Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Letters to the Editor: Dec. 8, 2010

By DailyCollegian.com Staff

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Dear Editor,

The article, “Four Loko is only the face of the issue,” brings up issues that many students aren’t aware of. The rate of underage students consuming Four Loko has risen greatly in the past couple of years, and the consequences should be publicized. This popular drink is now banned in Massachusetts, but my concern is that students may still have access to it.
Four Loko is more difficult to access because liquor stores around campus are only allowed to sell what they had left in stock. Once it is out of stock, something is going to be on the market to replace it. Recently, I have seen my peers consuming a new beverage called JOOSE, which is basically the same beverage as Four Loko, with a different name. It has the same percentage of alcohol, but there is less caffeine. Four Loko was banned for a reason, and my concern is these new drinks will have the same effects and dangers. These dangers include binge drinking and black outs. Students should continue to publicize articles on Four Loko and its replacements, in order to protect their peers and classmates from harm when consuming energy drinks mixed with alcohol.

Sincerely,
Julia Spencer
Amherst, Mass.

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Dear Editor,

With all due respect, I have to disagree with many of the arguments that Stacey Linehan brings to light in her recent article, “The wrong time to borrow $182 million,” on Nov. 22. Although I agree that this may not be the correct time economically to borrow $182 million to fund the building of a Commonwealth Honors College complex, it is unreasonable to say that the entire University would not benefit from the project. The construction of an Honors complex would be a great addition to the University, and the complex could potentially be the feature that helps our University to attract more prominent high school students.

If UMass were to offer an academic complex for intellectually curious students to live and study together, then it would create a competitive educational community that would lead the way to further learning. The addition of more hardworking students dedicated to their studies would potentially help the University to move away from its “Zoomass” label, and take on a scholarly reputation. As many honors students began to live in the complex, it would ultimately provide more housing in traditional dorms for students who are currently living in temporary housing. This additional housing would also provide an opportunity for the University to admit more students, thus helping to relieve its debt quicker.

Brian Bell
University of Massachusetts

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Dear Editor,

I found your editorial about giving the entire University of Massachusetts a week off leading to Thanksgiving very agreeable. Coming from Arizona, I understood many of the points you made. The stress that is involved with trying to get home for a short holiday break like Thanksgiving is not fun. My only option was feasting with my relatives in the Berkshires for Thanksgiving, because all the travel and classes missed would simply not be worth the trip back to the desert.

When I went to my classes on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, all of my classes had poor attendance. When roughly 50 out of 300 students attend a class, what is the point of having class? Other large universities like the University of Indiana give their students the whole week off because of attendance issues and the pointless lesson the remaining students receive. The University of Massachusetts is trying to attract students from all around the country and the world by improving their academics. Why don’t they take it one step further and give us the whole week off to let out-of-state residents get home and refreshed before the stretch run and final exams?

Cameron Legge
UMass student

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Dear Editor,

I appreciate what the University of Massachusetts Amherst is doing for veteran students. Katie Landeck’s article, “Veteran Services ranked 27 in the Nation” has given me a better understanding of how the University is assisting veteran soldiers with post traumatic stress and with educational studies.

I understand that veteran students have problems transitioning into college life compared to war life. I wonder if the University has a transitions class accessible for veteran students that allow them to speak to other UMass students about the problems the veterans encounter at the University. If the University does not, I feel that the program can benefit the veterans, because it will allow them to vent and learn how to fit into their new lifestyle. The program can be useful for regular UMass students too, because they can help veterans blend into college life. The students will also learn about the problems that veteran students have to encounter while in college. I believe that this would be an efficient way to help veterans integrate into regular society, and to strengthen the UMass program.

Steven Gross
Amherst, Mass.

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Dear editor,

I am writing this letter in response to Amy Brennan’s article “Paper or electronic? Universities consider e-textbooks,” published on Nov. 21. I agree with Brennan because as a freshman at UMass, I was astonished at the prices of the textbooks in the Textbook Annex this past fall. Many students, including myself, have limited funds while attending college because we leave our part-time jobs at home to attend school. This makes it difficult for students to afford expensive textbooks. As a result, I agree with the solution in the article involving electronic books (e-books).

E-books are a cheaper alternative that universities, like UMass, should consider selling more of. As mentioned by Brennan, researchers found that costs were reduced to $6 as an e-book as opposed to $16.96 in print. This is a great example proving students can still get the same education at a cheaper cost. This will make a substantial difference to students. For me, I will not have to spend as much money at the Annex at the beginning of every semester. If the Textbook Annex were to start selling more e-books, students will be able to save money and as a result we will be much happier.

