Saturday Mailbox

SATURDAY MAILBOX

March 11, 2006

Community colleges also boost economy

Gregory Karp's article "To slash tuition, start at community college" (March 5) no doubt gave many parents concerned about the rising costs of college education a welcome sigh of relief to see that there really is a solution.

Indeed, for nearly 100 years, community colleges have served as an invaluable resource to help students obtain a quality college education at an affordable cost.

But while I am pleased to see community colleges garner such positive recognition for the value they provide, I'd like to point out that community colleges play a valuable role that goes far beyond financial savings.

Community colleges are also the backbone of local workforce development.

Whether they are enabling recent high school graduates to pursue a bachelor's degree, helping stay-at-home moms update job skills to re-enter the workplace or providing working professionals with credentials to advance or switch careers, community colleges help fuel the local economy.

And thanks to county and state support, community colleges are able to do all this and more while keeping costs within reach for the students of all ages, backgrounds and interests who come to us annually - 70,000 of them in the case of the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC).

Sandra Kurtinitis

Dundalk

The writer is chancellor of the CCBC.

Academy abandons the warrior ethos

I read with some amusement the comments of Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, who publicly attacked me over my role defending my client in the ongoing "sexual harassment" woes at the United States Naval Academy ("Defense uses political tack in sex cases," March 2).

Ms. Mikulski said of me, "His time would be better spent defending his client rather than demonizing me, and if he confuses the two, he should have a refresher course."

It appears that Ms. Mikulski is the one who is befuddled.

I have never "demonized" her or made any effort to do so. The fact is that she is irrelevant to the discussion, but for her public comments dressing down the Naval Academy superintendent, Vice Adm. Rodney P. Rempt, at the Naval Academy Board of Visitors' meeting last September.

However, Navy leadership is running scared and looking for scapegoats as a result of the feminist criticisms of the military service academies.

I was one of the leaders of the "Tailhook defenders" - defense attorneys for the military personnel whose due process rights were trampled in that case and rose to show that the Tailhook "investigation" was a farce and that the unsuccessful prosecutions merely a Navy effort to relieve the overwhelming political pressure Ms. Mikulski and the Senate Armed Services Committee were imposing on Navy leadership.

Then, as now, rather than adhering to bedrock constitutional values of due process, presumption of innocence and the crucible of an adversarial system, Navy leadership was cowed by fear of feminist backlash and exposure of the failure of a "gender-normed" military experiment, which seeks to block the natural instincts of 18- to 21-year-old males and females to engage in sex.

A comprehensive evaluation of adjudications of discipline cases for midshipmen by gender and by offense would demonstrate the alarming trend in which females are treated differently at the Naval Academy - meaning more leniently than men for the same or similar conduct violations, particularly when there is a sexual component.

Routinely, men are referred to as "sexual predators" while females are excused for their own knowing and intentional conduct.

There are thousands of concerned alumni who see that the Naval Academy has departed from its core mission - the development of future Navy and Marine Corps combat leaders and warriors - and become something akin to a "finishing school," where etiquette and concern for others are more important than mission accomplishment, discipline, leadership and development of the warrior ethos.

Until this changes, those of us who are true to the institution and its mission will continue to demand courageous, effective leadership, due process - even for males - and the elimination of the corrosive effect of the current political-correctness-poisoned atmosphere that has settled over "the Yard."

Charles W. Gittins

Middletown, Va.

The writer is the attorney for a Naval Academy professor who is accused of making sexually explicit remarks to midshipmen.

Appalled by attack on city prosecutor

As a 14-year veteran of the Baltimore state's attorney's office and a supervisor in its Firearms Investigation Violence Enforcement (FIVE) unit, I am alarmed about the level of ignorance displayed by City Council member James B. Kraft and Council Vice President Stephanie C. Rawlings Blake ("War of words over crime," March 9).

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