Letter to the Editor: Gun control advocates have flawed arguments

This letter is in response to “Country must address gun laws, anti-Semitism after synagogue shooting,” which appeared in the last edition of The Lamron. While gun control advocates have an undoubtedly noble purpose, their approaches are often flawed and based on faulty or outright manipulated statistics. 

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Letter to the Editor: Pro-life article reduces differences within movement

Editor’s Note: This letter was originally published in the Nov. 1 print edition of The Lamron. We apologize for the delay.

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Letter to the Editor: Student Association President urges campus to voice critiques constructively

Editor’s Note: This letter was originally published in the Nov. 1 print edition of The Lamron. We apologize for the delay.

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Letter to the Editor: Article on Second Chance Prom misconstrues event

Letter to the Editor:


My friends and I laughed until our stomachs hurt when we read “Branding of ‘Second Chance Prom’ takes away from event’s intended inclusivity” in the Oct. 18 issue of The Lamron. The author has clearly never attended a Pride Alliance meeting or else they would know just how ridiculous their article was. Everyone is of course entitled to their own opinion, but I believe that the author completely missed the point of Second Chance Prom. In fact, just a couple pages later, there is a wonderful article titled “Second Chance Prom celebrates inclusivity, LGBTQ+ community” which communicates the idea behind Second Chance Prom much more effectively. The name doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are celebrating identity. If the author had been to any Pride Alliance meeting leading up to Second Chance Prom, they would’ve known that the e-board actually said that everyone was invited. They specifically said that non-LGBTQ+ students, LGBTQ+ students and closeted individuals were all welcome. I highly doubt that the author even attended Second Chance Prom because if they had, they would’ve witnessed and participated in the beautiful atmosphere. Students danced, laughed and smiled constantly throughout the night. When Geneseo Late Knight announced that the event was over at 1 a.m., dozens of students were still there having fun. Who is anyone to say that students should go to “formals and date parties” instead of a GLK event? Who is anyone to speak for the entire LGBTQ+ community on campus? If anyone is that offended by the name of that event, maybe they should talk to the Pride Alliance e-board rather than write an article about how deeply offended they are about a name. In the end, it just seems silly to be upset by a catchy name when there are much bigger problems facing the LGBTQ+ community.


Hannah Fahy

English major junior with a certification in adolescent education 

Letter to the Editor: Former professor calls attention to wage disparity

Editor’s Note: This letter was originally published in the Oct. 18 print edition of The Lamron. We apologize for the delay.

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Letter to the Editor: Article unreasonably opposes Kavanaugh nomination

Editor’s Note: This letter was originally published in the Oct. 4 print edition of The Lamron. We apologize for the delay.

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Letter to The Editor

Geneseo is an exceptional college, but it lacks a reliable staff support system for LGBTQ-plus students. This is entirely unacceptable for a leading SUNY school that is considered a “public Ivy.” A cursory Google search of “Geneseo LGBTQ” reveals few resources for students. This highlights the core problem facing LGBTQ-plus students: the college officially offers essentially nothing. In all fairness, an LGBTQ-plus working committee was established in 2013 to advocate for students on a policy level for the college. This was an excellent step, however, it does nothing for students seeking LGBTQ-plus support systems.

Associate professor of English Alice Rutkowski has done incredible work for students entirely on a volunteer basis and firmly believes that Geneseo is invested in providing support and resources for LGBTQ-plus students.

“My experience on this committee has demonstrated that our campus is filled with generous, well-intentioned individuals who want to help LGBTQ-plus students in any way they can,” Rutkowski said. “The fact that our Diversity Statement has recently been revised to include gender expression and sexuality is also very heartening.”

While Rutkowski is proud of Geneseo’s commitment to addressing topics like sexuality and gender identity, she believes that the university could do more to improve.

“Our college does not have the same kind of institutional commitment to these issues that our peer institutions do,” she said. “Given the college’s longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, I hope that we would soon be able to officially dedicate new staff and resources to this important issue.”

The peer institutions that Rutkoswki referred to have an on-staff representative to respond to crises, plan events, advocate for the students and make the college a safer and more comfortable place for LGBTQ-plus students overall.

Not only do schools like Syracuse University have comprehensive support systems with staff, but they also have a resource center and “safe spaces” for LGBTQ-plus students seeking help. Geneseo has nothing of the sort––the only “safe space” here is in the form of weekly Pride Alliance meetings.

