Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:

Longtime New Jersey Ska fans (as well as hardcore ska fans nationwide) are much more inclined to consider Inspecter 7, and its current incarnation, the Hub City Stompers, to be "the" New Jersey ska band. After massive lineup changes and three different singers in as many albums, many people don't think Catch 22 is what it used to be. No disrespect meant.

Joseph O'Sullivan CAS

Dear Editor:

I am writing to protest the continually negative portrayal of greek life in this publication. I am a senior at AU, and I have been involved in greek life for two years now. As part of a greek organization, I have participated in countless community service activities and fundraisers. But instead of reading about these noble efforts in The Eagle, I instead read about "sorority girls" and their alleged drug use or about "judgmental groups of blonds in tight pleather pants." Rarely do you publish articles on events such as the recent Phiesta in the Tavern, an event thrown by the Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority to raise money for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation, or about the recent donation of $10,000 to the Children's Miracle Network by the campus greek community at the Wizards game. We are not all airheads who like to party. Many members of greek life are students with great GPAs who participate in student government, internships and many other activities across campus. For once I would like to call attention to the positive aspects of fraternities and sororities, such as the wonderful friendships you make and the bonds that are formed in the name of "brotherhood" or "sisterhood." Give greek life the credit it deserves.

Mara Krier SIS

Dear Editor:

In the words of Randell from "Clerks," "I don't appreciate your ruse ma'm ... your clever attempt to trick me."

The photo you put with the front page story "Fourth attack in a week" is a police car parked outside of Letts and Anderson. Not very close to the amphitheatre at all. Tsk, tsk. If you're going to try and trick the student body, please at least try to be clever. Or at least acknowledge it as an archive photo. Oh, and half a dozen does not equal one. Parked. Next to a van.

Jennifer Baker CAS

Dear Editor:

I have been to the National Air and Space Museum many times and the suggestion to exhibit a plane in a "hall of aircraft, where the goal is to show the aircraft" without reason of significance is, in plain terms, stupid. For instance, The Spirit of St. Louis is one of the museum's most popular attractions, but is it because it is simply a plane that has two wings and could fly? I think there is more significance to the story and its popularity. What about the Memphis Belle? On its side are painted German planes depicting the number of Luftwaffe they had downed or destroyed; obviously this plane has killed people and therefore we must remove this great plane from the museum promptly! In the museum, each aircraft and spacecraft is a part of something greater than itself; it represents the best and worst of human history and more importantly we go there to ask the question, why?

Is there not a Holocaust Museum, albeit not part of the Smithsonian, displaying the hardship, the tragedy, the horror of millions of Jews who died in Hitler's wrath? Like the horrible experiments of Dr. Mengele, these artifacts spark discussion. Artifacts and objects are meant to foster discussion and remembrance, and I cannot think of a better place to have such reflection than seeing the Enola Gay at the new Air and Space Museum, the most visited museum in the world. Let us not look back with bias of today, but rather of the situation in 1945. Without discussion of the past, especially such an event started by the Enola Gay, historians would lose, and we as an educational society would lose. Every object in the museum's collection has a story ... don't just tell it, show it.

Ryan Rooks Junior CAS

Dear Editor:

I am pleased that AU students are interested and highly engaged in the improvement of the Student Health Center. Monday's editorial was wise in its recommendations to focus on customer service and image, and its suggestion to dispel "urban legends" regarding care. I would, however, like to clarify some misperceptions.ÿ

1. The Web site quotation ("The Student Health Center gives me exactly the help I want exactly when I want it") is a vision of the Center in the near future, not a direct quotation. I do hope that 100 percent of students will someday echo these sentiments, but it is a vision, and [I] will note it on the Web site.

2. "Annoyingly narrow" is an inaccurate description of hours. We are open daily 8:00 am-6:00 pm (5:00 pm on Friday). We scrutinize utilization of hours to ensure they serve students' needs, and are developing strategies to ensure access to care later in the evening and on weekends.

3. Services extend beyond birth control prescriptions. SHC medical staff provide preventive health care services, diagnosis and treatment of acute medical conditions, urgent care for acute injuries and referrals to specialists. We have increased physician coverage and are well-positioned to expand services into more specialized areas.

4. The SHC's location and image HAS contributed to disconnection from the AU community, but the derisive phrase "rejected and unwanted freak-baby" undermines the efforts that AU students and the OCL have undertaken so far to address the acknowledged deficiencies in the Center, and, frankly, insults the staff and providers.

