President's house will help Towson U. raise needed funds...


March 22, 2002

President's house will help Towson U. raise needed funds

I read with interest The Sun's reporting on Towson University's new presidential house ("Towson U. finds costly path to proper mansion," March 7, and "College house draws anger," March 8). As executive director of Towson's Center for Applied Information Technology and a member of the presidential search committee that recruited Mark L. Perkins, I would like to state another side of the story.

As a university community, we feel our students deserve the very best. And for years Towson University - Maryland's second-largest public university, with an enrollment of nearly 17,000 - has had to function with proportionately less state funding than almost any other University System of Maryland institution.

Fund-raising has become increasingly important to bridge a widening gap between the needs of our students and the funding provided by the state. Although our efforts gained momentum during the late 1990s, our endowment remains inadequate for a university of our size.

Successful fund-raising requires the university to make an investment that facilitates our efforts. And most institutions in the United States that are similar to Towson have a residence for their president that is suitable for entertaining high-profile prospective friends and donors.

It should also be noted that this is not the president's house. It is the university's house, and will belong to Towson University well past this particular presidency.

A handsome house in one of Baltimore's most charming and desirable neighborhoods is a wise investment for the university.

James P. Clements


Looking at The Sun's coverage of Towson University's president's house, I've had trouble understanding why this issue merited so much more attention than the many fine things the university does.

The public should also know that this campus is the second-largest university in the state and the second-lowest funded of the campuses in the state's university system. Fund-raising is mandatory for my campus to advance the quality of the education students receive.

So give us a break. Our new president has a huge job to do to raise dollars and the university's profile so we can move toward the next level of success.

Ben Whitacre


The writer is president of Towson University's Student Government Association.

Bill of Rights didn't seek to protect substance abuse

I read with dismay the letter "Cigarette tax hike puts unfair burden on state's smokers" (March 13). Perhaps the writer does not realize that smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. I fail to see how the Bill of Rights was meant to protect a horrible form of substance abuse that is a leading killer of men, women and children.

The writer might instead ponder a bill that makes tobacco an illegal substance.

Dr. David Solomon


Fiscal restraint, not taxes, is what the state needs

The writer of the letter "With services underfunded, a tax cut makes little sense," (March 9) actually thinks Marylanders should have their taxes raised, to cover a perceived lack of funding for critical programs, instead of getting a tiny tax cut.

I think the problem is not a lack of money, but a lack of leadership, fiscal self-control and spending restraint.

However, I am sure state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer will personally come by the writer's home to pick up any additional money he wants to donate to the state treasury.

Greg Muth


Death of a football star inspires little empathy

If store clerk Richard D. Kosinski had been shot and killed during an armed robbery at Modern Discount Liquors at the hands of Derrick L. Breedlove, would it have been front-page news in The Sun ("Football star shot holding up store," March 14)? I doubt it.

Unlike his attacker, Mr. Kosinski was not a rising football star with a scholarship awaiting him. He was simply a law-abiding citizen trying to provide for his family.

Yet Mr. Breedlove allegedly terrorized Mr. Kosinski's establishment not once but on three separate occasions in less than a month, and we're asked to empathize with his friends and family as to what might have been?

The moral to this story is: Actions have consequences.

Matt McElwee


Hiring outside choruses will be more costly to BSO

In the letter "Keeping chorus would be too costly" (Feb. 16), Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Board Chairman Calman Zamoiski stated that it could cost up to $500,000 to maintain the Baltimore Symphony Chorus. That is a red herring.

The current year's budget included approximately $150,000 in expenses to support the mostly volunteer chorus. This expenditure represents less than 0.6 percent of the BSO's $26 million budget.

Any truly great orchestra will perform choral works. When the BSO performs these works in the future, the expense of bringing in outside choruses will likely exceed the cost of continuing the Baltimore Symphony Chorus.

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