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Letters to the Editor
As printed in the Minnesota Daily (except where noted)

Union should heed majority

Almost everything Michael Teachout wrote in his Tuesday opinion piece is true. He actually did not explain how we get (using union dues) partisan full-color magazines every couple of months. The inefficient waste of union dues by the mailing of information that duplicates e-mail communications was also left out. The unions biggest boosters spend their lunches and water cooler time bemoaning how "the rich are getting richer" and then come back with an agreement that typifies giving more to those at the top. While some in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3800 on campus will get no wage increases, the very few at the very top will get 4 percent in the next fiscal year.

We need new leadership or no leadership. The leaders of the union are ideologues first and militants second. I am quite certain that somewhere on their list of priorities the membership's majority interests exist, but up to this point I have not seen it.

Union leadership should not heed only Democrats and Greens (as is the case currently) but should heed the wishes and concerns of all members, regardless of party. The reason there are so many fair-share members is because of this malfeasance regarding the direction and rhetoric of the leadership.

All in favor of new leadership say "Aye."

Anthony Reel
political science senior
AFSCME Local 3800 member

Treat Maranatha fairly

I would suggest to Jeff Dockendorf to apply the logic mentioned in his letter Monday to each student group on campus. The University needs none of them. But there is this concept of diversity that is preached throughout the campus and in order for that to be held up, all student groups must have access to the Universitys support. This support includes facilities, student fees, grants and every other type of logistical and financial support the University offers to any group.

Maranatha Christian Fellowship's place on campus is as crucial to the campus as the theater group Crisis Point or any other group that gets student service fees. If they disappeared, few would notice their absence. But that is not how we determine what groups are worthy of the administration's support. The theory is that all groups get support. The practice is that only liberal groups get support from certain staff members. It is interesting that for a group that does not hold the left-wing socialist agenda, people say the group is irrelevant.

If Maranatha is truly unnecessary, then give them equal treatment on par with every other group on campus. Allow its members to determine who can hold group leadership positions (freedom of association) and allow them the access to the University that is supposed to be afforded them by a public institution. Then, if their message is that horrid, they will fail to grow in membership.

Treat them like other groups. Treat them the way Radio K, Crisis Point, Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, the intramural sports programs or the debate team are treated. Just because these groups are liberal in their direction and leadership does not mean they should warrant special treatment (or do they fear giving conservatives or religious groups fair treatment?).

Anthony Reel
political science senior

Holding off-campus class during strike is dishonest

I find it hypocritical and immoral that professors are considering holding classes off campus in the event of a strike. Either they support the cause of the striking employees and should hold no classes or they hold the classes in the previously scheduled locations. Moving classes is intellectual dishonesty. To truly show support, the faculty need to withhold their labor, which would mean having no class. To hold any class is purely grandstanding without having any risks.

To the faculty members who hold their classes as normal, I applaud you for your courage. To the faculty members who hold no classes at all in support of the strike, I applaud you for your courage. To any faculty member or student who participates in off-campus classes, you are immorally being intellectually dishonest. Pick a side and honor it. Do not take the coward's path by projecting "support" while masking your support for the University by holding class at all anywhere. Start a new trend on campus: Teach by example.

Anthony Reel
senior, political science
AFSCME member

(Minneapolis Star Tribune)
Memory of a Democrat

Rep. Betty Folliard's June 15 letter demonstrates the short-term memory that has caused the current budget dilemma. How quickly she seems to have forgotten how much the House Republican leadership compromised for the past three years to satiate the Democrats. Remember that the House lost much of what it proposed last year in order to have the three-way split of the rebates, while the Senate was able to get most of its funding increases initiated.

As for the education that she says will be sacrificed, shouldn't she embrace a complete change to the current system? After all, the current system yields a university that has been in a free fall in national rankings for nearly a decade and metropolitan school systems that have only a 50 percent year graduation rate? Instead, the DFL is asking to further the status quo in the broken system. Who needs new leadership?

Anthony Reel, Zimmerman, Minn.

MSA Candidates

The MSA elections every year give us promises from candidates that they are going to respond to the needs of the students. Each candidate will "be there for the students." As many students, though, would like to say in every walk of life -- actions speak louder than words. What I did was send each candidate an e-mail asking them a question regarding parking issues. The specific answer was not what I was interested in, but how the candidate responded to an issue effecting all students.

As of the close of business on Tuesday I received three responses. Dan Kelly responded with a thoughtful response with ideas; Josh Duggan responded with a minor platitude and the same inattentive manner shown in the Daily already; Chris Hansen quickly dismissed a student issue without any thought into the problem. Paul Schoper (VP candidate with Scott Boynton) only sent spam to my e-mail and offered no response to my inquiry.

As for Hoor Bhanpuri, Noah Dvorak and Hernan Moncada, there was no response at all. This may be indicative of the level of response these candidates will put forth on behalf of the students.

Anthony Reel, political science

Budget Breakdown

In defense of my position from my Feb. 14 article, I want to point out a few things that I have noticed in some responses. I want to be very clear on the point of background first. I am a student who will not be able to finish my degree if the tuition goes up but I fight for what is proper, not what serves my own interests.

Quite honestly, nearly every student who voices support for more funding of the University should be viewed with a jaundiced eye, for they have a direct financial interest. Just like every other special interest group (yes, students clamoring for money for the University are a special interest group lobbying for handouts) the motive is money to be funneled to them in some manner.

