Published the week of September 13-19, 2000

It's about time Dennis Spellmann was exposed for what he really is ("The Talented Mr. Spellmann," RFT, Sept. 6). His interests have nothing to do with higher education. He is a ruthless businessman and is ruled by the almighty dollar. He is referred to as a visionary, but his vision is motivated by greed and profit. He associates accomplishments with numbers and is without concern for the quality of the education of the Lindenwood students.

His newest project is a $12 million building named after him while his faculty is overloaded, underpaid and working with inadequate classroom supplies and equipment. They are exasperated with the system at Lindenwood and helpless to fight against their dictator. How is it that the "team players" in an educational institution are ruled by the greed of a profit-driven businessman without regard for his teammates or for the intent of its founders?

We need an academic Robin Hood to take the university and give it back to the faculty and students for the purpose it was meant to serve.
Rebecca Kaiser

I was a student at Lindenwood for one year, during 1998-99. During that time I lived in Cobbs Hall and in the trailer park on campus. Those two buildings were major reasons why I left that school and now attend Maryville University.

The housing at Lindenwood does not come anywhere near the level that other colleges in the area set. There were no amenities in the dorm buildings or the trailers. Items that are standard at other colleges are nonexistent at LU.

Internet, e-mail access and cable TV were not available in the dorms. Cable was available in the trailers, but the students were held responsible for the bill. And I know of some instances of coaches paying for the cable of some of their players. The Internet has become an important factor in education today, so when we needed it, we would have to go to the computer lab. The computer lab was a room with 25 or so computers, and at any given time only about 10 or 15 were functional.

You guys can say all that you want about Dennis Spellmann improving the school financially, but he has turned the school from a university into a glorified high school. Student life on campus is part of the college experience -- except at LU.
Kevin Halley

It's good that the city is finally thinking about getting people to want to live in the city and especially downtown ("True Believer," RFT, Aug. 30). If the city really wants to get people to live there, it should do other things besides just keeping buildings residential. Who's going to live in urban areas that lack shopping, eating and entertainment?
Mike Chesnut

The story about the Barikzy family showed a different side of the war that usually isn't shown to Western eyes ("The Torture Place," RFT, Aug. 9). I am actually happy that article came out to show the injustice given to the people who supported the communist movement in Afghanistan. But Barikzy and, I have noticed, many Westerners in general seem to judge Islam by its people. I firmly believe religion should be judged by its scripture. There is no verse in the Holy Koran or in Sahih Bukhari Hadith that ever states to torture your enemy for more blessings; these are innovations (bidah) that people associate with Islam.

These country boys (the Taliban) do not have any awareness of Islamic teachings or principles, so they make up their own rules and force it among the helpless people. Although growing a beard like the Prophet Mohammed is following the footsteps and counts as ajir (reward), it never was forced and can't be forced on the people. Women and men are equal under Islam and share the same rights; (women have) more rights then men in many respects, but sadly this isn't the case in almost any Islamic country. In Islam, women must cover their hair and bosom and be covered from their wrists to their ankles; most any style of clothing can compensate for this requirement.

The Taliban, however, use their own culture that existed in the small villages they were raised in to say that women must cover from head to toe and cover the face as well; this is not Islam but innovation. These are just two examples of innovation, and it's limited not to Afghanistan but to every Islamic country in the world. When a country has been in war for over 20 years, educational facilities are lacking and certified teachers are almost unheard of, and this is when the problem starts. Although the article did point out the ground realities of Afghanistan, it failed to prove how the tortures related to Islam but rather proved how little so-called Muslim Afghans know about Islam.

Mr. Barikzy stated that he has seen "the terrible face of Islam." Before Mr. Barikzy defines what Islam is in his book, he should separate Islamic truth from the innovations Afghans have made on Islam. I have not heard anyone claim, after U.S. dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that they had seen the "terrible face of Christianity." Furthermore, Mr. Barikzy did not mention where the Afghans had learned these torture tactics. Most of these torture tactics were used by communists on the helpless Afghans.

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