Letters to the editor

In support of a smoke-free Kent

Dear Editor:

I am in support of the city of Kent and the campus going smoke free. This proposed ban isn’t meant to take away smoker’s rights. The ban isn’t taking away their cigarettes, it’s just asking them to step outside and away from nonsmokers, reducing risk of exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke contains a combination of more than 4,000 chemicals, more than 50 of which are known carcinogens. Why should nonsmokers be subjected to this?

According to the Center for Disease Control, every year, about 3,000 nonsmokers die from lung cancer due to secondhand smoke. And more than 35,000 coronary heart disease deaths occur every year among nonsmokers in the United States.

The recent passing of Dana Reeve, wife of actor Christopher Reeve, is an example of a tragic death from secondhand smoke. She was only 44 years old and never smoked a cigarette in her whole life. Deaths like this can be prevented if we require establishments to go smoke free. I hope others can see what a good idea this ban is, and that smokers and nonsmokers alike can embrace this issue.

—ÿJessica Shreve

Graduate student, health education and promotion

Let the non-smokers keep their health

Dear Editor:ÿ

I am a Kent State graduate student and the treasurer of Eta Sigma Gamma. We have teamed up with other campus organizations like Bacchus to promote a smoke-free campus. Only about 30 percent of Kent State students actually smoke and that leaves 70 percent of us who do not wish to walk through the chemicals to get into buildings for our classes. It is embarrassing that Kent State still allows smoking inside the Student Center in 2006. We need to follow the recommendations for college health and make all buildings smoke-free and all smoking areas at least 20 feet away from the building entrances.

Last year health insurance costs went up for faculty on our campus while we paid $75,000 to clean up cigarette butts. Our tuition continues to rise year after year as well, while we continue to pay that $75,000. Imagine if tuition didn’t have to increase and health insurance costs went down on campus. That could happen if we make our campus smoke free.

Alexis A. Blavos

Graduate student, health education and promotion

Women’s studies major a necessity

Dear Editor:ÿ

When I read your article about the protesters dedicated to creating a women’s studies major (“Protesters call for new major”), I was baffled. It never even occurred to me that a school known to be a “liberal arts” institution would fail to offer a field so necessary to students and society. I am thoroughly comforted by the fact that people are bringing this failure to the forefront, as I believe that in order to understand the world in which we live in today, it is imperative we comprehend the rising gender, its past and its future.

I applaud the 12 protesters and encourage them to continue fighting. Not only does Kent State owe its students the ability to learn and study women, but today’s society demands it. I truly hope this is merely an oversight and that Kent State will work to ensure us that there will be a women’s studies major in the near future.

—ÿStacy Bogart

Senior communication studies major

Reporter didn’t play ‘Fair Trade’ in story

Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to the article “Chocolate addiction becomes sweeter” (March 15). Although not an opinion piece, the article was conspicuously missing any mention of the effects this industry has on the millions of cocoa farmers responsible for its production around the world. The U.S. chocolate industry alone generated $13.7 billion in retail sales while Americans consumed 3.3 billion pounds in 2000, and those figures have only grown over the last few years (www.transfairusa.org). Cocoa cultivation is a very intensive process, often done by hand and often with the help of the entire family. The result of this booming industry has been the increased use of child labor to clear fields with machetes and apply dangerous pesticides. Due to the need for labor, many children are kept from attending school. For example, in the Ivory Coast, only one-third of school-age children will ever attend school (www.iita.org). Reports of child slavery in western Africa have also been reported on numerous occasions.

In an effort to provide an alternative to the current cycle of repression and exploitation, Trans Fair USA introduced Fair Trade Cocoa in 2002. Fair Trade guarantees a direct relationship between the farmers and companies, a minimum floor price allowing farming families to improve their standard of living, pre-harvest lines of credit and sustainable farming practices (over 50 percent is certified organic). All of us would like to be secure in the knowledge that no one was made to suffer in order for us to enjoy a product. As consumers, we have the power to reward those companies with business practices consistent with our values, and punish those that don’t. We should all put our mouths were our money is and request Fair Trade Cocoa everywhere we buy chocolate.

