Editor: The Sun's recent article on the University of Maryland Baltimore County's attempt to develop a 95-acre research and industrial complex on the UMBC campus highlighted various economic and environmental concerns surrounding this project.
One issue that has not been addressed is the role of public higher education in Maryland.
The shifting of UMBC's traditional educational agenda to one merged with private industry raises troubling questions.
In a democratic society, public institutions of higher education should serve as beacons of educational impartiality, rather than a special interest group that stands to financially benefit by merging with private industry.
Faculty members can hardly be expected to serve as neutral experts in a particular educational field when they are acting as businessmen with an eye on profits.
Public universities that form marriages with private industry must be very careful that they do not lose their educational foundations. Where should the pursuit of commercial joint ventures in education end?
Should UMBC's physical education department open a for-profit health spa, the botany department a commercial flower shop, or the art department a profitable graphic design business?
Taxpayers should be concerned and alarmed that the money they spend to subsidize public education could ultimately be used to make some faculty and corporations wealthy.
The path that UMBC has chosen to follow may lead not only to a project that is economically and environmentally unstable, but one that can substantially undermine the stability of public higher education in Maryland.
The University of Maryland's board of regents has an ethical and moral responsibility to ensure that public higher education remains a safe sanctuary for creative thought that is not compromised by the influence of industrial and corporate interests.
Brian R. Morrison.
Editor: The Baltimore County public school system will operate with 4,003 additional students in the 1991 school year and with 46 of the 93 elementary schools over capacity. However, when we speak of the cost of educating our most vulnerable citizens, the children, the school budget is labeled "unrealistic."
Our society likes to think it cherishes its children, but there is sad evidence to the contrary. Any economist can prove that spending education dollars on children is a bargain.
Carmela A. Veit.
The writer is president of the PTA Council of Baltimore County.
Keep the Sanctions
Editor: The decision of President Frederick de Klerk of South Africa to eliminate the heinous and repugnant Group Areas Act, the Land Act, and Population Registration Act represents an important first step in ending the racial bifurcation and hostility between black and white South Africans. However, important as an extirpation of these oppressive measures is, it is not now a time for jubilation by South Africa's majority black population or within the free world community.
President de Klerk and the South African parliament must now move with celerity and directness in granting the majority black South African population a priceless and necessary right: the right of the ballot. Neither Nelson Mandela nor more than 25 million black South Africans, in their native land, can enjoy the fundamental right of the vote. Moreover, political exiles are still denied the right to return home, the emergency detention laws which provide for indeterminate detention remain in effect and, above all, there is an abysmal absence of good-faith negotiations to accord the black South African population socio-economic, educational and political parity.
Until there is substantive movement and decisive action on these issues, peace, tranquillity and national unity will continue to elude South Africa. In the interim, I believe international sanctions against South Africa should remain in place.
Samuel L. Banks.
New National Nightmare
Editor: "Schaefer Eyeing the Oval Office." You've got to be kidding! This is a joke isn't it? Schaefer? President? He lacks the capacity to adequately and economically run this state, how could he run 50?
He runs this state like a "Fantasy Island." I hope this was only a dream, because it would be a nightmare for the United States.
The article says the governor is well liked among his colleagues -- well, obviously they don't know any better or they don't know him at all. He has the audacity to say, "the federal government had lost touch with the people and . . . of the need to help people." Give me a break!
This is the same fatuous man who was looking to cut funding for kidney dialysis patients, seeking to lay off a multitude of state workers before the holidays, deprived programs to the handicapped while taking a 41 percent pay raise for himself because he thinks he deserves it; proceeds to build a stadium complex when we have staggering unemployment lines and a state deficit that grows redder, which was a surplus when he took office.
He lacks diplomacy, maturity and compassion in dealing with local constituents blasting them with cunning and crude remarks and "poison pen" letters, and we would have this man involved in national negotiations and running an already indebted country. Get real!
Editor: Governor Schaefer's thoughts on running for the oval office is his attempt to find a larger audience to indulge his ego.
The idea of his sending letters to belittle U.S. citizens and world leaders, because they don't agree with his policies, can't stomach his spending tactics or his arrogance is unthinkable.
The idea of seeing "President Schaefer and the citizens of the U.S." plastered all over the country would be unforgivable.
Please, governor, save the nation from such a nightmare.
Support the Troops
Editor: I left for Vietnam in the winter of 1968, amid racial rioting and war demonstrations in Baltimore. I was well trained and prepared for the job ahead, yet had all the uneasy feelings a soldier has who is about to participate in a conflict thousands of miles from home.
The extended war in Vietnam taught citizens at home and soldiers abroad lessons about war. The one lesson that I was convinced would never be forgotten was our responsibility at home to emphasize our full and absolute support for troops ordered into combat.
The right of free speech is a precious and integral part of our Constitution and certainly one of the reasons our great nation stands apart from less fortunate countries. However, there comes a time after we all search our consciences and debate our positions to put ourselves aside and unite behind the president.
I have not always agreed with the policies of this administration and still have questions about the war in Iraq, but I do feel that we owe our troops the benefit of a unified front at home.
I returned home from Vietnam in the winter of 1969 with the indelible impressions of that terrible war, the loss of friends, the hopeless faces of the Montagnard, the general sense that I had )) abandoned a people that might be in conflict forever.
As I arrived home in Washington, there was no greater impression made on me than that of a group of protesters burning American flags and carrying the flag of the country I had been at odds with. I felt betrayed and alone.
I was reminded of that experience while watching a protester burn a flag on one of the networks several days ago. We simply cannot repeat the mistakes of the Vietnam war. Put aside your disdain for the Iraq war. We are there and totally committed to driving Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.
Please consider the impression you are making on the patriotic men and women risking their lives at this moment. I can assure you they will appreciate your support.
#Don R. Reithlingshoefer.