Even SUNY Oneonta, a college of comparable size to Geneseo, has both a resource center and a staff member dedicated to these concerns. I have often heard that conditions are just fine for LGBTQ-plus students at Geneseo, so nothing needs to be done. In light of recent alleged harrassment of a transgender student, however, this is clearly not the case.

One might argue this is an anomaly, but my brief tenure on campus says otherwise. As a Pride executive board member, students come to other students and me with intense personal issues, seeking support and guidance because they have nowhere else to go. It is entirely unacceptable that this burden is placed on Pride, a student organization, because the college has put no other safety net in place for these students.

Unlike other minorities, LGBTQ-plus people often have no one to look to for specific support; family members aren’t often LGBTQ-plus, let alone understanding or tolerant. This unique status is what demands institutional support systems that other colleges have recognized and established. Until Geneseo recognizes that it needs a staff member to protect and support its LGBTQ-plus students, the college will fail to adequately show support for them.

The LIVES Program reflects

April is Autism Awareness Month, which is an excellent time to think about one of the core values of this great college: diversity. Diversity is a word that means a lot to us as students in the LIVES Program at Geneseo.  LIVES stands for “Learning Independence, Vocational, and Educational Skills,” and it is a program based on diversity.

The LIVES Program is offered through the college in conjunction with outside agencies that support people with disabilities: The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming, Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Services Office. In the LIVES Program, students with all types of disabilities – autism, down syndrome and speech, intellectual and physical disabilities – learn, work and socialize with each other and with students who don’t have disabilities.

We are proud to be an active part of a thriving Geneseo student body. Like so many of our non-disabled peers, some of us started out as shy, nervous freshmen who feared being thought of as “different.” Those thoughts change with time and experience, however.

Over the course of our four years here, us LIVES students studied beside you, dined with you on Main Street, played and grew in integrated social settings and lent a helping hand through our internships at Milne Library, the mail room, Merritt workout center and the dining halls.

Next month, our seniors will walk across the stage like every other graduating student, decked out for commencement in full cap and gown. Our dads will beam with pride. Our moms will shed some tears. And after the pomp and circumstance, we’ll face the “real world” together, with excitement in our eyes and butterflies in our bellies.

Then we’ll go our separate ways. Some of us will hunt for jobs, and others will go on to further studies. But we’ll all look back at our time at Geneseo as some of the best years of our lives, with immense gratitude for the friends, faculty and staff members who gave us confidence to succeed.

Our internship supervisors come to mind: chef Bob Grant at Mary Jemison; Colleen Hopkins, Mary Fran Tiede and Patricia Hoffman at Milne; Cindy Wood at the mail room; Paul Simmons at the fitness center; and chef Deena Kingston at Red Jacket. Thank you for helping us to set goals, working closely with us and always believing in our abilities.

Other difference-makers for us include our graduate student assistant teachers, Molly Jones and Brittany Rauber; all of the professors who welcome us to audit their classes (there are too many to name); our teacher aides, Viki Kellogg and Jen Buchwald; and Elizabeth Hall and Tabitha Buggie-Hunt, who have guided the LIVES Program since it began more than five years ago.

Finally, we’d like to wish all the very best to the “traditional” students with whom we learn and laugh.  You help us a lot, and we’d like to think that you gain something valuable from our diversity. After all, we’re not your average Geneseo students.

But then again, is there even such thing as an “average Geneseo student?” The truth is, we are each extraordinary in our own special way.

Thanks for sharing this journey with us.

 

- The Students of Geneseo’s LIVES Program

Live Green Event focuses on increased sustainability

On Wednesday Feb. 20 Geneseo celebrated its fifth annual Live Green Event with an expo in the College Union Ballroom. There were several departments, student groups and environmental organizations that had displays and planned activities designed to generate increased awareness about sustainability.

Geneseo’s Environmental Impact and Sustainability Task Force is one of the more recent organizations on campus dedicated to environmentalism. Its primary goal is to promote a change in conservation practices at Geneseo as well as waste reduction and the college’s overall ecological footprint.

According to lecturer of sociology and political science Jo Kirk, Geneseo received the green stamp of approval by the Princeton Review for collaborative student efforts to “think green” and for the successful implementation of a number of initiatives on campus.

Among the event co-sponsors was the Geneseo Environmental Organization, which promoted education about composting. GEO also set up a taste test of five different types of water in order to demonstrate their belief that tap water does not have a poor taste and to encourage students to reduce plastic bottle waste by drinking from reusable ones.

EcoHouse presented a display about charity: water, an organization devoted to supplying clean water to women and children in developing nations.

