Editor: As a businessman in the Baltimore region and former president of the University of Maryland at College Park Alumni Association, the word irresponsible comes to mind to describe your Nov. 3 editorial, "Secession Talk on Campus."
First, let me respond to the implication that College Park and Senate President Mike Miller are leading the secessionist drive. For the record, there have been no discussions between the president of the University of Maryland at College Park and the Senate president concerning secession from the University of Maryland System.
It should not be surprising, though, that individuals and institutions would be searching for the best ay to improve higher education, and alternative administrative structures will need to be considered to meet the recession and the state's higher education goals.
Second, the editorial accuses the University of Maryland at College Park of seeking "enormous statewide influence." College Park in 1988 was designated by law as the state's flagship university.
The governor and General Assembly both realized even then that the most cost-effective plan to achieve national prominence for higher education in Maryland was to target resources at College Park since that campus already was a national research university.
A relatively few extra dollars would bring additional luster to an institution already competing among the nation's top national research universities.
Unfortunately, the severe fiscal constraints currently facing the state put all this at risk, but isn't a recession all the more reason to be cost-effective and targeted in establishing priorities?
College Park, an intensive national research university, is criticized for spending $45 million for "academic support," and its spending is compared with academic support funding patterns at a regional university focused on undergraduate education.
College Park's academic mission is quite different from other institutions in the University of Maryland System.
James W. Shaw.
Editor: I was gratified to read your editorial applauding and congratulating Gov. William Donald Schaefer, on his 70th birthday, for all the great things he has done for the city and state.
I think your comments were concise and to the point. Governor Schaefer may do some things that I do not like, but so does my wife and I love her.
If you had to design a dedicated, honest public servant who is very sensitive to government's effect on the people, you would clone Governor Schaefer.
Henry J. Knott, Jr.
Editor: A short time ago, Barbara Mikulski met with a group of loyal supporters to announce her candidacy for a second term in the Senate. The newspapers reported her pledge to continue her support, presumably economic, for the good life for her constituents. Ms. Mikulski has a strong voice. It is too bad that she has never used it to express an original thought.
Immediately after the Senate vote last January on the president's request for Senate authorization to use force against Iraq, and again after the war was won, I wrote to her to express my disappointment that she had not supported our president in his hour of greatest need. She persisted in claiming that she had made the "right" vote, probably meaning "the party line".
Thanks to the greed of many U.S. bankers and real estate speculators and the failure of our Congress to take the federal budget process seriously, our nation grows deeper in debt. Yet we have not learned that it is time to tighten our belts.
Greed has brought our nation's steel industry virtually to its knees. How much longer can our automobile companies continue to lose millions as they pay assembly-line workers $15 an hour to turn a wrench? If we don't start paying for the greed and excesses of the past now, then when?
We are seeing an attempt by the federal government to lower the deficit by reducing aid to the states, which are lowering their aid to their counties.
This is no time for a congressional candidate to pledge the continuing good life to her constituents. But Ms. Mikulski will be rewarded by her party with significant sums of PAC money. She will continue to vote the party line.
William T. Zeigler.
The Public Stake in Higher Education
Editor: I write in response to James A. Dorn's Nov. 10 Opinion * Commentary article, ''Privatizing Higher Education." While his ideas are interesting, I strongly disagree with his premise that ''higher education is primarily a private rather than a public good: benefits accrue almost entirely to those who receive the education."
Higher education, and indeed all education, is no longer viewed as a private accomplishment. It is a major factor in international competition and an engine for future economic development. Employers in every industry cite the need for greater skills among their workforces including knowledge of mathematics, technology and communication.