Letters to the Editor

Safety survey misleadingI would like to offer a few comments regarding the April 25th article "Survey Raises Questions About Water Safety." I was one of the 217 women surveyed and do not feel as though the article you published was an objective or thorough discussion of the results. You printed a list of several conditions reported by women which you then proceeded to imply were a result of the water supply. I think it would have been important to note that all of the conditions listed are also strongly linked to being sexually active. Why was this possibility not raised along with the possibility of contaminated water? The survey did not ask if one had engaged in increased sexual activity while at AU. The claim that these problems are more frequent at AU than away could be supported if students are more active sexually here than away. While it is possible that some of the women questioned are experiencing problems related to the water supply, I believe that journalists dedicated to their work should not present such a one-sided report. Only one sentence of the entire article raised the possibility that the water supply might not be the culprit in this case.

Mary Jane Nirdlinger SIS '95

AU intent is not good enoughMost students have a variety of reasons for choosing to attend the college or university of their choice, usually relating to, among other things, curricula offered, location, student life and postgraduate opportunities.

This university appears to have a lot in its favor when one examines all of the desirables. In fact, we have been referred to as "The Harvard on the Potomac" before because of AU's high academic standing in several different areas. The tree-lined campus is situated in the heart of northwest Washington D.C, just minutes from the amenities of the downtown area and we have the highest foreign population of any university in the country. It sounds great, and, for the most part it is.

One of the main reasons I came to AU was because of the way I was told the institution intensively utilized the Washington D.C. area for its potential career opportunities in the form of internships and cooperative education services. Hundreds of students are serviced by these possibilities every year and the staff is usually quite helpful in leaning people in the right direction. I have a problem, however, with the way the administration handles some of these opportunities at this school.

Recently, I tried to land an internship at the Smithsonian and found it almost impossible. The institution, one of the major attractions located on the "Mall" downtown, was willing to give me work, but AU refused to pay the department chair a small price for supervision. A relatively comparable price would have been granted to the professor for an independent study course ordinarily.

Why can't this university spend money on education when students have the potential for a highly motivating and educational field experience?

Jeanmarie Davis CAS '95

Smoking ban is ludicrousFirst things first. There is a "Smoke-In" in The Tavern, Tuesday at noon. Be there. Also sign the petition going around to resurrect smoking in The Tavern.

I came back to campus this year after a wonderful summer and strolled over to The Tavern, where I had spent most of my waking life last year. It was a great place on campus to get some food and have a smoke. Also, The Tavern was full of unique people, day or night. This year as I waddled into The Tavern there was something different about the place. The most obvious thing was that no one was in The Tavern. It resembled a ghost town. Then the second thing I noticed explained it all: the evil sign that reads in huge capital letters: No Smoking.

I do not understand the point of no smoking in The Tavern. D.C. law does not require The Tavern to be a non-smoking establishment, only that there be no smoking in entrance ways. Since it is not illegal, we should be able to smoke. The smoking section could be moved somewhere else in The Tavern and the smokers would be happy and so would The Tavern for most of their customers have upped and left after the smoking ban. Also now that there is no smoking in The Tavern people smoke outside and throw their cigarette butts everywhere which clutters up the place and is bad for the environment. It really is outrageous that there is no place on campus where you can smoke and eat. The Terrace Dining Room closed its door to smokers at the beginning of last year and now The Tavern is doing the same.

Smokers are getting trashed by everyone these days. Is there no safe haven for us to go to, even at a university where we pay $22,000 per year?

Jay Rowell SOC '96

Surpassing the right to smokeYet again this never ending smoking debate continues, and this time it has made its way to The Tavern. The tension will surely mount as smokers fervently try to reclaim their lost rights on campus, where every smoker should have the right to choose and the freedom to smoke in America or at least at American.

As a non-smoker, I could care less what a person does to himself. Yes, it is a right to smoke and to be free to make that choice. However, smoking often infringes on the rights of others and denies them their choice not to smoke.

We have all heard the minute details of this debate, and we have all endured name-calling from both sides. The fact that smokers often fail to realize is that cigarette smoke reeks and it clings to clothing, walls and everything it touches. Even when a smoker is not actually smoking, that malignant smell is always there. In the case of The Tavern, segregated sections do little to keep non-smokers from the lingering smoke of a cigarette couple of tables down.

A majority of smokers are "polite," and do not purposely smoke in someone's face for the sheer sadistic fun of it, and I would like to gratefully thank those smokers for their consideration. Politeness, however, cannot keep the smoke from seeping into the walls. The simple fact is that smoke is a suffocation force that is denying those who don't want to smoke their rights. When a contained place like The Tavern allows smoking, then we are all smokers whether we want to be or not. So has anything been resolved? Probably not, there are just two irreconcilable facets of choice that on one hand denies the right of choice and on the other the right to breathe.

Cristina Flores CAS '98

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