Balance needed The Citadel lists that its mission is “to educate and develop our students to become principled leaders in all walks of life by instilling the core values of The Citadel in a disciplined and intellectually challenging environment.”

It is my position that The Citadel’s new elective course, “Conservative Intellectual Tradition in America,” will not fulfill that mission unless the school creates a balance by offering an equally prestigious elective in “Other Intellectual Traditions in America,” which do exist and upon which our great country was built.

I applaud The Citadel inviting guest lecturers. But the course description at http://www.citadel.edu/root/conservative looks more like a campaign poster.

It promises “a veritable who’s who of guest lecturers from conservative political circles.” This taxpayer wants a veritable who’s who of guest lecturers from other political traditions to be offered next semester.

On January 10, The Citadel news service quoted Provost and Dean of the College Brig. Gen. Sam Hines as saying, “To our knowledge, no other college in the country has a program like the Conservative Intellectual Tradition.”

Why then is The Citadel partnering with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute to offer this class online to ISI members? According to its website, the mission of the ISI is to combat supposed left-wing indoctrination on college campuses.

This year, the lecturers included conservative political activist Phyllis Schlafly. In 2012, is it really relevant to invite Schlafly, who has spent her life campaigning against equal rights? Schlafly was quoted as telling students that “feminist is a bad word and everything they stand for is bad.”

Where is the balance at this state-funded college? I was not surprised to discover that there were no female cadets at her lecture.

I would suggest that the Citadel Board of Trustees remember that a state-funded school should educate all students and integrate some balance into its courses.

AMY S. CONDON Edgewater Park Charleston

Harbor dredging The two issues of greatest economic importance to South Carolina are:

¦ Deepening by five feet the channel in Charleston Harbor to accommodate larger container ships that will pass through the widened Panama Canal after construction, and

¦ Continued operation of the 78-year-old U.S. Export-Import Bank, which provides critical financing to foreign companies, enabling them to buy American-made products, like Boeing’s planes and many other products manufactured in South Carolina.

Exports from our state are growing rapidly, up 21 percent last year, and Ex-Im Bank purchase financing allows manufacturers to keep increasing sales abroad. In the past five years Ex-Im Bank made over $3.4 billion for the U.S. government.

Several years ago when it became apparent that the Charleston channel had to be deepened for the port to remain competitive, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham was willing to use an earmark to start the planning.

As a matter of principle Republican Sen. Jim DeMint opposes earmarks, and declined to make an exception. So nothing happened, critical time was lost, and planning is only now starting up for real, or so it can be hoped. DeMint’s intransigence badly hurt the port and its competitive position, and by extension, the state as a whole.

Now the Ex-Im Bank needs to be reauthorized by Congress. Graham is for it, DeMint is opposed.

DeMint was elected by the people of this state to act in their best interests, not his own. When he does not recognize his duty, he is a failure as an elected official and he should resign.

He certainly should not be re-elected.

TOM CORCORAN Seabrook Island Road

Johns Island School funding House bill H.4894/S.1325 promotes tax deductions for private schooling, home schooling and contributions to scholarship funds for both.

In other words, it is yet another attempt to avoid equitable funding across all of the state’s school districts.

This is what the documentary “Corridor of Shame” attempted to do as a result of seven school districts suing South Carolina for equitable funding.

A lower court denied the implication, so the suit was forwarded to our Supreme Court. It has yet to be resolved.

It’s been like this for 100 years, so why change it?

Yet, equitable funding for public schools is the cornerstone for advancing our public schools, which are near the bottom in the United States.

Once the hurdle of equitable school funding is reached, schools can:

1) Vet teacher candidates carefully. Only one in 10 or 15 should be admitted.

2) Require candidates to pursue M.S. degrees to achieve expertise in their subjects and classroom performance.

3) Pay them on the average of $50,000 per annum, according to years of service, similar to salaries being paid in more advanced Northern states. Having only qualified teachers eliminates the need for teacher evaluation and pay questions.

It has to start with equitable school funding.

Are our governor, legislature and judiciary up to it?

AUVO KEMPPINEN Lake Moultrie Drive

bonneau It takes a village I am the mother of two beautiful daughters. My younger child was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3.

I remember leaving the doctor’s office with my child, a new label and a sunken heart. The Disability Board gave me information about programs available for children under the age of 9, but that was it.

