Quit bitchin’; be grateful

I was shocked when I entered campus last week and saw stacks of newspapers in the atrium. Was this a dream come true, I thought? Everyday, I pay $1.60 for not only the measly Portland Press Herald, but also for the New York Times, which tries to give a broad representation of the politics around the globe. I think we as students need to be aware of this gracious offering the student senate has bestowed upon us (at least for the month of April) and I implore us all to make our opinions heard about these free papers.

I am not going to try to convert any non-paper readers, but to all of you, who at the minimum pay $0.30 for the mark-down cost of the Portland Press (usually at Hannaford after 11 am), this amounts to a $1.50 per week, $6 per month, and $72 per year-and that is the smallest amount you would spend for even the smallest amount of information. Imagine if you were a devout news follower paying the full amount for the New York Times, seven days per week. That would cost you $468 per year.

If maybe we all could stop complaining so loudly about the possible student aid cuts we may see this fall, we could look to our own personal budgets and see how the offerings of the student senate can indirectly aid our checkbooks in spite of the rising costs of tuition.

Samantha Duckworth

English Major

Liability vs. sustainability: a crowning moment

To the editor:

Last week’s Free Press contained a Letter to the Editor about how the recent decision to purchase two Ford Crown Victoria police vehicles flies in the face of USM sustainability efforts. The letter was rife with provocative comments, including “an increasingly intense struggle between the police force and the campus community” and “the police … are challenging the ethos and the governance of the University.”

After the need to purchase police vehicles was established, officers went to other police departments to ask questions about Chevrolet Impalas and Ford Crown Victorias. We consider a police vehicle to be a tool, not some power symbol of a bygone era. The Impala was the obvious first choice for consideration.

We borrowed an Impala from the Gorham Police Department and brought it to campus. Eight officers in our department are 6’0 to 6’4 inches tall. The tallest officer’s knees were wedged tightly under the steering wheel, touching the dashboard. He could not lift his foot off the accelerator to apply the brake, but could only twist his ankle to move his foot to the brake. This presented a clear employee safety issue. As a department head, I have to be concerned about liability that employee safety issues present to the University. If anyone doubts the tremendous liability existing around these concerns, please call University attorneys for clarification.

Ultimately, the decision was made to purchase Fords. Was it an excellent choice? Not even close. We will be the first in line to trade the Fords for a more energy efficient police vehicle that meets employee safety requirements whenever such a product becomes available.

The members of the USM Police Department are dedicated to service to this community, take issues of sustainability seriously and only ask for the proper tools to safely do the job.

Lisa M. Beecher

Chief of Police

Changing the U

To the Editor:

Every department, group and person, both faculty and staff alike, are reevaluating their roles in the University and redirecting their efforts for a better and more sustainable institution. Last week, when I read Alfred Padula’s editorial about the USM Police’s request for two high powered pursuit cruisers, I was equally frustrated. And before I did a little research of my own, I quickly came to the same conclusion that we would be better suited with some form of pedestrian patrol.

Unfortunately this seemingly cost effective and certainly sustainable scenario is not an option. Because of the variety of buildings and areas they patrol and the increased personnel demanded for such a system there is an unquestionable need for a secure form of motored transit.

However, there is still no compelling need for such vehicular power. The “Interceptors” are more cars then we require. In this time of sacrifice and compromise, I strongly urge the University Police Department to rethink their positions and in the future consider less offensive alternatives.

Joshua Force

Political Science

University unsympathetic to Jewish position

I am beginning to become concerned about the treatment of the Israel situation at USM. It seems that on April 8 there was a second edition of Pro-Palestinian panel discussions without anybody from the JSO being asked to participate or being adequately told the nature of the situation.

I want to inquire why this is happening. First of all, the consequences of this demonstrate a total lack of respect toward the Jewish student at USM. It also stands as an insult that the opinions and views are NOT being allowed to be represented and thus many in attendance will take it that the Jewish students have no interest in what they have to say.

The perception that the Jewish students are indifferent leads to further antagonization of our situation. I simply ask this, let the Jewish student voice be heard DURING these events. If this school is truly concerned with its “diversity” it would not keep these meetings hushed up until the last minute but let the Jewish student at least know, if not respond. This is a disgraceful act on the part of the university and should never have been over looked.

Josef Pinchas Melech

Biology Sophomore

Insensitive Achewood

To the Editor:

We are deeply troubled by the editorial decision to run Achewood comic strips in The Free Press. The author of this strip clearly intends his work to be both obnoxious and insulting. The cartoons make derogatory references to gays and lesbians, use obscene language, speak about women in terms that are vulgar and offensive, and are homophobic, sexist, misogynist and racist.

