Readers write

Can universities protect students from ideas?

Thanks for your excellent March 23 editorial "Bigotry against ideas" in support of free speech. How sad that such messages are needed now more than ever.

The capitulation on campus to the Stalinist rules of politically correct behavior shows the total failure of the educational system. A college student should not have to be protected from challenging ideas. The whole point of education is to foster critical, individual thinking so that engaged citizens can sort through the competing ideas in the intellectual forum.

It's very disappointing that the home of the Free Speech Movement, Berkeley, is one of the worst offenders against the First Amendment these days.

Of course, the quality of education was far superior in the '60s, so the importance of free speech in a democracy was better understood.

Brenda Walker Berkeley, Calif.

When an advertisement denying the Holocaust and questioning "the Jewish agenda" came across my desk last year, I promptly rejected it as the then editor in chief of The Daily Orange at Syracuse University.

But it wasn't because of the content's nature. The submitter included a single, probably untrue statement among the rest of the diatribe.

I would have run the African-American reparation advertisement that has prompted theft and violence against The Brown Daily Herald.

A college newspaper serves college students in a college environment, the hallmark of which is free thought.

A campus newspaper therefore not only has a right, but a responsibility to be inclusive of all stripes of opinion in its editorial and advertising product. That includes even the most radical and reactionary of opinions, so long as it is free of fallacies - which the reparation advertisement is.

The Herald may temporarily lose readers and respect. But for the most righteous of reasons: preserving its integrity as a newspaper committed to all readers by offering them diverse, unbiased content.

Dave Levinthal Manchester, N.H.

Bush not to blame for economic woes

Your March 22 article "Slump complicates Bush's job" points out that a recession in the market at this time could cause President Bush to be rejected by voters in 2004.

I don't think Mr. Bush can be held responsible for years of economic neglect, i.e. California's power shortage and OPEC's slowed oil production. Our economy is 1 percent what happens to us and 99 percent how we react to it. And one of the most attitude-affecting factors is Bush's $1.6 trillion tax cut (with or without retroactive refunds).

It seems that the House and the Senate can't decide if we have enough money for the tax cut. No wonder Americans are scared and confused! Adding and subtracting is a fairly accurate way of keeping up with tax records, and it's amazing to me that we don't know how much money we have or where it's all going.

Americans need peace of mind; instead of lowering interest rates (please do that, too), why doesn't someone find and count all our money first? I suggest starting the search under all the couch cushions in Washington.

Sam Boston Memphis, Tenn.

Feeling 'Gould' about humanity

In the 30 years I have been reading the Monitor, John Gould continues to be my favorite part. His storytelling ability is superb. I am impressed with his commitment to his craft. His writing represents the essence of the Monitor to me: I always feel better about humanity when I finish reading it.

John Manchester Lewisburg, W.Va.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Due to the volume of mail, only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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