Letters for August 30, 2007

Ends justify Chico State’s means
Re: “Counter to our culture” (In My Eyes, by Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, Aug. 23):

Evan Tuchinsky could not be more wrong in his column. Tuchinsky states that Chico State’s “cyberchecking” and “surveillance” is “counter to Chico culture"—to be quite frank, I think it is just what Chico needs.

I am a 21-year-old college student, and I think that Chico students are out of control. Having worked in a privately owned dorm in Chico for over a year, I have seen first-hand what the new students (and some returning) choose do to do with their time: drink, drink, drink. All of their focus is shifted to “going out and getting expletive-d up.”

Students, particularly freshmen, need to be held responsible for their actions. They never have been before, and if the university doesn’t do it in cooperation with the resident advisers and the university and local police, then who will?

Chico is a wonderful community where people should be able to walk downtown at night without encountering large groups of drunken students. That is what is counter to the culture. The party-goers are what give Chico State a bad rep, and we should all applaud the university for taking steps to correct it.

Matthew Richardson

There are two contradictory statements in the column regarding CSU efforts in curbing student hazing and alcohol abuse.

1) “… the student body should [not] be subject to surveillance in the enforcement of CRYPTIC policies” (my capitalizing). The CSU policies are not cryptic. According to Tuchinsky, President Zingg has “made it clear what expectations are regarding the standards of conduct.”

2) “ … the university … should leave cover ops to the CIA.” The cyberchecking for disapproved conduct by university resident advisers, the central issue of this column, was disclosed to the new freshmen. MySpace and Facebook contain information posted by their contributors, and thus available to the public. Those posting themselves are propagating a “party culture and reputation” for CSU. Calling this cybercheck a “covert op” is an exaggeration. Resident advisers are just accessing the posted information on these Web sites.

Tuchinsky used a hyperbolic assertion regarding the stance and policies implemented by CSU. The goal is to have a safe university life. The means are not out-of-bounds. This is not “counter to our culture.”

L. Scarafia

Editor’s note: This column referred to the cover story “Caught up in covert ops,” which explained how different rules apply to different groups, leading to sanctions under policies students don’t know exist. Zingg’s expectations are clear, but the university code is, well, crytpic. As for picture-posting, a primary source for the story, senior Brandon Loyd got snared for a photo posted by someone else.

… or maybe the ends don’t
[Paul Zingg says student groups are] “… emphasizing being responsible citizens with a message of safety, well-being and looking out for one another.”

That’s the power of communication. The Stasi press corps couldn’t have put it any more eloquently! It brings tears to my eyes …

Dave Robison

Rush to judgment
Re: “This is the way we go to school” (Cover story essay, by Jaime O’Neill, CN&R, Aug. 23):

Though I don’t condone a student, let alone anyone, wearing a shirt that says “F#&k a Ni—a,” I don’t agree with the author who rants and raves about students who wear their hats backward. Nor, for that matter, do I agree with an author/retired teacher who automatically assumes a woman is less intelligent because of her clothing choice. I have two words for you: prejudice and stereotype.

I especially disagree with the comment about giving a student a C+ over a B- because of an impression they made on you. A woman showing her cleavage may affect your teaching skills, but it should not affect her grade. I hope you are only speaking for yourself and not the many open-minded teachers whom I have had the pleasure to be instructed by.

Lower grades due to the fact that someone wants to express his or her own personality? What’s next, discrimination against students with tattoos or piercings, hippies, one’s ethnicity or sexual preference? Your own view on how students should present themselves should stay at home when you come to class. Thank God you’re retired!

Holly Swan
Biology student,
Chico State

Caveat empathy
Re: “Bummer vacation” (Letters, by K. Wilson, CN&R, Aug. 23):

Yes, as you asked, there is something wrong with this picture. I am also very saddened and maddened by this war, and the reality that our sons and daughters are suffering and dying because of it haunts me constantly. Your plight and emotions are valid, and I have the greatest sympathy and respect toward their origins. Please know that I am praying for your son’s safe return home.

