Debate over honor codes continues


In today's climate, "honor codes" at Harvard University -- or any college -- won't prevent cheating by students of questionable character ("Can an honor code prevent cheating?" Sept. 2). However, a better admissions policy might.


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I attended a Boston college with an academic honor system that worked. Exams weren't proctored, and no one cheated. We took coffee breaks mid-final-exam with our textbooks in our book bags. We would no more have opened them than we would have worn shorts and a halter in a Minnesota winter. Take-home exams, given often, were difficult and independent efforts. The short-term benefit of the honor system was the air of trust with which students and faculty operated.

But the ultimate benefit to me is far more valuable. The habits of honesty I developed in college have served me well the last 55 years. I live a relaxed life because I have no lies to remember, no sneaky behavior to cover up, no phony attitudes to project. College isn't just about college. College is about life, too. A college honor system can be the foundation for honesty all one's life.


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There seems to be a double standard

A Sept. 6 letter explains every woman's duty concerning her use of birth control and abortion, etc. I, a man, am waiting to read a letter from a woman to tell me what my duty is pertaining to prostate cancer, vasectomy and any other health issues to pertain to only men. Maybe there are no letters like that because women have more sense than men.


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Among other things, the letter writer said that women should ensure that proper birth-control measures are in place to prevent pregnancies and avoid abortions. Why is it always the woman's responsibility to prevent pregnancies? Have men never heard of condoms? They are relatively inexpensive compared to birth-control pills.

Furthermore, in the event of a woman's pregnancy, the man can walk away -- no nine-month pregnancy, no possible job loss, no 24/7 care of a child and, in too many instances, no fiscal responsibility even when it is court-ordered. It's time that men start accepting some responsibility for the abortions some women feel forced to endure.


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Why can't our guy get press coverage?


The article on Mitt Romney and Ron Paul followers made no mention of another alternative ("Romney has work to do with Ron Paul believers," Sept. 2). Gary Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico, is the Libertarian Party presidential nominee. Minnesota has a rich third-party history. We elected three third-party candidates for governor in the 20th century, more than any state in the nation.

Twenty years ago, presidential candidate Ross Perot received 24 percent of the vote in Minnesota. There's an obvious bias by the Star Tribune against third-party candidates. When voices are shut out of the conversation, it is no wonder that the United States has the lowest voter turnout of any Western democracy.

Johnson came out against the drug war and for the legalization of marijuana in 2000, during his second term as governor. His views were promptly attacked by both parties. Like Paul, he favors repealing the Patriot Act and immediately ending our occupation of Afghanistan.

While I agree with these views, I strongly disagree with libertarian economic views. But I'm most opposed to censorship by the press.


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There's more to the productivity story


The recent story on workers mysteriously leaves out the fact that as productivity has increased over the past 35 years, wages have remained stagnant ("Productive workers put brakes on hiring," Sept. 2).

There's an equation in economics that relates productivity, profit and wages. As productivity goes up, so do profits and wages. Until the late 1970s -- through boom times, depressions and wars -- wages consistently tracked productivity.

But when productivity continued to increase, wages stopped rising. To make the equations balance, profit went up more rapidly. When business owners receive higher profits while the workers responsible for the profits remain mired in the mud of a wage swamp, something is terribly wrong.

The first step in righting this wrong is to inform people that it's happening. This is where the Star Tribune has failed to perform its mission.


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Let's embrace new ideas for health care


Editorial writer Jill Burcum's article on a cost-saving Medicaid initiative in southwestern Minnesota was inspiring and made me proud to be a Minnesotan ("Health care: A prairie vision," Sept. 2).

Congratulations to the Department of Human Services and all our leaders in the health field for their innovation and pioneering spirit in thinking "outside the box," and for working to develop a better system in administering health care for all of us.

As stated, this "new openness" at the state and federal levels leads to progressive action. Let's embrace new ideas.