Letters to the Editor

Basketball hate speech

I was in attendance at the GW/Duke game in Greensboro, N.C., this past Saturday. While our players conducted themselves with class and were excellent representatives of our University, the same cannot be said of some GW students in the stands.

I heard a number of students in our section yell out homophobic epithets at one of the Duke players, all of which are too offensive to be reprinted. I am all for cheering for our team, and I even support razzing the opposition, but I would expect more from our enlightened student body than to resort to such hate-filled speech.

I was embarrassed and appalled that GW students would think such behavior is acceptable. It was a sad day for our school.

-Erin Kelley, graduate student

Absurd housing prices

I found something extremely odd and almost offensive about the Lou Katz quote “it’s supply and demand,” when discussing the increase in GW’s housing prices (“Housing prices increase,” Mar. 9, p. 1).

When the reason for this demand is GW policies forcing students to live on campus as sophomores, it is unfair to use this as a reason for raising rents. I understand that this policy has been forced on GW by the courts, but this does not mean that it is fair to take into account demand when setting prices. This is clearly an artificial demand and not a market condition.

Furthermore, GW’s argument about market prices is clearly erroneous. Take, for example, Thurston Hall. I do not know if this is the cheapest dorm, but if it is, simple math will show how students who live there pay an outrageous rent. At $7,600 a year each student is paying about $850 per month assuming a nine-month tenancy. That means that people living in six-person rooms pay about $5,000 per month for what is essentially a one-bedroom apartment. This is absurd.

I understand that prices for real estate are expensive and there are reasons why the price is so high, but the University should not insult our intelligence and call this situation a market situation, a supply and demand situation, or for that matter, a fair situation.

-Benjamin Fuller, law student

Negotiation with murderers

In his article on the impact of Hamas’ election on the Middle East peace process (“Talk to Hamas,” Mar. 9, p. 4), Tim Kaldas asks us to remove rhetoric and emotion from the debate. What about common sense and logic?

Hamas is not a party to be negotiated with, but rather a U.S.-labeled terrorist organization committed to the destruction of Israel. Since its founding, Hamas has been responsible for hundreds of attacks that target Israeli civilians. Perhaps if Hamas retreated from its stated goal of destroying Israel, the Israeli government could overlook the murder of its civilians and negotiate with Hamas. Hamas, however, has not done that. Indeed, as recently as February 2006, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar reaffirmed Hamas’s commitment to the destruction of Israel, stating that “Palestine means Palestine in its entirety – from the (Mediterranean) Sea to the (Jordan) River, from Ras Al-Naqura to Rafah. We cannot give up a single inch of it.”

If Israel is not to negotiate with Hamas, what is the alternative? The answer is exactly what Israel is doing: unilateral disengagement. The ultimate reality of this is that if Israel does not have a party to negotiate with willing to recognize its existence, Israel will unilaterally draw its borders and impose that existence.

For the point of moral equivalency, Kaldas adds that Israel too is not the ideal negotiating power because current Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert used to belong to the Likud Party. Even a Middle Eastern studies major should know that there is a difference in belonging to a hawkish political party and sending your children to murder innocent civilians.

-Joseph Saka, alumnus

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