Assistant Residence Director of EcoHouse senior Allison Hoppe spoke about sustainability and environmentalism on campus and said, “It has been something that’s been growing in involvement and popularity throughout the university. The President’s Sustainability Commission demonstrates that there is a commitment by the institution to uphold these standards of maintaining and incorporating environmentally conscious practices into the curriculum.”

Jamie Carestio represented Frack Free Genesee, which is committed to banning hydrofracking in New York, specifically in the eastern Finger Lakes region and the Genesee Valley.

“I think it is important for people to realize that even if you feel removed from this issue, this industry will affect everybody. Nobody is immune from this,” Carestio said.

Representatives from the Geneseo Farmers Market were also present, promoting their campaign to live green and eat local.

The Genesee Valley Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental organization in Geneseo, offered a Bluebell Walk at the Indian Fort Nature Preserve, in addition to several other events, to students. According to its mission statement, the conservancy aims to “protect the habitat, open space and farmland of the Genesee Valley region.”

Senior Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development mentor Maya Shah explained the newest addition to the GOLD certificate options. According to Shah, the jade certificate focuses on environmentalism and is centered on the importance of sustainability issues that affect students’ lives. Shah said the certificate is available for those who are interested in this subject but do not necessarily understand all of the science behind it.

New SUNY fund allocation fails to address actual issues, jeopardizes academic integrity

New SUNY allocation model slippery slope to privatization

I’ve read Maddy Smith’s news article, “SUNY releases enrollment-based Resource Allocation Model,” a few times now, and I am scared. I am frightened that a pattern and trajectory I began to notice when I reported on SUNY budgets in my tenure at Geneseo is more real and threatening than I let myself believe. Within the parameters set by the last half-decade of financial troubles and its “solutions,” is it still possible to envision SUNY as a public institution of truly “higher” education? 

I should start by saying that I see the logic and it seems fair that schools with more students should receive more funding. The analogy isn’t perfect, but if I heard that a public high school with 200 students was receiving the same exact public funding as a high school with 2,000 students, I’d be upset at the inequality between funding per student. 

There are many things that trouble me about this allocation model, though. Primarily, I am concerned by the sheer ratio between the number of schools that would see increased funding versus the number of schools that would see decreased funding from this pool of money. 

According to Smith’s article, 11 of the 13 comprehensive colleges, five of the eight technology colleges and one of the four university centers would see decreases in funding. That means that a majority of these schools would each see a loss in resources so that a minority would benefit. I know that actual enrollment figures should balance everything out, but remaining at the institutional level, this solution seems troubling. Why not allow the university centers to charge a rationally higher tuition? Students at Stony Brook, Buffalo, Binghamton and Albany may have to compete with more peers for access to resources, but the resources available at these research institutions are simply greater than the other SUNY schools; perhaps these students should pay a slightly higher tuition?

But to elaborate on what most troubles me: The context in which this allocation model has developed is unacceptable. SUNY students, past and present, should be complaining about this. I look at the aforementioned pattern, the path from the crisis of 2008 and the terrible cuts that followed, the program deactivations not only at Geneseo but at Albany and elsewhere as well, the consolidations of multiple campuses under single college presidents, and the recent reallocation of funding, and I see a trajectory toward the privatization of higher education. And that scares me beyond belief. 

State support cannot exist in a crippling, debilitating context in which public higher education should be forced to make these kinds of decisions. This is the projected loss of SUNY 2020: Since schools can raise their tuition to close budget gaps, the state doesn’t feel the same contractual obligation to fund them. And if resource allocation is 87 percent based on enrollment, then at a college like Geneseo where enrollment isn’t going to increase at a rate comparable to rising rational tuition, students will inevitably wind up paying more tuition while their school sees less resources from the state – based on SUNY’s own rules. 

If you want to kill a community but don’t want to dirty your own hands, sometimes it’s best to make conditions so unbearable that the community destroys itself.

- Jesse Goldberg, Class of 2012

Lack of birth control coverage creates new burdens for employees

There has been a great deal of talk about President Barack Obama’s new health care bill in the news recently, and I feel that the recent article by The Lamron columnists juniors Joe Flynn and Alex Dee provided some questionable information that lead to misguided opinions.

I feel that the biggest misstep of the article was that it accused the bill of preventing Catholic organizations from exercising their own moral beliefs. This is simply not true. Under this new legislation the government would not be requiring Catholic organizations to start endorsing birth control or even to physically purchase birth control for their employees. The only thing the Church would need to do is have an insurance plan for its employees that covers contraception.

