Somebody's LyingEditor: The Opinion * Commentary page of...


November 18, 1991

Somebody's Lying

Editor: The Opinion * Commentary page of Oct. 9 headlined a difficult question which I think I can answer. "Somebody's Lying -- Him or Her?" The answer is: it is neither him or her -- it is "He or She," or possibly "Both."

Today's Senate is a disgrace to the United States. That United States includes not thou and I, but thee and me . . . and even him and her.

Ellicott City.

University Issues

Editor: If Pat Meisol's Oct. 27 article,''Frustrated by system, UM leaders seek change,'' is intended to inflame controversy, promote individual agendas and distract attention from the real issues, then it is a tour de force.

Common decency, basic fairness and true objectivity would dictate that the object of the story's attacks, Chancellor Donald Langenberg, would at the very least be given the opportunity to comment. The reporter made absolutely no effort to contact him so that he might offer his perspective on these matters.

Among the charges Dr. Langenberg should have been given the opportunity to refute was that the presidents ''raised hell over being left out of the committee studying mergers and cuts.'' Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the presidents were asked to participate at the very outset of the study, and they declined. Nevertheless, the chancellor continues to actively solicit their input.

The article says that College Park is seeking ''the return of such independent research units as an agricultural institute spun off by the chancellor in one of his first acts of office.'' Having covered this issue in detail, the reporter is well aware that the chancellor did no such thing, that the unit in question has been independent since 1979, 11 years before the chancellor's arrival.

These are but a few examples of the article's disservice to Chancellor Langenberg, to all members of the University of Maryland System family and to your readers.

Roger R. Blunt Sr.

Oxon Hill.

The writer is vice chairperson of the University of Maryland System Board of Regents.

Proper Spending

Editor: I wish to comment on the editorial that appeared in the Nov. 3 Sun concerning the University of Maryland at College Park budget, "Secession Talk on Campus."

It is indeed correct that the College Park budget does include a $45-million expenditure for academic support services. However, $25 million of this amount goes to support a major research library and a major computer-science center, each of which provide important and necessary support for a major research university to undertake its scholarly and research mission.

This leaves about $20 million for all other academic support purposes. Of this, $8 million is spent on graduate fellowships. That money is used to recruit the very best graduate students from around the country. These students not only come to study at College Park, but they very often become productive citizens of the state of Maryland. We feel that $8 million spent to support our graduate research effort is money well spent both for the university and the state.

That leaves $14 million for what we might call "regular" ordinary academic support services. Considering that our enrollment is eight times larger than that at Bowie State, we should have a $16-million academic support budget. However, as you can see we are managing to carry out all our important activities with a budget of $14 million. I believe this speaks well to the fiscal management on the College Park campus and that we deserve your congratulations rather than your unwitting chastisement when we are doing precisely what you suggest.

J. Robert Dorfman.

College Park.

The writer is vice president for academic affairs and provost at College Park.

Fill in the Blanks

Editor: Always the unknown is the most frightening when the words "tax reform" are even whispered; all sorts of negative images and thoughts are formed and spewed. Perhaps it is time for our General Assembly to address this issue of tax reform with a breakdown of facts and figures presented to the public in great detail.

How will raising taxes affect our needy and most vulnerable citizens? How will it address the needs of the education budget? How will it eliminate a hiring freeze and reinstate much needed support staff? How many fire stations will remain open and be staffed properly? If taxes are raised, how much money are we talking about? What is the breakdown of how it will be spent? When would it become effective?

All these concerns and more need to be addressed in an honest, clear, concise manner to better inform and educate the public.

Paula Baziz.


Money Talks

Editor: The ability to raise large amounts of money for television advertising has too often been a significant factor in who wins our elected offices. Recently your paper ran an article on the last-minute media blitz by the winner of the city comptroller race in the primary election. Hopefully this will help to bring about some reform in campaign financing and media access.

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