Letters to the Editor

Genocide, academe, classrooms, PEVs, etc.

Academe should be an open forum

Re “Another side to the genocide dispute” (Letters, Sept. 17): Letter writer Matt Nelsenador says that the real issue is whether a student who disagrees with a professor should challenge the instructor in class or meet with him or her privately. He suggests that disagreements should be discussed privately.

That calls into question the entire premise of higher education; academe is supposedly an open forum where different, sometimes conflicting, ideas are presented so that students can sift through various opinions and determine for themselves the accuracy of facts and interpretations under discussion.

Nelsenador’s view suggests that academic freedom applies exclusively to teachers, not students, but the notion of free and open inquiry is best served when – no surprise – it’s conducted in the open.

How many students would be deterred from raising their question in class after meeting with a professor privately to challenge a disputed viewpoint?

Susan Christensen, Quincy

Why not challenge professors?

Professor Matt Nelsenador suggests that if one wants to challenge their college professor they should perhaps first meet with the professor privately, and then maybe go public afterward. I disagree.

The classroom is the proper place, because then all students can benefit from a hopefully intelligent discussion of the issue. This is known as education. To me, the real issue here is whether a CSUS professor is failing to acknowledge, and inform students in the classroom, regarding the genocide perpetrated on American Indians.

Robert A. Dell’Agostino, Sacramento

History can be ugly; don’t ignore it

I believe Chiitaanibah Johnson had every right to voice her perspective. Considering how difficult the experience must have been, it sounded as though she handled herself gracefully.

A university classroom is an environment that welcomes critical thinking. The classroom is the very place where genocide cannot be disregarded. Legitimate arguments should be welcomed and respected regardless of personal opinions. History professors have a great responsibility to be accurate, not selective. Students have a responsibility to engage with the class and support their peers.

The sterilization of Native American women was subsidized by federal funding from 1909 to 1979. Whether we knew it or not, many of us have been alive for part of the Native American genocide. This horrific fact can be easily researched, even though most textbooks don’t provide such information.

History can be ugly, but ignoring it is even worse. I’m thankful for Chiitaanibah, who provided an opportunity for us to grow.

Katie Gaven, Auburn

Here’s the reality about PEVs

Re “Plug-in electric vehicles are setting the pace” (Viewpoints, Sept. 15): This commentary needs a jolt of reality. First, what would the sales be if there were no credits of up to $10,000, and why should these credits even be given? Teslas are primarily bought by wealthy people. It remains to be seen just how successful these cars will be. Saturday’s Wall Street Journal reported there are numerous risks and challenges ahead for Tesla. As we know, Chevrolet’s Volt and Nissan’s Leaf have been disappointments.

SUVs are the true “new normal.” Also, automakers are now making fuel efficient, high horsepower, four-cylinder automobiles and diesel engines. But the real stars are the new muscle cars. Dodge is doubling production, Mustangs sales are up 50 percent, and people are lined up for the new Camaro. These cars are definitely not PEVs.

James Peace, Sacramento

The devil we know is preferable

Re “Russia defies U.S. with flights to Syria” (Page 8A, Sept. 15): Why not help the Russians put Syrian President Bashar Assad back in power and drive out ISIS? Removing Iraqi president Saddam Hussein turned out to be a mistake. Weakening Assad just boosts the power of the terrorist factions.

Did those longtime dictators’ brutal regimes do terrible things? Yes. But maybe that’s what it takes in the Middle East to keep the religious nuts in check. At least there was stability in the region before we invaded Iraq and started the dominoes falling. We should support Russia aiding Assad, driving ISIS back into Iraq only, where they might be more manageable.

Brian Pickard, Carmichael

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