School Spirit

To the Editor,

Your Skinny item about Arizona International Campus is crap ("Creepshow," Tucson Weekly, November 6). Whoever wrote the story does not know any of the facts. Sure, an editorial should be opinionated, but it should not be backed up with false facts! Let me, an AIC student and editor of The AIC Edition--a student-run newspaper at AIC--clarify some basic facts.

Mailbag First, students enrolled at AIC are also currently enrolled at the UA. We are full-fledged UA students. This is not a new concept brought on by the move! I live in Graham-Greenlee, a UA residence hall. I visit the recreational center, the libraries, the M.S.U. and many other UA facilities often. Many AIC students take classes on the main campus. Just because the school is moving does not mean that it is changing drastically.

With this concept in mind, let another point be made clear. AIC is still keeping its own policies, procedures and curriculum. The move is not changing our mission or our purpose.

Finally, the Tucson Weekly is naive about Celestino Fernández. He is resuming a professorial position at the main campus next year in the sociology department, no doubt about it. Actually he is currently doing administration work there. Also, the position new UA President Peter Likins offered him is higher than the position he chose to take. Obviously, if he were power-hungry, he would have taken the more powerful position, which is not the case.

The Tucson Weekly needs to start publishing articles based on a little bit of truth. Once AIC's success is apparent, your paper is going to feel awfully embarrassed and stupid.

--Amy Winkler

The Skinny responds: Well, gosh, Amy, we sure didn't realize AIC never was a separate place at all! Thanks for filling us in! You are one sharp editor, the only one in town to notice this! What a scoop! But, please, run your news flash by the regents and the UA president and the AIC provost and all those faculty and students! They sure will be surprised! And then, please, switch over to PR and forget about journalism. Because unfortunately, Amy, saying so doesn't make it so.

Number one, AIC has always had a murky status. It was intended to be a separate school but it was just too darn wobbly to stand on its own two feet. So it piggybacked onto the UA, making use of the UA's accreditation to persuade doubting students that their diploma would be worth something. Plus, its students have been enrolling in the UA's classes because its own offerings are so slim. At the same time, AIC used its never-very-well-defined special status to bypass all the UA's curriculum regulations and scholarly safeguards. Ex-President Pacheco used to say, not very helpfully, that AIC was just different but that he didn't know exactly how. What it evolved into was a wayward branch campus.

Number two, AIC has now been stripped of that branch campus status and demoted to just one of many colleges within the UA system for a period of three to five years. After that, it may spin off as a separate institution, and it may not. An alert journalist such as yourself should have heard about this already, Amy. This change in status means that AIC has to change its policies and procedures. Specifically, the bizarre hiring and firing procedures that Celestino Fernández devised almost all by his lonesome must now fall into line with the rest of the UA, where peer review among faculty prevails. This is one of the specific points that new President Likins agreed to in his settlement with Professor Kalí Tal: not only does Tal get her job back, all the other AIC profs will now be protected from the kind of bait-and-switch hiring and arbitrary firing that heretofore prevailed at AIC.

Number three, the regents themselves have denounced the curriculum, variously calling it "touch-feely" and "leftist." The regents have ordered up changes, and as editor of The AIC Edition, Amy (a fine paper, the Skinny is just sure), it's high time you learned that the regents rule the whole Arizona university system.

Number four, Likins did indeed offer Fernández a lower-level position than he had before. At AIC, Fernández has been a high-and-mighty provost, answerable only to the UA president. Likins said he'd keep him on as a dean, one of several on the UA campus, answerable to the UA provost and the president. Plus, deans earn a lower salary than a provost. Something else you should know, Amy, while you're busy calling others naïve, is that this is how you get rid of somebody you don't want: you offer the person a demotion. Fernández's return to teaching in the UA sociology department had nothing whatever to do with Likins. Fernández was just relying on the tenure he got years ago, a safeguard denied to the professors at AIC.

Embarrassed and stupid? The Skinny? No, not exactly. Cynical, yes, about the corruption that eroded AIC, but heck, we have to admit it, downright hopeful about its evolution in the future.

Fed Up

To the Editor,

I was compelled to take up the pen after reading the article "Food Fight" (Tucson Weekly, November 6). Most disturbing was Tim Vanderpool's pathetic attempt at objectivity when faced with Mitch Sternberg's vitriolic hate.

Vanderpool does the public a disservice to try to create a competition of personalities instead of a search for community consensus. He also overlooks the fact that a couple of years ago The Weekly itself profiled Brian Flagg in its Best of Tucson issue.

