November 8, 2004

Letters to the Editor

Divinity School letter

Since my name came up in conjunction with the statement calling for a repudiation of Bush and his policies signed by most of my Divinity School colleagues ("Theologians slam Bush's use of God to justify war in Iraq," 10/29/04), I thought I should be permitted to speak for myself. I was taken aback by the fact that I never had the opportunity to review the statement or to participate in a discussion of its merits. This does not seem to model an ideal of dialogue and civility—something I thought universities were all about. At any rate, once I heard indirectly about the statement I located a copy and wrote a response that I delivered to my colleagues as a typewritten document intended only for internal use. It now seems necessary to me to say more given that your lead article speaks of my alleged "conservative leanings." This derives, it appears, from the fact that I did, and do support the war in Iraq primarily on human rights and humanitarian grounds. I'm not quite sure why anyone thinks that liberals care about these issues and "conservatives" do not.

I think it is out-of-bounds for one or more faculty persons to characterize the views of another and, for that reason, to exclude them from an important communal discussion. I didn't think that was the University of Chicago way.

A copy of the response is posted on the Chicago Maroon website. It can be viewed at maroon.uchicago.edu.

Jean Bethke Elshtain

Laura Spelman professor of

social and political ethics

Election response

I was disappointed to see you lead your November 5 edition with the headline "Campus braces for four more years." Even if the majority of the campus favored Kerry—which isn't even clear in Isaac Wolf's anecdotal article—I think it's poor practice for the Maroon to have a headline so clearly partisan. The reader gets the idea that your journalistic stance is as "fair and balanced" as that of Fox News. (And no, I'm not a Republican.)

David King

A.M., 2004

Cobb Coffee Shop

I am very troubled by the article about Cobb [Coffee Shop] which was published on 11/5/04 ("ORCSA acquires Cobb café duties"). I have to ask how this poorly written article made it to the front page of your newspaper when it was clearly not fact-checked. I am shocked that your reporter did not even find out who the general manager of the shop was to fully investigate this matter. This article contained an amazing amount of misinformation about Cobb Coffee Shop, our shift to ORCSA, and the structure of the other student-run coffee shops.

I would like to stress that each of the shops, including Cobb, always will retain control over their businesses under ORCSA. To imply that we are no longer a student-run business is upsetting to us as well, as it is something that we pride ourselves on greatly. The amount that each student contributes to the daily and yearly running of the shop is absolutely vital to our existence. The student management staff has the final say in the pricing, staffing, vendor choices, wages, employee discounts, as well as the numerous things it take to run a business.

We have always had, and still have, in the form of the coffee shop coordinator, a full time staff member who helps with the administrative aspects of being part of the university, as well as an advisor.

I believe this structure to be true of the Divinity School as well, which is also subject to University procedure and standards. I would also like to stress that our three shops, Cobb, Ex Libris, and Uncle Joe's, are currently run by undergraduates who devote a great amount of time to their shops in addition to being full-time students. These managerial positions have not been changed or dropped through the addition of the coffee shop coordinator; instead, particularly at Cobb Coffee Shop, they have been strengthened in many ways.

Kat Hill

Fourth-year in the College

Manager of Cobb Coffee Shop