Elections are serious and important

This type of mentality is exactly what allows the flawed system to operate. Those who see a need for radical change, yet instead of trying to do anything substantial about it, you just denounce it, throw up your hands and turn your head in defeat. Frankly, it’s pathetic. I remember your pointless, cynical commentary from the last election. You say we must start from the bottom up if we are to re-shape the process. Well here’s your chance big talker. The new elections process that students implemented in last year’s elections allows for anyone to run. So, I challenge you. You have absolutely no problem over-generalizing people’s intentions for this campus and ripping your misunderstood "summaries" apart, but what about you? Why don’t you take your foot out of your mouth and step up to the plate. You have a better idea or a better way to do things – then do it and stop bitching. It is easy to sit behind a computer screen and say horrible things about people, completely degrading others’ efforts to do good. However, it is quite difficult to go out there, put yourself in front of all students, prepare yourself and allow for public scrutiny, while still maintaining your convictions and a solid state of mind while people such as yourself sit behind a screen talking shit. Who are you? You don’t even show your face and make these accusations of ill will. You are the antithesis of democracy. Promoting doing nothing because you don’t like signs or slogans??? That’s absolutely ludicrous!

The people running in this election share your concerns – things are fucked up. But, unlike you, they actually have the courage to stand up and do something about it.

I commend these candidates for their efforts. To have true convictions and have the courage to stand before your fellow students and ask for their trust, to be scrutinized by people like you, to work so hard for very little payoff. These candidates deserve respect and they deserve your vote. Whether you’re fond of slogans and posters or not, your vote truly is your voice. And, choosing the most qualified candidates is not only your victory, it is your responsibility. Don’t be discouraged by the rampant cynicism of students like Riggs. Vote on election day.

Amanda Barron


Philosophy department in good shape

Yet another collision between fact and press in the Daily Vanguard [“Philosophy dept. plans changes,” March 8].

If I could redirect the reader’s attention from rubbernecking at Emily A. Palm’s mythical crisis going on in PSU’s philosophy department for just a moment, I’d like to disabuse them of a few faulty notions.

Dr. Aleksandar Jokic was not denied tenure because of student complaints about his teaching. Had your reporter taken the time to check the procedural facts, she would have discovered that only the president can grant or deny tenure and he has done neither. His tenure review is to be completed next year. And for Ms. Palm to write that student evaluations cost Prof. Jokic tenure makes about as much sense as the proposition that Christmas causes New Years.

It’s also curious that Ms. Palm managed to find only one philosophy major in the entire university from whom she could cull a quote. Had she bothered to check with Nancy Weaver, the department’s administrator, on the veracity of one student’s statement that Prof. Jokic is not popular, Ms. Palm would have been given plenty of leads to follow up on who could report the opposite opinion. Count me among those who hold a very favorable impression of Prof. Jokic as a scholar, teacher and mentor. Furthermore, if tenure were simply a popularity contest there would be no need for the review process at all. Indeed, annual faculty elections would, I strongly suspect, utterly eclipse interest in any of the yawn-inducing student campaigns that I can recall.

The philosophy department is not “becom[ing] more research oriented”; it already is. Dr. Jokic in particular has been profoundly prolific, before and since his hiring at PSU, with over 40 articles and 10 books to his credit. His energetic scholarship is a wonderful contribution to PSU’s research profile. The other tenured and tenure-track professors have published books, have books in press now and are editing anthologies. Research is not a new initiative in PSU’s philosophy department: it is a current reality.

I will give Ms. Palm one thing, however, and that is for advertising the fact that PSU as an institution is not involved in the upcoming American Philosophical Association divisional meeting here in Portland next month. What a waste of an opportunity to help some of our faculty shine, and – let’s face it – gain visibility for the program and its students. But so it goes, and so it has been for some time in PSU’s philosophy department.

It certainly is not the case that teaching or research is an either/or enterprise. I’ve had excellent instruction from some who aren’t expected to published. But for 400-level coursework it’s important for students, especially those who aspire to graduate school, to study with instructors who are capable of both publishing and teaching.

The department’s enrollment has nearly tripled since I became a student and it’s encouraging to see the talent PSU has managed to attract and keep. Despite Ms. Palm’s grim painting, the department is in a healthier state than meets the eye.

Samantha Johnston
Philosophy ’06