Photo lies: Your story about U.S. Senate candidate Marielena Stuart's complaints about Catholic university Ave Maria ("Stepford U," Michael E. Miller, October 20) used a broad brush. I know many of the facts were accurate, at least the ones I lived, but is it fair to present only the negative like this? It was myopically focused on the problems. And what's with the cover photo used to depict students? The article wasn't even about them! It seemed like an unnecessary low blow.
God's will: Ave Maria residents can hide behind rosary walks and Little House on the Prairie skirts and tell each other how holy they are, but they're clueless. The Ave bubble is sort of like rehab for people like them. They're self-righteous people who just like the smug, holier-than-thou feeling that apparently gets them all high. I can't wait until they all graduate and get bent over by the real world. They won't have their makeup-less, home-schooled roommates to tell them they're special and "doing God's will" by judging others then, huh?
No religion is perfect: There is corruption in every religion. I have visited Ave Maria numerous times, and it is a very peaceful and pleasant place. If you want a crazy or unstructured party environment, Ave Maria or Ave Maria University is not the place for you or your child. The university does not push the religion on its students; it gives them a choice. I think we might have a case of a disgruntled and jealous employee! What is best for one person might not be the best for the other.
Conservatives agree: A very conservative priest was interviewed and agreed the place is corrupt. A conservative county commissioner was interviewed and smelled a rat, so she has ordered an audit of the town government and called the town "self-serving." A conservative Catholic resident was interviewed, and her story is beyond compelling. A former Ave Maria Catholic law professor was interviewed and called the place unconstitutional. Students were interviewed. Two former employees were interviewed. An investigator involved in the whistleblower case was interviewed. Another journalist was interviewed. They all agree this place is corrupt and misleading! Thank you, Mr. Miller. You have done a great service to Florida taxpayers and to others (conservatives or not) who could be misled by Ave Maria.
Ignorance isn't bliss: Although your highly accusatory article on my school was entertaining, I don't think you should try to publish any sort of negative piece about the quality of a school's academics unless you've sat in on a class. The reason this school is "crazy" is because it's actually Catholic. So unless you understand what being Catholic means, or what a liberal arts education means, maybe you should watch your tongue. You clearly have no idea what you are talking about.
Rip-off U: I was an Ave student, and I couldn't stand it. I left after one semester. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. They are very disorganized, have a weak selection of majors/minors, are trying too hard to be what they will never be, and will do anything to get money out of you. They are very isolated, which is not good at all. They tell you what to do in everything. You're not allowed to watch movies that are rated R, and you're not allowed to watch TV shows that are in any way objectionable to extreme, hard-core Catholics. My advice to people there is to leave it, and to people considering attending, just don't. I was very hopeful and excited to attend that school and was definitely disappointed, to say the least. You can take your money elsewhere and get something much, much better.
Trash and music: I agree with your list of annoying habits in Miami ("Gahhhhhhhh!" Gus Garcia-Roberts, October 20), but I think you made two glaring omissions: 1. People who think that Ocean Drive is their private music room. Those folks inflict their vehicular sound systems and subwoofers on the rest of us. 2. People who think the world is one big trash can, discarding their remnants wherever they happen to be.
Protect the innocent: The death of Chris Headley and the inability of Miami Gardens police to solve the crime ("Death Came Early," Chuck Strouse, October 20) is not to be celebrated. But this young man was in trouble before. His mother moved him to Texas to help him change, and he decided to come back to trouble. Police should always work to remove criminals from the streets, but why work harder to find his killer? He came back to trouble and found it. Protect the innocent first.