Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | MARCH 09, 2010 7:30 AM

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Save the humanities

I am a Ph.D. student in one of the three arts and humanities programs recently deemed “exemplary” by the University of Iowa Task Force on Graduate Education. However, I do not think these three programs — English, communication studies, and creative writing — would remain as exemplary as they are for long if the humanities graduate programs singled out for possible termination by the same report were closed down.

While pursuing my Ph.D., I have encountered students and faculty from these programs — especially film studies, comparative literature, American studies, and the Translation Workshop — both inside and outside the classroom who have enriched my educational experience immeasurably through their diversity of approaches and perspectives.

I believe that to close down such prestigious programs would affect all of the graduate programs at UI — even the ones the university prizes most — because the university would send the message that it is not committed to supporting its core strengths in the humanities. It is a short-term cost-cutting measure that would have long-term, even irreversible, effects on the university’s reputation.

Lynne Nugent
Ph.D. candidate, English department

Reject 21-ordinance

I have recently graduated from the university, and I believe the city councilors are severely underestimating the potential changes the 21-ordinance would have. The only way to estimate what changes the ordinance would have is to speak with real college students who have been in the middle of the Iowa City bar scene for years. As one of those students, I feel compelled to weigh in.

I am 100 percent confident that this ordinance would only take students out of the bars and into house parties. The students who want to drink will still drink no matter what rules are enforced, so this will 1) increase drinking in the dorms by an enormous amount, 2) substantially increase house parties, and 3) as a byproduct of these previous two, decrease safe partying conditions by a frightening amount, because this indirectly encourages drug use, fighting, and just as much binge drinking as before.

Be assured that if the councilors displace our 18- to 20-year-olds from the bars and effectively put them in house parties, they will now be surrounded by drugs and alcohol (in an unregulated establishment) instead of just alcohol. The drugs that appear in house parties are not going to be your relatively “safe” drugs, but Class A drugs with the potency to kill.

Students know that if they’re in bars, they’re risking a lot to fight, use drugs, or even get out-of-control drunk because it is a somewhat-regulated area. Take them out of the bars, and Iowa City will find itself with a whole new set of student health issues — this time more dangerous and, possibly, life-threatening.

Dave Drustrup
UI graduate

Religious fundamentalism

I am writing in response to a March 2 letter by Jeff Shanks of North Liberty (“No bigotry here”). In it, he decried Lt. Dan Choi’s “cherry-picking Scripture to justify his lifestyle.”

We are all familiar with the debate on a piece of literature that has been revised and retranslated countless times. However, I would like to ask Shanks if he adheres to all proclamations of the Bible, as he advises Choi to do so. Does he patrol the city and justly stone every neighbor to death who dares to labor on the Sabbath? Has he refrained from eating any form of shellfish (which is of course unclean and an abomination, according to the Bible)? Does he applaud when daughters (sons are worth too much) are sold into slavery by their fathers, merely utilizing their God-given right as outlined in the Bible?

Until the population of the world who believes in this racist, sexist, and inhumane piece of literature really reads the entire Bible, bigotry will continue. And yes, Mr. Shanks, if I am correct in assuming you think Choi is doing something wrong simply because the Bible told you so, you are a bigot.

Chelsea Bacon
Iowa City resident

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