LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Fiscal discipline for UM system is long overdue

I wasn't particularly moved by University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. Kirwan's lament concerning the budget cuts now affecting the system ("A question of political will," Opinion * Commentary, July 21).

He rightly claims that budget cuts the system faces are disproportionate to its level of state support. But budget cuts typically target low-hanging fruit. And the university system's branches were sagging low after the massive influx of funds during the Glendening administration, particularly at the College Park campus.

At some point, a sense of fiscal responsibility accompanied by a correction to funding levels had to occur. Unfortunately for Mr. Kirwan, the correction is happening on his watch. But other state agencies, particularly ones that were fiscally favored by the Glendening gang, will also take serious cuts.

Mr. Kirwan had no way to see this train wreck coming. Who would have thought that a sense of fiscal restraint and responsibility would finally come to Maryland's governor's mansion?

But there is no free lunch. Someone has to pay the bills. House Speaker Michael E. Busch has been intransigent in his opposition to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s revenue-generating plan for Maryland. OK, fine. Let University of Maryland students and their parents pay an additional 22 percent Busch tax on their tuition.

Let's let the political dice roll; let's see who gets blamed.

Michael Rausa

Forest Hill

Colleges must meet increasing demands

In his article criticizing the tuition increases at the University of Maryland, Alec MacGillis fails to mention the steadily increasing costs of running universities ("What Price Eminence?" July 20).

But today, computers are needed by the hundreds and require frequent upgrades. Networks involve major costs. Laboratory equipment has become much more expensive. Classrooms and libraries use new, expensive technologies.

The greatest increase in costs involves faculty and staff. Faculty members in many more disciplines now can choose between academic and nonacademic jobs. Staff members have become more important, and many of them, especially in information technology, can easily find work elsewhere. These changes have forced universities to pay more competitive salaries.

Public universities have eased the burden on taxpayers by obtaining new sources of funding. But this cannot solve the problem, especially when enrollments are increasing.

Universities must respond to changes in society and need adequate funding to do so.

When Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. chose higher education to receive a disproportionate share of the cuts in state spending, the University of Maryland had no option but to raise tuition.

William G. Rothstein

Baltimore

The writer is a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

CareFirst's leaders seem out of touch

Is there still any doubt that CEO William L. Jews and the CareFirst board are not out for anyone other than themselves?

After reading The Sun's article "CareFirst board says it will fight impending charges" (July 22), it's apparent that the board doesn't get it. It is a nonprofit, government-sponsored organization that has tried to use its position for personal gain.

The legislature realizes this and has treated the board accordingly.

Mr. Jews should stop fighting and resign for the good of those insured by CareFirst.

Barry Burns

Carney

Sons of Hussein will no longer kill

Despite all of the left-wing complaints about the weapons of mass destruction issue and the State of the Union address, the fact remains that Saddam Hussein's two murderous sons will not be around to continue stuffing mass graves full of bodies ("U.S. troops kill 2 Hussein sons," July 23).

And that should give solace to any clear-thinking, moral American.

Michael DeCicco

Severn

Was Hussein hiding his own weakness?

One of the arguments used in the lead-up to war with Iraq was that Saddam Hussein must have weapons of mass destruction because he had kept arms inspectors out for a period of years. After all, why would he endure the sanctions and even risk war if he had nothing to hide?

Could it be that in a region of the world where survival depends on strength, what he was hiding was the fact that he had very little left to hide?

Keith Blevins

Rosedale

No need for Bush to change subject

The Sun's "Blair insists cause was just" (July 18) said President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were seeking to "shift the focus" of their decision to remove Saddam Hussein as a "dangerous dictator." This is a statement of The Sun's opinion and as such does not belong in a news report.

Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair have never shifted from their focus on the removal of a cruel and corrupt regime. The press, TV, anti-war liberals and Bush haters have tried to shift the focus away from the successful removal of Mr. Hussein's regime to a meaningless discussion of whether the war was necessary.

But remember that Mr. Hussein was given several opportunities to disarm, and he refused to do so.

Remember, too, the pictures of the burial grounds for Iraqi Kurds, who were victims of weapons of mass destruction.

Whether or not weapons of mass destruction are found in Iraq or Iraq tried to buy uranium is of no importance.

Merrill Ewing

Ocean Pines

Mail-order brides need protection now

The Sun's editorial "Mail-order love" (July 16) suggested that a study of the international marriage broker industry should be conducted prior to passing legislation to protect foreign-born women from domestic violence in the United States. But there is no need to wait for a study. A compelling need for legislation to protect "mail-order brides" has already been proved.

The Tahirih Justice Center, a legal advocacy organization for abused immigrant women, conducted a national survey of legal service providers and domestic violence shelters.

The study revealed that 51 percent of the organizations surveyed assist women who met their abusive husbands through brokers. The actual percentage may be higher, as many organizations do not inquire about how a woman met her spouse.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service conducted a study of the broker industry in 1999. Since that time, hundreds, if not thousands, of foreign-born brides have been abused or murdered by their American husbands.

Abuse of foreign-born brides has been proved; why wait any longer to provide these women the protection they deserve?

Layli Miller-Muro

Falls Church, Va.

The writer is executive director of the Tahirih Justice Center.

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