Don’t judge UAE by its cover

I am still utterly baffled as to why people are so outraged at Dubai Ports World (DP World) owning U.S. ports. I have searched long and hard for a logical explanation of why this upsets people and I have heard nothing legitimate.

One reason I heard is that because two of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Emiratis, DP World owning U.S. ports poses a national security threat. This is based on the fallacious argument of guilt by association. Just because some Emirati citizens were involved in 9/11 does not mean that the government or companies from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) should be punished.

If we follow this logic, then American companies should also not be allowed to own U.S. ports because terrorists like John Walker Lindh and Ted Kaczynski were Americans. That’s just silly.

Another reason given is that Dubai banks hold terrorist money. There is no evidence that even if this happens, which it probably does, that it happens with the Emirati government’s approval. There is no evidence that the Emirati government condones, encourages, supports or allows this to happen, and so it can’t be punished for the crimes of others.

Also, I’d wager the country that has the most money marked for shady purposes in its banks is not the UAE but Switzerland – hence the infamous Swiss bank accounts. Yet if a Swiss company had acquired ownership of U.S. ports, would anyone look twice?

The problem really isn’t that a foreign firm owns the Port Authority. A British firm used to own the Port Authority before DP World took over. It’s prejudice against the UAE, plain and simple.

Although the UAE is one of the most prosperous, open, tolerant and moderate of all the Arab states, people assume that just because it is an Arab country that it must be evil. Let me repeat: it’s not like al-Qaeda is taking over the Port Authority. It’s the UAE, a friendly country that has never had a problem with the United States.

This issue has become so politicized and twisted by bigotry and irrational prejudice that it astonishes me how so many of my own countrymen and lawmakers are giving into this illogical outcry against DP World. I thought Americans were smarter, but apparently, it’s fashionable for politicians to pander to ubiquitous prejudicial assumptions about an Arab country and an Arab company.

Ravi Kaneriya

Vox promotes birth control

I wish that Ben Leach had actually consulted Vox before writing the “College insurance to include birth control” article that appeared in the Feb. 15 issue of The Signal. I understand that he was attempting to present student opinions on the issue, but I fear that students have been extremely misinformed!

First of all, Vox was part of an enormous lobbying effort to require all New Jersey health insurance companies to cover prescription birth control, not just the College’s insurance. We were able to win birth control coverage on campus because we won it first for the state of New Jersey. Therefore, it was not a matter of polling students to see if they wanted it or not. Either way, it will benefit both men and women on campus who are too broke to afford the pill and/or not ready to become parents.

Secondly, the Contraceptive Equity Bill recognized that health insurance companies already covered sexual performance aids, such as Viagra for men, and demanded that they should also cover sexual protection for women. The pill is a reliable safety net when a condom breaks. And even if a woman is not sexually active, the pill protects her in the case of rape; it effectively regulates irregular periods and relieves severe menstrual cramps; it lowers a woman’s chances of getting anemia, breast, endometrial or ovarian cancers; and it is sometimes prescribed to treat acne.

Finally, health insurance prices were not raised just to pay for birth control! In actuality, the price of school health insurance climbs incrementally every year. Contraceptive coverage would not be the single cause of a potential price increase.

Kathy Loglisci

President, Voices of Planned Parenthood (Vox)

Professor defends liberal learning

I write in response to John Fialk’s rant about the liberal learning program. Mr. Fialk states he does not care about being a “well-rounded person educationally.” He may not care, but the College does care that it produces intellectually well-rounded graduates.

Although the College has several professional schools, it remains an institution deeply committed to the liberal arts tradition. Unlike other institutions with a similar commitment, the College offers its students multiple options to satisfy general educational requirements. The fact that so many students, like Mr. Fialk, opt to satisfy their liberal learning requirements by completing the distribution requirements of Option C is puzzling to me. Perhaps he received poor academic advising, but both Options A and B allow students to do exactly what Mr. Fialk complained he was not able to do: take more classes relating directly to a student’s interests.

Option A allows students to satisfy their liberal learning requirements in a thematic way by taking a series of courses all connected to a common topic; Option B allows students to create their own liberal learning program around any topic of interest to them. How much more flexible could a system be? And, as an additional bonus, both Options A and B require fewer classes to complete the liberal learning requirements (six to eight courses) than Option C does (nine to 10 courses).

So, while Mr. Fialk is free to complain all he wants about how his particular general education program of study failed to intellectually stimulate him, he has no one to blame but himself. To other students, I say learn from Mr. Fialk’s mistake. If you do not want to take a distribution of unrelated courses across many disciplines, then don’t do it! Either chose an Option A concentration of interest to you or create your own liberal learning program under Option B. The power to control your own educational destiny is in your hands.

Dr. Hank Fradella

Associate Professor of Law,

Criminology and Justice Studies