What high school hazing epidemic?

Contrary to Alfred University's study, which Robert Myers cites in his Sept. 21 opinion piece, "Above the pressure to belong," there is no evidence of a high school hazing epidemic. The survey had such a low number of responses that it should have been rendered null. Polling scholars, such as professor Don Dillman of Washington State University, remarked, "This study does not appear to be well enough done to have the results taken seriously."

Though the problem of high school hazing is worthy of concern, we must understand the problem with accurate numbers before we can combat it. We must inoculate ourselves from the naysayers who love to leap upon errant scholarship. Hyperbole may be fantastic for grabbing headlines and self-promotion, but it is far from scientific.

Howard Fienberg Washington Research Analyst The Statistical Assessment Service

Every 40 cents counts in Venezuela

When considering what a great bargain 40 cents a gallon of gas is for the people of Venezuela ("Venezuela: just 40 cents a gallon" Sept. 25), you might want to factor in their average income. The minimum wage in Venezuela is around $40 a week; more than half the population works for minimum wage or less. For the average American, that would be the equivalent of paying somewhere between $2.50 to $5.00 per gallon.

I thought the recent comments of Venezuelan President Hugo Chvez were pretty much on target. Nobody in this country is suggesting that we lower the price of computers, pharmaceuticals, or even potatoes to make the life of Venezuelans easier. Thanks for a thought-provoking article.

Gerald Crowley Takeetna, Alaska

A gender gap in voting is nothing new

While I generally enjoyed your Sept. 25 article "White House race takes a feminine feel," I was less than thrilled with the naive belief that a "gender gap" is a recent phenomenon. It is simply not true that "It was back in 1980 when the difference between men's and women's voting patterns - the gender gap - first emerged."

On the contrary, a good deal of the political commentary on women in the 20th century was devoted to how, when, and why women voted differently than men.

Jo Freeman Brooklyn, N.Y.

Evidence of wrongdoing in Whitewater

Your Sept. 21 article "Whitewater probe ends, but repercussions may not" states: "After six years of probing, special prosecutors could not find evidence that the president, and perhaps more important, his Senate-candidate wife, committed any crime...."

Whoa! What was determined by prosecutors was that there was not enough evidence to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. That is far different from not finding evidence of wrongdoing.

Arthur Hogan Charleston, S.C.

Charitable giving

The Work & Money section is one of the most informative parts of the Monitor. Your information on charitable states is revealing (Work & Money's "A Week's Worth" Sept. 25). The most charitable states are generally Southern, Republican, and low income. The least charitable states are generally Northern, Democratic, and affluent.

Liberals talk about their intentions to be compassionate, but is their charity founded on being generous with taxpayers' money? In my opinion true generosity starts with your own pocketbook, not someone else's.

Margaret Hume Dallas

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.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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