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Maute letter shows oversensitivity

I am responding to a letter by Paula Maute ["Institute must eliminate unintentional acts of bias," Jan. 9]. I find totally inappropriate her claim that two incidents constituted "insidious sexual harassment."

The glossy pin-ups she is referring to in the Physical Plant stockroom, where I work, were two postcards sent through the US Mail. The third was a picture of a woman cut out of the J. Crew magazine, a mail-order catalog that sells clothing (so much for "soft porn").

Also, two women manage the stockroom and one of them sent one of the postcards (so much for an "all-male enclave"). My wife and I were on vacation and also sent one of those postcards. They were of women in bikinis, which is accepted beachwear in this country.

How anyone can feel "mistrustful" looking at a beautiful woman in a bathing suit is beyond me. How can you call this harassment?

The second incident involves use of the word "dear" by a Campus Police patrolman. Having had a grammar school education in a parochial school taught by nuns, I was taught respect and common courtesy when addressing people, especially women.

This word is also used as a salutation: An example is the use of "Dear Sir" in a letter. It is an act of greeting as defined in the dictionary, a polite form of address and may be used by either sex in regards to either sex. How does this beloved word create an "unsafe environment," or become a form of sexual harassment?

Robert M. Zarella->

Electric Shop->