The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

Letters to the editor

Community defends military

Dear Editor:

Hello, Professor Luttman. This last Sunday I took my daughter to Sonoma State for a tour of the campus. My daughter wants to be an educator as well. Our family has always respected and appreciate their teachers, so first of all, thank you for being an educator and dedicating your life to teaching. 

I took a copy of the STAR and read your letter to the editor.  Do you really believe that our future leaders, the students you just wrote this nonsense to, are in awe of your letter or of you?…“the serviceman’s career has been devoted to killing people and blowing things up”…You of all people should know that our service men and women aren’t ALL “devoted to killing people and blowing things up.” I’m not writing this to “educate” you on what our military service men and woman do, but just by the grace of God, a little luck and the fact that you live in this great country, free to write your thoughts, for all your students to read is something that I don’t believe you realize.  If Churchill wasn’t born and our military wasn’t determined to killing the enemy and blowing things up, you would not be able to write your letter to the editor.  You would be kissing the boots of the military because the country you would be living in would insist upon it. 

Uniformed public servants, especially our military, will always rank higher on our gratitude list than your noble respectable profession (that’s just a fact, not an insult). My family and I will always say “thank you” to our service men and woman who devote their lives and time to serve our country (they don’t get tenure, they volunteer).  


 Leo P. Grover


Dear Editor, 

In response to the disgraceful letter that was written by Professor Luttmann, I am appalled that a professor would even attempt to compare his work to that of our brave military men and women. I will not deny that being an educator and enriching the lives of students is of great importance; however, I think he has forgotten that he has the pleasure of getting paid to do so within the safety of an American classroom. 

Professor Luttmann does not have to worry about being called to battle or have enemy combatants firing at him, and most importantly, he is not voluntarily putting himself at risk, on a daily basis, of losing his life. Many of our soldiers will be scarred for life by the things that they’ve had to see, hear, and do, and they will probably receive little to no appreciation for it. 

For Professor Luttmann to diminish their work to nothing other than “killing people and blowing things up” is an extremely dishonest, offensive, and demeaning statement. Protecting our freedom ensures that we can continue to provide an education to Americans for generations. These are just a few privileges that we get to experience while our armed services struggle to fight for America every day. 

Professor Luttmann, how dare you compare your life and line of work to that of our courageous, selfless, patriotic men and women that fight for our freedom and defend our country and people, without the expectation of so much as a thank you. They protect millions of American strangers every day, many of whom are ungrateful and unsupportive. Saying “thank you” to our military personnel is the least that any of us can do. 

To all of the men and women who have served and are currently serving in our armed forces, thank you – you have my undying gratitude and respect, you are all my heroes.     

– Lindsay Shenefiel


Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to Dr. Luttmann’s letter to the editor, published in Issue 13 of the STAR. Like Dr. Luttmann, I have a deep respect for the important work that educators do. I must respectfully disagree, however, with his characterization that the “serviceman’s career has been devoted to killing people and blowing things up.”

Sometimes, when people disagree with an armed conflict, this disagreement is communicated in the form of derogatory comments directed at armed service members. I find that these comments usually come from a lack of understanding on how to express disagreement for the war without denigrating the soldiers who have participated. Dr. Luttmann has the opportunity to become more educated on the matter by accessing the “Veterans on Campus” link ( and entering the enrollment key “sonoma73.” I encourage him to try this brief training out, and to be more thoughtful in the future about how his comments may affect the ability of all students to feel welcome here at SSU.

– Andy Kerlow-Myers, PhD

Post-Doctoral Counseling Fellow, SSU Counseling and Psychological Services


Staff empathizes, seeks understanding for registration

Dear Editor,

I’m writing to respond to the opinion about registration written by Ms. Erica Purcell in the Sonoma State Star.  I work in the Dean’s office for Social Sciences.  I can truly sympathize with students who are out there working hard trying to get the education they are paying for and graduate in four years but are having trouble getting the classes that they need.  These woes have been a part of the system since I went through college back in the late eighties and early nineties.  

