Sharing blame for the fiasco at Towson U. The...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 19, 2002

Sharing blame for the fiasco at Towson U.

The finger-pointing regarding ex-president Mark Perkins and the debacle at Towson University have shown us there is enough blame to go around:

To the Board of Regents of the university system, for embracing Mr. Perkins less than a month ago, then decapitating him without full investigation or calm consideration of whether the punishment fit the crime.

To Mr. Perkins, for projecting high-profile extravagance in a year of budget squeeze and for alienating people by projecting the image of a snake-oil salesman.

To the university's physical plant staff, for failing to detect the defects in the Greenway house until it was too late or failing to inform Mr. Perkins of them or of the cost of needed repairs.

To the university's fiscal staff, for "finding" an available half-million dollars for repairs in the operating budget, while telling the faculty there was no money to hire needed additional instructors.

To The Sun's editors, for not realizing Towson University has long since outgrown the academic pigeonhole into which they (or their predecessors) had consigned it.

Edwin Hirschmann

Baltimore

The writer teaches history at Towson University.

Spending sustains misplaced priorities

I'm willing to give Mark Perkins the benefit of the doubt, and accept that he believed an expensive mansion with a $25,000 home theater and $70,000 elevator would help make Towson University one of our best universities.

But I certainly question his judgment and that of the others involved in this fiasco. The state university system faces budget cuts and tuition increases. For those in charge to authorize expenditures such as $30,000 for Persian rugs is irresponsible at best.

Of course, Mr. Perkins didn't operate in a vacuum: The regents approved the purchase of a house that was then given an expensive renovation.

And it bothers me that many in our society place such a high value on appearance. The rationale for buying a presidential palace many miles away from campus was that it would "provide Towson with a stately setting in which it could entertain state leaders and potential donors" ("Towson U. president steps down," April 9). Are state leaders so easily impressed by grandeur?

Leight Johnson

Baltimore

Van Susteren did it for herself

Having known Greta Van Susteren now for almost 25 years, and as her husband, I can assure you that her surgery was done by her own choice, for herself and only because she wanted to do it ("In feminists' wake, a new revolution," Opinion Commentary, April 11).

Ms. Van Susteren became one of the most successful women in America because she has never spent a minute "hyperventilating" over where she fits in someone's perceived feminist agenda.

She was a success prior to her surgery, not as a result of it. And I have never seen her worry about the politics of feminism, only what she can do to make herself a better lawyer and better broadcaster.

John Coale

Washington

Relief group belongs in heart of the city

I was shocked and dismayed when I read that Catholic Relief Services plans to desert its location in the city of Baltimore and contribute to urban sprawl in a county location ("Agency aims to depart the city," April 10).

This is so hypocritical of this organization whose purpose is to support worldwide community development.

Jon Ward

Baltimore

Other Jewish schools respect diversity, too

As the parent of two graduates of the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community High School, I take strong exception to The Sun's recent characterization of the proposed Shoshana S. Cardin High School as the "first of its kind" in greater Baltimore to "allow students from the different traditions to intermingle and learn to respect the diversity in their religion" ("New Jewish high school for Baltimore County," April 3).

The late Rabbi Dr. Samuel Rosenblatt founded the Beth Tfiloh School on the principle that all Jews, regardless of affiliation or level of religious observance, are part of the community of Israel.

Those who followed him have ably carried on that lovely tradition.

One need only look at the school's current student body, drawn from all branches of Judaism, examine what these students are taught and, most important, look at the beautiful, respectful way in which that instruction is imparted to see that Baltimore already has a school that is preparing leaders for the entire spectrum of the Baltimore Jewish community.

Louis A. Baer

Pikesville

Moral authority of church diminished

The past few weeks have left me angry, frustrated and embarrassed. There has been no end to the scandals occurring in the Catholic Church.

The cover-ups, secrecy and payoffs are very troubling. How the hierarchy could continue to do this is beyond me.

The moral authority of the church has been diminished. This will continue until the hierarchy cleans house and institutes policies that eliminate this problem. Those in authority who rotated problem priests and covered up the problems should resign. The secrecy has to end.

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