Letters to the editor on college costs, privacy, mass shootings, vulgar website, grateful for givers

06/12/2013 12:00 AM

06/11/2013 5:19 PM

University costs raise questions

For years, despite level and increased state funding, Kansas colleges raised tuition well above inflation with little scrutiny. This year, the Legislature examined the numbers and asked questions with hopes of having an open conversation about higher-education spending, tuition and student outcomes.

A 1.5 percent reduction in state support is hardly a “slash,” but that’s the narrative. Now compare 1.5 percent with requests for up to 8 percent in increased tuition (June 7 Eagle). The template never changes: Requests for more spending are “modest”; reduced spending is “draconian,” regardless of amounts.

We didn’t set out to reduce funding. We had questions.

Why so many unfilled full-time positions perpetually placed on the books with money diverted? Factoring inflation, why does tuition go up without correlation to past increases in state funding? When defaulted on, students’ government-backed loans are paid by taxpayers, so shouldn’t improved graduation and employment rates be prioritized over higher salaries for the already highly paid?

Indiana colleges, among others, are addressing these concerns. Indiana University East, for example, increased student numbers and graduation rates while decreasing cost per student significantly. When the endgame is on student outcomes, collaborative conversations can take place and real-world results can be achieved.

Rep. MARC C. RHOADES

District 72

Newton

What’s the fuss?

There has been a lot of fuss lately regarding government invasion of privacy via phone records and online data collection – fuss from those who didn’t care when the George W. Bush administration flung that door wide open. I don’t understand the fuss.

I want data mining to keep me safe and prevent any harm, foreign or domestic, from destroying my life, liberty and happiness. Freedom is knowing I am safe from genuine end-of-my-world threats like terrorists. If data mining or drone spying allows me the comfort of enjoying my life, then so be it, and those are taxes well-spent.

This sort of thinking is not an acquiescence to some Orwellian takeover of my privacy agenda. My privacy is how I perceive it. I don’t care if government agencies (or even my neighbors) know the mundane routines of my life. I am not a threat, so I do not care if government technology happens upon me. Such attention has in no way disrupted my quality of life.

Here’s the thing: There is no freedom without law and order. Get over your notions of being very special. Your extraordinary free life is very ordinary to those looking for people who would do you harm. For those intent on doing harm, I trust my Big Brother will keep me safe.

AMY E. GODSEY

Wichita

Numb to shootings?

There was an assault-weapon shooting Friday at Santa Monica, Calif. Five people were killed and several others were wounded before the shooter was killed by police. This happened over 20 minutes of time. Some were killed on streets, some on a college campus.

The outcry was much smaller than assault shootings of the past. Are we numbing out or becoming indifferent? Why are assault weapons on the streets?

JERRY HANEY

Wichita

Vulgar website

I was very disappointed and somewhat offended by the front-page article “What’s not to like? Facebook page celebrates Kansas” (June 8 Eagle). The article told readers about a Facebook page that promoted Kansas, but didn’t provide the name, only a link.

When I visited the link, I was mortified to discover the name of the page included the F-word. This was a shock, to say the least.

I am surprised that The Eagle would think it was a good decision to promote a website that chose to use vulgarity. I found this to be distasteful, inappropriate and, quite frankly, unprofessional.

Perhaps in the future The Eagle might want to consider the content and the title of websites it chooses to direct its readers to, especially when claiming they send a positive message that promotes what is good about our state. Personally, I find nothing “good” or “positive” about a site that chooses to identify itself with vulgarity.

WILLIAM STOUT

Wichita

Grateful for givers

There are competent folks who never volunteer for jobs that need to be done, whether to help with the storm cleanup in Oklahoma or the storms of life. They readily agree that what is proposed is good, but they always end by saying, “Of course, I can’t do it.”

There are many opportunities for participation, but there are people who can and won’t, who should and don’t, and who take from life and never give.

Thank God for men and women who see what needs to be done and are willing to do it, who give and ask for nothing in return. How grateful we should be for these public-spirited citizens who labor so that the world and their own community might be a better place to live.

We have been greatly impressed by men and women who give their time, effort and means so that ours might be a finer community. We are indebted to those who spend hours on the things that make for better living.

We salute them. May their tribe increase.

LARNARD SMITH

Wichita

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