I would like to address Miss Purcell and say that though  it may not seem like it, we spend months and months out of the year perfecting the schedules, trying to accommodate student and instructor needs,  all within the constraints of CSU regulations about how much or how little we can offer.  It takes hours and hours of man power and dozens of people to put this together.  And believe me: the students are at the forefront of our thoughts all the time.  We really are trying and though it may seem random and disorganized it is not.   We do fall short on need, but we are truly doing the best with the resources  given to us by the state.  

The best advice I can give a student is to talk to the department faculty about why the classes aren’t being offered; or what you would like to see offered.  SSU has great faculty, and they are accessible and want to help students.  Your faculty are your best tool for working through this system.  

I really get the point Ms. Purcell was making in her article about the lack of core classes.  I wish it were within my ability to make this pervasive problem go away forever, but it has been nagging at the state school system for decades, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away any time in the near future.

Every effort is made by those of us who work at SSU to try and meet your needs, and for you to get a quality education in a reasonable time, but it’s not easy.  I hope we can all work together on this.


Karen Leitsch


Student, professor challenge university’s finances

Dear Editor,

The opening of the controversial Student Center was promoted with great fanfare. The celebration for the long delayed Student Center was actually just a partial opening in that much of the building is still being finished. Students for the next 30 years will pay $300 extra per year in student fees to cover the construction costs and interest on the Center. The total cost of the grand opening celebration is yet unknown, but two unnecessary items of wasteful spending have now been identified.

Sonoma State University Entrepreneurial Activities spent $1,030 on a one-time-use 400 square foot banner to promote the opening of the Student Center. The 40 ft. by 10 ft. banner was hung at the beginning of the fall semester announcing, “Are You Ready for the Big Reveal? Student Center Grand Opening November 5, 2013.”  In late October when the opening was delayed someone patched over the banner, keeping it simply “Grand Opening November.” The banner is now gone and would seemingly not be usable ever again. 

During the same time period SSU Entrepreneurial Activities purchased an Event Timer to display as a large count-down digital clock that announced the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the Student Union opening. The event timer cost the university $689. The event timer may actually be usable in the future on campus, but modifications to the wording will be required. Perhaps SSU can do a days, hours, minutes and seconds countdown for the retirement of top wasteful administrative officials.

While the spending of $1,719 on two frivolous items to promote a student center opening may seem like a small amount on a multi-million dollar campus, it is not an insignificant amount to academic departments with operating expense budgets frozen in time, and when copy expense funds run out at the end of the semester. It is not an insignificant amount for working students who have to cover the additional $300 a year with interest bearing loans payable after graduation. Nor is it insignificant to a faculty person who has been without a raise for seven years, and just got a paltry increase of less than half the wasted amount.

It is time for the SSU administration to remember that we are a public taxpayer supported university established for students from the 99% and not an institution for privileged elites and wasteful spending.

– Professor Peter Phillips

Phillips is a professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University, President of Media Freedom Foundation, and co-host with Mickey Huff of the Project Censored Show on KPFA—Pacifica Radio.  For an on-line version of this report see:



I am frustrated with the direction of the school. On my own time I have been tuition and debt increase at Sonoma State, and I am appalled with what I have found. According to a Press Democrat article published in 2012, SSU’s debt has increased by 355% since 2000. Obviously, the debt can be attributed to the Green Music Center (which the public uses more than the students) and the new Student Center, which cost the school more than $60 million.

All CSUs pay the same base tuition, but depending on which school you go to, the fees will vary. Sonoma State already has the third highest total tuition at $7,234 a year, yet we are a school with less than 10,000 students.

Now that we have the Student Center, our debt will not go away for an extended amount of time, and by then who knows how many other buildings will be built on campus. Surely the money could have gone somewhere else, maybe to even shore up some of the current buildings on campus such as Stevenson or Rachel Carson Hall. The only way it seems that the debt will be paid off is through the students in tuition increases. The problem there is that the higher tuition becomes, the likelihood that attending Sonoma State will become an issue for future students and may cause them to look elsewhere.

This entire project was supposed to be beneficial to students, but other than a few other meeting rooms and places to eat, it clearly seems that this was a waste of money, time, and resources.  


Jon Gantvoort

A concerned student

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