In reality, this is not all that much to ask of an institution that isn’t even required to pay taxes in this country. Not all employees of Catholic institutions, such as nurses and teachers, follow the strict Catholic doctrine that contraceptives are sinful and it is not right that these employees should be denied affordable contraceptives simply because the institution itself doesn’t endorse them.

Also, the article failed to mention the alternate uses of contraceptives like treating irregular menstrual cycles or ovarian cysts. If employees of Catholic institutions require contraceptive medication for one of these conditions but cannot afford the expensive monthly prescription on their own, are they simply supposed to go without because their employer does not endorse one of the uses of their medication? While there may be slightly more affordable options offered through organizations such as Planned Parenthood, because these are medical conditions their treatment should be covered by people’s insurance plans.

What I found most offensive about this article, however, was the following sentence: “If we are mature enough to have sex with another we most definitely should be able to pay the small fee [for contraceptives], even if it means we have to sacrifice one or two of our cups of Starbucks.” Simply because an individual is “mature enough” for sexual activity does not mean that they can afford a monthly prescription. Despite the fact that some people do try to play the system, I find it ignorant to think that most Americans can afford contraception on their own and are simply unwilling to pay for it.

Take, for example, just one of the approximate 17.2 million households in America that struggle to feed their families. If they cannot afford food, how are they supposed to be able to afford reliable methods of contraception when most brands cost between $25 and $100 per month? Without access to affordable birth control through their insurance plans, these families run the risk of having another child that will need to battle poverty and hunger. It is unrealistic to expect those who struggle with these issues to withhold from intimate sexual relationships with their partners.

The church’s opposition to contraception is not about the church’s belief in the “fullness and expression of love” as Flynn and Dee said. Rather, they asserted that the use of contraception only leads to moral decay in society. Contraception, however, is not solely used by sex-crazed teens that will destroy the moral fiber of society, but by couples in long-term relationships who are not yet ready for children and families looking to limit the number of children they have.

But again, this new bill is not asking the Church to denounce its disapproval of contraceptives or even personally pay for their employees to have it, but simply to ensure that their employees have access to affordable contraceptive prescriptions if they require or desire them.

-Jessica Kroenert, Class of 2015

Birth Control means more than safe sex: necessary for responsible, healthy choices

There is finally an issue that the Catholic Church and lesbians agree on!

We think it’s only appropriate to respond to an article by two men with a letter by two lesbians who are equally invested in stripping women of their natural rights. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that all lesbians are feminists. No, my good sirs – we objectify women like it’s our job. On that line, we agree with you: As people who are in no danger whatsoever of getting pregnant ourselves, we are obviously more clear minded and qualified to talk about the issue than any heterosexual female.

We can confidently say that it should be no trouble at all for women to pay $9 per month for birth control. That’s only, what, three “cups of Starbucks,” right? Of course, between you and us (don’t tell the women), those types of birth control (Ortho-Cyclen and Ortho Tri-Cyclen) come with the lovely side effects of nausea, weight gain, headaches, sore breasts and breakthrough bleeding.

A different commonly prescribed kind of birth control, with much lower doses of hormones and significantly fewer side effects, Loestrin, is $89 per month. No worries, though! That’s only 29 and a half “cups of Starbucks.” Suck it up, ladies!

Honestly, all of their whining gets on our nerves. If they had only been born men (or turned lesbian; we’re always for that), they wouldn’t have to deal with it! Now, it’s been brought to our attention that some of our friends who aren’t having gratuitous premarital sex with men have been prescribed birth control for various other reasons.

One young lady spent one week per month in high school vomiting into the porcelain throne because her cramps were so severe. That is until she started taking birth control, which significantly reduces pain and discomfort during menstrual cycles (sorry, we know “menstruation” isn’t a word that men like to hear). To her, we have only one word to say: Ibuprofen. Or a nice friend to pat your back while you vomit – either way.

There is also the 5 – 10 percent of the female population who suffer from endometriosis or other uterine problems that can cause severe pain and often lead to cancer. For many of them, regular cheap birth control doesn’t have an effect. Well, there’s always surgery. Thank god we don’t have to deal with that crap, right, men?

We guess we shouldn’t even talk about “natural family planning,” since we asked a nurse at Lauderdale Health Center if she would recommend it and her response was, “Absolutely not.” She said that her aunt tried that and ended up with 12 children! You know what’s a better way to avoid having kids? Don’t ever have sex. In fact, if humans just stopped having children altogether for a while we could “decrease the surplus population,” like good ol’ Scrooge advocates for in A Christmas Carol.

