Letters to the Editor - Dec. 1


Published: Saturday, December 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 1, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

Football and drinking

Again we have an act of violence after a Gator game, and again we have the same old excuses for the problem. My son is a Gator fan and I would never bring him to one of their games.

Why? Because of the revolting display of drunk college kids and the 20-something crowd that takes over Gainesville with the city's permission after every game. The police can only do so much, considering the thousands of people on the street.

It appears political pressure and college tuition (money) is more important to the City of Gainesville than cracking down on these juvenile delinquents.

Alcohol should not be served in Gainesville during Gator games. It appears this age group can't handle alcohol anyway. Growing up in the Northeast, I remember going to football games. If fights did occur, no one was shot or stabbed; people used their hands.

Let the police take the gloves off and start throwing these troublemakers in jail. This is not 1970, Gainesville, time to move to the 21st century and leave the liberal mentality behind!

Robert Monica,

Bell

Learn more about AIDS/HIV

As the global community marks World AIDS Day today, Planned Parenthood of North Central Florida and the Cultural Arts Coalition have joined forces to raise awareness of the devastating effects of this epidemic and to urge residents to get tested.

According to the United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS, there are approximately 33.2 million people living with HIV worldwide. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are more than one million people living with HIV in the United States. Florida has the third highest rate of AIDS cases in the nation and in Alachua County over 1,100 residents have HIV/AIDS.

World AIDS Day is a powerful reminder of the importance of prevention and awareness - through comprehensive sex education programs that are based on scientific facts about preventing this deadly disease, not scare tactics and incorrect information often found in abstinence only programs.

Knowing your HIV status is an essential part of prevention. That is why today in Gainesville residents can get free confidential testing at the Wilhelmina Johnson Center from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

It is our hope that the Gainesville community will join the Cultural Arts Coalition and Planned Parenthood of North Central Florida to promote awareness and prevention of HIV/AIDS today, and to make every day World AIDS Day.

Nkwanda Jah, Education Director, Cultural Arts Coalition

Natalie Muniz, Director, Planned Parenthood of North Central Florida

Gainesville

AIDS doesn't discriminate

Today is observed annually as World AIDS Day. It serves to focus global attention on the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. An estimated 38.6 million people worldwide were living with HIV at the end of 2005, and more than 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981.

Americans should be reminded that HIV/AIDS does not discriminate. With an estimated 1,039,000 to 1,185,000 HIV-positive individuals living in the U.S. and approximately 40,000 new infections occurring every year, this nation is deeply affected by HIV/AIDS.

AIDS cases among Floridians have increased from 78,651 in August 2000 to 107,754 in August 2007. Between August 2000 and August 2007, HIV cases diagnosed among Floridians increased from 17,504 to 39,207.

I urge all community based organizations, county health departments, religious communities, civic groups, elected officials and government agencies to utilize this day to raise awareness of AIDS. I believe that young people must take an active role in their community and promote positive change.

Above all, we must socialize ourselves to develop good relationships and healthy discussion on safe sex. It must be the goal of every one of us to understand this disease. We must develop a social consciousness with which we can eradicate AIDS.

Get educated, Get tested, Get involved!

David J. Ruiz, Florida Latino Leaders Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS

Gainesville

Jake's very old joke just isn't that funny

When I saw Jake Fuller's Ted Kennedy cartoon on Friday I thought I had gone back in time to 1969, when the "I'll cross that bridge when I come to it" joke was funny (at least for the first time and then only in a black humor sort of way).

But then I looked in the mirror and realized I was 38 years older. Granted a man of more moral courage would have been heroic in his actions, but the cartoon is still in bad taste. Oh, well, I guess The Sun has to do something to keep from getting painted into the "liberal media" corner.

Tom O'Toole,

Gainesville

Let deans award bonuses as management tool

I am very glad for UF President Bernie Machen that he is able to get a well deserved bonus. The Board of Trustees is employing a great management tool in setting goals and then rewarding him for meeting those goals.

It is too bad Dr. Machen's own deans and directors are not afforded that level of respect in managing their own budgets and staff. At UF, deans and directors are not allowed to award bonuses. Apparently they are not deemed responsible enough to use bonuses as a management tool.

Darlene Novak,

Gainesville

Don't stifle free speech at the university

The University of Florida administration would be wise to rethink plans to increase police presence at university functions. Such a policy would likely violate the civil rights of students by having a "chilling effect" on speech.

The chilling effect on free speech occurs when a policy or law acts as a potential deterrent to the exercise of free expression. In 1965, The United States Supreme Court decided in the case of Lamont v. Postmaster General that a policy does not have to explicitly prohibit speech in order to limit or stifle the freedom thereof. In the Court's decision it states that "inhibition as well as prohibition against the exercise of precious First Amendment rights is a power denied to government."

In light of the Supreme Court's opinion on this matter, the university, as an agent of the state, needs to consider the possible legal ramifications of increasing police presence at its public speeches and forums. If students feel as though their freedom of speech is effectively chilled by an influx of security measures, they have the right to take the university to court for resolution.

It is my sincere hope that UF's administration will work diligently to prevent a chilling effect on speech and avoid violating our civil right to free expression. However, in the event that UF fails to do so, students should be prepared to defend their rights by all means available to them, including legal action.

Benjamin Dictor,

Gainesville

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