Brett Wilhelm

Junior international relations major

Affirmative Action column needs facts

Dear Editor:

My letter is in response to Matthew J. White’s letter, “American society must move on past race issue.”

In what imaginary realm do you reside? Your argument assumes the white male is under so much oppression in the United States, especially at the hands of females and non-whites. I ponder what facet of your daily life has urged you to publicly write such a false commentary.

You state in your letter that, “Nobody deserves extra credit for something they couldn’t have possibly earned, just as nobody deserves to be docked for crime they didn’t commit.” So I am sure that you are strongly against how Bush got an education or won an election? And you probably hate capitalism, as it gives those born into power all of the resources they need to stay there and reap yet more profits gained by robbing workers of the money they earn by hand. I see the above as “extra credit” from unearned sources. However, you still stand as the president of the Kent State College Republicans, representing them in every signature you scribe. And you do a grand job of letting us know who they are: Hypocrites.

Moreover, you assume that with or without Affirmative Action, the myriad white male executives would show no signs of discrimination. The reason Affirmative Action was created was because this does not even approximate the truth. If you want me to believe that white males are having a difficult time getting hired (make that a more difficult time than other races, or any women), you should write your next article with statistics, or at least, facts.

To anyone who chooses to absorb the printed word: Read carefully, even the crap I write.

Tim Adkins

Sophomore Spanish major

Let men have choice in abortion decision

Dear Editor:

It seems now that everyone has heard of Matt Dubay, the man fighting for the right to legally sever his responsibility to the child he neither wanted nor planned for. As a pro-life advocate, and moreover, a woman, my support of Dubay may seem an anomaly, but I feel that “Roe v. Wade for Men,” as his campaign has been called, would offer men the same ability to voluntarily abdicate parental responsibility as abortion currently offers women.

As the law currently stands, the choice of abortion or carrying a pregnancy to term belongs solely to the pregnant woman. No one, not even Dubay, is arguing that this should change. But if a woman chooses to give birth, her partner is automatically required to pay child support. Dubay is arguing that because abortion offers women a choice about becoming a parent, a choice our legal system does not offer to men, current child support laws discriminate against men.

I have heard some responses to this campaign that sound strikingly familiar. Responses like, “If he didn’t want to raise a kid, he should have kept his pants on,” or, “He should have used birth control.” Strangely enough, when pro-lifers say the same thing about pregnant women, pro-choicers pay no attention. “Their partners make promises they don’t keep,” they say, “Birth control fails.”

Dubay has been ordered to pay $560 a month in child support. This means by the time his daughter is 18, he will have paid $120,960 (not adjusting for inflation) to support a child that he made clear to his partner (even before conception) he didn’t want. If we’re going to let women opt out of physically bearing children, we must allow men to opt out of financially supporting them. If he doesn’t have the right to force a sexual partner to become a parent, she shouldn’t either.

Anna Neubauer

Junior French translation major

Professors must leave opinions at the door

Dear Editor:

In the March 13 Our View (“Professor has right to Hitler comments”), the editorial board said, “Teachers like Bennish are just trying to get students to think critically and make comparisons.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m very supportive of critical thinking, but Bennish was unfairly using his position as a teacher, as well as his influence over impressionable minds.

His job is not to get students to think more critically about politics. His job is to teach geography. It does not sound like his statement had anything to do with geography. That statement was also not intended to encourage the students to “make comparisons.” It was intended to make them hate the president.

It’s true that Bennish said the statement was his opinion, but it doesn’t really matter. He’s not being paid to give his political opinions. To quote Thomas Sowell, “Nowhere else (but in education) do people think that it is OK to engage in politics instead of doing the job for which they are being paid. When you hire a plumber to fix a leak, you don’t want to find your home being flooded while he whiles away the hours talking about Congressional elections or foreign policy. It doesn’t matter whether his political opinions are good, bad, or indifferent if he is being paid to do a different job.”

The editorial board also stated that President Bush feels that people have a right to be critical of his actions. I agree. That’s what’s wonderful about our country. But there is a time and a place for that. A geography class is not the proper time and place. Teachers should do their jobs first and worry about their opinions later.

Kevin Gareau

Freshman exploratory major