With that said, I have something to impart to you that I hope may help in your suffering and your recently ruined vacation.

As a Vietnam veteran, I am aware that there is currently no law forcing conscription (mandatory draft into the armed services) upon any individual. Forgive me, but your dear son voluntarily signed up for the duty he is now obligated to. If he (or you) felt so strongly against this war, as most of us do, then he should have never volunteered to participate as a combat soldier … and you might have planned your vacation at a better time so that you could enjoy it.

All humans are suffering around the globe, many in conditions that we Chicoans can’t even fathom. Your venting seems in need of serious introspection, followed by a letter asking your son to come home, and then plans for both of you to take a pleasurable vacation together, as we wealthy Americans enjoy the ability to do.

Douglas Turner

They knew; we should’ve
Re: “The Basra experience” (Editorial, CN&R, Aug. 23):

Your editorial seems to indicate that the British did not know the consequences of drawing down their troops. The British had been in Iraq before and were fully cognizant of the internal strife of sectarian nature that was to follow.

Just because we in the United States get news about parts of the world only in times of dire consequences to our economic well being, it need be understood that what is happening in Iraq in terms of civil unrest is the way of life in that part of the world. It has been going on for centuries. What we call “checks and balances” is anathema to their norm of directives by the tribal chiefs.

The al-Qaeda factor in Iraq is the least of the worries in withdrawal of the troops. The [main] factor is our assured control of oil, as evidenced by the U.S.-drafted oil management bill pending before the Iraqi parliament. In this regard, it is laughable to read about the sovereign nature of the present so-called elected governing bodies, knowing full well how our influence led to the present Iraq constitution.

History teaches that military success in vanquishing [dictatorships in] foreign territories has never left a lasting peace, unless the people of that land have themselves gotten rid of the tyrants. So it will be in Iraq. It is far better to fight for our security on our soil against all enemies, including al-Qaeda, than to engage in a farce of installing democracy in places like Iraq.

Brahama D. Sharma

Re: “Farmer describes cause of effect” (Letters, by Jeanette Rice, CN&R, Aug. 16):

This Marysville grower is experiencing environmental backlash. Her property is being acquired through eminent domain to create a levee setback (and in the process create a fire hazard and a crematorium for wildlife).

Welcome to the club, Jeanette.

Truckers will be required to install “scrubbers” on diesel engines to clean the air and prevent global warming. Global warming is a fallacy; dirty air is not. In the process we will have a cost of between $15,000 and $20,000 to install the devices, in effect rendering our two trucks unsellable. Since most trucks clear less than $50,000 per year, this could mean bankruptcy for many individuals.

But that’s all right, the environmentalists are saving the world one business death at a time. But that is all right, too, because they feel our pain. Gee, maybe they will just whip out their checkbooks and reimburse us. You think?

Donna Peterson

Critics’ bad taste
Are you kidding me with these food reviews? What wouldn’t get 3.5 stars? A 7-11 chimichanga, perhaps? Do you drink a cup of boiling water before dining, stripping you of your ability to taste? Get real.

Mat Bacior

Re: “Wakim trips over racist image” (Newslines, by Toni Scott and Robert Speer, CN&R, Aug. 23):

The picture of the Mexican on the fake driver’s license is that of the actor in Treasure of the Sierra Madre [Alfonso Bedoya] who uttered some of the most famous lines in movie history: “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges.”

They just don’t make movies like that anymore. “Nobody puts anything over on Fred C. Dobbs.”

Michael M. Peters

Re: “Wakim trips over racist image” (Newslines, CN&R, Aug. 23): As noted, the CN&R made several attempts to contact Sam Wakim for this story. We’ve discovered we had an incorrect phone number for him, so he did not get our voicemail messages. We apologize if we left the impression he ducked our calls.