Letters To The Editor


October 16, 2002

USM task force will review all tuition policies

On Oct. 11, I appointed a task force to study the tuition and fee structure and policies of the University System of Maryland.

Our policies have been in place for almost 10 years, and higher education has changed considerably during this time. The task force's charge is to conduct a thorough review and, based on its findings, make recommendations to the system's Board of Regents.

Interestingly, and most unfortunately, The Sun's article "Overhaul of tuition is planned for university system" (Oct. 10) states that "sharp tuition increases" are a foregone conclusion and that I appointed the task force with such increases in mind.

I can assure Sun readers, as I assured the author of the article, that, with one exception, I have no preconceived ideas about the task force's work or whether our policies need an "overhaul."

The one exception is my firm belief that public institutions, the state and the federal government must do more to provide need-based financial aid to students. Higher education is the ladder of opportunity in our society; it must not be denied to economically less fortunate, but fully prepared, students.

I hope The Sun will join me in awaiting the task force's report rather than writing it.

William E. Kirwan


The writer is chancellor of the University System of Maryland.

Ballistic database could stop snipers

A national ballistic fingerprint database would allow police to catch this mad sniper who is killing innocent people in Maryland, Washington and Virginia ("This is why we need ballistics registry," Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 11).

Every car in this country is registered, why can't guns also be registered? No one suggests registration of cars will allow the government to take people's cars; the fears of gun confiscation are equally unfounded.

It's time for sensible gun laws to make all of us safer.

Roger Fitzgerald


We'll need U.N. help to rebuild Iraq

That the U.S. military will "make the cinders dance" in winning a lightning-quick victory in Iraq is a foregone conclusion. The question is: What happens after that?

The United States will be left with an open-ended, nation-building mission much larger than its effort in Afghanistan. This mission will require a massive international effort, almost certainly with the help of many members of the United Nations.

But if the United States attacks Iraq without waiting for U.N. approval, how can we expect the international community to help us rebuild Iraq?

We need the United Nations when we go into Iraq, because we'll need it on our way out.

Dave Valente


The time to strike Iraq has arrived

Al Gore, Sen. Edward Kennedy and others are arguing against war with Iraq on the grounds that it would detract from the war on terror.

I urge anyone who thinks this way to consider the following historical analogy.

As everybody knows, the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, convinced even the most diehard isolationists that America must go to war against Japan.

But suppose Adolf Hitler, in his unparalleled evil, had the wisdom not to declare war against America days later. Many Americans could have argued that joining the struggle in Europe would detract from the war against Japan.

The United States might have heeded their advice and single-mindedly fought the Japanese -- until the terror in Europe overtook us from behind.

America, wake up. The time to strike is now.

Martin J. Gidron


Vaccination unlikely to make us secure

We in the United States are being prepared to receive smallpox vaccinations ("Vaccinate everyone, health officials urge," Oct. 5). Yet nobody in the press or government seems to be asking why such a course is necessary.

Do any other countries need to take similar precautions? And if someone is threatening us, and not them, with smallpox, shouldn't we be asking why? Are we doing something right and they something wrong -- or vice versa?

And what happens after we are vaccinated? Will we then be able to live in peace and tranquillity, or will we suddenly be told we need vaccinations for some other scourge?

Herman M. Heyn


Ehrlich must stand on his scary record

How long will we have to listen to Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. complain about Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend bringing up his record?

If talking about what Mr. Ehrlich has done is a scare tactic, isn't it his fault that his record is so scary?

Paul O'Brien


Townsend profile was well-written

Many thanks to The Sun for Linell Smith's excellently crafted profile of Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend ("Duty to Serve," Oct. 3).

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