Letters: Atypical College Students, Egg Recall

Talk of the Nation listeners shared their stories of attending college as nontraditional students, both on campus and as students at online universities. Also, in an update on the egg recall story, the salmonella outbreak should have no effect on flu vaccines.

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NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, and time to read from your emails and Web comments.

We talked last week about the disproportionate number of black men behind bars, nearly 10 percent of young African-American males.

Anne(ph) in Minneapolis emailed us her story. My son, a 27-year-old African-American man, is coming home from prison for a drug-related offense, and I can tell you this is right on. The hard part of the sentence begins when you get home. Good luck finding a job, a place to live, going to school, or doing anything to get on a positive path. He will be living in my basement and we will all be hoping for the best. So many black men in their 20's, in prison, is not acceptable. There's clearly systemic, discriminatory practices happening here

Other listeners, though, disagreed, including Karen Walsh(ph) in Michigan. We are not picking on these men because of the color of their skin, but because they broke the law.

Many of you also emailed your stories about nontraditional college students, anyone who doesn't head to campus right after high school and graduate in four years.

Steve Jordan(ph) teaches in Pennsylvania. At my institution, there are very few nontraditional students - I miss them. They offer wisdom and perspective that the privileged homogenous residential undergraduate population would otherwise not experience. Nontraditional students shake up the assumptions of their younger classmates and often make them intellectually uncomfortable, a state that could lead to real learning. I hope my institution finds ways to bring more nontraditional students to campus right now. They're discouraged by residency requirements and limits to the number of semesters students can spend on campus.

Of course, many older students never step foot on campus. Jeff Dylan(ph) is a 35-year-old father, fulltime employee and nontraditional college student in Denver. I've never met anyone I attend to school with. All classes are conducted online. This requires that I be self-motivated. This also affords me the opportunity to travel for work and not miss any classes. If were not for the technology allowing me to do this, I would not be able to continue my education.

Finally, after the recall of more than a half billion eggs, we talked about how to avoid salmonella poisoning and whether our eggs are safe. Many of the basics are the same: Cook them well, don't lick bowls or spoons, use pasteurized eggs. And one question we didn't get to appeared in The Wall Street Journal today: Are our flu vaccines at risk? Many vaccines are grown in chicken eggs. Vaccine makers and the FDA told a reporter for the Journal that they use their own suppliers and they test every lot of vaccine. In other words, the salmonella outbreak should have no effect on flu vaccines this fall.

You can find some of the other questions and answers on the salmonella outbreak at our website. Just go to npr.org, and click on TALK OF THE NATION. While you're there, sign up for our newsletter. We'll send you a daily update of what's coming up on the program and how to get in on the conversation. And if you're on Twitter, you can follow me there @nealconan, all one word.

As always, if you have comments, questions or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by email. The address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from and give some help on how to pronounce your name.

And this correction just in from Richard(ph) in North Little Rock, during today's Sacred Spaces segment, I heard a caller say the Little Rock Central High School is closed. This is not so. The school is open. We thank him for that.

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