-Sadie Baker and Shannon Dennehy, Class of 2013

Freedom of speech should be extended to everyone regardless of content

On March 8, The Lamron published an article by Nick Yager about the Westboro Baptist Church and the United States Supreme Court’s decision to uphold their ability to protest at military funerals.

For those unfamiliar, the WBC protests these funerals with signs like “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” They believe that soldiers are being killed as part of God’s vendetta against America for its liberal policy on homosexuality. Yager argues that “protesting with hate speech [should be] a felony.”

Despite how detestable the WBC’s speech is, they do have a constitutional right to protest. I do not normally agree with the current majority of the Supreme Court, but I believe in this case they got the decision right.

The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to assemble.” They are speaking and assembling, as per their rights.

The court has laid down many exceptions on free speech, but only one of which applies to this case. That is the precedent set up in Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire in which the court ruled “insulting or ‘fighting’ words … which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace” are not allowed. Yet, this precedent was clarified in RAV v. City of Saint Paul, where the Court said the government cannot consider speech “fighting words” by its content, merely by its mode of delivery.

Why do we want to consider the speech of WBC unlawful? Because it is vile and repulsive. But that is not a sound legal argument. Yager argues that is unconstitutional because it is “trying to incite violence.” Yet, all the WBC is doing is holding signs and chanting – they’ve shown no evidence of inciting violence. In fact, the only violence at their protests has been by their opponents.

Part of the responsibility of living in a society that believes in free speech is being able to control your hostility against a certain group, no matter how odious their ideas. If it’s the recipient of the speech that acts violently, the speakers should not be held accountable unless it is a direct attempt to incite violence.

This is by no means a defense of WBC. Their revolting ideas and blatant homophobia are depictions of a disgusting, hateful worldview. Yet, their right to free speech and free assembly protects everything the WBC is doing.

Let us not forget that regulating speech based on whether we like it or not is a slippery slope. The Nazi government in Germany did the same thing, imprisoning and slaughtering those who spoke out against the government because they disliked the “content” of their speech. WBC’s terrible statements serve a purpose in the market of ideas created by free speech, reminding us the ridiculousness of the argument against gay rights. When taken to its extreme, we’re subject to asinine and sickening displays of idiocy. It reminds us of the importance of championing civil rights and using our First Amendment rights to uphold a reasonable position on civil liberties.

Because no matter how much they scream, our allowance of them to spew their garbage shows our moral superiority. We will honor the same brave men and women they defile by not stooping to their level. Instead we will use our own First Amendment rights to show the world just how wrong they are.

-Sam White, Class of 2013

Hunger Games, Trayvon Martin responses expose racist evaluations of human worth

An outpouring of tweets expressing indignation that several characters from The Hunger Games, especially 12-year-old tribute Rue, were cast as black actors in the film tarnished its record-breaking premiere.

In the book, Rue has “bright dark eyes and satiny brown skin.” Naturally, the filmmakers cast young black actress Amandla Stenberg.

An Internet firestorm followed. “Why did the producer make all the good characters black,” asked one Twitter user. Another said (spoiler alert) “Call me racist but when i found out rue was black her death wasn’t as sad #ihatemyself.” It would be easy to dismiss the Rue tweets as a bunch of idiots on the Internet. Placing them alongside the repeated attempts to disavow Trayvon Martin as a person worth caring about, however, reveals a dangerous undercurrent of rage and indignation that meant life or death for Martin.

Jezebel.com and Hungergamestweets.tumblr.com have both done incredible write-ups on this disgusting reaction and deserve praise for their unflinching coverage. The author of the Tumblr wrote, “These people are MAD that the girl that they cried over while reading the book was ‘some black girl’ all along.”

Additionally, many tweets specifically targeted Stenberg with racial slurs, as if she ruined the character. Never mind that she’s a 13-year-old in her third film.

The media explosion around Martin’s shooting has sparked claims that liberals are skewing the facts so that Martin seems innocent. Several websites released a picture of Martin shirtless with slouched shorts flipping off the camera. This, they claimed, would set the record straight, since mainstream media was biasing America by running pictures of a younger, innocent Martin – as if in the past few years he had transformed into some terrible black monster.

Later, it was verified that the picture wasn’t even of Martin – but that doesn’t matter. The photo campaign illuminates a terrifying fact that ties into the hoodie fiasco and allegations that Martin skipped school and did drugs: Trayvon Martin’s death doesn’t matter if he was that kind of black person.

