Pornography

revisited

To the Editor:

I read your article concerning your objections to a new law that will restrict the viewing of pornography on library computers. Your title, “New law is not really about pornography,” sounds good, so what is the law about? I do not feel you clarified this statement in your text. You seem to think that this will be a serious challenge to the First Amendment of the Constitution. I commend your passion for the Constitution, but I think it’s a little misplaced. If the First Amendment were omnipotent, there would never be a court case won against defamation of character or slander.

Last time I checked I couldn’t go to the library and checkout a porn magazine. By your reasoning pornography should be made available to anyone who goes to the library. Most of the computers in the libraries are publicly funded and certain restrictions can apply.

I feel you are missing the big picture. If an individual wants to look at Internet pornography, then that individual should buy his or her own computer. There is a proper place for everything.

Joe Aldoupolis

Technology education

Student fee

concerns

To the Editor:

Since my first semester at USM I’ve been frustrated by fees I’m forced to pay for when they don’t apply to me. I paid $2,500 for a PC, yet still have to contribute to technical/lab fees. As Sharon Randall pointed out, regardless of the fact that I have private health insurance, I still have to pay a health fee for services I’ll never use. I was offended by Laurie Dell’s discriminatory suggestion that those over 30 shouldn’t have to pay it. This has nothing to do with age, but with the fact of which individuals are actually using this service.

I’m 24 years old and have had private insurance through my full-time job since I was 18. Not all 20-somethings have the luxury or desire to spend their time partying and coasting through classes without having to work to support themselves.

Yet another USM tactic to rob students of their hard-earned money is the book buy back system. We are charged outrageous prices for books (even used) and are lucky to get $10 back on a $100 book used for four months, regardless of the condition or whether the book will be used next semester. USM is basically renting us books for 10 times their worth for a few months of required use, then turning around and charging the next student to buy it $100 again. The worst part is that with all the money we are pouring into this school, we are getting minimal service in return.

We pay for parking that is nearly nonexistent unless you have 15-20 minutes to drive around until someone leaves. Finally a parking garage is going up, in time for me to pay for, but not use, as I’ll be graduated by then. Even our tuition money isn’t safe-my $2,000+ loan check went to the wrong student last semester! Probably the most aggravating issue is those controlling professors who deduct points from your grade if you miss a class (I’m talking a few, not 10). Who is paying whom? I’ve maintained a 4.0 and am quite capable of deciding whether or not I’m too sick to go to class. Some professors with tenure are the worst of the worst. They aren’t going anywhere, so they say and do as they please. I had a professor last semester that spent 45 minutes of my paid class time bitching about students who never showed up. Well, the people in attendance for this scolding where not the chronic skippers and didn’t need to hear it. Complaints and errors in judgement by the tenured professors are merely met with a slap on the hand. No wonder problems keep coming up! What’s wrong with this picture and where is my money really going?

Amy Ouellette

Psychology major

Junior

More fee

concerns

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to the comments on fees assessed to students here at USM. I think every student has issues with some or all of the fees depending on their own situation. I will speak to the health fee specifically since I feel that it is close to home for me. I work here at the University and I also am a nontraditional-aged student with my own health insurance.

I also know a lot of non-traditional-aged students with their own health insurance who choose to use University Health Services because of its convenience and the timeliness of office hours, I also know of a lot of nontraditional students who have left their full-time jobs to go back to school and University Health Services is their primary source of medical care.

The health fee funds the student community and provides health care and health education to those who choose to take advantage of it. I think that those students who do take advantage of the services will agree that the quality of care they receive is well worth $40 per semester for unlimited office visits. It’s impossible to designate who should and who should not pay these fees. If the fees didn’t exist, then we would feel it in the tuition … to maintain the services that the University provides.

Nancy Chagnon

Student/Staff

Free Press

meetings

inconvenient

To the Editor:

This letter is a concern about your student newspaper, The Free Press. It is a professional and business-related concern. I apologize to you, the students, who care very little about these problems, but please read on and you might understand some of the hypocrisy generated by your insightful and accessible student newspaper.

The Free Press Advisory Board is a professional group of people who meet each month during the school year to talk about the direction of the newspaper and to deal with business and personnel decisions. It is comprised of USM faculty, some professional journalists, and some student staff at The Free Press. The USM Student Senate, the group which ultimately oversees the actions of this board, has one representative to the group as well. During the past school year, this person has been myself.

In case you didn’t know, The Free Press Advisory Board has had a difficult time not only this year, but in many years, keeping their meetings open to the public. The chair, Susan Swain, insists on conducting meetings when the Student Senate representative has a hard time attending because the Student Senate is having its meeting at the same time. Case in point: The April 2001 meeting of the Board originally scheduled for last Friday was canceled at the last minute and then rescheduled for Friday, April 20. How convenient that the meeting take place at the same time the Senate was electing its officers for next year. Not one senator could attend on my behalf if I begged and pleaded. This is an important day for all senators.

And there’s more. The access issue must be exposed. If you were a student in a wheelchair because of a disability, you could not attend public meetings of the board because the meetings are always held in The Free Press offices, at 92 Bedford Street, in a non-accessible location. There has been no inclination of the chair of the board or of other members to move the location. I also consulted with the Vice President of Student Development, Judy Ryan, but she has not intervened. But, your USM Student Senate ALWAYS carries on its meetings in a public space that EVERYONE can access.

My friends, you know what I mean. All year, the journalists of this paper have complained to you about the lack of access and lack of professionalism to and within the USM Student Senate. Now when they conduct meetings in which they are supervising a Senate employee, The Free Press adviser, and overseeing a budget totaling almost $56,000 of your student activity fee money, they seem to enjoy every opportunity to hide behind their blatant hypocrisy. They say it’s the First Amendment; I say it is a group of haughty individuals caught up in a mystical power trip, running away with your money. This is the biggest lack of access and professionalism I have ever seen!

Perhaps for once, you’ve heard just a bit of the other side of the story this year. Thank you.

A very disappointed student,

Ryan J. Anderson

Chair, USM Student Senate

Advisory Board response:

The Free Press Advisory Board is a volunteer board comprised of professional journalists like myself, faculty and staff. It critiques the work of the newspaper’s staff and student management, making any suggestions it deems appropriate. The board also evaluates the paper’s adviser.

The board’s monthly meetings are open to the public. They are scheduled to accommodate the largest number of board members so that the students receive the broadest possible range of advice. The Free Press offices are inaccessible to the physically disabled, as are those in other houses (outbuildings) on campus. The board meets there to make itself more easily available to staff. However, if asked, the board is prepared, at any time, to relocate its meetings to a more accessible location.

Beyond that, this board is prepared to have you judge its value by the result that appears in these pages.

Irwin Gratz

President, Maine Pro Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists

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