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Southern Oregon University's decision to withdraw Eliza Schaaf from her ceramics class is misguided and retrograde.

More and more educators and parents are recognizing that young adults with Down syndrome can enjoy and benefit from college-level education programs. There is a nationwide trend toward providing post-secondary education for people with intellectual disabilities.

Washington state's Bellevue Community College offers an associate degree to students with Down syndrome or other cognitive impairments. Research shows that students with developmental disabilities are more likely to hold a job, have friends and live independently if they get into a post-secondary program.

The program at Elmhurst College, called Elmhurst Life Skills Academy or ELSA, allows disabled students to get a four-year academic experience with all the social trappings of campus life.

Louisville's new College Connections program enables students with the chromosomal disorder to experience college.

It would be greatly appreciated if SOU would rescind the notice of withdrawal and consider innovations in curriculum and program. A progressive university would encourage her initiative and rise to the occasion and accommodate her needs. — Frederick Fried, M.D., Ashland

James Farmer's letter (Nov. 15) reads like a regurgitated talk-radio script. For the 68,000th time, gay people get labeled as evil, immoral, etc., using no evidence at all.

What these name-callers fail to understand is that foreign people, people with freckles, gay people, people who are autistic, are just as God made them. If someone is different, hey, as long as he's not harming anyone, to label that person "evil" is the absolute height of ignorance.

Dr. Goebbels of the German Reich practiced this exact same type of bigotry. Why would any American want to be like him?

Science has repeatedly shown that most, if not all, religions teach stuff that is demonstrably untrue. As late as 1640, left-handed persons and people with epilepsy were considered possessed by Satan. And it was churches that taught people this garbage. Massachusetts courts sentenced dozens of innocent women to death on the grounds that they were witches.

In 1963, in first grade, I saw a kid tormented and bullied because he had steel leg braces. Another was tormented daily because he had a speech defect.

What horrible form of evil produces such ugliness within us? — James Snyder, Medford

Thanks to the city of Medford for bringing the 80-day, around-the-world Zero Race to Southern Oregon Nov. 14.

Christy West of the city building department organized the event and electrical inspector Mike Grubbs officially welcomed the racers on the chilly Sunday evening. The German team arrived first at the US Cellular Community Park, the perfect venue provided by Medford Parks and Recreation. Race teams were escorted to the park by Patrick Box of Plug-In Rides in Phoenix and Wayne Buck of Brammo in Ashland.

John Bartell of Channel 12 and Damian Mann and Jamie Lusch of the Mail Tribune covered the event with flair. Afterward, the concept vehicles charged batteries overnight at Commercial Sign & Design in Phoenix. Melissa Brandao of Ambiente Motors escorted the Zero Race team to Hersey House in Ashland, where they enjoyed home cooked meals and comfortable beds. — Sue Kupillas, coordinator, Rogue Valley Clean Cities