Miguel Meza, who identified himself as George Zimmerman’s cousin, said in a phone interview with the Associated Press, “The media has been quick to demonize George, but Trayvon Martin was no angelic boy walking.” No. He wasn’t an angel. He was a human being.

These cases are not isolated. They expose a very real, very dangerous undercurrent of rage that permeates discussions of race. People are indignant at the idea that black lives are being valued equally to white ones. Rue’s death can’t matter as much if she’s black. We can gloss over Martin’s death if he was a black thug. And then we can be comfortable about race in our culture again.

This cannot be ignored, because pretending that “good people” like Catholic neighborhood watchmen can’t be racist is what got us into this mess.

In vitro meats not economical

In vitro meats certainly do represent an “interesting” solution to both environmental and ethical issues concerning animals but as is almost always true when using the word “interesting” as a primary descriptor, there certainly are some issues that have yet to be brought up.

While I’m no economist (I switched majors freshman year), it seems to me that even when implemented on a large scale and after the technology to produce the initial $500,000 hamburger is available, the process – given all of the additives that will have to be both grown and applied – will still be too expensive to be economically viable.

When considering how relevant this “schmeat” would be in the food market, one must consider the cost of humanely raised and slaughtered grass-fed beef or truly free range (as opposed to the FDA’s lackluster definition of the term “free range”) chicken as a benchmark. One might well argue that a chicken, pig, cow or turkey given food, water, shelter and a generally good life might potentially “agree” to eventually be used as food, in exchange for this guaranteed, easy life. If you are one who subscribes to this train of thought, there go your ethical issues with eating meat. While I’m sure some members of PETA would disagree with this line of thinking, I’d be surprised if anyone besides the most zealous of animal-rights activists would think that such progress in the treatment of animals raised for food is disappointing or not worth considering given the appalling conditions of modern factory farms.

Furthermore, with an increase in the cost of raising and slaughtering animals for meat in this hypothetical humane farm, fewer animals would be raised and eaten. This change could potentially reduce environmental impact even below the difficult to measure “up-to-60 percent” figure, without need for a laboratory. Although disappointing to certain companies who specialize in dishing out cheap meat and those of us who enjoy buying five-pounds of hamburger for $8, the decrease in the overall consumption of meat could hardly help but be healthy for the American public and more easily adopted as a system than full integration of schmeat that tastes kind of OK.

Speaking of laboratories, the process of creating this meat sounds like it might contain its own ethical issues. Tissues “taken from an animal and stem cells” are used to create this schmeat, but those have to come from somewhere. Stem cells harvested solely from the unborn calf of humanely slaughtered pregnant cattle? Sounds unlikely. To achieve the hypothetical end of schmeat replacing meat, an absurd amount of stem cells would have to come from somewhere. In my mind, and I’m sure in the minds of others, that’s a little messed up.

I would be surprised if, assuming the meat tastes good, it would not be served to the guilt-ridden elite but what about so-called 99 percent? We’ll all have to get our guilt-free (or guilt-reduced) meat elsewhere, and I for one will be looking for it in the local farmer’s market, even if it is a little bit more expensive.

-Chris Saunders, Class of 2012

Christian Science not the evil it’s painted out to be

It is always difficult to explain religious beliefs that are not your own, but sophomore Danielle Ferrante's Dec. 8 article, "Christian Science denies medicine and leads to numerous unnecessary deaths," presented some disturbing and false statements about the Church of Christ, Scientist and the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy.

First, some basic points: Mary Baker Eddy is the founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist and author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, but the first copyright for Science and Health was obtained in 1865, not 1867. It is also true that Mary Baker Eddy was not a physician or medical expert but contrary to what Ms. Ferrante wrote, Mrs. Eddy extensively studied the homeopathic medicines of her day before discovering what she believed to be the Biblical system that enabled Christ Jesus to heal the sick.

Ms. Ferrante also wrote that Christian Scientists visit hospitals with the intention of exploiting vulnerable patients' fears, presumably for the purpose of proselytizing, though Ms. Ferrante did not specify. As a lifelong Christian Scientist who has interacted personally and professionally with Christian Scientists across the country and internationally, I can say that neither I nor anyone I know has ever done anything of the kind, and that it is in no way a common or encouraged practice in the Christian Science Church.