With students, the money will be used to shirk the responsibility of paying fair market value for their education. With faculty, the money will provide them with salary hikes while they can enjoy the benefit of tenure and not have to find jobs in the free market.

At least be honest about your motives. Only then can we engage in a true dialogue. Until that time, you will be no different than a fund-raising politician or a money-hungry lobbyist.

Anthony Reel, political science

Support of Sports

I find it very interesting to read a letter from President Yudof saying that "academic priorities come first," even though he and the regents "strongly support the University's Division I sports" (Dec. 18). The reason that I find it very interesting is that it seems this "top priority" for academics is only applicable in some selective instances. If it were indeed true that academics were the top priority, as President Yudof proclaims, then students attending night classes would be able to park every night at the ramp or lot of their choice without being required to pay for the event parking rates during Division I sporting events.

It is through these actions that any reasonable person can conclude that the President's letter is simply specious rhetoric with little action behind it to support it. I would further venture to say that his letter is intended mostly to prevent distractions during his lobbying at the capital for money from the Legislature.

Anthony Reel, political science

What's Up Minnesota?

What is it about thin skin in Minnesota? I mean, we have Jesse Ventura who can joke about anything, but cannot tolerate being joked about. We have Al Gore supporters who take it personally that their candidate no longer appeals to the entire left side of the spectrum. We have Dennis Green who thinks that he is only being criticized because he is black. Now we have a men's basketball coach at the University of Minnesota who can not handle suggestions that sanctions against his precious basketball team were not strong enough. Only in Minnesota!!

Anthony Reel, political science

Free Speech For All Speech

The thing that is the scariest about Appolonie N. Essomba's letter of Nov. 2 is that Essomba is implying that freedom is ONLY for what is appropriate. Appolonie laments that "free speech" is being used "to defend inappropriate actions, behaviors and even cartoons."

The problem with this line of thinking is that is assumes free speech is only for good or proper speech. However, it is the free and open discussions including that which people consider bad or improper that is so vital to our country's well-being.

Appolonie reminds us of the advances in American society brought about by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Susan B Anthony, but conveniently forgets (or consciously revises) the fact that what these people were saying at the times that they were saying it was considered inappropriate. But anti-speech elitists tend "manipulate" facts so that they can protect their philosophy that will destroy the very principles that these figures used to fight for their causes.

Anthony Reel, political science

Organizations Should Fund Themselves

Social groups and centers, no matter what their purpose, cause or degree of nobility, are not neces sary to every student. As a matter of fact, social groups should be forced to fund themselves, for three reasons.

First, a group's freedom of speech is not the freedom to extract funds from anyone. Just because I am of Hispanic descent and I have the freedom of speech, I am not entitled to have you fund my social group. A right does not impose on another person.

Second, for those who disagree with a group that receives student fees, it costs twice as much to be able to voice their disagreement. First they are required to pay the amount that the group extracts through student fees. Then they must spend that same amount to counteract what was extracted. Therefore, the University is allowing one social group to run without having to put forth the funds, while the other side has to put forth twice as much funding to get equal results.

Third, if a group or facility is unable to generate enough interest to be self-sufficient, it is not a group the student body deems necessary enough to college life. If a group's existence is truly necessary, then voluntary funding would be plentiful.

And in response to Sarah Brennecke's letter in Tuesday's Daily, "All benefit from fees system," which stated that it is good for everyone if multitudes of groups exist: Fund it yourself if you share that idea. I don't agree, and you should not steal my loan money to support your ideas.

Anthony Reel, senior, political science

Events Parking Takes Priority Over Students

There was recently an advertising campaign for the Continuing Education and Extension that said the University night classes were "convenient for the working adult." Well, that was one of the most misleading advertising campaigns of the decade. The typical student attending classes at night works full time during the days and barely makes it to class on time. There is little, if any, time to search for an open lot, empty space or park at a distance and walk to class. To add to the parking inconvenience, Parking and Transportation Services has decided that students attending classes during events are not important enough to allow parking rates to be frozen for them. Instead they see fit to charge the students a rate of 180 percent the normal rate.

On Jan. 26, I had a conversation with Bob Baker, director of Parking and Transportation Services, and he said with the current parking situation he must "make sure that there is availability for capacity parking for events" at the sacrifice to the students. This is why there is absolutely no intention from him or his staff to implement a placard system that would allow students attending classes to park during events where they normally park when there are no events. Instead, Baker and his staff set aside a distant lot that is typically near capacity on normal nights, much more so on nights of events. Baker did mention there was a crunch with parking for students already because of the demolition of the East River Road ramp, but verified that there has been no effort to minimize this loss of space for students.

With plans to diminishing parking even further at the end of winter quarter it will be interesting to see how the students will make out with this. Parking and Transportation Services Spokeswoman Cari Hatcher shows how out of touch she is with the working student when she suggests considering "alternative options of transportation first." Let me just say that the bus system does not have 100 percent service when most extension classes let out. Parking between the hours of 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. is not convenient or easy. The roads are severely neglected and carpooling from home to work in most cases is difficult to arrange, much less from home to work to school to home.

It is clear that the students are not a consideration when these types of projects are proposed, planned and carried out. What else could justify these projects? Simply Baker, Hatcher and the rest of that office justifying their jobs and salaries. The Board of Regents and students alike should demand some attention to the primary purpose of this publicly subsidized University: education. Call and let them know where to put their focus: back on the students and access to their education! The direct number is (612) 625-9543.

Anthony Reel, junior, political science