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Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | FEBRUARY 10, 2011 7:10 AM

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Thanks, Zach Wahls

One week after Zach Wahls delivered an articulate speech to a few hundred individuals in Iowa’s State Capitol, his words have been heard by millions. While much has been already written about the speech’s content and Zach’s impassioned delivery, we should note, too, the significance of the fact that his words were so well-received by so many people across the country and the world.

The morning that I stumbled across Zach’s video on Facebook, I also read about U.S. senators declaring that measures they once championed as improvements to health-care reform were now in violation of our Constitution, and I saw images of the brute force that was meeting political protesters on all sides in Egypt. That so many people from so many places had watched Zach’s speech and passed it on to their friends was a welcome reminder that there are still many who desire a politics of reason and good will, who value words, and not weapons, to win arguments.

In the democratic tradition, Zach was allowed the opportunity to express his convictions to the individuals elected to govern our state, and he did so with courage. While his arguments did not change 62 of the votes on the House floor, they helped others who watched his oration to pay attention, to think harder, and to understand more personally his well-articulated perspective.

We should thank Zach for reminding us that we can all participate in our country’s experiment in self-governance, communicating our ideas and judgments for the better understanding of the common good.

Matthew Rysavy
UIHC medical student

More Cambuses needed

This is not just the cold weather getting to me and my peers. If the University of Iowa is still insisting on increasing enrollment numbers, someone needs to consider the number of buses that service us students. Buses are filled beyond capacity, creating not only an unsafe ride but a hostile one as well.

I’m sick of being turned away from one bus, only to be turned away again from the next one, too.
While the UI is at it, it should also consider increasing the numbers of buses that service Mayflower (the biggest dorm on campus) throughout the day and night. Why should only three different buses service Mayflower, while all the other dorms get full advantage of nearly the whole Cambus fleet all day long? It is especially terrible that the number of buses that go out to Mayflower decreases after 5 p.m., and the Blue/Red routes do not begin until after 8:30 p.m. More Cambuses need to be added to the schedule.

Mary Ellen Weaver
UI student

Outrage over anti-gay sentiment

Something that has me worried about living in “the land of the free”: Why all the problems with gay people getting married? Are we willing to take a step back in time? When did those who oppose it acquire more rights than another human being? Every day, I hear people complain about the gays and getting married. Why? Does it really affect your life that much? Maybe you need to get a life.

I, for one, will take up arms to make sure that the few do not trample the rights of the many. We have been fighting for years to stop oppressing others. From the days when black people were not allowed to be free to women getting to vote, we Americans have led the way. Let’s not take a step back. Learn from history.

Steven Pohlmann
Oxford, Iowa

Support faculty and staff

It is alarming how many people, including Tim Pawlenty, have come down on academia’s professors, claiming their current contributions do not merit their salaries. In some instances, this is probably true — but, on the whole, it appears to be a gross miscalculation of faculty members’ total contribution to student learning.

We mustn’t forget that professors are employed to teach mainly because of their own scholarship. They research, write, and publish to get here — and then they do it to stay. It’s how the larger system works, and, frankly, I like it.

I like going to a professor’s office hours, asking a question, and leaving with a list of five books on the topic, because she’s just read them all during a project. I like when a professor can tell me what’s going on in a field right now, because he’s in the middle of it himself. I like professors who know what they’re talking about.

It is unfair to demand so much scholarship and then claim that professors pay too little attention to teaching. If the two are mutually exclusive, then why are scholars hired to teach in the first place? If this actually is a problem, would it be solved by cutting professor pay — or would it take larger changes in academic culture?

My concern is this: If we cut professor salaries, they all turn into frazzled teaching assistants. Think about it. Why are undergraduates told to avoid TAs at all costs? Because they’re overworked, underpaid, and thus have little time for effective teaching, no matter how hard they try.

I’m not sure whom this would benefit, besides, perhaps, a politician.

Liz Schorsch
UI sophomore


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