The University Record, February 6, 1996

LETTERS

Note to readers: The University Record welcomes letters from members of the University community.

Record is Bender's mouthpiece
How can Bruce Bender complain (Record, 1/30/96) that the University doesn't provide representation for those with opposing viewpoints? He seems to have his own forum generously provided by this letters page each week. In the guidelines for publication of letters, "those on topics of broad University interest will have preference for publication." I don't think his letters are of broad interest; the only reason they are endlessly published is because the editors are afraid of being accused of stifling free speech. That is exactly what he is aiming at as he manages to perpetuate his incessant indoctrination under the guise of freedom of expression. Why not just give him his own column?

As to name changes, these happen all the time here at the University and in the community---Hospital "Housekeeping" becomes Hospital "Environmental Services," "used" cars have become "pre-owned." I can't see that "Gay and Lesbian History Month" is somehow more "respectable" than "Gay Pride Week;" maybe it sounds more respectable to homophobes. From the name changes, it sounds more inclusive, four times longer and focuses on history! Am I missing something? One assumes the name change was made by whoever organizes the event and, as far as I'm concerned, those taking the time and energy to organize events should be able to call them whatever they want. I don't feel that I have the right to suggest that "Sanctity of Human Life Sunday" become the more accurate and descriptive "Anti-Abortion Sunday."

If he wishes recognition of "Abstinence Awareness Week" and "Pornography Awareness Week," then I'm sure he'll be happy to organize some events to celebrate them and "the free marketplace ofideas, values and beliefs" will determine the amount of supports he gets from the University community. That's how other events are born, survive and prosper. Of course he will have the advantage of free publicity through his weekly mouthpiece!

Gordon D. Stewart, associate technology licensing specialist, Technology Management Office

Heterosexual transmission of AIDS outnumbers all other modes
"And, in addition, there is AIDS Awareness Week, which is sponsored by various University departments to primarily commemorate those who have tragically died as a result of homosexual activities."

I would like to correct the above statement quoted by Mr. Bender with the following fact, since I don't know where he received his information. "Heterosexual transmission outnumbers all other categories by which people acquire the HIV virus and may account for more than 80 percent of HIV transmission by the end of the decade." (Dr. King Holmes, director of the Center for AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, University of Washington, Seattle, 1992.)

Mr. Bender, I am very disturbed by your statement about homosexual activities. I recently lost a close friend to this tragic disease called AIDS. Brett, like many unfortunate individuals, contracted AIDS after receiving a blood transfusion and I commemorate his death. His fight didn't stop with AIDS, but went on to show prejudiced individuals, like Mr. Bender, that anyone can contract AIDS. In other words, Brett was not a homosexual and even if he was, this is still a tragic disease.

I believe that the University of Michigan is productively dealing with current social issues and is an excellent institution. We, as students, faculty and staff, work in an environment where we can be ourselves. Every one of us is unique and there is no one like us in the entire world. If we all held beliefs like Mr. Bender's we would all be forced to be alike, not individuals, there would be no separation of church and state, and the church would dictate our human rights.

Furthermore, I do not have to agree with Mr. Bender's values and beliefs, just as he doesn't agree with mine, but at least I respect other people's differences and beliefs, even yours Mr. Bender.

Stacy Heams, custodian, Housing Facilities