Opinion

Letters to the Editor

Marshall Offers Much to Transfer Students Editor: This is a letter in response to the article “”Transfer Students Ask for Funding”” by Ed Wu on the Oct. 16 front page of the Guardian. In the article, Wu stated that the All-Campus Transfer Association was created to “”address the lack of activities and support for transfer students at Marshall … due to the graduation of [that] college’s transfer student support coordinators.”” This statement is completely unfounded. We are the co-chairs of the Transfer/Re-Entry Student organization, referred to as the “”transfer student support coordinator”” for Marshall, and have been for the last year and a half. The article also stated that only Muir and Roosevelt “”currently provide funding for transfer student activities.”” This is also inaccurate because Marshall’s student council has consistently allocated funding for TRES since it began several years ago. As for the transfer organization at Marshall being “”defunct,”” we would like to point out that historically, TRES has held many meetings and programmed several large events for the transfer population at the college. This quarter alone, TRES has already had an ice cream social, two meetings and began the planning of this year’s events. Our main concern is the well-being and successful integration of Marshall’s transfer students into UCSD. We are unclear on why there was no attempt to contact Marshall college to verify these facts. Marshall has been a forerunner in transfer advocacy and will continue to work on addressing transfer students’ needs. With regard to the All-Campus Transfer Organization, TRES supports the establishment of a council that would help to unite transfer students from all colleges. For this cause, we would like to invite any interested transfer students to share their ideas with us and see TRES in action at our next meeting on Oct. 24 at 3 p.m. — Nichole Rowland & Anna Lucia Roybal Co-Chairs of Transfer/Re-Entry Students Olympic atheletes unfairly treated by writer Editor: Greetings. I will share some thoughts regarding the Oct. 5 article by Tait Miller. Briefly, Miller described the competitors from Equatorial Guinea, Paula Barila Bolopa and Eric Moussambani, as “”Olympic crashers,”” “”streakers of the Olympic variety”” and their performance as “”grotesque”” and “”uncompetitive.”” I feel honor-bound to reply in kind. We are students of a university. Except for the few of us who will, or have, carried the flag of our nation in a place such as Sydney, Atlanta or Barcelona, many of us will not have the chance to compete in the Olympics. Bearing this in mind, Miller, I remind you that the Olympics are not merely “”about seeing the best of the best compete against each other,”” or simply about “”the pure sport.”” The Olympics, sir, are about a truce enacted to allow the warring nations of ancient Greece to engage in honored athletic events such as the 200-meter run, the javelin and the discus. They are about the Olympic truce. This moment of peace in a tumultuous world is supposedly what the Olympics are about. I would hasten to add that the Olympics are not merely about sports. I feel honor-bound to briefly reply to your remarks about Bolopa and Moussambani. The last line of your article — “”let them compete, but let them be competitive”” — implies that Moussambani should not have competed because he was not competitive. While not particularly captivated by NBC’s coverage of the Olympics, Bob Costas raises an interesting question that I feel you might ask yourself. Moussambani was asked to swim. He is a track athlete, not a swimmer. Would you have entered the water knowing your weaknesses, that your best was not enough, merely to show the world that Equatorial Guinea was not to be discounted? Would you have tried your hardest because your country asked you to? Would you have done so before 20,000 fans of swimming, knowing you would be laughed at for being so uncompetitive? Your article pointedly implies that you would not. I would then ask why you to question Moussambani’s bravery (fortius in the Olympic motto) when you place your own in question. — Kelly Xi Huei Lalith Ranasinghe Though sympathy is given, skaters need to respect campus Editor, I am in sympathy with many points made in the editorial by David Pilz (The Editor’s Soapbox, Oct. 9), but I would like to offer another perspective on the issue of skateboarding on campus. I grew up on a skateboard, and though my friends and I weren’t very accomplished, we used skateboards as means of entertainment and transportation. Especially as practiced by today’s adherents, skateboarding requires a great deal of skill, it provides exercise, a mode of transportation, and it requires little in the way of equipment (cheap fun). Skateboarding is the natural adaptation to an environment of concrete and asphalt. So why are there so many prohibitions against its practice? How did such an intrinsically wholesome sport become the province of grunge? Why is skateboarding considered by a number of authorities and skaters to be an act of rebellion? Who copped the first attitude? These questions might become the genesis for a dissertation in sociology, so rather than attempt to provide a universal explanation I would simply like to relate my present experience. I have a corner office wrapped on two sides by concrete steps. Located strategically next to the steps are teak benches and 12 inch curbs. There is a winding rail on the opposite side of the plaza. Although I know this was not an intention of the architects, the area is excellent for street skating; however, it is also the place where I am paid to write grants, manuscripts and lectures. It’s where I talk with students, predocs and fellows. It’s where I dream up new methods to torture, er, educate students. Ollies, boardslides and grinds do not provide the meter for contemplation. This is where I strongly disagree with Mr. Pilz. People passing by on foot, bike or even skateboard, do not make a disturbance. In contrast, every time a skateboard slams to the concrete, my adrenals kickflip and my heart boosts a 360. I begin to anticipate the next crash which, though irregular, is a certainty. My productivity is zilch. I have to admit there is also an aesthetic issue. UCSD is an attractive place to study and work, though it is my opinion that scraped curbs and ground benches are simply ugly. Even if noise was not a factor, grinding is destructive. Now, I’m not very comfortable as an authority figure, but my choice is to stew in my own adrenaline, or have a word with the skaters. Eventually I’m driven to the latter, and my experience is now sufficiently extensive to constitute a scientifically significant sample. I note that the preponderance of skaters are not UCSD students, but most likely younger residents of the surrounding ‘burbs. Typically, I first wave to the individuals outside my window and pantomime excessive noise or point to the signs prohibiting skateboarding (they are now torn down). When that doesn’t work, and it usually doesn’t, I walk out and say, “”I’m sorry guys, but you can’t skate here, it’s too noisy.”” This is greeted in several ways, though my favorite is that I become the focus of a video camera. What follows is a caricature, but it is accurate in the sense that out of at least 30 encounters only one skater said anything like, “”OK, sorry man, thanks for being cool.”” The oldest boarders usually won’t even look at me, as if I’m not recognizable as entity entitled to acknowledgment. The knit caps cover intense anger. I’m not even worthy as an enemy. The second group includes adolescents early in high school. They sport spiked hair, often frosted in a bright color, and spotless shoes. They at least look my way, but rarely make a verbal acknowledgment. They leave, but not before acting out disdain. The third group are really very young. While they are not any easier to lose, they haven’t yet developed an attitude and one individual was even polite (see above). When I have chased skaters more than twice in a day, I admit that I pick up the phone to call the campus police. Suddenly, although seemingly oblivious of anyone inside the building, most skaters split. The slow ones are busted. Clearly, this much resentment comes from a feeling of unfairness, excessive restrictions and a perceived tyranny. In one sense this is perfect for post-adolescent teenagers. They need a target for rebellion, and lacking the Robert MacNamara we had, the enforcers of prohibitions on skating will suffice. That’s where the skate-posturing comes in. Notwithstanding that tangential issue, the clash between skaters and those who oppose them is typical of two groups with legitimate conflicting goals. Lacking enlightened self-interest, they take up polarized positions and gird for war. They attempt to dehumanize the other side; police treat skaters like gangsters, and skaters treat authority like faceless pigs. This type of conflict has taken place throughout history and all over the world. There is much that could be done by both sides. The city’s fathers and mothers should be interested in providing places for skateboarding. The fact that they aren’t, I suspect, comes from laziness more than an anti-skateboard agenda. The police are good at being authority figures, and adolescents are good at giving them lip. Skaters have the most to gain, and they might consider directing some of the energy currently spent on frustration toward lobbying city officials and businesses for skate parks. Writing to the newspaper is a good place to start, but organizing an entire message board to flood the news media and petition local government officials would be even better. There are many possibilities, and a little effort and ingenuity would go a long way. Destruction and defacement of property, and a seething resentment of anyone who doesn’t embrace unrestricted skateboarding is a waste of talent. — S. Hedrick Professor of Biology ...

