Letters to the editor
Protesting is fine, but do it right
It was somewhat disturbing to read about the impromptu (though, oddly enough, well-photographed) protest at the Faculty Senate meeting in "Protest disrupts Faculty Senate" (News, Thursday).
Staged by Students for Fair Trade, this protest not only interrupted a meeting in a highly unprofessional manner, it also displayed a disturbing trend – that wanting something is enough to justify having it.
Most of us know the world doesn’t work that way.
It may be unfair for inflation to exist, but no one can walk into a store and pay $1 for a gallon of milk just because it is what he or she wants to do.
Students for Fair Trade need to take a more mature approach to their views. Disagreeing with a practice is no guarantee that you’ll be supported.
If it is true that UH Interim President John Rudley and Interim Vice President of Administration and Finance Jim McShan denied the group’s repeated requests for a meeting, then this student organization needs a new course of action.
Before moving further, they should examine why the alleged requests were denied.
It may have been because of timing or other constraints on these two men’s schedules.
Suffice it to say that the people in University administration do not sit in their offices all day waiting on students to request an audience. They have work to do.
Second, they should reconcile why they jumped to guerrilla tactics instead of bringing this predisposition against Students for Fair Trade to light in a more business-like way, such as writing an editorial about how difficult it is to meet with our interim president.
I’m all for protesting against unjust causes, but it seems like many people who grew up watching documentaries on Tiananmen Square, Vietnam and CÈsar Chavez never really managed to get past the imagery of the protests and into their substance.
Without well-thought arguments, without maturity, without playing by at least some of the rules, a protest comes across more like a crying 3-year-old than it does like a group of concerned adults.
Poor education root of economic oppression
The column, "Welfare leads to oppression" (Opinion, Tuesday), begs the question: What leads to welfare? Overwhelmingly, the evidence points to our education system.
Ah, yes, education: the great equalizer. But not all educations are created equal.
If you have money, you can buy a better education. Yes, that is true for higher education, but did you know that is also true for elementary and secondary education as well?†
I am not talking about being able to send your child to a knee-highs-and-vests private school, but your very own neighborhood public school. Even within your own district, all campuses are not made equal.
Are you getting all excited by the new tax cut that promises to save the poor a bundle? Chances are the real poor don’t even feel that tax cut.
They, after all, pay rent or live in housing.†On average, they are not the homeowners who will save a hundred or so dollars a year on their school taxes.
The poor will not even see their monthly rent decrease because of it. What they will see is a decrease in funding at their local, poverty stricken school.
That means that books will not be updated as often, equipment will not be upgraded or available, and no "extremely well-qualified" teachers will be hired.
Those teachers will go to the campuses and districts that have the money. Such is the trend now that smart parents will vote to decrease school taxes and choose to give their dollars directly to the school that their child attends.
Or, in addition, they may offer special trips and incentives to attract and retain the "extremely well-qualified" teachers (a direct benefit for their rich children, but a major punch in the gut to those poor, poor children).
So now, from kindergarten, these children never have a chance. The cycle of poverty is difficult, at best, to overcome.†The government does have programs to pay for the poor to go to college.
The problem may be that they will not qualify for college because they lack the strong foundation for higher learning. That is if they even make it that far. So I propose a new, more accurate headline: "Education leads to oppression".
University staff member