Part-time worker wages beg more thorough look

I am writing in response to a letter to the editor (“Part-time workers will take brunt of budgets,” Dec. 9, 2008) regarding the proposed work hour cuts for part-time employees. When I first read the response, I felt I was in complete agreement with Susan Dirr. Throughout my undergraduate years, I was forced to take jobs considered “menial” by many in order to pay for college. As a former employee of a cleaning company responsible for upkeep at a concrete plant, I am well aware of the treatment given to part-time employees when hours are slashed. There is often more work and less time to do it, especially when employees-in addition to hours-are cut.

However, upon reflection, I think it is unfair to generalize those employees making over $100,000 a year. First, this simple statistic does not take into account the reason why they are making that money or what work/how many hours they are working to deserve that amount of money.

Second, if this number includes professors, which it does not mention in the letter, I know many professors who work far more hours a week than the typical 40 hours by most full-time employees-with many working more than 60 hours a week. And this leaves out, altogether, the fact that students often complain about a professor’s availability. Any full-time employee making less money is going to be less willing to work longer hours when their additional efforts are not acknowledged. Last, one cannot make assumptions about the lifestyles of others and, in my opinion, this should not be relevant to a discussion about how much a person should be making or how much a person should be willing to sacrifice.

While I do not find it logical to reduce the hours of part-time employees when they are the backbone of any institution, I also do not find it logical to rank the level of sacrifice without including all the variables. We need a solution that keeps Miami University functioning and respects even the smallest “cogs”-and by that I mean no disrespect. I do not think blanket statements or statistics have the ability to do that.

Ann-Drea HensleyGraduate Studenthenslear@muohio.edu

Rick Warren represents poor inauguration choice

The inauguration of a president is always cause for national celebration. It is a day when the partisan rancor of the campaign can be put aside and our country can unite behind our new leader. This inauguration is especially historic; the election of our first African-American president is a great sign of social progress, and shows how far we’ve come since the civil rights battles of the 1960s. What is troubling is that on a day of so much importance and symbolic unity, President-elect Barack Obama will share his stage with a man who has been nothing short of extremist in his social views. I’m referring of course to the invitation extended by Obama to Pastor Rick Warren to provide the invocation at the inauguration.

The defense for Warren’s selection has been that he is a moderate compared to others, and, to be fair, he does deserve credit for taking on issues like AIDS and poverty. However, I believe his willingness to talk about these issues simply overshadow his zealousness on crucial social and civil rights. His comparisons of homosexuality to bestiality and his public support of Proposition 8 in California are shameful. He has stated that abortion, gay marriage and stem-cell research are “non-negotiables” for Evangelicals. He called Terri Schiavo’s death “an atrocity worthy of Nazism.” He has compared abortion to the Holocaust. Simply put, Warren is as divisive as the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons of the world.

The selection is even more disturbing when one considers the strong emphasis the president-elect put on uniting the country. For some reason, I doubt that Obama would have been so inviting if Warren had made racist comments. Why then is such a blatant homophobe being given top-spot in a presidential inauguration? The president-elect has further defended his selection by saying that it is important for all views to be at the table. I agree with Obama that there needs to be open-debate among people of different religions, parties and beliefs. However this openness should not lead to such a hateful Obama doesn’t have a lengthy pro-gay rights voting record and is against gay marriage. One has to wonder whether he sees the connection between gay marriage laws and interracial marriage laws which barred his own parents from getting married in some states. Still, he spoke candidly during the campaign about his opposition to both the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. While I still have hope that our next president can accomplish the social change we need, this certainly isn’t a good way to start a historic presidency. The two men together are a clear symbol of how far we’ve come on civil rights, and how far we still need to go.

Brendan Burkeburkebg@muohio.edu

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