Letters to the Editor

Don’t cut music

It was with great disappointment in my alma mater that I read of potential music cuts the University is considering for next year in an effort to balance the upcoming fiscal budget (“Music Department may see major cuts,” April 27, p. 1). Though it’s not advertised as such, GW’s music program is a secretly thriving community unto itself, without which my college experience would have been lacking. In fact, it was GW’s jazz studies program that tipped me in favor of coming to the school instead of any other college I was accepted to.

While I understand the University is trying to build up the profile of its other academic programs, one of which – the School of Media and Public Affairs – I graduated from in 2004, I would never have discovered those offerings had I not been enticed to GW by the ability to continue my study of jazz in the first place. GW is uniquely situated in D.C., where U Street, the Kennedy Center and other areas offer unparalleled jazz, vocal and orchestral experiences.

To ignore and refuse to tap into those resources seems like folly on GW’s part, and I, for one, will reconsider my level of monetary giving should music programs be slashed. As a journalist now covering public education, I know very well the financial crises facing budget-makers, and I’ve seen music programs take the brunt of these cuts. But I’d like to not see GW sink to that same level, and I know there are other ways to balance a budget sheet.

-Amanda Mantone, Alumna

Focus on our strengths

After reading the articles in Thursday’s Hatchet covering the proposed cuts to the Music Department, my first thought was… “we have a music department?” Let’s be honest here folks, GW’s strengths lie in its Law, Medicine, International Affairs, Business, Political Science, Engineering and Public Administration/Policy programs. These programs feature world-renowned professors in state-of-the-art facilities, and have produced some of GW’s most successful alumni. Rather than spending our resources on trying to keep a department afloat, let’s spend it on improving the programs we have inherent strength in. How about adding another full-time professor to teach an Intro to Political Science or International Affairs course, or provide additional money to the medical center for cancer research?

I’m not arguing that we should eliminate the Music department completely, because I do feel that Music and the arts can help a GW student receive a well-rounded experience, but for the vast majority of students at GW, music classes are nothing more than something a friend of a friend of a friend is taking as an elective. Let’s refocus our resources and build on what GW has strength in so that we can continue to make GW a better University.

-Phillip Ng, Graduate student

Check your ideology

It is disappointing to see that Nicole Cairns was unable to watch the movie “United 93” without partisan politics clouding her vision. In her article “‘United’ we stand?” (April 27, p. 7) she writes that liberals will be pleased with the movie because President Bush “is seen as incapable of communicating with others to avert a national catastrophe.” Why would miscommunication by our commander-in-chief please anyone, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum? Additionally, how would President Bush, or any other leader, have prevented this massive slaughter of innocents once the planes were in the air?

Cairns seems unhappy that the film overemphasizes images such as “God Bless America” written on a wall near Newark Airport and a pilot’s wedding ring. She says the focus on these images “gratifies the overtly patriotic conservative members of the audience.” I surely hope that these images do not solely reflect the values of conservatives. Perhaps there should have been an equal focus on images that reflect “liberal values,” like abortion-on-demand and a welfare state.

In the wake of those horrible events, many Americans – conservative and liberals alike – did in fact focus their thoughts on what matters most to them: faith and family. While it is healthy to continue debating the proper way to protect our country, it is sad to see that less than five years after 9/11, some cannot remember what united all of us on that day.

-John McCormack, Junior

Do sweat over Iran

I would like to respond to an editorial written by Tim Kaldas on the growing concerns over Iran (“Don’t sweat over Iran, April 20, p. 4). While Mr. Kaldas makes quite an argument by stating that Iran is not in violation of the non-proliferation treaty, it is important to remember that the president of Iran has violated the principles upon which the United Nations are based. On more than one occasion, Iran’s leader has called for the destruction of Israel. Perhaps calls for sanctions are therefore justified after all.

Some members of the international community, like Mark Regev, a spokesperson for Israeli Foreign Affairs, believe that Iran’s call for that nation’s destruction violates the peace and cooperation terms set forth by the UN. For the record, would someone please explain why Iran needs nuclear energy when it sits upon vast reserves of natural energy?

I find it very difficult to believe that if Iran acquired nuclear weapons it would avoid using them, since they see the destruction of Israel as taking place in the near future. As for the Israeli General, of course he is going to downplay the threat, just as U.S. officials are downplaying the threat. That is simply the game of politics.

-Ruben Gonzalez, Junior

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