Letters to the Editor

Please Respect All Groups of People on Campus

Dear Editor,

We would like to offer a response to “Athlete Fires Back at Letter to the Editor,” which offered a rebuttal to a previous letter to the editor. We are by no means condoning the tone of the previous letter that the student was referencing. Like every other student on campus, we do not know the specific details of the situation regarding the men’s lacrosse team. We realize that not every member of the lacrosse team was responsible for the incident, and we do not presume to judge their academic contributions to Washington College.

However, we do not appreciate the passive-aggressive remark about the Rose O’Neil Literary House and the cat, Edith Wharton. There was no need to generalize the situation in that direction. We have indeed been banned from the House on one occasion when the rules were broken. While we were not pleased with this outcome, we accepted the punishment as a whole because we are a close community (like any athletic team) and the actions of one often reflect on everyone. No one repealed the decision set on us; we simply accepted it and, upon returning to the Lit House, attempted to keep a similar incident from happening again.

There was no need to point fingers at another organization on campus. We believe that both of the previous letters to the editor should have been more respectful of the groups that they are not a part of and the functions of which they do not understand. It is unnecessary for WC groups to ostracize each other as we are all a part of a larger community and each group contributes an essential piece.

– S. Brown ’12 and E. Gray ‘11

Consider the Facts: Contributions of WC Athletes

Dear Editor,

In the weeks since President Baird Tipson’s decision to overturn the Honor Board sanctions placed on certain members of the men’s lacrosse team, there has been an outcry from Washington College students ranging from the unacceptable decision Tipson made to mild attacks of the men’s lacrosse team, to all-out abuse of student athletes.

While everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, the most shocking fact about the fall out of Tipson’s decision is how many students are verbalizing these opinions without one ounce of fact.

The majority of the student population, including athletes, do not know the circumstances surrounding the team, the Honor Board decision, and Tipson’s decision, and have neither tried to find those facts, nor concealed their ignorance, but rather ripped into their fellow students without one iota of guilt or remorse for their wholly biased and ridiculous opinions. In an effort to shed some light and truth on the situation, I would like to present the following factual evidence about the men’s lacrosse team and all student athletes, in order for students of WC to do what they set out to do upon coming to college, learn something.

Uneducated claims have been made that the lacrosse team and athletes in general are “not contributing to the academic environment in any positive way” and that they are only here to play sports. Part of playing Division III athletics is that the emphasis is placed on the student over the athlete. No student received financial, academic, or even athletic aid based on his or her athletic ability, because it is against NCAA rules for D-III colleges and universities. This means that all of the athletes who attend WC were able to be accepted to the school and receive enough academic and financial aid (if they needed it) based on their own merit in the classroom, not on the field, court, or pool. Furthermore, for the past decade, the average GPA of male student athletes is 2.919 in comparison to the male non-athletes with an average GPA of 2.970. While the general population of males is higher, it is only so by 0.051 points. For females, athletes have an average GPA of 3.117 and non-athletes have an average GPA of 3.194.

In taking into consideration the amount of time athletes spend between practice, travel to games, game time, and perfecting their craft in the offseason, their success in the classroom can only be explained by two phenomena: they are smart, and they work hard. Clearly, athletes are contributing in the classroom, as they are just as competitive in regards to grades and GPA. Of course, there are some teams that are higher than the non-athlete GPA and some that are lower, but the discrepancy is no more than 0.1 above or below. In addition, student- athletes are not only here to play sports, as, since 2003, an average of 79.075 percent have graduated in five years while an average of 73.88 percent of non-athletes have graduated in five years. Students who happen to play athletics graduated at a higher rate than students who do not, proving that athletes are here to do more than just win games, but rather to receive and education and excel at both of their endeavors.

To all of those out there who think athletes think they are better than everyone or receive special treatment, think again. Athletes study, write papers, and take exams just like every other student. They stay up until 4 a.m. to study because they didn’t get back from their game until 12, and they are a part of this campus in the same way as anyone else. Sure, the men’s lacrosse team and other athletic teams have great facilities-donated by alumni or received as apart of the athletic department funding- but so does the rest of campus.

Indeed, a $24 million building was just built for the arts. All that I ask is that before anyone judges other students on this campus and discriminates against others on the basis of assumptions and heresy, learn the facts and make an educated opinion, because that after all is why we all came to this fine institution, to learn from others and expand our horizons. Don’t limit yourself to the close mindedness of your fellow students, and learn to appreciate our differences and the fact that we are all contributing members to this campus, no matter what sport, club, or organization with which we are involved.

Kelsey Newborn ‘12

Students Shouldn’t ‘Cry Wolf’ About Discrimination

Dear Editor,

This letter is being written in response to the article in last week’s edition of the Elm entitled “Student’s Suspension Sparks Discrimination Debate.”

My hopes in having you read this is to provide you with a second opinion that I believe many of you have overlooked. Consider the incident in reference to the cause against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Before I continue, I want to point out that there is no other proponent of that cause who is more avid than I am, but I also believe that there are some times when it is acceptable to point out sexual discrimination, and times when it is inappropriate. The incident involving Charlie is not an appropriate arena to highlight sexual discrimination. If you go out in search for a problem, you will discover the problem where it doesn’t exist, and the more you shout about the “problem,” the less credible you become. Do you remember that boy who always yelled “wolf, wolf!”? My fear is that by highlighting discrimination in the incident, people are getting hyped up over a problem where it isn’t present. Don’t cry wolf, or else there will be no credibility to the cause when sexual discrimination is actually present.

“But” you might say “the other student called Charlie gay. Charlie was beaten up because of the part he played in ‘Spring Awakening.’ It must be sexual discrimination, right?” Well, yes, if that is what actually happened, but Charlie was not assaulted because he was gay, or even because the other student thought he was gay. Charlie was assaulted because he was flirting with a few girls, and the other student didn’t care for that. Charlie was called gay in an attempt to emasculate him. Homosexuality was the weapon used to assault Charlie, just like fifth grade bullies call kids “doo doo face” on the playground. It was not the reason he was attacked. Just because someone said the gay word does not mean that there are grounds for an argument for the presence of sexual discrimination. In fact shouldn’t we be more concerned with the fact that someone at this college is immature enough to taunt Charlie and verbally attack him over harmless flirting? Personally, I could care less what words Charlie was assaulted with. It was a situation that never should have happened.

Taylor Goss ‘13

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