I am happy to report that many of your recommended changes are underway, including a service delivery initiative, improved telephone access, a focus on interaction and a new survey that will translate into meaningful change for students. ÿ

Bethany Chiaramonte Director Student Health Centerÿ

Dear Editor:

The Nov. 17 publication of Samantha Pollinger's column, "AU breeds many career politicians," significantly undercut this paper's journalistic integrity. It is the responsibility of The Eagle to provide American University students, alumni, faculty and staff with timely information and analysis of events both on and off campus in an ethical and appropriate fashion. Pollinger's column, however, meets none of these criteria.

Pollinger used The Eagle as a medium to express her personal distaste of her classmates and colleagues in the Washington Semester Program. She described them in unflattering terms as "know-it-alls" and "wannabes." But her attack did not stop there; she went on to criticize her colleagues' hairstyles, mannerisms, and classroom participation. She even trivialized the plight of those with visual and hearing impairments with her comment that some of her colleagues are so loud that even Helen Keller could hear them.

Since Pollinger veiled her criticisms in anonymity, she may have convinced traditional AU students that her attacks were a generalized critique of the Washington Semester Program. She did not, however, fool her fellow Washington Semester students, many of whom she hurt and offended with her column.

A single article of poor taste, such as Pollinger's, cannot irreperably damage the integrity of this fine newspaper. However, this must not become a habit. The Eagle must solicit quality writers to fulfill its obligations to its readers and the AU community at large.

Richard W. Stewart Senior

Dear Editor:

We, the Organizers of the 2004 National Conference on Organized Resistance (NCOR), would like respond to David Hodges' article "The Racism at Home and Abroad." Neither Joe Eldridge nor the Office of Community Action and Social Justice sponsored NCOR.

We will not be "visiting" AU, we are an AU club. We are dedicated to nonviolence. We do not support terrorism and cannot be held responsible for comments of presenters or participants. NCOR is a forum to discuss a variety of social justice issues.

Last year there were two workshops discussing Israel/Palestine out of over 70. We did not "single out Israel." This year there are Jewish organizers and many Jewish people attend NCOR. For many years NCOR has had workshops on combating racism. Calling NCOR racist is showing complete ignorance of the conference.

Any questions about NCOR, or to submit a workshop proposal, please e-mailncor@mutualaid.org.

Kate Anderson, Senior, SIS Megan O'Brien, Senior, SIS Christina Stevensen, Junior, SIS Jenna Udren, Junior, CAS

Dear Editor:

I imagine that Erin Reigh's advice column in the latest Eagle might have elicited some angry letters from sorority members offended by her implication that sorority members are calorie-obsessed, sexually irresponsible, leather pants-wearers. In my opinion, the article is amusing at its best parts, cliched at its worst, and nothing for anyone to get their proverbial panties in a bunch about.

However, Matt Mawhinney's article on cocaine use among sorority members for weight-loss purposes in the same issue is an offensive example of irresponsible journalism. Essentially, the basis for the article is as follows: "Some guy who works at the Student Advocacy center said that somegirl who works at the Student Advocacy Center said that some girl said that some other girls use cocaine to lose weight. Oh, and the girls had Greek letters on their shirts?" That is not a news article. That is a gossip column. Had it been presented as such, I would not be writing this letter. The article is based upon an obscure rumor for which the writer found absolutely no relevant supporting evidence whatsoever. In his interviews with Public Safety, the president of the Pan-Hellenic Association, the Counseling Center, and a nationally known expert on drug abuse, the writer found no one to substantiate this rumor. When his investigation failed to help him confirm any facts or pinpoint even one person engaging in this behavior, he decided he might as well apply it to an entire segment of the AU population.

It is absurd that a convoluted and isolated rumor would be transformed into a declaration that cocaine is "the new get thin quick" drug on AU's campus. Had he left it at that, the article would have been little more than an example of immature, sensationalist journalism. However, the writer crosses the line by implying that this is a behavioral trend among a specific group of students, in his words, namely sorority sisters.

As a sorority member who is proud of my sisters and of the AU greek community as a whole, I resent these unfounded accusations. I hope that in the future, the staff and editors of The Eagle will avoid the misrepresentation of gossip as fact-based journalism.

Gretchen Kelmer Senior CAS

Dear Editor:

I found the article on the "apparent" rise in cocaine use on campus to be completely contradictory, ill-researched, and not credible. It seems as though Mr. Mawhinny overheard gossip, then decided to write an article about it only using other examples of gossip and assumptions as his "facts." Even the title of the article claiming that AU is experiencing a new trend of cocaine use for girls trying to lose weight is not supported by any facts or statistics, with the exception of a case two years ago, in which the suspects had "alleged eating disorders." If this is the direction that responsible, independent journalism is going at AU, I wonder who will still trust the Eagle for reliable information in the future.

Andrew Thompson SOC

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