Letters to the Editor

It still counts as discrimination

The only thing more disgusting than discrimination is that there are still people who justify it. Joshua Hock’s op-ed (“The right decision,” March 2, p. 4) defends a policy that bans gays from serving in the military on the grounds that cohesion will suffer because fellow soldiers will be “perturbed” serving alongside a homosexual.

Mr. Hock implies he is qualified to speak on the subject because he holds the supposedly unique position of being both Republican and homosexual. As a history major, it is unfortunate that Mr. Hock forgets that some of the most despicable discrimination was justified based on identifying with the oppressed and claiming to be objective.

Take for instance The National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, a predominately female antisuffrage group that claimed women should not hold public office because they “will face the failure, which is the fruit of an unnatural task.” Women have only enhanced the political process and surely society cringes at the factions that developed in the early 20th century based on claims of objectivity and the resulting feelings of superiority.

No one should generalize a group in favor or against something, but protecting cohesion by fueling division is a rationale that places Hock on the wrong side of history and dishonors Todd Belok’s service to his country.
Jesse Regis, Sophomore

Thank your predecessors

What I find saddest about Joshua Hock’s op-ed (“The right decision,” March 2, p. 4) is not the premise that he argues, but rather the way in which the author views himself. This should not be a partisan issue – it’s so much more. This is an issue of self-respect.

Hock is lucky that he has grown up in a world and a culture (wherever he is from) where he could, from a young age, be open about his sexuality. What is so tragic is that he has no sense of what brought us to this moment. Here’s a hint: He walks safely as a gay man on campus because gay men and lesbians did not sit silently by as injustices and hate crimes were perpetrated based on sexuality.

He isn’t discriminated against in housing in D.C. because people weren’t silent about who they live with and love. He will never know the life of our predecessors who were fired for who they loved or, after years of marriage without the title, could not be with their dying partner in their last moments. Few things make me happier than the fact that Hock and I, a GW alumnus, will likely never know these challenges. Few things make me sadder than knowing that people like Hock don’t appreciate the progress the LGBT community has seen over the last 50 years and how it came about.

It was in part because of protests and demonstrations, but it was more because of men and women who bravely lived their lives openly and risked expulsion from jobs, service, families and entire communities. We in the LGBT community owe the rights we have obtained to those who have not lived in shame, but have lived their lives openly as themselves – exactly like Todd Belok and countless individuals before him. We should all strive to do the same. Indeed, I hope that Hock can someday see that living your life openly as yourself is not “parading” your sexuality.
Nick Seaver, Class of 2007

Administrators should take pay cuts

Conventional wisdom says the University should do everything it can to minimize unnecessary waste during a recession, but GW is anything but conventional. After reading the recent article on highly paid University administrators (“Study: Administrators earn top dollar,” Feb. 23, p. 1), I was not shocked to hear GW administrators defend their salaries.

After all, the University of Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun was repulsed at the very idea he should cut his $1.6 million salary last week when asked by a reporter. The state of Connecticut is only billions in debt and thousands of people lose their jobs every day. While many came to Jim Calhoun’s defense, just as many came to the defense of our administrators, I think many people have forgotten the basic principle of generosity.

While these salaries may just be another “drop in the bucket” of overall University expenditures, every dollar counts. Everyone around the country, not just administrators, should be willing to not only freeze their salaries but also take a pay cut. The salaries these administrators hold were inflated by the prosperous nature of our economy prior to the recession. Administrator salaries today no longer reflect a fair percentage at the end of the day.

Why does Lou Katz need $581,642 every year? If his salary were cut by $50,000, would his lifestyle be noticeably different? Probably not, but with $50,000 a struggling family can send its student to GW and greatly change their lifestyle. I am not saying our administrators are doing a poor job and not worthy of a competitive salary, but I wish there was just a little more pause for concern and thought for generosity at the University when we are taking about people who make over $500,000.
Andrew Blackwell, Senior

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