Sunday, June 29, 2003

Readers' Views

UC law students want improvement


When I accepted an offer to attend UC Law School starting in the fall of 2001, one of my primary reasons for doing so was the value of a UC education. Tuition hovered right around $8,000 per year for the law school, a great value for a law school ranked in the top tier. Now, in the fall of 2003, my tuition is more than $11,000?

Common sense tells us that if we pay $3,000 more for something, we should get more. Right? Here is a brief list of what UC Law students have received for their additional $3,000 per year:

• Since the Class of 2004 began law school, one quarter of the full-time faculty has left, including the directors of the Corporate Law Center and the Institute for Law and Psychiatry. While those centers remain in name, they have stopped functioning; and due to the exodus of professors, our class selection has been severely limited.

• An assistant dean left to teach elementary school, causing our career planning center to essentially shut down during the preparation time for the peak recruiting season in the fall of 2002. As a result, nearly 35 percent fewer employers came on campus to interview UC Law School students than in past years.

• And the two crowning achievements of UC Law in the past two years - a drop in ranking as a first-tier school and a plummeting Bar pass rate.

While a debate can be had on the value and accuracy of the law school rankings, no one can deny that they greatly affect a law school's prestige and public image. A drop from Tier 1 to Tier 2 is something that should cause great concern. I personally believe it is irresponsible for the administration to turn the other cheek, citing the inaccuracies of the rankings, and writing off a two-year stint in Tier 2 as an aberration.

• Two years ago, UC Law had well over a 90 percent Ohio Bar pass rate, placing UC above all other schools in Ohio. Last year - the Ohio Bar pass rate plummeted to 81 percent. I do not have the answers on how to solve funding problems, but the administration should step up and take responsibility.

Tell us how you are going to keep these outrageous tuition hikes from happening again. Even if you can't tell us how, at least assure us that you are trying.

Brian Dursch, Mount Adams, UC Law Class of 2004


AK Steel should pay to clean up its messes

The Butler County commissioner's proposal to scrap E-check and give the money to AK Steel so it can clean up the mess it has made of our air and water is one of the most offensive things I've heard in a long time.

Why shouldn't AK Steel be forced to pay for actions that are endangering the lives of children who play in Dick's Creek and of the residents who live near the mill?

Corporations have a responsibility to be good neighbors, too.

Gabriel C. Jones, West Chester


Railroad warnings should be explored

Regarding the tragedy at a railroad crossing ("Warning lights flashed as car stalled on track" June 19), something must be done. A new warning system should be installed at every crossing, or better yet in the engine compartment of the train itself.

I believe Kevin Nadler did not try to beat a train. He was stalled on the track before the warning lights came on. Two minutes later, a tragedy occurred.

A better warning system has to be looked into and lives will be spared.

Larry Prall,Colerain Township


Government acts like overspending states

There was a lot of insight in the June 25 editorial "It's their own fault" about states spending way beyond their incomes. But shouldn't the exact same criticism be directed at the current federal government?

Ed Hoeffer, Deer Park


Custer can not be called 'heroic'

In the past quarter of a century, the United States has put forth admirable international efforts to confront genocide and incriminate those responsible for such atrocities committed against humanity. Yet we, as a nation, have done comparatively little in the way of acknowledging our own history of ethnic cleansing directed at the American Indian tribes who called this continent their home.

In the June 26 Ohio Bicentennial section, "Ohio Moments," Enquirer writer Rebecca Goodman described Gen. George Custer as "brash, bold and heroic" for his exploits as a U.S. military veteran. In that short biography, Goodman wrote about Custer's campaign to "Drive Indians out of the Dakota Black Hills." Such language would be fitting to describe the movement of livestock, but is not appropriate for human beings. Sadly, our American ideals of equality and opportunity will never be realized if we continue to describe the most offensive moments of our often-ethnocentric past as "heroic."

Peter Mosher, North College Hill


Don't let Bush rape our forests

Regarding Brian Fairrington's editorial cartoon of June 25, President Bush's Healthy Forests Initiative is another example of our tough, yet saintly, administration taking advantage of catastrophe for short-term, special-interest gain (see: terrorism, Iraq, Halliburton and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge).

Despite the spin that our brush-clearin' prez is keeping us safe from the inferno, his plan has pushed mightily in three main areas:

• Post-burn "salvage logging," where large charred trees are hauled out (with a generous subsidy), depleting the forest of nutrients and habitat, increasing erosion, and inviting scrub.

• Overturning President Clinton's overwhelmingly popular road-less rule (favorable public comments outnumbered unfavorable by 10 to 1), thus opening to logging pristine old-growth forests such as the Tongass in Alaska, which have never been mismanaged in the first place, except, perhaps, by eagles and bears. Reducing density in such forests is akin to reducing density on the moon to lower the odds of a green cheese fire.

• Opportunistic weirdness. Included in the Healthy Forests Initiative is a plan to thin Giant Sequoia National Monument, including ancient, fire-resistant trees up to 30 inches in diameter.

The common denominator here isn't reduced fire risk; it's large, profitable trees. In aggregate, our president is to healthy forests what Saddam Hussein was to civil rights. Effective, perhaps, but one wonders about his methods and long-term repercussions

John S. Hutton, Mount Adams


Cincinnati needs a riverboat casino

It is time to work on getting a gambling boat on the Cincinnati side of the Ohio River, now that the wind is out of the sails for legalizing video slot machines at the racetracks.

A gambling boat would not only satisfy the millions of dollars that was to be generated by the slot machines but also vitalize the economy. Kentucky has worked for and received many of the economic business opportunities. Getting a gambling boat in Cincinnati would be a long-term economic boon.

Rich Harmeyer, White Oak

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