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Letters to the Editor 12/9
Published 12/9/2011
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Likely multiple sources for compromised card data

Editor:

I would like to provide some facts and dispel some myths about the ongoing credit card fraud investigation being conducted by the Pullman Police Department (Daily Evergreen column “Pullman PD misled the public”).

Two concurrent investigations take place when credit card fraud is reported. The first is how the perpetrator(s) obtained the credit card information, and the second is the purchase of goods or services with the use of the fraudulently obtained information. Due to the unusually high number of Pullman area fraud victims, we believed there was a possibility that one or more data breaches occurred locally. Since this type of investigation requires a high degree of specific technical expertise, the U.S. Secret Service provided that assistance. Concurrently, the Pullman Police Department continued to investigate the fraudulent purchases made locally. Cases involving fraudulent purchases made elsewhere were documented and referred to the jurisdiction where the actual crime occurred (i.e., where the purchases were made).

We worked with the Secret Service to try to identify a potential location of a data breach based on commonality of the locations that the compromised cards had previously been used. Dissmore's was one of the merchants identified as a possible location. However, the subsequent forensic analysis of the transaction software has not substantiated that a data breach occurred. Furthermore, frauds have been reported in which the compromised cards have never been used at Dissmore’s. Investigation has not revealed that a data processing center serving local merchants was compromised.

I can certainly appreciate that members of the public want to know where frauds have been occurring so as to protect themselves from being victimized. However, based on the information currently available, specifically identifying any one location as the source of a possible data breach would be akin to naming John Doe as a rape suspect only because John Doe was seen with a group of people in the area where a rape occurred.

Based on the nature of how data breaches occur and the digital environment in which they occur, we may never know where or how they occurred. We will, however, continue to investigate the fraudulent uses of compromised credit cards and work with merchants to provide adequate protections against security breaches.

Gary Jenkins
Pullman Police Chief

The CSHAC is trying to deal with a difficult situation

Editor:

I would like to clarify my position on the CSHAC meeting. I did not say that there is no point in questioning why the cuts to graduate student insurance are being made. I was simply trying to indicate that the matter at hand was not being addressed.

The CSHAC is exploring many different options to mediate the changes to our insurance that will need to be implemented. They are currently working with their broker to determine whether 1) Maksin can get an exemption from the changes mandated by the Affordable Care Act and 2) comparing quotes for equivalent plans from other insurance providers. The intention of the meeting on Wednesday was for the CSHAC to get input from graduate students about what services they value the most from their insurance plans in case other avenues to avoid cuts fail.

Instead of performing the difficult task of trying to figure out what options we need to keep and determine what sacrifices we might have to make (in essence, planning a back-up damage control plan should other avenues end up unviable), many students wasted time being hostile to the CSHAC members and trying to place blame. The issue of why we may need to implement cuts is very important, but the meeting was an inappropriate time to address those concerns. The CSHAC has no control on the upper levels of university finance and having people tell them that health care is their "universal right" is not solving anything.

My comments were simply aimed at focusing the meeting on its intended purpose rather than wasting time. The CSHAC was not obligated in any way to invite us to their meeting. They are going out of their way to allow us to have a say in this unfortunate situation.

Some students need to choose their battles more wisely. Clapping when people make sarcastic remarks and attacking the messenger are counterproductive. If you are really concerned about the university not covering insurance cost increases, spending excessive amounts on athletics or other larger budgetary concerns, address those who can do something about it. Invite Dr. Floyd to a GPSA meeting. He has been willing to attend meetings in the past to address student concerns. Address those larger concerns, but do so in the appropriate forum.

Brandon Kyriss
graduate student, School of Molecular Biosciences

The Athletic Department is the 1 percent of WSU

Editor:

Jake Bredstrand’s letter defending the hierarchical system by which athletics departments exempt themselves from global economic crises is typical of the kind of thinking exposed by the Occupy movement. At WSU, football is the 1 percent, academics the 99 percent.

