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Letters the the Editor: FIRE, Counseling, Ayers

FIRE proud of Millersville

I’m writing from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a non-partisan organization based in Philadelphia that is committed to the protection of free speech in the college community. You may learn more about our organization by visiting our website at www.thefire.org.

We noted with interest the controversy over Millersville’s decision to invite William Ayers to speak on campus, and are pleased that thus far the Millersville administration has stood by its decision.

As you’re surely aware, Dr. Ayers has on numerous occasions been a controversial choice of speaker, and FIRE has noted the measures some universities have gone on to prevent him from sharing his views with the campus community.

International Education Week

Back in the fall, for example, we wrote on our blog, The Torch, about the decision of the University of Nebraska to disinvite Ayers from speaking at a conference in the face of public complaints from members of the university and political communities.

FIRE believes that the “heckler’s veto,” as wielded here, poses a significant threat to open and honest dialogue on campus, and we are pleased to see that Millersville has demonstrated an understanding of this as well.

Peter Bonilla
Program Associate, Finance
and Operations Foundations
for the Individual Rights in
Education (FIRE)

You are not alone

I just finished reading Richard’s article, “Freshman to senior: notes from an alcoholic.” From one alcoholic to another, I applaud your candor and courage, Richard. Keep coming back!

Richard’s story starts like many that I hear each semester. Phrases like “being on my own….”and “…the best time of my life” describe a meaningful and magical part of the journey into adulthood for many students.

Freedom, coupled with using alcohol while socializing, having fun and letting loose, with very few negative consequences, is the experience of over 40 percent of MU students.

Another 40 percent follow the course of “being crazy,” getting drunk every weekend and making mistakes with long term consequences.  These consequences are usually blamed on bad luck and other people and therefore avoid our parents’ sage advice about making mistakes: “its ok- so long as you learn from it.”

Most folks from the latter group of problem drinkers finally realize that their relationship with alcohol and other drugs is causing more trouble than it’s worth and find their balance or stop completely.

After all, contrary to popular belief, there is more to our lives than getting drunk as a way to avoid stress, have fun, socialize with others and deal with our problems.

About eight percent of our students share Richard’s plight. To arrive at an important benchmark like graduation to find yourself addicted to the very substance that a few short years ago was so wonderful, is a terrifying experience indeed.

Only those of us who have been there know the agony of using when it no longer makes sense: when we have made promises to ourselves for the thousandth time that we won’t drink only to start again, when we grow tired of saying that today’s the day we stop but the intensity of the craving and thoughts of using are overwhelming and drive us to submission, when we sweat, shake and, in late stage addiction, hallucinate or have seizures when we don’t drink.

Only those of use who have been there know how it feels to find it impossible to avoid the drug that can make us feel OK again. If it’s like this today, how will it be when we’re 25, 35, 50 or 60 year old?

I have known a lot of wonderful people who have experienced and recovered from addiction.  I’m one of them. Addiction is a highly treatable disease.  The sooner we seek help, the sooner we can claim our lives back.  If you need help, ask.

Call the Counseling Center or another alcohol and other drug treatment provider. Attend Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

John Baltzer
MU AOD Counselor

McVeigh/ Ayers/ Bin Laden

Bill Ayers bombed the Pentagon, the U.S. Capital, and other Federal buildings, meaning to bring an end to the USA as we know it. The FBI tagged him as a domestic terrorist.

He is not allowed to enter Canada. Other Universities have canceled his on-campus lectures, understanding the consequences. I see no difference between him, Bin Laden, and Timothy McVeigh. He was a fugitive from the FBI for 10 years, avoided a life sentence on a technicality, and walked away a free man.

He is so far left that even President Obama has distanced himself from him. He is not an activist; he is a terrorist.

Yet he is welcome with open arms to the campus of Millersville University, a State Institution, funded partly by our taxes, to lecture and spend a day with the students.

He will be paid a nice fee, be wined and dined by some liberal professors who are “pleased to have him join them,”  called a genius and then head back to  Chicago laughing all the way. Ayers has the right to his opinions and the right to voice them in whatever venue is liberal enough to let him do so. That is not what is being questioned by the many who are upset at his lecturing at MU.

He has the right to freedom of speech, but not the right to bomb the Pentagon and the US Capital, attempting to cause harm and death.

He is a terrorist and a criminal who said himself he wished he would have inflicted more damage and would have done more to disrupt our government.

How can this person be invited to speak on campus? The administration should be ashamed.

Scott Francis
MU ’73