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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about college diversity, use of the Mahdi Army name, fuel budgets, and praeteritio.

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Education quality is not dependent on diversity

In response to your April 14 editorial, "Redefining campus diversity": You argue that America's elite universities must attempt to become more "diverse" by enrolling more students from low-income families. Although following that idea probably won't do much harm, I fail to discern any reason why doing so would make any appreciable difference.

Even though we speak of selective or elite schools as if they are markedly superior to other schools, when it comes to actual education, they aren't. Mathematics, physics, economics, and other subjects are not taught differently or better at an "elite" university than at a solid state institution. Nor is it true that having a degree from an elite college does much to improve one's lifetime earnings.

Nor is there any benefit from the supposed increase in "diversity" in having a few more students from lower-income families. The notion that there is some social or educational benefit from increasing racial diversity is pretty weak; the idea that economic diversity somehow improves the campus is risible.

The best admission policy is to forget about trying to engineer a "diverse" student body and just worry about admitting the brightest students.


Don't perpetuate Mahdi Army's name

Regarding the April 15 article, "US aims to counter Mahdi Army clout": In our efforts to undermine Moqtada al-Sadr's so-called "Mahdi Army," we should begin by no longer calling this group of suicide bombers, assassins, and evildoers by that holy, halo-polishing name.

After all, in Shiite Islam, the Mahdi happens to be the Twelfth Imam.

So when the radical, self-anointed cleric, Mr. Sadr, has the audacity to label his own personal bodyguard and vigilante-style killers by that blessed name, do we really need to parrot that patently false label forever more?


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