Dollars are not like apples and oranges. Football dollars spend no differently from biology dollars. If I give weekly allowances to my sons, Toshi and Saad, and if Toshi really needs something that he cannot afford, he may ask Saad for a loan. Saad, if he is a generous and loving sibling, may even give to Toshi. These are separate accounts that, in a time of need, can converge.

Now, obviously, laws enforce the separation of athletics dollars from academic dollars. Because of this separation, coaches are the highest paid employees of many universities. But universities’ two main goals are teaching and research, so shouldn't the people who perform those jobs receive the highest salaries?

Football is a luxury, not a necessity. Financial hierarchies created the global economic mess, and so Mr. Bredstrand, if he truly cares about education, should lobby his legislators for laws that make dollars more flexible so that when football prospers while academics suffer, the athletics department is forced to share its wealth. Structural hierarchies are indefensible, and Mr. Bredstrand’s defense of them echoes the hypocrisies sputtered by bailed-out bankers who want even more tax breaks while the rest of us suffer.   

John Streamas
associate professor
Department of Comparative Culture, Gender, and Race Studies

Bankers got free lunch, why can't students?

Editor:

This letter is in response to William Stetson’s Dec. 6 column “Why hippies cannot serve as economists.” Stetson writes, “By the bank losing money, the institution is forced to make it up somehow because there is no such thing as a free lunch.” Have we already forgotten about the Great Bank Bailouts of 2008? In case we have, this is when the banks took humongous risks on shady default credit swaps and got into hot water when they bounced. The U.S. government, the same one that Stetson has argued against in his columns, then graciously offered to assume the risks of the bank and print $1 trillion in bailout money. But the banks paid back the government loans, right? Yes they did, but as all economists know, cash is second only to risks in the financial sector.

We also have to remember the bonuses that these same bankers received after being bailed out. AIG, who received $170 billion in bailout money, planned to give $165 million in bonuses to the same bankers that caused the mess to begin with. Sounds like a bonafide free buffet lunch to me – with our government, and taxpayers, footing the bill.

Stetson believes hippies cannot be economists. At least hippies are concerned with more than just the feeding of Wall Street stomachs.

Aaron Martz
senior, mechanical engineering

Columnist cannot be taken seriously due to lack of facts

Editor:

Even with the fact that William Stetson's column was an opinion piece, it was by far one of the worst pieces I have ever seen in The Daily Evergreen. The biggest problem that I had was the complete lack of any facts, besides describing how loans work. If you want to be taken seriously as a columnist it would be useful to provide some details referring to this plan besides just saying that this plan is promoted by, "a bunch of hippies under the influence pushing a program further disseminated by propaganda from the far left." So basically you are saying that hippies have grasped onto a loan forgiveness plan and do not understand anything about it.

Since that was all you mentioned, I can only assume you mean the improved income based repayment (IBR) that will lower the percentage of income paid each month for repayment of loans. This was also readily passed through Congress after being proposed by President Barack Obama. If this is not the plan that you are referring to, then I would suggest you provide more information in your columns instead of just calling the Occupy Wall Street people a bunch of hippies under the influence. That makes you sound like an ignorant individual who saw a headline, then fabricated an opinion based on your own prejudices without investigating them yourself.

Jess Korthuis
senior, economics

Here is a more accurate pop quiz about our new football coach

Editor:

My answer to Charlotte Omoto's pop quiz letter to the editor: They have nothing in common. Before you say I am an idiot, read the whole letter.

Endowed scholarships and professorships have nothing to do with the football coach in the same way that the athletic's operation and building budgets have nothing to do with the university's operations and buildings budgets, which are also totally separate. In the state of Washington, it is illegal for athletics'budgets and university operations' budgets to be co-mingled. Athletics is self-funded.

So here is a pop quiz for all of you who said "right on!" when you read Charlotte Omoto's letter: what is the common feature between the following?

Carrying an open container of alcohol on the sidewalk
Robbing a bank
Funding athletics with state tax dollars

This is an open book quiz, feel free to read for comprehension.

Bob Cady
WSU alum, 2000
owner of The Coug

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