

Paul Gujral

Heidelberg, Germany

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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To the editor:

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Sep 292004
 
Authors:

What is diversity?

Tuesday’s Collegian plugs CSU’s Diversity Summit for its “work” to “promote diversity.” Really? I read the Summit program, from a link on the CSU homepage. A few workshops actually deal with diversity; that is, individuals from different backgrounds interacting. But most focus on a single race or gender: the Chicano Male Experience, “Confronting Anti-Semitism,” and a Women’s Studies curriculum discussion. The funniest was something called “Based on Life Theatre,” which promises to bring together such common types as

“GLBT … folks,” “people of different religious backgrounds” and “a white supremacist.” Also, at CSU’s “advocacy offices,” Asian, black, Hispanic, GLBT, Native American, female, and disabled students can meet people just like them … and be diverse?

I’m sure students feel empowered in these mono-cultural societies. But does this promote campus-wide understanding? As a teaching assistant in the English department, I was terrified by the article, in the same paper, about the professor forced from the classroom. Professor Steven Helmericks gave his opinion on a public policy – he’s against the Iraq war. Students reported Helmericks because he was “biased” and “harassed” them. Right. His vicious opinion mortally wounded them. Please.

I teach writing to awake individual voices in students. But how can I, if we teach them that diversity means building enclaves of power? You’re a feminist? No one will argue with you in Women’s Studies. You’re black? Gosh, you’re better off with your own kind in your “advocacy office.” But if you see yourself as an individual and take general classes, better keep your head down. Otherwise (gasp) someone will get offended. And the College Republicans, that party of individuality, will silence you.

Real diversity is not building power groups. It means supporting free speech, listening to everyone and not crying about being offended. Real diversity is a diversity of ideas.

Ben Miller

graduate student

English

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

To the Editor:

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Sep 292004
 
Authors:

CSU has lost one of its best. In his sociology classes, professor Steven Helmericks did not just teach. He had his students experience and feel the material, understand the tragedy and the thrill of the human condition. I had the pleasure of taking his Social Stratification class last spring, and he was the most inspiring instructor I have had. A good professor teaches the material; a great professor makes it meaningful and personal. Professor Helmericks was that great professor.

No one can deny that he was vocal about his views. But in my experience he was always willing to hear the other side. His purpose was not to intimidate and preach. It is incredibly upsetting that one student, because she was unwilling to discuss differing views, has destroyed a person’s life and taken away opportunities for current and future students to learn from one of the most engaging professors at CSU.

Phoebe Pile

Senior

Liberal Arts

 Posted by at 5:00 pm