Letters To The Editor


November 07, 2006

Universities remain privileged enclaves

I hope that the response to the disgusting fraternity party at Johns Hopkins will go beyond the all-too-easy condemnation of the perpetrators ("Hopkins battles deja vu on race," Nov. 5).

Johns Hopkins attracts an affluent and thus largely suburban student body.

In its competition to attract the best of the best, it has made impressive strides in transforming its corner of Charles Village into a comfortable and attractive oasis for students of affluent backgrounds.

Can we really be surprised when a coarse element of the student body takes a pejorative and dismissive attitude toward the poorer and largely African-American community that surrounds the campus?

Many of America's top universities are waking up to the tremendous sense of social entitlement that defines undergraduate life on their campuses.

For all of the positive steps universities have taken, they have hardly made a dent in the social elitism that surrounds highly selective colleges and universities.

So much more needs to be done to make our universities truly inclusive.

Mark Neustadt


The writer is an alumnus of the Johns Hopkins University.

Many students show scant regard for city

With all due respect, I find it amazing that The Sun spilled so much ink on a party which is essentially an issue between Johns Hopkins students and the school administration ("Hopkins battles deja vu on race," Nov. 5, and "Hopkins targets campus racism," Nov. 3).

The bigger issue affecting the citizens of Baltimore is that Hopkins students of all colors, creeds and genders seem to have such little regard for the city and the folks who live in its neighborhoods.

As a resident of Charles Village, I've experienced Hopkins students running wild in my neighborhood - urinating and even defecating in the alleys, leaving empty bottles strewn about the streets, screaming at the top of their lungs at all hours of the pre-dawn morning (weekends and weekdays).

The frat houses in the neighborhood are a huge problem.

I'm not sure why the city allows the buildings to be used for this purpose.

It seems to me that keeping citizens in the neighborhood from becoming part of the continuing exodus to the surrounding counties would be a priority for the city. Yet from what I've been told by neighbors who've been fighting this battle for a long time, the city seems uninterested in the problem.

And Johns Hopkins certainly doesn't seem to care.

After enduring all that, I found it galling to see story after story about one fraternity's stupid idea to have what may or may not have been a racially insensitive party.

Greg Houston


On a slippery slope to trilingualism?

With so many Chinese immigrants arriving in Maryland and elsewhere in the United States ("Lands of Opportunity," Nov. 5), will Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport start giving translations of all announcements in Chinese as well as Spanish?

Will local ATMs provide Chinese as well as Spanish instructions?

Will directions for cameras and cell phones come in Chinese as well as Spanish and English?

Goodness, we just might become a trilingual country.

That would be even more fun than the bilingual country we are now becoming.

Nancy Spies


Good news gets buried by bias

If anyone ever wanted to see a textbook example of media bias, all he or she needs to do is look at Saturday's Sun.

The good economic news of a declining unemployment rate is buried on page 12C ("Jobless rate falls to 4.4%," Nov. 4) while the front page contained analysis articles (not hard news) about the election ("Emphasis on turnout," Nov. 4) and a puff-piece about a movie that should have been in the Today section ("The kisses might have been a clue," Nov. 4).

The falling unemployment rate wasn't even mentioned in the Sun Digest on page 2A.

If the unemployment rate had gone up, would that news have gotten the same treatment?

That's not very likely.

Brian Barr


New Medicare rules will restrict mobility

In the coming weeks, a new and damaging Medicare policy will go into effect. Although it has so far gone largely unnoticed in the press, Medicare will sharply reduce reimbursements for power mobility devices effective Nov. 15.

This change will impede the mobility and independence of individuals with disabilities in our community.

Many people with multiple sclerosis, spinal injuries and cerebral palsy, along with many paralyzed veterans, rely on motorized wheelchairs, scooters and other devices to fully participate in their communities.

Activities that individuals without mobility challenges take for granted, such as going to work, running errands or simply leaving our homes, are not possible for those with disabilities without the assistance provided by these mobility tools.

Medicare's new coverage plan is more than just a simple policy change; it creates an arbitrary barrier to freedom of movement for individuals across our nation.

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