Letters To The Editor


May 03, 2004

Coppin finally gets the support school deserves

We appreciate The Sun's editorial about Coppin State University ("To be a university," April 27).

This institution has a very long and illustrious history, one that has not been adequately shared with the state of Maryland. And during my first year as president, it was extremely difficult to comprehend why this institution did not receive adequate financial support from the state. However, we are receiving support now from Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. Kirwan, the Board of Regents and a great legislature.

This is no time to complain or make excuses; however, the record must be clear. We did not receive the level of support we needed for years, and this has had a tremendous impact on our campus.

However, in one year, we have substantially increased our grant funding, highlighted by a $650,000 support grant from the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We were one of three historically black institutions to receive this funding.

We have also received a commitment of $160 million for new capital funding over the next five years in addition to new operating support and technical support from the state. We are aggressively pursuing federal support with help from Rep. Elijah E. Cummings and others.

We have moved to university status, which we deserve, and this honor is long overdue. And as a moderate-sized institution, it is exciting to see the faces of our students, because they feel appreciated.

We have students going to the Johns Hopkins University and to the University of Chicago who are pursuing doctorate degrees. Coppin is the gateway to higher education for many students coming from Baltimore and Maryland.

We admit that, and we love the city. And our alumni have made significant contributions to the city.

We are excited about our future, but we respect our humbled past.

But have no doubt about it: Coppin is a university, and we are proud of it.

Dr. Stanley F. Battle


The writer is president of Coppin State University.

U.S. government now freedom's foe

My heart ached when I read "U.S. detention tests scope of antiterror law" (April 29). Since Sept. 11, 2001, we have been bombarded with messages that we are in a war against terrorism to protect our way of life.

This "war," we are told, is being waged to make the world and the United States safe for democracy.

How sad, then, that it is the U.S. government, not the terrorists, which now threatens our way of life.

What happens to the rights and privileges of U.S. citizens if we can be arrested and detained for two years (or more, as some of these detentions continue) without being charged with a crime, and without benefit of counsel for much of that time?

The truth is that if we fight terrorists by ignoring the rights of our citizens, we can stop fighting because the war is over. The terrorists won.

Barbara Payne Shelton


Are Bush, Cheney above the law?

I find it appalling that the president and vice president insisted on and were allowed to give their testimony to the 9/11 commission not only in secret but also not under oath ("`Very cordial' session for Bush and 9/11 panel," April 30).

When did the people who hold these two offices rise above the law that applies to everyone else in this country?

Nancy Spies


City taxes contribute to high quality of life

I am tired of city residents complaining about the high cost of living in Baltimore, especially when the issue of taxes is raised ("Tax hikes will drive people out of the city," letters, April 27).

I, for one, enjoy the quality of life in Baltimore. My family enjoys a five-minute commute to work, no traffic congestion, kids who can walk home from school, shopping nearby, a public library in the neighborhood, a police station within a mile and a fire house around the corner.

Furthermore, my trash is picked up twice a week from my back door and recycled materials are collected twice a month. Our streets are clean and in reasonable repair.

The schools nearby are the same ones many county residents send their kids to, but they drive to get there while we walk.

Why wouldn't anyone agree to pay his or her fair share for a lifestyle like this one?

Maybe those who complain should stop long enough to look at the bounty that Baltimore offers.

George N. Thomas


If teachers received bonuses of coaches

Based on The Sun's reporting of the University of Maryland coaches' pay ("Williams, Friedgen pay on record," April 28), I now see a sure-fire way to get all the teachers we need: Structure teachers' salaries just like coaches' salaries at College Park.

I am in my 38th year of teaching high school mathematics and computer science. In Baltimore County, my base salary is $67,209.

If I could negotiate the same salary structure that Terrapins football coach Ralph Friedgen has, my base pay might be increased as follows:

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