LETTERS: UNLV mascot report a waste of taxpayer money

It’s certainly refreshing that in times where there are issues of critical worldwide importance, the Review-Journal chose the article on UNLV’s mascot as the featured front-page headline (“Rebels moniker passes muster,” Tuesday R-J). For those of you intrigued by its content, this story from a pillar of journalistic excellence deals with UNLV’s Rebels nickname and its mascot — Hey Reb! — being offensive to a portion of the students.

Sen. Harry Reid was involved in the movement, feeling the nickname could have possible ties to Confederacy symbols. At UNLV President Len Jessup’s request, Rainier Spencer — whose title is chief diversity officer at UNLV — spent five months investigating the claims, only to come up empty. Mr. Spencer and presumably his staff (since he is the chief) failed to come up with sufficient evidence to veto the name or the mascot.

Mr. Spencer made no mention of the amount of taxpayer dollars wasted on this effort, and his report left me wondering what a “diversity officer” does when such an inquiry isn’t taking place.

Sen. Reid cannot seem to understand what is important to taxpayers: using university funds as a means to educate our youth, rather than as a lectern for unfounded claims.

Robert Latchford


Tighten alcohol control

Your editorial on marijuana, which proposed removing the drug from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, was thought-provoking (“Classifying cannabis,” Nov. 30 Review-Journal). I’d like to suggest that a controlled substance does not necessarily have to be equated with a drug being illegal, only that in some instances there are restrictions on its purchase (age limits, etc.).

The DEA says Schedule I drugs have “no currently accepted medical use, a high potential for abuse and have potentially severe psychological or physical dependence,” and while nicotine is one that comes to mind, alcohol is what I’d like to focus on. We know that Prohibition was an idiotic notion, but in all fairness, the so-called “Noble Experiment” was based on the fact that alcohol was responsible for ruining families, crime up to and including murder, fatal accidents, encouraging promiscuity and wrecking the health of users in numbers that dwarf all other drugs combined since the dawn of recorded history.

Yes, alcohol can be used in lieu of a sleeping pill and for cleansing wounds, and many use it at meal time. But for all practical purposes, it’s a dangerous party drug, and it needs to be put in its proper place as the big daddy of all Schedule I drugs. Remove marijuana and replace it with alcohol. Doing so will more clearly identify the war on a plant as being a thousand times more idiotic than the Noble Experiment ever was.

Fred Bilello


Politicians and refugees

As the question of whether to accept Syrian refugees heats up, several potential problems need to be addressed. The first is security. How can we be certain that they are who they say they are? How do we know that, among the mass of mostly military-aged young men, there aren’t Islamic terrorists?

Then there’s the question of whether these refugees are willing to accept and obey our laws and customs, and agree to live by them. The federal government the refugees will be vetted, whatever that means, and that they will not be allowed in unless they pass stringent scrutiny. The end result is that the government can never guarantee that the refugees are safe to let in, regardless of what any of our elected officials say.

So, when confronted with matters like this, the president, those in Congress and state elected officials are prone to place refugees in places far away from where they live. That way, if/when there is trouble from the refugees, the politicians are far removed from it and can feign concern, demand justice, etc. But since they aren’t directly affected, nothing gets done.

As a solution, I propose that when these refugees are brought into America, they be placed in towns and cities within a 50-mile radius of Washington, D.C., and/or the capital cities of states whose governors support taking the refugees. That way, these elected officials, who seem to have so much concern for refugees’ welfare, could regularly visit them.

Bill Wilderman

Las Vegas

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