Alumni presidents

support alma maters

We, the national presidents of the alumni associations for the eight public universities in our state, agree with recent articles about the need to make all of education a prior in our state. This means that instead of cutting higher education year after year as Mississippi has done for three years now, that a long-term solution to adequate funding for all of education be established by the Legislature and the governor.

We also praise the media for sharing the information with the public that is available on the $98.3 million in cuts that our universities have sustained the last three years and the $48.3 million in additional cuts that are recommended by the Legislative Budget Committee for Fiscal Year 2004.

While other states have sustained revenue shortfalls, only three, Mississippi, Iowa and Massachusetts, have chosen to cut higher education in Fiscal Years 2001 and 2002. During this period, the other 47 states, including all of those contiguous to Mississippi, have prioritized their state budgets to provide increases to higher education.

Those states who support all of education also have the greatest salaries for their citizens. For every dollar spent on higher education, four dollars come back to the state.

The budget challenges facing our university system are severe. There is a gradual deterioration of our higher education system taking place. We are calling on parents of college-bound students, parents of college students and their families along with alumni from the eight universities to personally ask their legislators to prevent further cuts from taking place in higher education in FY04 and to find a long-term solution so that all of education will be a state budget priority.

John E. Walls Jr., ASU

Arthur S. Johnson, DSU

Clarence Johnson Jr., JSU

Allen Maxwell, MSU

Linda Ross Aldy, MUW

Mary Crump, MVSU

Edward J. Langston, USM

Briggs Hopson, UM

Write about an issue

besides Lott's words

I am sick and tired of reporters and politicians jumping on the band wagon and kicking Trent Lott for something he said. His comments were made as a "toast" for another senator turning 100 years old. It is not political policy. I don't believe it was intended to be a racist statement as so many have said.

No matter what is said or done, no one can change the history of our nation. Slavery is a scar of our history that will never completely heal.

Trent Lott has apologized for his comments. It may not have been stated exactly as some would have wanted, but it was his apology.

Please find something else to write about.

Brian Hill

Tupelo

Lott clearly meant

precisely his words

What Trent Lott said was no slip of the tongue. He knew exactly what he was going to say. He had a prepared speech written down he took to the podium. I saw it in his hands. He read from it. When he wrote it down, he had time to think what he was saying.

Ann Watts

Tupelo

Lott should stay

in U.S. Senate

So Sen. Trent Lott made an error in speaking about an old friend and distinguished American citizen and highly decorated World War II combat veteran, U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond.

No one can deny Thurmond garnered a large vote here in the South, and the people can be proud of his conversion to the acceptable view of "we all are born equal and have rights." The No. 1 right is the unyielding and undeniable right of free speech.

What Lott said is basically true. Had Thurmond got elected president of the United States, things might have been different. The same can be said of Gov. George Wallace. That would have really been explosive. Imagine what that would have caused and upset my dear friends who are constantly criticizing the Republican leadership.

I agree with Sen. Lott things would have been different, but not better. That is why here in America you have the right of free speech but more important if you are a citizen you have the unparalleled right to vote for whom you feel best fits your measure of the right person to be elected regardless of race, color, age, sex, etc. Enjoy your rights. Thank God for America.

I voted for Lott, Sen. Thad Cochran and Congressman Roger Wicker, and I would vote again for them tomorrow. Mississippi can be proud of these elected officials and we can be very proud of the men who are at the top in education, Highway Patrol and now the state Narcotics Division. I know I am. The way to get there is persevering, hard work and attention to God's word. Lott has done a lot of good for Mississippi and is in a position to do more for our state. All of the people especially in education do not let misguided words cloud up your mind, but think of the good Mississippi, with Lott, can accomplish for all of us.

Let's get on with important issues like education, Social Security, health care, prescription drugs, any potential for war.

Thomas Lucas

Pontotoc

Native Americans need

to rest in their graves

The skeletal remains of a Native American child discovered at an Oktibbeha County hospital construction site have given research another bag of bones to study. However, one can't help wondering how many more skeletons they need in their closets.

It's true we must move forward, but must we destroy everything in our path as we go? And whatever happened to one's right to rest in peace?

According to statements released, there have been other graves discovered in the same area, some dating back to 1400 A.D., marking this a historical site that should have been preserved, not destroyed.

Let's face it, when white men came to the country, they were accepted by the Indians who taught them how to survive in a wilderness like none other. Their kindness was repaid with diseases that killed thousands of every tribe, and as if that weren't enough, they were herded into groups like cattle and driven from their homes and land, leaving behind only their sacred burial grounds, and apparently those, too, must be destroyed. But if some group attempted to raise the USS Arizona for research, would we hear protest? When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Why not in America do as the natives do and leave things that's none of our business alone? This child should be returned to her final resting place and that site along with any other graves discovered should be treated with the same respect we demand of any cemetery. Grave robbing is against the law or does that law only pertain to certain people?

Louise Tallent

Starkville

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