More Options to Choose From

While I have to admit that I’m not exactly politically aware, I know enough to be totally dissatisfied with the available choices in the upcoming elections. If I do choose to exercise my right to vote, I will be voting not for the best man for the White House, but rather, for the lesser of two evils. To date, I have been singularly unimpressed with the abilities and character of both Vice President Al Gore and Gov. George W. Bush. Since it doesn’t seem very hard to find better candidates than these two, I’d like to suggest a few other choices. If you like what you see, write one of these in on your ballot– it won’t change anything for the United States, but it may make you feel a little better about your contribution to democracy. 1. Chancellor Dynes: As far as I can tell, he hasn’t done anything too drastic at UCSD. If he does the same for the country, we should be safe — unless he actually has to handle a war or something. 2. Jesse Jackson: I’m actually pretty sad that Jesse’s not running this year. I like him. Unfortunately, our country really, really likes old, white males, and Jesse just doesn’t fit into the “”white”” part of that. 3. Oprah Winfrey: Oprah really seems to have her act together. What’s more, she has spent her entire life trying to solve other people’s problems, so she’s got plenty of practice. She even has a considerable following built up. Unfortunately for her campaign, she’s not white, and she’s not an old man (see above). 4. Scott Foley: For those of you who don’t spend your Wednesday night watching the WB, Foley plays Noel on “”Felicity.”” I’ve been madly in love with his character for a while now, and I fully believe that he’s able to handle the demands of the U.S. presidency. 5. Britney Spears: I just want to get her doing something for a living other than singing and showing off her stomach. Maybe if she’s busy handling the nation, she won’t have time to dance. 6. Mister Rogers: Unlike the candidates I’ve seen, Fred Rogers is honest, trustworthy, intelligent, and really does have our best interests in mind. He’s got my vote any day. 7. Hillary Clinton: Just kidding. Last, but certainly not least: me. I think that I’d make a great president. I promise to stay away from sexual scandal and to be slightly less obnoxious than Bill Clinton. I don’t have a clue how to handle the taxes or the situation in Israel, but I don’t think that Gore and Bush do either, so we’re all even. As soon as I come up with a catchy slogan, you’ll see me in the running. I can count on your votes, can’t I? Well, I hope I’ve given you all something serious to think about today. What do you want for your country in the future? Take a stand. Let’s get some decent people in the White House. I’ve given you some suggestions, but feel free to come up with your own. You have a whole country of people to choose from. ...

