Nail drug column to some foreheadsThank you for running...

LETTERS

December 15, 1996

Nail drug column to some foreheads

Thank you for running the excellent commentary by A. Robert Kaufman (Dec. 10, ''Attack the profit, not the fact, of drugs''), which finally spelled out in irrefutable detail why the ''war on drugs'' was doomed to fail before it began.

I have been saying the same thing for years, but I was beginning to wonder if anyone had the guts to listen, or the brains to understand. It's about time.

Now for the next step. Let's all take copies of that column down to Washington and nail them to the foreheads of every politician there.

William Smith

Baltimore

Campaign mission is to serve the poor

An article by Joan Jacobson (Nov. 30, "Anti-abortion organization opposes annual Catholic fund-raising effort") described ''a militant anti-abortion group'' and its attacks on the Catholic church's Campaign for Human Development. I am concerned that this article may have left readers with the impression that this ''group'' had a legitimate reason to attack CHD.

Because CHD is unique in its approach to poverty, it is easily misunderstood. The campaign awards grants to self-help projects that empower the poor to take responsibility for their condition.

Fifty percent of a funded project's board must consist of poverty-level persons. CHD funds projects that seek to change the very institutions that have resulted in such wrenching poverty.

Each and every grant goes only to a project in complete accord with the moral teachings of the Catholic church.

The funded projects have nothing to do with abortion, which makes the concerns of the self-styled group in Ms. Jacobson's article puzzling. CHD grants tend to focus on issues such as housing, job creation and decent wages. In fact, concern for the conditions that cause poverty is fueled by the church's insistence on the sacredness of life at all stages, including ''the least of our sisters and brothers''.

Endorsed by Pope John Paul II, a fact not included in your article, CHD is, in turn, endorsed by our own Cardinal William H. Keeler, by Cardinal John O'Connor of New York and by Cardinal Roger M. Mahoney, chairman of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

For 26 years, all the American Catholic bishops have worked to alleviate poverty with CHD grants. Surely, few activities are more pro-life than ensuring the dignity of the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society.

William F. Burke

Baltimore

The writer is monsignor and archdiocesan director of the Campaign for Human Development for the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Community college teaching is full-time

The spiral of tax cuts and spending cuts in the economy is necessitating reductions in public education, yet Sen. Michael J. Collins' assessment of the situation in the Community Colleges of Baltimore County is that the professors are to blame.

''How can senior full-time professors expect any sympathy from taxpayers, people who might work two jobs, when they work 28 weeks out of the year, 15 hours a week. . .?'' he is quoted in The Sun (Dec. 6).

On the surface, the senator appears to be concerned that the professors are under-worked. By this logic, Baltimore Symphony musicians who are in concert fewer than ten hours a week, attorneys who handle cases in court maybe six or seven hours a week, and state senators who get to cast their vote only a few minutes per week, are hard-core loafers.

Beneath the surface, however, this particular senator, who has been a major force in the nomination of many trustees in the present CCBC board, should know better.

Teaching five courses per semester in the community colleges (as compared to two-to-four in state colleges and universities) is more than a regular, full-time job.

While a community college professor is not expected to do basic research, she is nevertheless obliged to keep up with her discipline, to plan new courses, revise old ones, read student essays, meet with them outside the classroom and generally attempt to deliver to the sons and daughters of people ''who might work two jobs''-- and still can't afford the pricier, better funded colleges -- a reasonable facsimile of higher education.

To Senator Collins, however, these efforts are a luxury; and so he supports a board that announces its intent to squeeze more teaching credits out of fewer full-time professors at reduced pay, while bloating the payroll with additional administrators whose starting salaries are three to six times those of full-time teaching faculty recruits.

In so doing, the senator is revealing not care but contempt for the hard-working taxpayers whose children seek educational advancement in the community college system.

Gretchen Willging

Essex

The writer is associate professor of mathematics at Essex Community College.

Pub Date: 12/15/96

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