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Continued: Readers Write (April 22): Characterizing Islam, judging leadership, rating professors, deciding on marijuana

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  • Last update: April 21, 2014 - 6:17 PM

This could help clear up that adjunct pay issue

To the reasons Chuck Chalberg gave for publishing student evaluations of college classes in “Let the (academic) buyer beware” (April 19), I would add this one: Let’s compare the students’ opinions of teaching skills between professors with tenure and the nontenured adjunct teachers who are so poorly paid and so hardworking. Let’s find out whether the shoddy treatment of adjuncts can be justified in any way by their contributions to students’ educations.

The ratings of adjuncts, I expect, will remind us of a TV commercial, paraphrased: “Teaching is all I do, and I do it well.”

Mary McLeod, St. Paul

 

MARIJUANA

Burden of proof ought to run both ways

Gov. Mark Dayton’s commissioner of health, Dr. Ed Ehlinger, says the following about medical marijuana: “There’s lots of anecdotal evidence, but the scientific evidence is not there in terms of prescribing marijuana to patients” (“Medical marijuana bill is back,” April 11).

In other words, anecdotal evidence, even lots of it, doesn’t count as evidence. It’s mere hearsay. OK. We understand that.

However, let’s also understand that marijuana has never been proven beyond anecdote to be harmful to humans or a menace to society. Therefore, parents with epileptic children should not need a prescription from Ehlinger to administer a substance whose efficacy is apparent after just one dose and whose danger was never proven scientifically. Those in government have it both ways. Anecdotal evidence is not good enough to approve an herb with beneficial effects. But anecdotal evidence was plenty good enough to criminalize that herb and send people to prison for using it. Shouldn’t legislators in a just society be just as vigilant as to what becomes a felony as to what becomes an acceptable drug?

Before prison gates slam shut on anyone else’s life for a marijuana offense, lawmakers need to shoulder the burden of proof and demonstrate by the same scientific standards that govern drug approval that marijuana is a dangerous drug whose manufacture, sale and use justify felony charges punishable by prison time and property forfeiture, both of which are prima facie harmful to humans.

Meanwhile, marijuana advocates have nothing to prove. It’s simply time to scrap all archaic 20th-century laws prohibiting marijuana.

David J. Hanson, Minneapolis

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