U. Md. System planning to cut vital coursesThe proposal...

the Forum

December 29, 1992

U. Md. System planning to cut vital courses

The proposal announced recently by the chancellor of the University of Maryland System to discontinue some 100 programs comes as no surprise. The ship of higher education has been drifting rudderless for quite some time. However, the reasons given by the chancellor for the proposed changes are worth examining.

Some years ago the lottery was started in Maryland with the expressed intention of improving the quality of education.

There was an excellent opportunity at the time to strengthen the departments in the University of Maryland at College Park. It is sad that the money obtained from the lottery was squandered away.

Now when the money is scarce, the head of the system wants to discontinue programs and use the money saved to strengthen programs (specifically at College Park) that graduate a sufficient number of students.

To me it is like a voice from heaven saying, "To him that hath shall be given; to him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath."

As a retired chemist who worked both in the industry and the academic field, I find the proposal to discontinue the chemistry-major programs in some colleges appalling.

For quite some time state officials have been proclaiming from housetops that Baltimore would be groomed to become a health science center. Our officials seem to forget that chemistry is the backbone of the health sciences.

If the proposed action is carried out, it will certainly shrink the pool of well qualified chemists. Such an action would deprive at least some underprivileged students from rising to their potential.

It is also doubtful whether any savings would result from discontinuing chemistry programs. Most of the time, the

individual chemistry faculty members and the department as a whole meet the required teaching load by teaching the science courses required for other programs.

I have yet to hear of a military leader who has won a campaign by strengthening the flagship at the expense of support ships.

Bail L. Rao

Baltimore

Chinese editing

Some things just don't change much as time goes by. For example: 1) Co-pilots don't talk back; 2) You can't outwit your arteries.

A list might include: unidentified flying objects, illegible signatures, nagging backaches, occasional static in the attic, eye-and-ear bruisers (TV commercials), ring around the collar, math anxiety, Ivory Soap -- it still floats after 113 years, computer anxiety, TV spine, seven-year itch, football knee, the pause that refreshes.

Also resistant to change are a couple of Murphy's Laws, such as: 1) If anything can go wrong it will -- if it's impossible for anything to go wrong, it will anyway; 2) If you're sure you understand

everything that's going on, you're hopelessly confused.

From time to time writers to the letter columns in Baltimore's two quiet persuaders, The Sun and The Evening Sun, complain about another practice that's resistant to change, the ever-rising number of typographical errors and other solecistic deviations in newspapers and other publications these days.

When subscribers are given too many typos or other usage flubs, they frequently develop copy nerves, a worrisome affliction that can ultimately drive sensitive readers to their phones to halt paper deliveries.

But it's worthy of note here that the noted Chinese scholar and writer, Lin Yutang (1895-1976), once observed that the difference between the American newspaper editor and the Chinese one is that the American worries too much about typos and such in his paper, while the Chinese editor mischievously injects a few typos here and there so that readers can enjoy "the supreme satisfaction," as Yutang so graciously put it, of discovering a few typographical mistakes for themselves.

Do any American newspapers use the Chinese system?

Wells Mears

Baltimore

Unrecognized

Before we criticize President-elect Clinton for his intent to reverse the military's ban on homosexuals, we might want to consider the following:

What if the "Unknown Soldier" were gay?

Now, let the criticism begin!

Mel Tansill

Catonsville

Violent role models

Today, children have many role models to look up to.

The "Terminator" blows people away with his high-tech machine guns. "Babs and Buster Bunny," along with the rest of their friends from "Tiny Toon Adventures," smash each other with anvils. Exploding gift boxes execute the cartoon animals.

Does American civilization really want our children growing up in society where the message is that violence is acceptable?

The toy market promotes the use of replica guns and swords in a child's daily activities. Some children grow up thinking that pointing a toy gun at someone is sanctioned behavior.

When these children reach adult lives, they might think that solving a problem might involve injuring someone or perhaps killing them. Almost every day the media show people who have been wounded by a handgun or another sort of weapon.

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