It is unquestionably tragic whenever a child dies, whether the child is under the care of a medical physician or a Christian Science practitioner. But before condemning, I would challenge Ms. Ferrante to have a conversation with any of the many thousands of parents who have found Christian Science to be an effective system of health care for their children. For example, Mrs. Evelyn Davey, whose four-year-old son fell into a coma and was medically diagnosed with spinal meningitis. The attending physician told Mrs. Davey that she should not expect her son to live through the night but she and her husband instead prayed with their understanding of Christian Science. Around midnight the same night Mrs. Davey's son awoke and by morning she and her husband were permitted to take their son home from the hospital, wholly well. The doctor who treated their child stated at the time that he was convinced of the validity of his original diagnosis and in a meeting with the family a week later told the child, "[I] didn't do anything to help you. It was God who took care of you."

In her article Ms. Ferrante wrote, "Freedom of speech is one of the most important rights granted by the Constitution … discretion and respect, however, need accompany it." No one should begrudge Ms. Ferrante her opinions or her right to express them but I would ask that before publishing a searing denunciation of an entire population of thinking people, she next time take a moment to appropriately research her topic and give due consideration to the evidence readily at hand.

-Ian McLeland

Editor's note: According to christianscience.org, Mary Baker Eddy's book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, was copyrighted in 1875. 

With unemployment, inflation, “Occupy” is relevant

Junior Sam White's "Occupy Geneseo: misplaced activism won't spark change" (The Lamron, Nov. 10) claiming to be "all for the views they hold, but [stating that] the protest itself is backward," irrelevant to Geneseo and "merely preaching to the already convinced choir" reminded me of the age-old rhetorical question: "With friends like this, who needs enemies?"

First (quite relevant for those at Geneseo), rising tuition and other costs are causing students to go deeply into debt – the United States average is more than $20,000 per student by graduation time – and graduates may become part of the 1 out of 5 of their age peers who become unemployed (i.e., even greater than the current overall U.S. unemployment rate of about 1 out of 8). According to this college's website, annual "Direct College Costs & Related Expenses" for current students who are New York State residents at Geneseo are $20,109 annually. Even adjusting for inflation, that's many times more than what I paid when I attended Geneseo and new tuition increases have been proposed. What has happened to the SUNY system reflects a nationwide – and accelerating – trend.

There was a faculty strike backed by students on Nov. 17 at California State University Dominguez Hills (near Los Angeles); a proposal I made in support of that protest (on behalf of Occupy L.A.'s Labor Solidarity Committee) was unanimously endorsed by Occupy L.A. As United Teachers Los Angeles union member Gillian Russom noted, "The CSU still has not given faculty the salary increase it promised them three years ago, and has drastically raised tuition for students, making California's "public" colleges less and less accessible. Meanwhile, top CSU executives have gotten pay increases of nearly 70 percent and whole portions of the university are being privatized." One leaflet's contents are probably self-explanatory: "By taking a stand in this one-day strike, CSU faculty at Dominguez Hills … are fighting for all of us. The County Federation of Labor is calling for unions to join the picket line in solidarity. As educators who want college to be accessible for all our students, we should be there."

During the Vietnam War, two poles of advice were offered about how to force a change in U.S. policy: The first idea matched White's that, "It is up to politicians to come up with the solutions and respond to the issue at hand." The historical victory of forcing U.S. government withdrawal from Vietnam – a war with many of the same U.S. government goals and lies as the current conflict of Afghanistan, etc. – was won as a result of ignoring such advice and following an opposite strategy, namely organizing public actions, teach-ins and protest activities. More than 400 chapters of the Student Mobilization Committee (including the Geneseo chapter of which I served as a chairperson) helped mobilize people for protest activities and mass demonstrations at local campuses, cities and towns, plus (most importantly) Washington, D.C. (including an antiwar march there of more than a 500,000 people).

Apparently, some people refuse to learn the lessons of history. On the other hand, growing numbers will be joining the protests and gatherings initiated by the various "Occupy" sites or by students, unionists and others.

-Barry Schier, Class of 1973

Editor's Note: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for 20-24 year olds with a Bachelor's degree was 7.7 percent in 2011.

Opinions may differ but respect should remain consistent regardless of the belief

Cornerstone Cru and its members would like to thank everyone in attendance at the Creation Ministries lecture presented by Jonathan Sarfati on Oct. 25. We also appreciate the concerns that have been raised by freshman columnist Grant Bille in the Nov. 3 issue of The Lamron, in his article "Creation theory leaves no one laughing." 

