Letters to the Editor


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Quiet study needed

As finals week is in full swing, I find myself, like many other undergraduate students, running laps around each floor of the university’s Main Library to find an open spot to hover in silence around books, notes, and papers — away from the distraction of busy coffee shops, unkempt apartments and dorms, and other distractions.

At last, I have finally found an open chair where my laptop charger will reach an outlet, but of course, it is right next to guy blasting Sean Kingston from his headphones. Clearly, this spot was left open for a reason. But-in my desperation, I settle in and prepare to tune out the lyrics to “shawty’s got a melody in my head,” which I appreciate just as much as the next person, just not while I have a 30 page paper to write.

This would all be tolerable — if the library did not have several rooms dedicated exclusively to graduate study — that are completely empty. Not one student or even some left over loose-leaf papers to indicate any sign of intelligent life. It looks more like a preserved room in a museum or Siberia, for that matter — completely desolate. Not only is this area unused, but also most graduate students have offices on campus to work from as well, which is where they probably are — because they’re definitely not at the library.

And while I recognize the Main Library is working on a new study area for undergraduates, this does absolutely nothing for my current situation nor any future situations — I, like other seniors, have unfortunate timing of graduating before this new area is complete.

I believe my valuable tuition dollars (as well as that of other undergraduate students) and had work deserve a little more respect than this; graduate students are not the only ones who require “quiet study.”

Jessica Welsh
UI student

Slockett great servant, despite election

As the year comes to an end, so does an era of dedicated work, progress, and leadership from Johnson County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections Tom Slockett.

Slockett has served us all very well. He has served through some amazing times. He led the county into the computer age. He quickly embraced the technology, the Internet, email, and robust websites. He was the first county auditor in the state to have a website. He led the county’s effort in establishing mapping and GIS systems.

He and his skilled staff have managed and accounted for our tax dollars well and have created many budget saving over the years. Tom has been a thrifty steward of our money.

In his 36 years of service, Slockett never rested. He was always on the cutting edge of innovation and trying new approaches. He thrived on it. He served in a variety of positions of distinction among all his peers and won much recognition for breaking new ground in deploying secure election technology and expanding voter access to the polls.

His ardent advocacy for removing barriers to voting will be his greatest legacy. Today we expect to be able to vote from home, the Public Library, Hy-Vee or at the Auditor’s Office for five weeks before Election Day. In the 1990s, Slockett led the state in putting reforms and conveniences in place in the face of stiff opposition from members of the Board of Supervisors and some members of the public. Slockett stayed the course for what he believed in, always treating his opponents with facts and respect.

Today, after almost 20 years of improvements, his office continues to create new early voting and turnout records with each new election.

And while Tom may have lost his last election in June, he has made us all winners. He can be very proud of his enduring service. He is a public servant who worked the long hours and got the job done without complaint. His outstanding accomplishments will continue to serve all Johnson County residents for a very long time to come.

Thank you and all the best, Tom.

Sen. Joe Bolkcom,
D-Iowa City

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