Jon Leite
UMass Amherst Class 2014

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Dear Editor,

It was satisfying to read Mike Tudoreanu’s thoughts on the current national budget deficit, in the Nov. 18 article, “The Deficit Game.” I agree with Tudoreanu, that the present ploys by the government to fix the national budget deficit are concerning. As a member of the middle class, I have felt the negative repercussions from the budget deficit directly. Last spring my father lost his job due to capitalists’ irresponsibly gambling in the stock market, causing an economic meltdown. Also, over the summer I held a part time job and paid taxes. Since then I have registered to vote, and want to ensure my tax dollars are spent in the right direction.

I applaud Congress for finally attempting to fix the budget deficit; however, I condemn many politicians for the ways they plan on solving the problem. It is ironic that in an economic crisis, politicians consider now as the proper time to cut spending. It is disturbing to watch politicians aimlessly debate, and play “this game,” while Americans suffer.

I am worried that if the national budget deficit continues to spiral downward, an even tighter economy will form. In order to curb the deficit, Congress must work timely and diligently, keeping in mind what is best for the American populous as a whole.

Mike Seltzer
UMass Student 2014

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Dear Editor,

In Jay Asser’s article “Time to Grow Up,” which appeared in the Nov. 17 issue of the Daily Collegian, he discusses a view on the 2010-11 Men’s basketball team which I completely agree with. The addition of potential stars in recent year’s recruiting classes only brightens the outlook for the Minutemen. Combined with an above average recruiting effort from Kellogg last year, the future for the Minutemen looks as bright as ever. That being said, by no means is UMass labeling the 2010-11 season as a rebuilding year This marks the first year in the three-year tenure of coach Derek Kellogg where he has a team consisting of essentially all his own recruits.

The remaining upperclassmen on this team either never played for, or did not have important roles for, previous coach Travis Ford. Kellogg can now fully implement his system without resistance from older players. I believe that this team has a great balance of young talent combined with competitive and savvy veteran leadership that will allow them to have success. Nobody is predicting a Final Four appearance this year, but I echo the sentiment that the 2010-11 UMass Minutemen will be vastly improved from recent years.

Matthew Valianti
UMass Amherst 2014

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Dear Editor,

I enjoyed reading the article about how the University of Massachusetts basketball team is doing well after the graduation of Ricky Harris. There were many questions coming into this season about how well the team would do. The main concern was about who would score the Minutemen’s points. Up to the fourth game in the season the Minutemen were getting points from a variety of different players. Now they are getting consistent play from senior guard Anthony Gurley.

He is leading the team in points but it seems he has a much bigger role than that. He is not only the team MVP so far, but also he is the unquestionable leader of this team. As a fan, I feel that basketball at UMass is underrated. If we can return to the way we were playing in the early 90s I believe the fan base will start to come around. Coach Kellogg has played for UMass and he was an assistant to one of the best college basketball coaches in John Callipari. I believe he will follow in Callipari’s footsteps.

Sincerely,
Shane Wilmoth
UMass

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Dear Editor,

In the Daily Collegian article “Giving Felons the Vote,” By Matthew M. Robare published on Nov.16, the question of whether felons should be able to vote is raised. It is confusing as to where Robare actually stands on this point. He claims that felons should be able to hold the people accountable that put them behind bars. However, felons too must be held accountable for their own actions to begin with. They should know that there are certain laws that must be followed. Robare is right, the felons did have their chance, yet they made costly mistakes. (That’s on them and nobody else.)

Felons should not be able to hold the same rights as “clean” citizens. Robare also raises the 14th amendment to support how it deprives citizens of their rights. However, he fails to define a citizen thoroughly. Personally, I define a citizen as someone native to a particular land who participates in society. The last time I checked, felons are too busy behind bars and therefore are not a part of society because they are serving their just punishment.

Aneesh Jain
UMass Amherst
Class of 2014

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Dear Editor,

Stricter gun laws need to be enforced immediately at UMass Amherst. Although the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution allows the right to bear arms, tighter restrictions need to be imposed to ensure safety.

In the article, “UMass student buys gun without ID,” published on Feb. 17, 2010 student Daniel Entrikin was able to obtain a gun without proper identification. If Mr. Entriken was able to do this so easily, then who else will be able to get their hands on these dangerous weapons? Citizens should only be allowed to possess guns for imperative purposes. No student has an appropriate rationale to carry a gun at school; they should be completely illegal on school grounds. Events such as the Virginia Tech and University of Texas shootings prove that weapons on campus can lead to deadly consequences.

Students have the right to feel safe at school this is the place that we call our home for the majority of the year. Hearing about events such as the man arrested on gun charges on April 3, 2010 in the Southwest area, where my dormitory resides, makes me feel uncomfortable. Students are entitled to feel safe and protected in their daily environment.

