Holocaust denier not needed at PSU
I’m writing on behalf of the Jewish Student Union, and also on behalf of the six million Jews, homosexuals, Roma (Gypsies) and free-thinkers that died during the Holocaust. We were truly disappointed when it came to our attention that Portland State University hosted the infamous David Irving, Holocaust denier and anti-Semitic revisionist historian, for a talk and book signing at our new hotel, University Place. The event was held on Monday, April 25 during our holy week of Passover, when we fast in remembrance of our ancestors’ escape from oppression.

While we understand that Portland State University is a public, tax-payer funded institution, where free speech must be honored, we feel that the university has a moral obligation to use better judgment in its choice of speakers and when to schedule them. I’m not sure this bodes well for a university that constantly blasts its horn about diversity! Does the university understand how this event is perceived by an outsider? Even though the hotel took Irving’s money to rent the space (which in itself is disgusting), it looks as though PSU actually supports his cause. It is not a good thing when “David Irving” and “Portland State University” appear together on an internet search. If I were someone considering PSU among the list of colleges to apply to, or if I were a parent whose child was considering PSU, the fact that the university hosted Irving would weigh as a seriously negative factor, and I would more than likely write it off my list.

Perhaps the university can join its students in a moment of reflection on Friday, May 6, Holocaust Remembrance Day, because it did happen, and we must not forget.

Jessica A. Marsden
Co-President, Jewish Student Union

Filibuster good, Dems’ tactics bad
The filibuster has always been a matter of politeness more than a matter of law.

The filibuster has been modified several times before, as Senate “rules” are wont to do.

What your article is asking, is that our elected representatives give up the power the voters invested in them, over mere politeness [“Blowing the government to hell,” April 26].

Personally, I like the filibuster. I will support any attempt to amend the Constitution to protect it. But I will not support this unconstitutional limitation of the powers of the people we elected as anything other than the politeness that it is.

Your comparison with the Clinton years and the blocking of nominations in committee is completely wrong. In that case, Republicans had a majority, and did what the voters elected them to do (stop judicial nominations when they felt it was necessary). In this case, the Democrats are in the minority, and thus, by Constitution and law, have no mandate from the voters to stop such appointments.

Certainly they should do their best, and use whatever tools are at their disposal, but your suggestion that somehow the filibuster is sacrosanct is wrong, both morally and legally.

That said, I think the Dems’ best bet (and I really hope they succeed), is to perform a “real” filibuster, something that shows that they’re really going to take a stand, not just invoke a Senate rule. Stand up there, speak, make the Republicans take the vote to shut them up, whether it’s a 51/49 vote, or a 60/40. I think the Republicans will be a little less confident in stopping an actual filibuster than just revoking those stupid rules.

Brian Chrisman

[Ed. note: The column referenced was written by an opinion columnist and does not reflect the opinions of the Vanguard editorial board.]

Nuclear option will hurt all
I wish I could send this to every newspaper in America [“Blowing the government to hell,” April 26]. What I don’t understand is why the Republicans think this won’t hurt them which it will when the Dems are back in power. The pendulum always swings.

James Livingston

[Ed. note: The column referenced was written by an opinion columnist and does not reflect the opinions of the Vanguard editorial board.]

Air America thriving
Dylan Tanner is out of touch with the real world [“A shallow victory for Air America, April 26]. The phrase “suburban traffic” says volumes about how provincial the author of this piece of dreck is.

The conservative movement has the radio dial because they bought it, not because they deserved it. The joke, however, is on Tanner, as Air America Radio’s current ratings kick the behind of Sean Hannity and Laura Ingram (to name a few). The increase of men listening to the network over the past few months has been substantial and other networks are squirming.

It is total ignorance to think that neo-con radio stations do not foster paranoia. They not only foster paranoia, the hosts tell lie after lie after lie.

Conservative Republican talk shows exhibit the sloppiest journalism we have seen in ages. The hosts of such show constantly insult their audiences by underestimating them and it’s finally reached the tipping point. The audience is leaving.

Mr. Tanner is in no way a “Poindexter Republican” because on its face the phrase is ironic. What intelligent person in the face of all the Republican Party’s lying and lack of logic would remain a Republican? Intelligent people do not vote against their own best interests.

Intelligent people do not remain loyal to a party that is not working for them.

If Tanner believes that Air America Radio has merely emulated and has not activated the Progressive base, then he has not listened long enough. I suppose “Poindexter” only does cursory research when it’s convenient.

The progressive groundswell of letters, faxes, phone calls and protests that are nationally emerging are not fantasy.

At least some of the Republican politicians who wish to get re-elected and know they won’t have a grip on reality, even if the author does not.

C. Addison
New York

[Ed. note: The column referenced was written by an opinion columnist and does not reflect the opinions of the Vanguard editorial board.]

Administration neglects faculty
Thank you for requesting an interview with me before I leave PSU, and for publishing my thoughts on the campus and on University Studies [“On departing, sweet sorrow,” April 28]. I enjoyed my long and wide-ranging conversation with Art Chenoweth, however I feel that important parts of that discussion were lost on the way to press.

First, Art quoted me as saying, “[University Studies] is not only good for the students, it is good for the faculty to participate.” What I actually said was “who participate.” This gives the claim a very different meaning indeed.

Second, the Vanguard removed my comments on the greatest benefit from departmental/tenure-related faculty participation in University Studies: an improved climate on campus, allowing all faculty to focus their energies in places where they might better benefit our students.

Third, I was disappointed to see that the Vanguard omitted my extensive praise of my fellow fixed-term and tenure-track faculty members in University Studies, specifically regarding the stellar quality of their teaching, their extreme levels of commitment to their work and to the campus, and their consistent support for their colleagues.

Fourth, I was especially saddened to see no mention of my comments regarding the unfair treatment of all fixed-term faculty by the upper administration, which comprised a significant portion of my conversation with Art. Many of these faculty have served the needs of this university for years, if not decades.

Despite making University Studies a national success, and despite fulfilling most of the duties of tenure-related faculty, fixed-term faculty remain undercompensated and poorly recognized in an administration that uses the letter of the AAUP bargaining agreement to violate the spirit of that agreement. Such an attitude inspires many from their ranks to leave the campus for employment that balances demands with rewards; it was certainly part of my motivation for leaving.

Mark Trowbridge, Ph.D
Assistant Professor, University Studies

Judicial board failed
I think [the judicial board’s] decision was bullshit [“Judicial board to reconsider candidate disqualification,” April 28]. It speaks to the democratic process at PSU that three people voted and one person abstained. Now is not the time to ride the fence.

Cassandra Fowler