A letter from President Daniel O. Bernstine

The Vanguard printed an editorial about Judaism that was personally offensive to a number of people within both the university and the wider community, including myself [“A city divided,” Oct. 18].


There is no question that the decision to include the editorial in the newspaper was within the proper purview of the editorial staff.


The value and the tradition of our right of free speech and free press, including the prohibition of prior censorship, are very important.  However, each of us within the campus community must be sensitive to the impact of offensive messages we propagate, not only on our own campus, but throughout the local community. The views expressed in the Vanguard editorial are totally inconsistent with the values that we support at Portland State University.


I strongly believe that each of us is fortunate to be associated with a great public university where values of freedom, respect for others, and equal opportunity are defended. With freedom of expression comes the responsibility to be aware of the impact of our actions on the lives of others.

Daniel O. Bernstine, President of Portland State University

[Ed. note: the column referenced is an opinion column which does not reflect the views of the Vanguard editorial staff.]


The Portland State Campus Affiliate of the National Coalition Building Institute

PSUnity is deeply saddened that anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim prejudice has been expressed on our campus and in our community. As an organization that works against hatred, prejudice, and discrimination and seeks to serve every member of our campus community, we offer our strong support to the Jewish and Muslim people of Portland State and its extended family.


Prejudice is a destructive force in human life, and it is all around us. We’ve all heard stereotypes that pervade our society. They play inside people’s heads like old records. There is much work to be done to rid our world of hateful ideas.


The role of PSUnity is to create safe spaces on PSU campus for people to come together and work these issues through. We choose to believe that if we work to listen to each other, we will all find the courage and the strength to break those old records and replace them with new information, new understanding, and new capacities to hold hands across old borders.


To reach PSUnity and for more information, please contact Kelle Lawrence at [email protected] or 503-725-5642.


Judaism not an “exclusive religion”

I am greatly troubled by the anti-Semitic tone of this article [“A city divided,” Oct. 18]. Terms like the Jews’ “exclusive religion” and “no one can convert to Judaism” are incorrect, misleading and negative. Anyone who wants to can convert to Judaism, and Judaism is a religion that preaches love, tolerance, kindness and doing good deeds. Had you done more research (did you do any?), you would have known that.


Yes, the situation in Jerusalem has been problematic for many years. But articles such as this do nothing to help the situation. They only make it worse.


Please insist on a higher journalistic standard.

Deborah Katz, student

[Ed. note: the column referenced is an opinion column which does not reflect the views of the Vanguard editorial staff.]


Peer-to-Peer Community

I completely agree [“The RIAA shouldn’t stop ‘piracy,'” Oct. 26.]. In order for any business to make money over the long term, it needs to be adaptable to the times. The RIAA is going after the "pirates" but it’s not quelling the P2P community at all.


They should put all of the money they’re spending on lawyers into research and development to figure out how to make money from P2P.


People should really know by now that you can’t stop progress.

Kelli, Germany

International Freedom Center must go

Dylan Tanner is factually incorrect about several things [“Who’s to decide?” Oct. 21].


First off, Debra Burlingame does live in New York, and while her brother didn’t die there he was one of the 3,000 people murdered by terrorists on 9/11. I know her (I suspect Mr. Tanner does not) and the last person she was thinking about when she wrote her op-ed was herself.


He writes as if a 9/11 museum at Ground Zero wouldn’t be considered a cultural venue. Museums are usually considered cultural venues.


Mr. Tanner wrote: “The International Freedom Center could have been a crossroads of cultural growth and an opportunity to explore the many aspects of what it means to be from the U.S. post-Sept. 11. It was intended to celebrate life and freedom in the face of adversity. Instead it will serve as a constant reminder of death, a mausoleum in the heart of the city.” Ground Zero is a memorial site, and public squares for political agendas (“explore the many aspects…”) are not appropriate for memorial sites.


Mr. Tanner’s concern that the memorial will soon “become another public work: dated, stagnant in focus, and maintained to a level of mediocrity” indicates his attitude is that 9/11 was so five minutes ago. Gettysburg was fought 142 years ago and what happened there changed the course of America’s history. 9/11 also changed our course. That day’s story needs factually preserved and told there so future generations will know those facts, unfiltered by any political agenda, and make up there minds elsewhere what to think and do as a result of what they learn.


The story of the IFC ran almost continuously in New York’s newspapers since June of this year. New Yorkers had plenty of opportunity to voice their opinions and they overwhelmingly said to their elected representatives the IFC must go. We live in a republic where we expect those we elect to office to hear our concerns and in this case they did.


Tim Sumner, Pennsylvania

[Ed. note: the column referenced is an opinion column which does not reflect the views of the Vanguard editorial staff.]