UB medical students? must meet key criteria

As the director of medical student admissions at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, I am writing in response to a recent letter from one of your readers who had stated that the school accepts students who are not U.S. citizens. I want to make it very clear that our medical school will only accept students who are either U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Although other schools of the university may vary in their admissions policies, the medical school will not even review applications from individuals who do not meet the above categories.

Earning an interview as well as admission to our medical school has become extremely competitive. Our Admissions Committee examines multiple factors when considering whom to invite for an interview and subsequently accept. A Medical College Admissions Test score is only one. Science and non-science grade point averages, extracurricular activities, activities related to patient care, letters of recommendation, etc., all play a role in our review process. Although not every Western New York student who applies is successful in gaining admission, the fact that an applicant is from this region is taken into account throughout the entire admission process.

Charles M. Severin, M.D.



Give East Side a chance? by investing in terminal

I am outraged over the attitudes toward the Central Terminal expressed in the paper on Dec. 12. Some say the landmark is not worth investment because the neighborhood around it has become a deep pocket of poverty.

How about taking a very different tack, doing a 180? How about investing in the East Side, where thousands of people live and work, and where thousands of people would like to work? Let's invest in the East Side and give it a chance. Begin with the Central Terminal building. Next, let's link the terminal to the East Side and the airport with a light-rail extension – built with federal funding. Let's encourage the efforts of the Broadway-Fillmore Alive group (see models for success on the West Side), so that the East Side may rise like a phoenix from its ashes and become a place that attracts people.

Does Buffalo want to be known as a poverty-stricken city? Or does Buffalo want to eradicate poverty? Band-Aids are nice, but they do not remove poverty. However, investments in local places connected by excellent transit will provide opportunity for people to climb out of poverty.

Gladys Gifford

President, Citizens for Regional Transit, Amherst


Most Jewish people? embrace a homeland

In his Another Voice, "Jewish people also protest treatment of Palestinians," Norm Tederous states: "the most prominent voices in defense of Palestinians come from honorable Jewish researchers and intellectuals" – including, among others, Noam Chomsky. It is worth noting that Chomsky, who has devoted his life to vilifying Israel and the United States, supported Sayyed Nasrallah, the leader of the terrorist group Hezbollah. He has also signed a petition defending Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson.

It is curious why Jews like Chomsky, Richard Falk, Norman Finkelstein and others espouse this hostility. Perhaps the answer lies in their embrace of leftist ideas with its secular, one-world view. In doing so, they reject both Judaism and a nationalist identity.

These people are what historian Isaac Deutscher called "non-Jewish Jews." History is replete with them – Karl Marx and Leon Trotsky come to mind. Support for leftism among Jews has a long and unfortunate history, but to suggest they are a majority or "prominent" is misleading and disingenuous.

Jews who believe in God and in the Torah are not on the left – they embrace Judaism and indeed a homeland for their people. Yet Hamas and the Palestinian Authority refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and, to the extent Palestinians have wanted peace, they have wanted it without the Jewish State of Israel. Tederous reveals this anti-Zionism with the claim that the Palestinians "are the hapless victims" – yet another pro forma response of the left; only this time, he puts these non-Jewish Jews' anti-Semitic face on it.

Martin E. Mutka



Mental health issues? are at root of problem

While politicians talk about gun control, the media continue to victimize parents and relatives of the slain by zooming in on the faces of those whose lives were changed forever. Today the politician knows it's more newsworthy (and less work) to talk about tighter gun control than to make sure existing laws are enforced. They are both missing the real point.

It's about mental illness and how our politicians, health care systems and the media continue to fail us in fixing how we treat and report on mentally ill people. Law-abiding citizens who obtain guns legally are not these shooters. The common denominator is diagnosed or undiagnosed mental illness. Make our politicians responsible for these murders, (and so many like this), by asking them why they have neglected to make effective, funded mental health treatment available to every U.S. citizen.

Don't let this tragedy pass you by without making that point to every politician you have ever voted for or against. I have just emailed every politician I could think of that I hold responsible. You should, too, before we have to send our kids to school in Kevlar. Come on, people – please do it for the memory of the innocents who died as well as those around you who suffer daily from mental illness.

Mike Hassett

West Seneca


Compassionate people ?help animals, humans

In response to a writer's request that we rethink our priorities when it comes to animal welfare – specifically, to contribute to and provide veterinary care to animals who were victims of cruelty and abuse – I must nod my head in disbelief. I do care and will continue to do so. I thank the people who took care of these animals.

A recent study has shown that people who care and contribute the most to animal groups are also the ones who do the same for human welfare groups. It is called compassion.

The recent abuse of these dogs has brought people together to see these animals' gradual road to recovery, and to bring to light the need for more harsh punishment to these crimes. It was the humane thing to provide care, treatment and love to these suffering animals.

It also points to the hardships of other animals in shelters waiting for a good home. Between 3 million and 4 million animals are euthanized in shelters each year, due to lack of adoptive homes.

This holiday season and into the new year, let's remember empathy, care and concern for all creatures, human and animal.

Lisa Brzeczkowski