Letters to the Editor

    Editor:

    I was very disappointed when I picked up a copy of the Sept. 24 issue of the Guardian and read “”Whining pays off in admissions”” by Dustin Frelich.

    Mr. Frelich, it is unfortunate that you have become so reactionary to such a complicated issue and have developed an intolerance for the plight of so many who deserve special attention to their circumstances in regards to admissions policy.

    Your first claim — that the university has circumvented the “”abolition”” (interesting word selection) of affirmative action by allowing students of need or misfortune to enter the university — is an underhanded (and perhaps racist) insult hurled at those who honestly deserve to enter the UC system, regardless of ethnicity, class, background, etc.

    According to you, affirmative action’s “”core underlying philosophy is the preference of one group of people over another on the basis of race.”” This is a vast oversimplification of a program that attempted to reverse the myriad ways that citizens who come from disadvantaged histories are continually kept out of the systems of privilege.

    And that is a vast oversimplification of the opposing opinion. By claiming that “”hard work”” is the only means of gaining success, you fail to realize that the world does not operate causally for most people who are not white, middle class, heterosexual males. Nor, because of the hegemonic systems of power, does hard work necessarily equate to success. But I digress.

    I graduated from UCSD with a B.A. in 1993. I was first accepted in the spring, but then my admission was revoked because my spring semester high school grades had dropped. I appealed because of personal hardships in my family. I realize that now you may be saying, “”Ah, of course. This guy is one of those whiners.”” Well, if you experienced what I went through, it would have effected your grades, too, no matter how “”hard”” of a worker you are.

    What is important is that I was given a chance to succeed because of my acceptance. I took that chance seriously and have entered education in an effort to repay that opportunity, largely because of the values that I learned at UCSD. You see, not everyone who “”whines”” on their applications is unfit for the UC system. Consider that before you make egregious exaggerations such as, “”In essence, the more screwed up you and your family are, the better fit you are to go off to one of the best college systems in the entire United States: the UC system.””

    If you had it your way, you would probably be surrounded by mostly white, middle class people who like to watch “”Seventh Heaven”” and think gays are great as long as they are on “”Will and Grace.”” Yes, your plan would clearly benefit the UC system.

    I challenge you to pick out the students around campus who you think “”whined”” on their applications. I bet what you will find are the hardest working, most open-minded students on campus who could teach you a thing or two about acceptance, compassion and vision.

    Dr. Derek A. Burrill

    Assistant professor, dept. of dance

    University of California at Riverside

    UC must incorporate renewable energy

    Editor:

    On Nov. 13, the UC Regents will make a decision that impacts the sustainability of this state — they will vote on whether UC construction projects, including those at the new Merced campus, use at least 50 percent renewable energy. They should vote “”yes.””

    Scientists, including those from our university, have been discussing global climate change. Many support that global warming is occurring. They advise that we need policy initiatives to counter it unless we wish to bear the consequences, such as more disastrous weather events and further spreading of tropical diseases.

    To counteract this, clean energy sources such as solar power will be implemented. In fact, even the most skeptical observers are looking to a smooth transition to renewable energy in a few decades, rather than a perpetual dependence on fossil fuels, the use of which produces global warming pollutants.

    Like the rest of California, the university has been depending on imported fossil fuels, burning gas and oil for energy. This contributes to global warming, and is economically and environmentally unsustainable. The issue becomes more crucial than ever, as the University of California starts to develop a new campus in Merced, constructing more than any other organization in the state.

    The UC Regents, by voting for solar energy, will alleviate this problem. Combined with careful design, the new “”green”” buildings will take full advantage of the Golden State’s beautiful weather, with medium- to long-term cost benefits. The university, as the state’s leader in research and education, must spearhead this change for California.

    This month, the UC Sustainability Coalition will be calling on the regents to support renewable energy. We request your newspaper to support this campaign, and urge students, faculty and all interested to do the same.

    Kaihsu Tai

    chemistry and biochemistry

    Jessica Swanson

    chemistry and biochemistry

    Dr. Hugh R. MacMillan

    mathematics and biochemistry

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