From Vice President to te Next President

I do not know about everyone else here, but I am voting this November, and I am voting for Vice President Al Gore. Other candidates may have better platforms in specific areas, but Gore is my pick overall for the next leader of the free world. Sky Frostenson/ Guardian He believes in protecting the environment, the nation’s children and the rights of all Americans. He also feels that we should use $2.3 trillion of the budget “”surplus”” to pay off the national debt and to save Social Security. Governor George W. Bush’s plan for the debt would only reduce it by $1 trillion. The Social Security payoff makes a lot of sense because much of this seemingly extraneous money is in the Social Security fund, but the government keeps borrowing from it and racking up a largely-ignored debt to the fund. Gore wants to put Social Security in a “”lock box,”” a section of the budget where it cannot be touched or borrowed from while Bush still treats Social Security as free money. I, on the other hand, would like those young people today who are paying money into Social Security to see some kind of return from it instead of watching their money disappear down a government hole. Beyond government transfer programs, Gore is a leader in environmental issues. He promises to support the development of cleaner energy and the protection of the oceans and ozone. He wants to declare the next decade as the “”Environmental Decade,”” one in which large advances are made in removing pollutants from the world around us. He has chosen the environment as one of his key issues and has supported environmentalist efforts throughout his political career, even writing the book “”Earth in the Balance.”” As a U.S. senator, Gore sponsored bills to research global warming and to diminish usage of ozone-harming chemicals. As president, he will continue these endeavors. He promised that oil drilling will be stopped off the California and Florida coasts. However, under Bush’s voluntary environmental plans in Texas, over 200,000 children will potentially be exposed to industrial pollution near their schools. Houston has higher air pollution levels than Los Angeles, and according to the Houston Chronicle, “”even if every car were taken off the road, Houston would still not be in compliance with federal safe ozone levels.”” Ralph Marquez, a chemical lobbyist, obviously had a stake in lowering environmental standards for the state of Texas. Yet, Bush appointed him as the leader of Texas Environmental Agency. It does not seem like Bush has an interest in cleaning up the pollution of Texas, let alone that of the rest of America. Gore also has promising plans to help and protect our nation’s children. He will invest $8 billion in raising teacher salaries in districts that devote energy to increasing their teacher quality, and promotes a proposal to build and modernize 6,000 schools. He plans to connect every classroom and library in every school to the Internet to help teach children how to operate the electronic equipment so prevalent in our lives today. While a U.S. senator, he also helped protect children, co-sponsoring the Children’s Justice and Assistance Act of 1986, a legislation crack-down on child abuse. He supported other legislation creating a telephone network to help locate missing children. Bush, however, neglected Texas children’s health with a health care system so terrible that a federal judge actually ordered the state to fix it. Texas ranks 49th in the nation in children’s health care. Gore, on the other hand, wants to expand the availability of health care to more poor children. The Clinton-Gore administration created a children’s health insurance program which will cover up to eight million children in the United States. If Bush does not care about children’s health in Texas, how can he care about the future of the nation? Gore is much stronger in this category than Bush, and will protect the leaders of tomorrow from sickness, disease, abuse and poverty. Gore will also act to preserve and promote human rights, working to make his administration “”the most diverse in history.”” His Web site states that “”it is time for all Americans to recognize that the issues that face gays and lesbians in this country are not narrow, special interests; they are a matter of basic human civil rights.”” He will try to increase the sentences for hate crimes of all kinds. As president, Gore also plans to fight for an expansion of the Brady Law to violent juvenile delinquents. In the Senate chamber he has supported these views by assisting efforts to ban assault-style weapons and co-sponsoring a bill that increased sentencing to a mandatory five years in prison for criminals using armor-piercing bullets. In Texas, Bush’s administration did nothing when they found out that many convicted felons might have possessed guns illegally. Federal law prohibits felons from owning guns, and they should have been prosecuted. Crime has also increased in many cities in Texas while the nation’s crime rate has dropped, contrary to what Bush claims. Gore’s record supports these campaign promises and more, which one reason he has so much support from so many groups. To me, Bush is nearly incapable of running a nation as complex as the United States, and is therefore not an option for the American president. Bush does not possess the experience his challenger has. Gore has been in the federal government for over 24 years, while Bush was only elected governor of Texas in 1994, a scant six years ago. Al Gore is the best candidate running in this race and has a significant chance of winning the presidency. Let us work toward making that happen. ...