Sincerely,
Kayla Davidson

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Dear Editor,

As I walk through my dorm room, I see outlets full of wires: wires from my lamp, from my television and from my hanging Christmas lights. After reading the article, “The true cost of being green,” I notice that I am one of the students that the author, Meg Little, refers to. In this article, published on Nov. 19, Little writes, “Students are not consciously aware of the vast amount of energy that they use through electrical appliances in their dorm rooms.” I agree that all colleges nation-wide need to “raise awareness of the social, economic and environmental impacts of consumptive habits.”

Currently UMass is doing an exceptional job promoting eco-awareness through outside projects. In his article, “UMass ranks among the nation’s greenest universities,” William Perkins writes that, on campus, there are new buildings and streets being constructed using eco-friendly techniques. However, there is little being done inside the dorms to promote energy efficiency. Although a program called Eco-Rep has been created at UMass to provide eco-education to all students, UMass can do more to notify students of their careless behaviors. Additional programs should be implemented at UMass, as well as other universities nation-wide, to ensure energy efficiency among all college students.

Marta Giannetti
UMass Amherst 2014

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Dear Editor,

Katrina Wehr’s feature “Cigarette Warning Labels Revised” published on Nov. 19 was very well written, though I did not agree with it. According to her article, 5.8 percent of students smoke every day, and 13.3 percent smoke only in social situations. Both of these groups are aware of the harmful consequences of cigarettes, but yet they continue to smoke because they are either addicted or doing it as a social activity. Because of this, pictures and statements demonstrating possible health risks are not going to stop them from smoking. In an ideal situation, the FDA would not want anyone to smoke cigarettes. However, you cannot break someone’s habit with a picture or a phrase that tells them something that they are already aware of.

Most people who smoke cigarettes have family and friends that are constantly telling them they should quit. If smokers will not quit for the ones close to them, then pictures and words from strangers will not persuade them. In order to stop the harmful consequences of cigarettes, the production of them must be stopped. There is no healthy way to smoke a cigarette.

Brooke Donahue
UMass Amherst 2014

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Dear Editor,

In Kaya Swainson’s Nov. 4, 2010 article, “New alcoholic drink driving UMass Students ‘Loko,’” he explains that there are increasing health problems caused by drinking Four Loko’s. I think instead of targeting the creators, those who consume the drink should take responsibility for the effects. Four Loko has been around since 2005 and is just a phase that will pass. Bobby Babcock of Northborough in the Boston Globe’s Letter to the Editor section advocates that the makers of Four Loko should not be punished for making this product. Instead, he believes the sudden spike in near death experiences related to alcohol and caffeine should open the world’s eyes to the fact that young people are uneducated about the dangers of drinking.

The creators at Phusion Project announced that they will reformulate Four Loko to remove the caffeinated ingredients. Regardless of the change, students will still drink mixes of caffeine and alcohol. As a student, I have seen my peers get out of hand with drinking, which leads me to believe the real problem is lack of education. However, I think the product should be able to stay on the market, and those who purchase it should be the ones liable for being responsible drinkers.

Devyn O’Brien
UMass 2014

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Dear Editor,

It is no secret that Four Loko is a big topic on college campuses right now. While I feel a good thing was done in writing an article to bring attention to the dangers of Four Loko, I think the article, “New alcoholic drink driving UMass students, ‘Loko,’” was marketed the wrong way. The title, while catchy and topical, seems to associate the drink with a fun time.

For those casual readers who might only see the title and not read too deep, this title is almost acting as a subliminal message promoting the drink. Most people associate the word “loco” with partying and letting loose. To causally use this word in the title when talking about one’s struggle with the drink seems to belittle the ramifications of drinking it.

After reading the title of the article, college students are almost motivated to consume the product because they are looking to get “crazy” on the weekend. I would have suggested something like “New drink driving students to the ‘Lokol’ hospital” to show the dangers of the product. The headline you used takes all the research and hard work you did to show the dangers of the drink and erases it because the reader is already thinking about “getting Loko.”

Nick Lubrano

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Dear Editor,

As the economy continues to decline, students have been struggling more with paying for their college education. In the article, “Working here, growing here, Working while at UMass,” Cam Dunbar stresses the reasons for the increase in the number of college students working while attending their classes. Whether it is a job loss in their family or a loan awaiting repayment, as many as 57 percent of all college students are working while taking classes, according to the Sebage Association.

As a UMass student, I see many other students multi-tasking with their jobs and classes. I think that being able to manage a job and classes is beneficial for students in the future. Jonathon M. Orszag, Peter R. Orszag and Diane M. Whitemore in “Learning and Earning: Working in College” state that students learn responsibility and that it takes hard work to succeed. Whether it is a personal choice or a priority to have a job while at college, students can only benefit from the discipline and skills they will grasp.

Suzanne Levy
UMass Amherst 2014

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