K-Area glovebox area PowerPoint Presentation (copy)

Workers at the Savannah River Site handle plutonium in a sealed chamber with special gloves. The chamber represents the government's only option for inspecting the containers of plutonium stored here. Provided.

In response to the Aug. 8 Post and Courier editorial, “What USC trustees should learn from Caslen’s selection as president,” we agree with your statement, “It should never be the job of the hired hands to dictate a school’s president,” the hired hands in this case being Parker Executive Search.

Editorial: What USC trustees should learn from Caslen's selection as president

However, we think there is a larger issue in regard to the role of the faculty in choosing the president.

Universities are different from other businesses because they operate according to the principle of shared governance, which establishes the roles students, faculty, administrators and trustees should play in running the institution.

Faculty members are highly educated professionals. While we were given an opportunity to speak, our voices were ignored.

No reason was ever given as to why the board would disregard our professional opinions and our unanimous vote of no confidence in Bob Caslen.

What people should learn from this debacle is that the trustees who voted “yes” betrayed the principle of shared governance and the trust placed in them to work for the university’s well-being.

DRUCILLA K. BARKER

USC professor, Anthropology and Women’s

and Gender Studies

Clark Street

Columbia

Legal immigrants

In a July 31 Post and Courier letter to the editor, the writer said his Irish grandmother came to the United States “to eat.” My maternal grandparents came to America for the same reason. My paternal grandparents came from Italy to escape Mussolini’s Fascism.

Like the writer’s family, my father served in the Korean War, and I served in the Marine Corps, retiring as a master gunnery sergeant.

The writer laments that none of the opportunities available to us are afforded “today’s South American immigrant.” When my grandparents came to America, they had to have a sponsor to ensure they would not be a burden on society.

They also had to be declared disease free. And with all due respect, unlike the tens of thousands of South Americans swarming the southern border, our grandparents came here legally.

LAWRENCE V. FRANCESE

Cleveland Drive

Beaufort

Shooting blame

In his Aug. 9 Post and Courier commentary, Marc Thiessen criticizes Democrats who say President Donald Trump bears some blame for the recent mass murder in El Paso, Texas, because of his racist rhetoric.

Thiessen claims that it makes as much sense to blame Democrats for the Dayton, Ohio, shooting as it does to blame Trump for the El Paso shooting, because the Dayton shooter “seems to have been a left-wing radical.”

That’s a pretty lame argument. Thiessen ignores the fact that the El Paso shooter targeted people because of their ethnicity: people who looked like people Trump has been demonizing at his rallies and in his tweets.

Echoing Trump’s language, the killer wrote, “This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

USA Today reports that Trump has publicly used terms such as “invasion,” “predator,” “alien,” “killer,” “criminal” and “animal” in reference to Hispanic immigrants more than 500 times.

Does Thiessen, or other Trump defenders, really believe that those words, coming from our nation’s highest office, have nothing to do with what happened in El Paso and the resurgence of white supremacist violence?

SCOTT PEEPLES

Condon Drive

Charleston

Plutonium impact

I read with interest the Aug. 13 Post and Courier editorial headlined, “Feds nuclear fix still not enough.”

I would like to point out one problem. It reads, “A dozen milligrams of plutonium ... are lethal.” I am a Ph.D. nuclear physicist who has worked in the nuclear weapons field with plutonium for 35 years. As stated, the above quote could give the wrong impression.

Editorial: Feds finally made good on one nuclear promise to SC. That's not enough.

Ingested plutonium is practically harmless and passes through the body.

Inhaled plutonium poses cancer risks. Most plutonium, however, is not respirable being generally found in waste and the environment in particulate form that cannot be airborne or that the body traps before it gets to the lungs.

The public absolutely should demand protection from extreme accidents that have a credible risk of producing and releasing respirable plutonium (e.g., a fire).

Hyperbolic statements such as this are not in the public’s interest and contribute to an irrational fear of radiation and radioactive materials.

DR. JERRY MCKAMY

Clear Bend Lane

Summerville

Speechwriter

There is no truth to the rumor that Lily Tomlin is President Trump’s speechwriter.

REGGIE GUIN

Dawn Hill Drive

Charleston

Indigo vats

I was happy and a bit disappointed to read the July 24 Post and Courier article about the historic indigo vats on Johns Island.

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I was thrilled at the prospect this attention might help promote the preservation of this historic landmark.

But the conclusion of the article might leave anyone interested in the living history of indigo with the impression that the art and craft of indigo are long gone.

This is not the case. Use of natural indigo in Charleston and globally has enjoyed a resurgence.

Do a quick online search for “indigo vats” and you will find many contemporary artists working in indigo.

Indigo, its history and contemporary use has been the subject of a local 2015 TedX talk, various magazine articles, blog posts and workshops, including the popular “Vat Shack” project run by Enough Pie in 2016 and which will return this fall.

The influence of the “makers movement” is alive and well in the Lowcountry and beyond.

A recently formed nonprofit called International Center for Indigo Culture wants to help create a farm-to-fabric culture based around indigo and the dyes it produces.

We represent a network of growers, natural dyers and textile artists with a passion for creating a new indigo culture. Our mission is to help cultivate a community of people interested in working with indigo by stewarding the history, science and art of indigo dying.

To learn more, go to www.internationalcenterforindigoculture.org/

HEATHER POWERS

Formosa Drive

Charleston

Traffic and sprawl

Thank you, Vincent G. Graham, for your pointed and excellent Aug. 13 Post and Courier op-ed on common-sense transportation.

Graham is absolutely right in his warnings and comments about widening I-526, something he consistently opposed the state committing to.

Time will prove him right as the project balloons to unheard of costs, easily more than the $1.1 billion he mentions and which will be borne by county citizens.

This immense and feckless investment will just exacerbate development and congestion prodded by, as he wrote, “the sprawl-building industrial complex and its shameful political support” that begins with and includes Charleston County Council.

It seems everyone has an “issue” with Mr. Graham, usually those who don’t pay attention or appreciate his achievements.

Some criticism may be warranted, but he remains steadfast in his commitment to his development activities, and his achievements usually prove him right. When he speaks or writes about his concerns, I pay attention.

Unfortunately, many who discount his comments are usually making big mistakes, like billion-dollar mistakes, in the process. The I-526 extension, the ruination of Johns Island and possibly the end of the Lowcountry’s golden egg are such mistakes.

SEYMOUR ROSENTHAL

Waterfront Drive

Mount Pleasant

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