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AREN’T PESTICIDES TO BLAME

I was fascinated to read the story of Charles Wick, Saving the Honeybee, in the June Columns.

He concluded the die-offs were caused by a virus and a fungus. The same day I read the Wick story, I happened to read a similar story in the July/August Sierra magazine, “None of Your Beeswax: The EPA is slow to move on pesticide blamed in honeybee collapse.”

Many countries in Europe have banned clothianidin, the neonicotinoid pesticide blamed for making the bees susceptible to the fungus.

The article says the virus theory is outdated. I would be interested in Mr. Wick’s response to this information. Does working for a government agency impede his ability to criticize another government agency or does he not concur with this theory?

Kathleen M. Naughton, M.A., ’65, M.N., ’96
Seattle

Charles Wick, ’71, ’73, ’79, responds:
The honeybee story is complex and my article reported a new association of a DNA virus and a fungus. It is because these two pathogens are always associated with a bee die-off that makes it interesting. As with most complex issues, there are many parts of the story and I would caution a rush to judgment on any one part. The pesticides may be a contributing factor, but this is not clear and just because we do not like them is no reason to condemn them.

THE COST OF HOUSING

As I was reading the June 2011 issue of Columns, I was shocked at the article Rousing Housing, which reports $800 million being used over a 20-year period to create new housing.

I do not doubt the need for housing or upgrades to existing housing. Creating an “urban village,” however, seems to me to be a misuse of funds at a time when tuition costs are being raised by 20 percent and funds for libraries have been cut.

Can you explain the reasoning behind this plan? Is it going to generate revenue? Do students truly need an “enhanced” college experience?

Charlene Robertson, ’96
UW Bothell
Woodinville

Housing & Food Services Spokesman David Rey, ’94, responds:
UW Housing & Food Services is acutely aware of the budgetary pressures faced by the state’s higher-education institutions.

However, HFS’ funding is derived from revenue generated from providing housing and food, so HFS is fortunate to have the financial stability to invest in the university’s future without drawing away resources from the academic or services side of the university.

Demand for on-campus housing at the UW still significantly exceeds supply, even with the two new buildings. There are hundreds of students currently on a waiting list for living space in HFS facilities for the new school year.

It is not only imperative, but also financially prudent, that our new projects provide housing that is competitive and attractive in the marketplace. The housing must also integrate into and enhance the surrounding neighborhood. This will create a vibrant community for our students and the nearby businesses that rely upon their patronage.

The West Campus area has historically been very underdeveloped—we hope the influx of new residents attracted by the new “urban village” helps change that, for the benefit of our students and the neighborhood.

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