When my daughter turned 9, I was told that after-school care was no longer available, and summer care is nonexistent.

Programs are available when she turns 17, but nothing in between.

The public after-school programs are not staffed to handle special needs children.

Every summer, I embark on a journey to find a caregiver I can actually afford who is able to care for a child with autism. My child can be challenging in a social setting.

The Charleston County parks do a fabulous job of providing an array of programs for children. Some last almost all summer long. Only one camp for my child was available.

Camp Good Times is a fabulous program for kids with autism, but it is only three weeks out of the summer.

I cannot wait for the state or the county to offer services that will afford her the same opportunities of a mainstream child. I will have to create it myself.

So I am calling for brains, hearts and backbones. I need help to create a foundation that will provide after-school care and summer care for children with autism or special needs.

I am specifically looking for two grant writers, one attorney, one paralegal, one banker, two physicians, two teachers, three business partners and as many workers as I can get.

I can raise money, and I will change policy. Failure is not an option for me.

According to the Autism Speaks website, around 1 in 88 American children are on the autism spectrum. We need more and we need it now.

I have worked at MUSC for 23 years. MUSC changes what’s possible in health care every day. It’s time I change what’s possible for my child.

I hope you will help. Please contact me at Kuderkaty@yahoo.com or 843-200-0190. My address is 9 Shadowmoss Parkway, Charleston, S.C. 29414.

KATY KUDER Shadowmoss Parkway

Charleston Escaped cow Oh what hilarity ensued when a poor, defenseless cow escaped while being taken to a slaughterhouse.

What’s a little buckshot? Well, the cow did grow madder when shot.

Charleston County Animal Control officers allowed the owners to regain ownership of the animal. This cow has been scared out of its wits and is shot and bleeding and no one offers physical aid.

Nope, they just allow the cow to be taken to suffer overnight and then go to the slaughterhouse.

It is no wonder that South Carolina turns a blind eye to dog fights and puppy mills.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

BRENDA WEITZEL Farmhill Drive

Summerville Splendid concert On May 6 at Saint James Episcopal Church a newly-formed Saint James Community Orchestra gave its spring concert under the baton of Edward Moore, choirmaster at the church. Apparently he was born with a baton in his hand.

He led his 24 musicians with a sure hand and a strong heart through a mixed program beginning with Bizet’s Carmen Suite, then into a splendid interlude of chamber selections from the familiar to the hauntingly beautiful minimalist liturgical pieces by Arvo Part and Max Richter.

He finished with a triumphal reading of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Overture.

It was passionate, professional and demonstrated that artistic accomplishments can occur outside of downtown Charleston.

This is an orchestra and a conductor to be watched and cheered on.

DICK REED Telfair Way Charleston

Voter ID I read the article regarding voter ID and am surprised at Susan Dunn’s remark. She said “explaining all this to the public is going to be very hard.”

If people cannot understand the concept of voter IDs, then maybe they shouldn’t be voting.

GRETCHEN KRANE Sycamore Drive

Summerville Marriage limit Yesterday’s headline of the Rev. Billy Graham’s support of an amendment to the North Carolina Constitution to limit marriage to be between one man and one woman shows the unbelievable ability and, ostensibly, desire of fundamentalist evangelists to sharpen attempts to marginalize and discriminate against gay and lesbian individuals and to bend the Bible’s words into a spiritual weapon.

My reading of the Bible and its doctrines tells me that Jesus Christ would be more than pleased to bless a same sex marriage.

His only hope would be that any marriage is filled with love, service and devotion to one another.

In the King James Bible, a clear example of a gay covenant/marriage, in my interpretation, was between Jonathan and David, “their love surpassing the love of a woman.”

Religious marriage today shows an unprecedented failure rate of around 50 percent, so starting out, it really amounts to a commitment most of us are unable to keep.

Gay and lesbian individu- als should be allowed the same simple and basic marriage rights as any other couple. Anything less than this right is blatant discrimination and undermines a basic human desire of union and love.

Rev. Graham missed a great opportunity to stand for justice and equality in his decision to politicize his religious viewpoint and to ultimately shut down spiritual violence toward gay and lesbian individuals from the leadership in his religious flock.

BRYAN THOMPSON Tidal Creek Cove

Charleston