LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

What he really, really wants

In response to the Cougar story (July 8) on controversy caused by inflammatory rhetoric, and the accompanying Cougar editorial demanding retaliation:

This latest campaign of memo-writing was provoked by President Smith's assertions, in writing, that he saw no evidence of discrimination against me. I am convinced that he knows otherwise, and that these representations were made on the advice of lawyers and in bad faith.

The president sent me this letter following an investigation by the UH affirmative action office, which showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that not only was there discrimination, but in fact a veritable witch hunt was still under way, the likes of which we have not seen in this country since the Salem trials.

The Cougar claims it has trouble understanding what it is that I want. I will respond in one sentence. I want a faculty position in Russian history for which I am qualified based on my publications and professional experience, and which the university owes me as meaningful affirmative action in restitution for past discrimination.

As far as the May 19 document: I was trying to set up an appointment to discuss my academic agenda with Provost Sheridan, and the "no evidence of discrimination" assertions and lack of administration's efforts in the implementation of a prior agreement with President Smith.

I was never told flat-out that there can be no meeting, but was given a run-around. After a brief conversation with the history department chairman, Tom O'Brien, it became evident that the administration was playing games with me.

O'Brien evidently knew all about it, and could not miss a chance to "stick it" to me. I saw no reason whatever why I should take this abuse, and I don't now.

I decided to stand up for myself, but also for everyone else who is next in line for such treatment (and that includes you), but will not have the guts or ability to respond in kind.

I deny categorically that any of my correspondence, at any time, past or present, contained threats of violence. Ever. I firmly believe that the pen is mightier than the sword and intend to test the limits of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and Article One of the Texas Constitution (which gives us greater intellectual and creative freedom than the First Amendment) to achieve my academic objectives.

Fabian Vaksman

doctoral candidate, history

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