Balancing political views of college teachers

Regarding your Oct. 8 editorial "Faulty faculty diversity": As an academic who studies hiring practices, I find it disturbing that you suggest colleges "should look at their criteria for hiring teachers beyond just academic qualifications," implying political views – especially nonliberal views – are legitimate reasons for hiring. A few colleges do go beyond expertise in a field, for example religiously affiliated institutions with respect to doctrinaire beliefs in a religious context, as is their right.

It's hard to imagine that any good could come by having state legislatures try to mold the faculty of the local "U" in their current image. Do funds get withheld if the university faculty are not sufficiently conservative (or liberal) enough? Does tenure depend on one's voting behavior?

Have more faith in the critical minds that we in higher education are honored to help educate. Students are adept at filtering the wheat from the chaff, even when dished up from those of us much more liberal, or much more conservative, than they are.
Howard Miller
Edina, Minn

It was good to read your editorial "Faulty faculty diversity." I'm glad to see the issue of political imbalance among teachers is being addressed.

Our son's college experience included political influences that stood our hair on end. When parents spend huge sums to provide an education for their youngsters, only to have them turned against their family's values, there is a betrayal from the educational system.

It is important that students be given balanced views that provide the opportunity for them to develop their own reasoning. To have them influenced, even manipulated, during these formative years is a violation of the trust parents have put in the system.
June A. Austin
Hernando, Fla.

Discussing Hong Kong's laws

Regarding your Oct. 4 editorial "China's move on Hong Kong": Let me put the record straight. First, we have a constitutional duty, under Article 23 of our Basic Law, to enact laws on our own to safeguard national security. All jurisdictions have similar legislation.

Second, the bulk of our proposals draw on existing laws.

Third, the new laws will fully comply with the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.

Fourth, we have an independent and trusted judiciary.

We have held two open and fair elections to our legislature since 1997. We have more democracy than we ever did during 156 years of British administration, and we are making gradual and steady progress toward the ultimate objective of universal suffrage as laid out in our Basic Law.
W. K. Lam
Hong Kong
Director, Chief Executive's Office

Palestinian flag inspires hope

Thank you for printing Ramzy Baroud's gentle and moving Oct. 4 Opinion piece "Seeking a safe place to raise the Palestinian flag." It occurred to me that the Palestinian flag is slowly but surely unfurling into the one flag raised everywhere on earth by a multitude of wonderfully diverse people, free thinkers who firmly believe in truth and justice, decency, and the inherent dignity of every human being.

From coast to coast, and continent to continent peace activists are pulling out Palestinian flags and marching in solidarity with the Palestinians. It gives me hope to know that people all over the world are willing to gather together to work toward a real, just, and lasting peace in the Holy Land.
Anne Selden Annab
Mechanicsburg, Pa.

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