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Everybody's Column

SUNY students support differential tuition plan

A recent Another Voice column critical of proposed SUNY reforms cites the best interests of students as its rallying cry, however, its basis for doing so is unfounded. The column, submitted on behalf of the University at Buffalo's professors' union, skews the facts it presents and sidesteps the ones too difficult to contort in an attempt to use SUNY students for its organization's gain.

It states that rational and differential tuition will make a SUNY education unobtainable for all students. In reality, the plan includes major funding allocations to bolster state aid to ensure just the opposite; planned increases will replace the haphazard tuition hikes that currently blindside families and stymie planned growth, and more students in need will get a chance to attend college.

The piece also claims these changes would hinder SUNY's ability to operate as an integrated system. Do 64 carbon-copy schools make the most sense for a student base as diverse and talented as that of our state? These are unique campus environments, not chain stores -- the breadth of offerings facilitated by increased-yet-still-affordable tuition at schools with specific, honed specialty programs makes for a greater overall benefit.

United University Professions sees these reforms as a power shift to university presidents. But since its real cause -- self preservation -- garners no sympathy, it campaigns under the banner of the students. SUNY students helped shape this legislation, have voiced methodical, informed, unequivocal support for it, and would appreciate it greatly if others would stop misspeaking on their behalf.

Robert Pape

Former student representative on the UB Council, Buffalo


People who kill others lack internal moral code

The recent tragic killing of a Lafayette High School freshman released on suspension was not a result of him being suspended from school. More so, it was a direct result of his shooter not having an internal moral code to tell him that killing is wrong. Maybe he never learned it from anyone; it's hard to say for sure.

Certainly our schools can help, policy changes can help, the rainbow dream of getting guns off the street can help; but much of who we become as adults depends upon the parenting we received as children -- good or bad. Whenever I read about yet another sad teen murder, I think to myself, "I wonder if that shooter was loved much as a child?" Our greatest preventive remedy for this plague of violent streets just may be to simply love the children more. Couldn't hurt.

Joseph Ciarlo

East Aurora


Social Security offices must hire more workers

I tried to be a good Samaritan last week and offered to call the Social Security office for a relative. It started out OK, but when I reached the office, I was informed that I needed to call the Medicare office. I called the Medicare office and was told that I was given inaccurate information and that I needed to call back the Social Security office and that I should ask for a supervisor.

That's when everything stopped. "If its flu season, please do your business online." How long is flu season? "If you know your party's extension, please push 1." That would be heaven, to know someone's extension. And finally, "all our lines are busy, call back later." So I tried doing business online; regrettably this didn't work. After six hours, I did get through on the phone and was able to conduct business, but what seemed like a simple little thing turned into an all-day chore.

With the advent of the baby boomers retiring, days will become weeks unless a better system is developed. Please don't assume that more retirees will be computer savvy and please don't install "I think you said" automation -- hire more humans. I realize that money is tight but money is always found for priorities -- make the seniors a priority. They've earned the thanks of society and deserve better services in their golden years.

Jay B. Duderwick



Palestinians' 'country' has not been reduced

A recent writer declared the Palestinians' "country" has been "reduced to one-fifth its original size." Not so!

According to Mideast scholar Bernard Lewis, the term Palestine was coined in 135 by the conquering Romans to obliterate "its historic Jewish identity." Lewis continues, "From the end of the Jewish state in antiquity to the beginning of British rule, the area now designated by the name Palestine was not a country and had no frontiers, only administrative boundaries."

The Ottomans controlled the area from 1537 to 1917. The British controlled the area from 1917 until 1948. The British Mandate was established in 1922 and 80 percent of the mandate was severed in 1923 and Jordan was established. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 referenced a Jewish State but it was not then created.

Following the further truncation of the remaining 20 percent in 1948, the State of Israel was created. War ensued and I think we are familiar with history from 1948 forward.

Sandra W. Myers



New Yorkers must take back their government

I have often wondered if there's any way that someone can bring a federal suit against the state of New York for denying us, the people, our constitutional right to a true representative government. I don't know which right it might be drawn from, but if people can find a right to abortion in our U.S. constitutional right to privacy, there must be some way to take back our state government. It has gone from the ridiculous three men in a room to an absurd one man in Manhattan, Sheldon Silver. There is no way that our founding fathers would want that much power in the hands of one man.

If there were some way to take control of the delegates away from the professional politicians, a constitutional convention more often than once a generation might also help. Maybe the most we could hope for is a revision of the State Constitution allowing initiative and referendum. I know all of the arguments against both, but can it get much worse for upstate? The United States is becoming Europe, and New York its Greece. Any constitutional scholars out there?

Dominic J. Verso



Obama shouldn't be taking days off either

"BP's head blasted for taking leisure trip; took a day off to watch his sailboat compete," said a June 20 article in The News. This "further infuriated residents of the oil-stained Gulf Coast."

Well, how do you think the rest of us feel when America's head, President Obama, goes to play golf, vacation, concerts, shopping trips, date nights, campaign speeches and baseball games when he has two wars, 10 percent unemployment, a massive deficit and the oil mess to contend with?

Tom Wagner


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