Letters to the editor

Domestic partner benefits strength of new contract

Dear editor:

I support the Kent State administration’s offer to extend the faculty contract one year. This offer includes the pledge not to raise health care premiums (no small matter these days) and, most importantly, to implement domestic partner benefits. The struggle for domestic partner benefits on this campus has been long and fraught with charges and countercharges of misleading statements and outright lying. AAUP’s recommendation not to accept the one year extension of the contract which would finally bring justice to gay and lesbian faculty, their spouses and their children is shortsighted. Domestic partner benefits are a vital tool in the recruitment and retention of quality faculty. How can we be certain domestic partner benefits will be obtained under a new contract? We cannot, and history suggests they will not be. Indeed, the administration might well see the AAUP as marginalizing domestic partner benefits or at the very least indicating a willingness to trade them away for something else, particularly higher salaries. The latter raises another issue I have with AAUP. In the past I, like other faculty, have received numerous charts indicating how our salaries would be much lower if it were not for AAUP. Now we are being presented salary charts saying our salaries could not fall much lower. I simply do not understand this. What I do understand is that accepting the contract extension will in all likelihood not help me. My guess is this means there will not be a faculty buyout and the autism exclusion clause in the current contract will continue. Still, I support the extension based on my belief that the single most important issue before us is making certain domestic partner benefits are guaranteed.

Trudy Steuernagel

Political science professor

Genocide, abortion make sense together

Dear editor:

English is a remarkably adaptable language where words rapidly evolve. The word “genocide” was apparently coined by Raphael Lempkin in 1944 regarding Nazi atrocities aimed at the extermination of whole groups of people, particularly the Jewish “race.” Therefore, the Greek root for race, “genos,” was employed. This meaning was advanced to include “national” and “religious” groups in 1948 as pointed out by Monika Flaschka (Letter to the Editor DKS 4/15/08). The mass killing by Pol Pot’s regime in Cambodia involved a non-specific group of victims but the term genocide was almost universally employed. Therefore, a more recent definition of the word has been offered as: “The deliberate and systematic destruction of a national, racial, religious, political, cultural, ethnic or other group defined by the exterminators as undesirable.” (Webster’s New World Encyclopedia, Prentice Hall, 1992.)

Two salient features of genocides are that they involve large numbers of victims and are sponsored by those holding political power. If individuals killed other individuals because they found them undesirable (ibid.) They might be prosecuted for “hate crimes” but not for “genocide.” Since the United States government mandated the legality of elective abortion throughout pregnancy in 1973, more than 45 million pre-born human beings have been destroyed and are still being eliminated at a rate of almost 4,000 per day. The pre-born as a group in the USA share the following characteristics; they are viable young human beings by any scientific definition, they live in their mother’s womb and they are subject to legal killing at any time if their mother deems them to be undesirable.

Ms. Flaschka objects to the term genocide being applied to legalized abortion in this country since mothers do not intend to eliminate this whole group of human beings. I don’t know the intentions of the concentration camp workers who actually gassed Jews but it is clear they were involved in genocide sponsored by the Nazi regime. Perhaps referring to legalized abortion as “genocide” is somewhat hyperbolic, as was the case for its use in describing Pol Pot’s killing fields; nevertheless, I think its use is justified to alert us to remedy this moral horror in our free society.

Frederick Walz

Adviser, Campus Right to Life

‘Stater’ reporter missing the details

Dear editor,

As a student who has admittedly never really been involved with student government, I was shocked to read the article in Wednesday’s paper regarding the new USG. I want to believe that the Stater is conducting honest journalism, seeing as you are students yourselves and are practicing for the real world. But it is truly difficult to convince myself after what happened between Tuesday’s interviewing and Wednesday’s report. One of the new members of the USG is a friend of mine and we happened to be having lunch together when he was called for an interview. I distinctly remember him outlining his position’s duties to the reporter, and so was disappointed to read that the reporter decided to write that the newly appointed “have yet to define what their job will be” implying a lack of preparedness and initiative. I see this as a huge breach of trust and only one of the omissions from their lengthy and substantial conversation, a conversation I presume was similar to many others the reporter conducted. Whatever biases the Stater has against the old USS is fine; it is when you start new relationships with old biases, however, that you get into trouble. To be a good journalist shouldn’t you first build the trust of the people you will be reporting on before you try and bring them crashing down? You must report the truth to ensure that you will be told the truth in the future. Give them an opportunity to succeed, say after the old USS is actually gone, before you mark them as failures.

Roni Callahan

Senior fine arts, painting major