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Letters to the editor - 5/22/03

May 22, 2003

Shippensburg U. has a fine record for free thought


To the editor:

Much has been made about a recent suit filed by an organization known as FIRE against Shippensburg University. The suit alleges that the university has oppressed students' rights to free speech to a "chilling" extent through a restrictive "speech code," a policy that FIRE semantically derives from selected reading in the Student Handbook and the Student Code of Conduct. The group presents this Swiss-cheese logic in the hopes of rallying post-9/11 Americans who fear the infringement of civil liberties.

Having worked in student government for two years, I can tell you the truth about Shippensburg University. It is an institution that above all else is dedicated to scholarly debate through the free expression of ideas to such an extent that I have never received one compliant regarding these issues. It is an institution that produces the second-highest number of our nation's leading army officials, including General Tommy Franks.

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These individuals fight for liberty, freedom, and justice around the world, yet FIRE would have you believe that they learned the opposite of the values while at Shippensburg. But most importantly, Shippensburg is an institution committed to fighting a social axis of evil - homophobia, anti-Semitism, and racism - even as we fight an axis of evil abroad.

Too often, we are enveloped by misconceptions that lead us to accept racial slurs and harassment predicated on race, sexual orientation, and other factors. University policies encourage students to avoid these pitfalls, while allowing them broad freedom in speech. By encouraging students to be conscious of blights in our collective social character, cross-cultural understanding is promoted and the dams of hatred that have impeded our character for so long are demolished. If only more institutions would follow this example, we could experience the human spirit on a level never realized before, setting a precedent that would last until the end of humankind.

Ryan C. Hess
Student Senate President
Shippensburg University




Reese balances conservative columnists


To the editor:

I have enjoyed reading Charley Reese's column over the years and I think his columns are one of the reasons that I have been a long-time subscriber of your newspaper. He presents an honest, truthful and diverse opinion about the political landscape. He is also a reflection of the opinion of most of the people on this globe who disagree with the governmental polices.

He has painted a very accurate reflection of the Middle Eastern situation and its root causes. I think it is very important for the readers to know the point of view held by most of the Middle Eastern nations.

His writings may not be to the liking of some of the conservatives, but so the writings of George Will's - which you frequently publish in your newspapers - are to the liberals.

It is very important for your paper to have diverse opinions as far as the issues are concerned so that the public is much more well-informed. Otherwise, you will be doing a great disservice to the community and I think Charley Reese should be here to stay on a long-term basis.

Mehrullah Khan
Boonsboro

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