Neither faculty nor staff to blame for YSU troubles
The Vindicator has recently characterized the faculty and the staff at Youngstown State University as "ridiculous, unprofessional and insulting" for refusing to subsidize increases in student tuition resulting from active hostility to higher education by the Republican-controlled state legislature and two Republican governors whom The Vindicator repeatedly endorsed.
But perhaps they simply don't know what a university is or what the faculty do at a real university? David Sweet, his senior staff and our board of trustees don't seem to know either. The primary purpose and function of a university is to pursue new knowledge through research and scholarship and to prepare our students for what lies ahead through teaching. Professors are not simply "teachers," although teaching is a noble profession, nor is a university a trade school. Without the creation of new knowledge, we are nothing, and our students learn nothing of importance.
Our current governor has come out of the closet recently for "high tech." To Mr. Taft, this is apparently vacuum tubes, crystal radios and steel to replace iron. The Republican leaders in Columbus have grudgingly endorsed Taft's ideas -- it's an election year, after all. In actuality, they seem to believe an eighth grade education is all an Ohio citizen needs. Ohio is already 35th (or lower) among the states by ranking the percentage of adults with college degrees. The Vindicator has alluded to the "brain drain" as more and more of our best and brightest are forced to leave the state.
Instead of placing the blame where it really lies, with the Republican legislature and governors, the administration at YSU and the newspapers that support them, The Vindicator would rather blame our faculty and staff because we are easier targets.
I have been at YSU for four years as a student and 26 as a professor and have known every president from Howard Jones to date. Dr. Sweet is not a leader, nor is he pro-research, scholarship and teaching. If we are forced to strike, it will be because of the actions of his administration that, for example, gets a $1.5 million rebate from Anthem Insurance but still demands "give-backs" on medical. But what can we really expect from a president who refused to even talk to any faculty member for the first six months he was here?
RONALD G. TABAK
X The writer is a professor of physics and astronomy at YSU.
Mahoning Valley owes gratitude to judge, jury
The Mahoning Valley and its environs, in fact the whole county, owe a debt of gratitude to the Cleveland jury that brought in the guilty-on-all-counts verdict for James A. Traficant, Jr., but a very special thank you belongs to Judge Lesley Brooks Wells.
I read every word of the transcript of Judge Wells' sentencing of Mr. Traficant, and I stand in awe of this judge who was a class act throughout the trial and is the epitome of a fine lady. Few of us could have kept our cool as our congressman spewed his venom, told his lies, implicating everyone but himself and demeaning fine people, including the judge. One of his parting barbs was to the judge -- "I hate the hell out of you."
Judge Wells kept her cool during the trial, but she finally had her day in court. The transcript was the piece de resistance. Some of his shenanigans that she seemed to ignore were not forgotten, and she let him have it with both barrels. Her final statement to him -- "No, you're remanded now, sir."
Kudos and thanks for a job well done, great lady.
SARA J. WALKER