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Awful NewsEditor: David Duke garners 44 percent...

Awful News

Editor: David Duke garners 44 percent of the vote in the Louisiana Senate race. President Bush vetoes the civil-rights bill under claims that it is a quota bill. Clayton Williams is barely defeated in the Texas governor's race after stating, among other things, that "if rape is inevitable, the woman should sit back and enjoy it." John Silber, in the Massachusetts governor's race, makes racist and age-discriminatory statements, and is barely defeated. Jesse Helms wins!

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This year's elections give me a very sick feeling in the bottom of my stomach. Were the gains made by under-represented, i.e., minority, groups in the '60s and '70s a charade? Will the '90s be like the Reagan '80s where "Bubbaism" rises at the expense of certain sectors of the population? This is a time for groups which have been historically fighting for their rights in this land to sit back and look at the way the tide is turning and reflect.

The government appears to be no longer interested in what is right. Because people like Jesse Helms are elected and David Duke, Clayton Williams and John Silber are almost elected, those with blatantly racist, sexist and age-ist views will become more and more overt about their feelings instead of hiding them.

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There are two years until the next nationwide elections. We cannot keep taking three steps backward for every step forward.

The Supreme Court is failing in its responsibility to protect the minority over the wishes and whims of the majority. President Bush, who originally opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, whose voting record on Civil Rights while in the Congress was "iffy" at best, and who gave us the Willie Horton campaign commercials, does not seem to be backing up his campaign rhetoric -- is there some kind of pattern with that? -- of being different than his predecessor in civil rights. And finally the Congress, with David Duke, the poster child for racism, watching, failing to override the presidential veto on the civil-rights bill, shows us that its members cannot be counted on either.

Women, blacks, senior citizens, religious minorities, etc., should all be concerned and begin to unite. Alone, it will be difficult to ensure that "Bubbaism" does not run rampant throughout this country. Together we can dictate the future. Although we do not possess the monetary power that other groups possess, we all possess the individual and collective right to vote, and a lot can be done at the ballot box in 1992.

Kevin R. Blackwell.

Catonsville.

Great Publicity

Editor: I would like to thank the Howard County parents who raised such a furor over elementary school children reading C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." The excellent publicity they gave it in citing it for "graphic violence, mysticism, and gore" will probably send armies of children rushing to the library shelves, so I will refrain from pointing out that, to all but the most witless reader, this book is a blatant allegory of Jesus' death and resurrection -- an event which, it is true, was fairly mystic and gory.

Lewis' books are beautifully written, humorous and imaginative. I loved them when I was little and my children love them now. To try to ban these books -- now that's obscene.

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Mary A. Shoemaker.

Towson.

Door Opened

Editor: I just read your article "Help for a New Life" (Oct. 10). How enlightening! I was not aware there was a Women for Sobriety group in the area, although I had known something other than Alcoholics Anonymous existed for women.

I called the number and attended my first meeting recently at Sheppard-Pratt Hospital. I feel like a door has been opened for me, and maybe this will be the help I have been looking for.

M. Gnagey.

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Fallston.

Bitter Questions

Editor: I am appalled, bitter, outraged, angry, incensed, livid, disgusted, fed up, shocked, insulted and sad. How dare members of the Congress in times like these go ahead with plans to renovate the congressional beauty parlor, kitchen, health club and restaurant?

How dare they raise their own salaries nearly $30,000 a member, the steepest raise ever?

All this they dare do in the face of reductions in social services to the poor, the elderly and the children of this country. Having been a school teacher, I have seen first-hand the effects of malnutrition. How can we teach hungry children? How can we expect the poor and the elderly to live without sufficient food, shelter and medical care?

Hundreds of thousands of people in this country are starving and homeless. As the cold weather approaches they will be freezing on our streets. How long do our so-called representatives think the American people will put up with this?

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Lee Hartman.

Lutherville.

Towson State Problems

Editor: Gov. William Donald Schaefer on Sept. 4 ordered an immediate cutback of 6 percent of Towson State University's appropriated and allocated operating budget for the current year. The speed and dexterity with which the administration complied might have given the impression that it was mostly fat and didn't hurt the university a bit.

It hurt. If there is a second "hit" on our funds, as we hear, it will hurt more. If these reductions are extended into a second fiscal year, as the governor's staff has hinted, the damage to the university may be irreparable. Here is why:

1. Stephens Hall, our "Old Main" building on York Road was closed for four years while the state spent more than $10 million renovating it. But it must remain locked for the rest of this academic year because we cannot afford $300,000 to furnish it and $150,000 for housekeeping and maintenance during the spring semester. This hurts the business, math and computer science departments, which are reduced to temporary buildings and other makeshift facilities.

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2. The university library will order no more books for the rest of the school year. If this is continued for a second year, how can we ever catch up with scholarship in our fields?

3. Firing part-time faculty and reducing the number of course sections means shoe-horning additional students into the remaining sections. Does it matter whether you have 30 or 35 students in a class? Yes, if you are trying to get to know them as persons and not just numbers. Yes, if you require term papers, essay exams or other types of written compositions, as many of us do.

4. Our provost has received requests for addition of more than 70 faculty from the departments, most of them justified, all of them rejected. The hiring freeze means that we probably cannot replace the dozen or so professors we will lose through a normal year's retirements and resignations. Therefore, we must teach more students with fewer faculty.

5. Attrition occurs more rapidly among secretaries. Already we have offices where the telephones go unanswered because there is no longer a secretary. It is still more rapid on the maintenance staff, and within two years the campus will probably look pretty shabby. "Deferred maintenance," when deferred too long, expands into major problems.

6. Towson was designated the "comprehensive" university for the Baltimore area, but it is futile to talk of "mission statements" or "community service" or "new initiatives" when the funding is suddenly yanked from under our feet.

We have a new Center for Suburban and Regional Studies, an international exchange program, a School of Business and Economics which is working toward accreditation, new requirements in teacher education, new initiatives in the fine arts, etc. Must all of these come to a screeching halt?

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7. Recruitment and retention of good, bright faculty will be very difficult for an institution which is known as being perpetually or even spasmodically impoverished. This is the long-range problem.

Many of us were recruited during the 1960s and will be retiring during the 1990s. The graduate schools are turning out fewer Ph.D.s than in the 1970s, and some of the best of these are choosing more lucrative careers than academia. Who will replace us?

I have not mentioned faculty salaries or faculty morale, but these do make a difference. So many of us, at Towson and the other campuses and the system offices, have worked so hard to construct the new University of Maryland System. If Annapolis sinks back toward indifference on higher education, won't we?

The only real answer is higher taxes. Deficit financing might make more economic sense, but we all know this is constitutionally forbidden in Maryland.

Nobody likes to pay higher taxes. I'm a taxpayer myself, and I don't like it. But I see no other solution. Sometimes we must finance a little more, to keep from losing a lot more.

Don't wait until the well has run dry.

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The writer is president of the American Association of University Professors/Faculty Association at Towson State University.

Edwin Hirschmann.

Towson.


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