The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Burying people

Coal, the black diamond, is as its alias suggests a treasure to those who make a living off of it. The coal burned at the University's steam plant comes from one of the poorest areas of the nation. Generations have made their living off of coal. In many towns in Appalachia, coal is the largest and sometimes sole provider of revenue to the families who live where it is mined. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average national hourly wage rate for coal miners is $23.27, while the average West Virginia hourly rate for cashiers is $8.50 an hour. I list cashiers because that is what many miners will have to become if the mines shut down. There are very few other forms of employment in the coal mining regions of Appalachia.

The author of the Oct. 13 letter to the editor "Mining our minors" said young people have often been at the forefront of major social issues, such as the Vietnam War. He does not tell of people whose voices are drowned out by the shouts and chants of college students, however, such as the Boat People who fled South Vietnam. Coal miners, like the Boat People before them, will suffer because of the actions of the young generation. While the well-off masses of academia push for the end of coal and the livelihoods of those it sustains, folks in the real world are digging themselves a living, too busy to have time to stand around and protest and too poor to be able to take time off from work to defend their livelihoods.

Sadly, if people of my generation do not consider the consequences of their actions, the Road to Richmond will not be through the University for the children of unemployed miners.

Joseph Artrip\n CLAS II