Anyone who has been to Casa Maria during feeding time and did not have their heart broken needs to call Dr. Jack Copeland immediately. I seriously wonder how someone could see these poor kids and not be moved. Speaking of children, I'm curious as to what kind of elementary school teacher would say, "I'll try to punch him back"? Would Mitch share this same strategy on the playground of the school where he works?

Although I've only lived here a bit more than a decade, it raises my hackles to hear a recent transplant say, "I'm growing frustrated at seeing my parks becoming unwelcome territory." I'm not sure how they do things in California, but in Tucson the parks belong to everyone, not just to people who live near them.

Sternberg belongs on the Toole Avenue Task Force as much as George Custer would belong on an Indian Affairs Commission. I really think where Mitch belongs is in Scottsdale or Mesa. Tucson needs him like it needs another mulberry tree.

--Jon Murdo Matheson

Pipe Tripe

To the Editor,

Regarding "Flow Job" (Tucson Weekly, October 9) and the related letters to the editor: This is the final word on PVC piping. As a plumber licensed in the grand state of Texas, I know about heat, and what it can do to plastic pipe, so I'll keep it in layman's terms that all may understand.

Let's start with some basic forms of plastic (omitting the scientific names). There's the well-known and age-old PVC, which comes in more than one form. The most common is schedule 40, which can be used for potable water. Now, if you put this kind of pipe on a hot water heater you will have problems very shortly, but otherwise it is a cheap and very effective alternative to a copper supply line coming from the main in the street. Incidentally, this piping is glued together at the joint with a primer and then a cement.

On a larger scale we have the water main itself. It is slip-fitted vice-glued, since with larger piping glue is unreliable. As the main alternately heats and cools it expands and contracts, so slippage is vital. With glue there would be leaks.

Unlike Tinkertoys, these joints are engineered and tested way above and beyond the standards for even Saudi Arabia. Just because the pipe was developed in Germany doesn't mean that it won't work here. In fact, it was their purpose to engineer a type of piping that could handle extreme conditions. By the way, PVC is used in Saudi. A temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit is hot, but it would take about a 150- or 160-degree day outside to get the temp to 130 in the pipe, which is the temperature at which they are hydrostatically tested.

Briefly, I'll refer to two more types of plastic pipe. There is ABS, which you'll almost always find on the drainage side of a newer home. It is a black plastic that is also glued with a similarly colored cement (no primer). Don't use this pipe for water. It's designed mainly for drainage/sewer. Then there is the aforementioned polyethylene. 'Nuff said on that.

Now for the main gripe. It takes many years to earn a degree in civil engineering, and it is apparent that Kevin Haberle studied well. His information was more than correct--it was important. Paula Huff basically doesn't know what the hell she's talking about. If she had no knowledge of the subject for which she was conducting an interview, then she shouldn't have gone for an impromptu interview, especially with someone holding a degree in engineering. As Haberle is an engineer and not a reporter it was not his fault that Huff went for his invitation unprepared.

Some keen examples of ineptitude:

1. Sure, ductile iron pipe doesn't soften or weaken when heated. It does, however, rust on occasion. Rust tastes nasty. And do note that there are continuing problems with this type of pipe even after correct installation, not only here in Tucson but in many cities and states around the nation. Also, water traveling through iron pipes gets pretty hot.

2. PVC has been around for almost 50 years, so a report in 1980 is recent enough, considering it had already been in use for almost 30 years in the states and 60 in other countries around the globe. Besides, the report only gives direct test results, like strength (exceptional), toxicity (nil) and durability (extreme). To the point, if the ingredients are listed on a box of Wheaties, why pay a lab to find them over and over? Newer reports could only state the same thing.

3. Haberle states where DR 18 is used in his letter: everywhere but in the Catalina Foothills. Paula, get a grip--try a reading comprehension course.

4. No, Huff never stated that PVC was a new material in her piece, but again, that's not what the man said in his letter. Reading comprehension; she should learn it. Know it. Live it. Especially if she wants to be a journalist.

My advice is to carry a tape recorder, because all of this miscommunication seems to be the reporter's fault. It is a BFD when it comes to getting the facts from the source, and if the back of a schedule sheet seems sufficient to a reporter, then that person won't be a reporter for long. I don't care what Haberle's gripe was concerning that. It's mine, though. I am sure he stated "talk to my supervisor" just to get her off the line. And what really burns me is that her response in an uneducated, opinionated and factless retort filled with more questions than answers-- a sure sign of sensationalism.

--Bernie Lichtefeld

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