LETTER TO THE EDITOR Re: Convocation Center not serving student interest, 1/23

To the Editor:
This letter is in response to the editorial, “Convocation Center Not Serving Student Interest,” by Ben Minkus in last Friday’s edition of The Miami Hurricane regarding the 2004 Presidential Debate. As we plan the logistics of the upcoming Presidential Debate, our top priority will be to accommodate as many students as possible. We will not know the seat configuration or the total number of seats available to us until the Commission on Presidential Debates finalizes their plans.
We do know that the majority of seats are always allocated to the two political parties whose candidates participate in the debate. President Shalala has informed UM trustees and the community of her intent to allot the small number of tickets received by UM to our students. She has asked Patricia A. Whitely, vice president for Student Affairs, to consult with student leaders about a fair distribution system – possibly a lottery.
The 2004 Presidential Debate will be a tremendous opportunity to showcase our campus. Students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, donors and the greater community will be able to share in the excitement of the debate through public lectures, seminars and other special events leading up to the Sep. 30 debate. Students will have an opportunity to serve in a volunteer capacity assisting with various needs and programs related to the debate. In addition, Debate Watch parties will be hosted (with big-screen television) all around campus so that our University community can share in this historic moment.

Aileen M. Ugalde
Chair, UM Presidential Debate Committee and Vice President for Government Affairs

Re: State of the Union equals State of Normalcy, 1/27

To the Editor,
Speeches to the tune of Wacholtz and Bush are full of angry and flashy phrases like France has “everything but our best interests at heart,” or the famous “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.” These dangerous, Hollywood-like speeches are simply diversions to the important topic: homeland security. What Bush said boiled down to “We don’t let anyone tell us what to do. We’re America, bring it on.” But when it came time to talk about the miserably failed “No child left behind act” or the fact that there aren’t any new jobs being created, Bush seemed to always find away to go back to Iraq. It was almost funny: our crumbling schools, our over-crowded classrooms, our failing and embarrassing standards that have us 13th in the world for math, jobs, health care and other key issues were all ignored. I’ll be living in Canada preparing to clean up the mess in 2008.

Jonathan Mason
Alum SOC ’02