January 16th, 2008 WW's Beloved Readers | Letters to the Editor
 

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The Net Effect


I am writing in response to Willamette Week ’s recent cover story about sexual assault at Lewis&Clark College titled “Trial by Facebook” [Jan. 9]. As a person working in the field of sexual assault and domestic violence, I appreciated that WW brought this serious issue to light at a campus in our community. I do hope to see follow-up in the future.

Given the prevalence of sexual assault, particularly experienced by college-aged women, any campus that does not require rape prevention education and claims to have no (or even few) reported sexual assaults is probably doing a good job at ignoring the problem at their university. Lewis&Clark, as well as many private and public universities across the country, do a grave disservice to all students by denying that sexual assault happens on their campus. In the advocacy field, we understand that nearly two-thirds of sexual assaults are never reported for a variety of reasons.

So, when I see a low number in reporting statistics, I know that it is a gross underestimate.

I would like to encourage readers to look at the criticism that Laura Sessions-Stepp received after her article about “gray rape” (a term that she seems to have coined herself) appeared in Cosmo magazine. I believe this concept about sexual assault is misguided and serves to further the backlash against many gains in the movement to change the public’s perception of this issue (similar to Katie Roiphe’s book The Morning After ).

Thank you for your coverage.

Ledena Mattox
Northeast 7th Avenue

Beth Slovic notes: Laura Sessions Stepp says she first heard of the concept of “gray” rape from university students.

Animal Harm


As a physician, I applaud Laura Ireland Moore and the National Center for Animal Law at Lewis&Clark for asking the Oregon Health&Science University to stop its live pig lab [Q&A, Jan. 9]. I’ve been following the trend toward humane teaching methods around the country, and OHSU is one of the last U.S. medical schools still using live animals to teach the basic principles of physiology.

My opposition to live animal labs began in medical school, and was strengthened during my fellowship training. At that time, my research project required performing laparoscopic surgery on live rabbits. It quickly became apparent to me that a number of the rabbits were able to feel pain, despite the administration of anesthesia. I immediately withdrew from that project, and successfully completed my training using ethical alternatives to the original rabbit surgery, and thus without ever harming any animals.

Computerized anatomical models and human patient simulators offer students the opportunity to practice and perfect various procedures without harming people or animals. Thus as a result, our residency program is turning out much more competent laparoscopists now that simulated human models are in widespread use. Cutting into live, anesthetized animals is simply not a logical way to teach the basics of human surgery, human anatomy, or any other human subject.

Samuel L. Jacobs, MD
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology Director of Undergraduate Medical Education, OBGYN UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Camden, N.J.

Moore Is Less


Ms. Moore should have stopped after “I’m not an expert on the Inuit” instead of ranting on about something she clearly knows nothing about. “Inuit” refers to several different groups of indigenous people that live in the Arctic, including Alaska, Canada, Russia and Greenland. The Inupiat (a.k.a. Eskimos) on the North Slope of Alaska, for instance, have lived on a subsistence diet consisting primarily of whale meat, caribou, fish, waterfowl, seals and other animals for thousands of years. When the Inupiats switch to a non-subsistence diet, they experience extremely high rates of diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

Furthermore, the subsistence hunt provides the very foundation of their culture, traditions, and sense of community and belonging. The Inupiats often experience severe depression and increased levels of alcoholism and other psychological disorders when their traditions are interrupted.

“Shipping in some tofu” isn’t an option. And polenta and TVP probably won’t work either. Let’s get real.

Chris Winter
Crag Law Center, legal counsel for the North Slope Borough and Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission

Law and the Natural Order


While it’s always interesting to see how two-hour conversations are edited down, and it is impossible to fully explore every animal-rights issue in a short column, I would like to contribute a few points.

We live in a society where we have choices and non-animal alternatives are available for our food, clothing, entertainment and science. In regards to animal research, I am sure at one point in time, people learned quite a bit from animals (the workings of major organs and systems of the body). Animal studies have certainly played a role in nearly every medical advancement. Even in those historical cases where many claim that animal research has contributed to some beneficial vaccines for humans, the reality is that scientific research has evolved to the point that other alternatives to animal research and testing are proven to be more effective, and eliminate the need to sacrifice animals unnecessarily and cruelly. I can’t think of any other technology that may have worked at the turn of last century that we continue to rely on today. Moving away from animal research and testing is good for the animals, human health, and taxpayers.

In the meantime, the laws that protect animals that are used for food, clothing, entertainment, and science are not adequate, nor are they adequately enforced. Animal law attorneys work within the system to try to strengthen these protections. I’m not quite sure how the “fact” about illegal acts was related to my interview, but I do want to make sure readers were aware that my answer to a question about this issue that wasn’t printed was that I am against violence and cruelty in all forms.

Laura Ireland Moore
National Center for Animal Law

Props to Profs


Thanks for showing that most full-time faculty at PSU are earning between $53K and $71K a year [“Class War,” Jan. 9]. At the recent presidential debate at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, millionaire ABC newsreader Charles Gibson claimed that profs there must be earning at least $100K. The audience laughed at him. But many people have assumed that professors must be well paid because their teaching and research are crucial to maintaining the competitiveness of the U.S. economy. The truth is that historically, the pay of most professors has been kept low to subsidize other budget items, including the generous paychecks that administrators award to each other. PSU, among others, better catch up on faculty pay while they still have some full-time profs left on campus.

Patrick Story
Southeast 44th Avenue

CORRECTION


Last week, WW incorrectly reported in the cover story “Trial by Facebook” the television station that aired It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia . It’s FX. Also, lyrics from the song “Enormous Penis” should have been attributed to Paul Sabourin and the singing group Da Vinci’s Notebook. WW regrets the errors.
 
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