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Tuesday, July 23, 2019


Letters to the Editor

Obituary whitewashes Valenti’s detrimental impact on consumers

To the editor:

The Daily Cougar ran a puff piece on UH alumnus Jack Valenti, "Former regent dies at age 85" (April 30, News), to commemorate his death. Far from being a "powerful lobbyist and advocate" for the movie industry, Valenti was instead a clueless technophobe whose legacy is a collection of lies, deception and the destruction of consumer rights.

In 1982, Valenti famously claimed that "the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone." In fact, this was the furthest thing from the truth; the VCR, home viewing and movie purchases, soon eclipsed the profits the Motion Picture Association of America had seen in theaters. If it were not for the VCR, the movie industry today would be a small shadow of what it has become.

Valenti continued making such outlandish lies in the years to come, including that people should never have to make a backup copy of a digital product because it would last "forever."

Valenti is one of the principal reasons that the true DVD equivalent of a VCR does not exist and that devices such as TiVo and other technology are crippled. He fought for decades against the right of people to make backup copies of movies or music they have already paid for.

I submit that Valenti should not be considered an honored alumnus of this University, but that his attendance should be considered a blemish upon an otherwise great university.

Michael Ahlf alumnus, class of 2002

CAPS available to help community members in times of need

To the editor:

This is in response to a letter in The Daily Cougar, "CAPS should improve its procedures after shootings at Virginia Tech" (April 25, Opinion) suggesting Counseling and Psychological Services should alter its handling of visitors in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings.

In the last year, CAPS appointed a clinical director who has improved and streamlined policies and procedures, with clear impact on how we deal with potential crises. We have also upgraded both front desk positions in order to make sure that intake is accomplished with greater quality and professionalism.

Without addressing the specific situation that the author was fearful of, it is important to remember that the correlation between mental illness and violence is low, and there are multiple factors to consider in assessing an individual.

When someone seeks assistance at CAPS a clinician determines how we can be of service. That may mean a scheduled intake, a crisis appointment or, if necessary, a referral to more appropriate services.

If anyone, student or otherwise, is deemed a danger to themselves or others, we would work with the UH Department of Public Safety to transport them to a local hospital for comprehensive assessment and possible hospitalization. This is to protect the individual and the campus community.

Ken Waldman CAPS director

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