The University of Maine System’s Nondiscriminatory Harassment Policy states that while “freedom of speech is of paramount value to any University … great care must be taken not to inhibit open discussion, debate and expression of personal opinion. Freedom of speech is not a shield behind which a person can harass others.” “Actions or behavior,” the policy furthers, may include “offensive pictures,” as were found in the Free Press running of the Achewood comics. And hence, while, “the pain inflicted might be intentional or accidental, that does not matter. What matters is that the behavior and actions are harmful.”

No positive purpose was served by subjecting the USM community to obscene, harassing, sexist, homophobic and racist material. We must, as the UMS Policy states, “be sensitive to the harmful effects of hostile behavior and refrain from acting in ways that are demeaning and offensive to others. We can express our opinions and voice even strong disagreements without using statements, gestures, or actions that personally attack others.” We hope that in the future, the Free Press will seek to be respectful of all members of USM’s community while ensuring our rights to freedom of speech.

Luisa S. Deprez

Interim Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Susan F. Feiner

Director, Women’s Studies

Jane Marie Kirschling

Dean, College of Nursing and Health Professions

Joseph S. Wood

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Zark VanZandt

Dean, Lewiston-Auburn College

Logo and other projects free and worthwhile

To the Editor:

When rumors appear as facts in a newspaper, it makes those who know the truth take notice. For example, Christy McKinnon, in the April 5 Free Press claims USM spent “millions of dollars designing a new logo.” In fact, the logo design cost nothing. It was developed by a committee of volunteers from the local community and USM’s marketing staff. Love it or hate it, that logo was the favorite among the three designs tested on over 400 people.

While it seems odd that USM is receiving donations, state and federal money to build facilities during a time of reduced budgets, why not build the buildings? Why not add labs, a parking garage to alleviate parking problems that are decades old, and finish the renovation of an 11-year-old library? These projects don’t occur because of hiring freezes; they occur because that’s how the world works. Except for endowed chairs, donors don’t fund salaries. Government bonds don’t pay professors. Consider that perhaps because of our marketing efforts this money is coming to USM now, during a time of reduced educational spending nationwide.

USM students deserve a campus with new buildings, a complete library, and signs that shout, “You have arrived at a place rich in possibilities where changes happen!” If our generous donors, and tireless advocates from the community who lobby on USM’s behalf at the state and federal levels feel this institution deserves these assets, why would anyone disagree?

Judie Alessi O’Malley

USM Office of Public Affairs

Christian supporters of gay marriage are hypocrites

To the Editor:

I take strong offense to Bethany Colavito’s statements that Christians support gay marriages and relationships. If you turn to Leviticus 18:22, you would read: “Do not practice homosexuality; it is a detestable sin.” (New Living Translation of the Bible). The King James translation calls homosexuality an abomination outright.

Also, if you turn to Romans 1:26-27 you would read: “That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved.” (New Living Translation).

It is a good thing that homosexuals are welcomed into a church — but it is far worse that they are not educated about what the Bible says about their union. Jesus did teach to “Love one another.” I don’t disagree with that. Christians don’t hate homosexuals themselves. It’s the ACT of homosexuality that we despise. What is a progressive Christian, I ask? Is it a Christian that picks and chooses what parts of the Bible they will and won’t believe?

As a Christian, you can’t do that because to do so makes you a hypocrite. There is no halfway like that with God. You can’t jerk God’s word around like that. If homosexuals want to marry, that’s fine- but not in a Church or by a Priest. To do so would be sacrilegious and defile the House of God. As long I can draw breath in my body, I will protest that union being in a House of God. And as far as Christians being conservative and right-wing- it’s not a matter of that. It’s a matter of Christians actually FOLLOWING God’s word. Strange thought isn’t it?

Dave Bates

Freshman

History Major

Johnny, get your gun

To the Editor:

If you are between the ages of 18 to 26, you should read this. There is legislation in both houses of Congress that would reinstate the military draft. It is called the “Universal National Service” plan. All Americans, between 18 to 26, women included, would be eligible for a military draft to be instated when President Bush gets reelected in November. It would be phased in next spring.

The purpose of this draft is to support the war in Iraq. One year after the war was launched, the situation is worse than ever before with three cities this week fallen to Iraqi insurgents. The U.S. is no longer fighting Saddam Hussein, who is in custody. The U.S. is fighting Islamic militants and ordinary Iraqis. The situation in Iraq reeks of a Vietnam style quagmire. I have written to Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins expressing opposition to this legislation. Susan Collins has not responded and it has been a month now. Senator Olympia Snowe replied curtly, “I will keep your views in mind.”

I do not want to be drafted into a war that I do not support. I am not a soldier, but next spring, I might be drafted into the infantry to fight in combat. Unless more people between the ages of 18 to 26 start paying attention to this very real threat to our liberty and our lives, I will see you in Iraq next spring.

Jeff Nutter

Junior

Political Science

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