Bille seems to question the credibility and authenticity of the invited speaker, Jonathan Sarfati. Sarfati, however, is most certainly a distinguished chemist who has works of great merit. He is no fool and was not intending to present anything remotely related to a stand-up comedy piece. Instead he presented an alternative view to the dominant theories of evolution. Our goal in bringing this speaker to campus was to present another theory on the origins of the world, called creationism, which is a Christian-based view, and we are happy to have brought in a scientist to support our view. 

According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary, science is "knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws, especially as obtained and tested through scientific method." Creation Ministries International is an organization that uses science to provide evidence for the creationist beliefs about the origin of life, our world and the universe. There are many highly-esteemed scientists, from all branches of science, throughout the world who agree with these viewpoints. There are also many esteemed scientists throughout the world who disagree with these viewpoints and use science to provide evidence for their evolutionary beliefs about the origin of life. 

The point is that if science can be used to point in either direction, then science has clearly not established a verdict. Some elements of evolution are scientifically valid and do not contradict any elements of the creationist viewpoint; however, there are many elements of evolution that are impossible to actually prove and that do not stand up to the scientific method. While it may or may not be an accurate statement that "most scientists" in the United States believe that the complete theory of evolution is true, that does not mean that it is. The scientific method is not a democracy; there are no votes. 

In his column, Bille wrote, "Somehow a man holding these unscientific beliefs is permitted to speak on a campus dedicated to learning, in the same lecture hall where science classes and presentations are held." We assume that Bille is not an advocate for the refusal of our First Amendment rights but we would like to remind him that the lecture hall is named after a person whose beliefs aligned with those of Sarfati, not Bille. Isaac Newton was a Christian and a creationist. Therefore, if Newton was alive today, should we not allow him to speak in Newton Hall?

Creationism is definitely not science but we can use science to strengthen our faith. Not all aspects of the theory of evolution are science either but evolutionary biologists can use science to strengthen their faith. We ask only one thing of all students, faculty and columnists of The Lamron: Please show respect for opposing views and to people whose beliefs are different from your own. We have shown respect for the views of the school and of each student who came to the lecture. We enjoy the conversations sparked by this and similar events. We enjoy the intellectual growth that comes from having these conversations. 

To every person who was in attendance at the Sarfati lecture, we thank you for coming and we look forward to further discussions in the future.

Cornerstone Cru President, Sean Phillips

Editor's Note: Newton Lecture Hall is not named after Isaac Newton, but George D. Newton, a local attorney who served as Geneseo Justice of the Peace, Livingston County District Attorney and  State Supreme Court Justice in the 1960s.

Letter to the Editor: tour guides a valuable resource for visiting families

I was very and frustrated by article titled "Prospective students hungry for useful tours, not grandma's cookies" that appeared in the April 14 issue. As a tour guide, I felt that the article was written with ignorance and made generalizations that could have easily been avoided had the author done just a bit of research about his topic.

The reason that many tour guides use the story about "grandma's cookies" is that it's the first one we ever heard. At the beginning of the year, all of the tour guides are trained by taking a tour given by a senior guide. It is here that many of us heard the anecdote you dislike so much. If you had talked to the admissions office you would have known that. You also would have learned that the office gets several emails a week from parents and prospective students praising the tour guides they met at Geneseo, saying that they were entertaining and represented the school well.

Admissions also could have told you that tour guides have a booklet of 90 minutes worth of statistics, facts and other pieces of information that we are required to say on our tours. Sure, I'd love to talk openly and honestly about my weekend to a group of strangers, but I'm a little pressed for time when on the bottom floor of the Union alone I'm required to talk about the concierge desk, the mailroom, the Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development program, M.O.S.A.I.C. and Activities Commission. Also, because tour guides have so much information to cover, I seriously doubt that any of us are wasting time advertising transportation to "everywhere in the world" or talking about "obscure campus legends," whatever those are.

As far as being criticized for mentioning obscure clubs, I love to do that because it exposes prospective students to the unique community Geneseo has instead of portraying it as a cookie-cutter school. And considering our Quidditch team just won a tournament this past weekend at Vassar College, I would be proud to mention them on one of my tours.

It worries me that my school newspaper is willing to publish articles written by students who have clearly not taken the time to research the topic they are writing about, and are willing to form an opinion about an entire group of students and staff based on a five minute bit of 

conversation. Let's all keep in mind that this article about tours at Geneseo was written by someone who has never actually taken a tour of Geneseo.

To the author of this article, I tried to see your point as best I could, and I just want to tell you one last thing; due to a glitch in the mailroom, I received your grandmother's cookies in my mailbox. They were delicious. 

Sincerely, 

Audrey Schiffhauer '13