Letters to the Editor
November 30, 2006
**Copy editing errors**
**To the Editor:**
p. As an alumna of the College, I was extremely excited to be able to visit the campus on Nov. 11 for the first time in five years with some old college friends. We enjoyed reminiscing and walking through campus and enjoyed the beauty of the College in the fall.
p. While there, we picked up the Nov. 10 edition of The Flat Hat. I had been following the controversy regarding the removal of the cross from the Wren Chapel and eagerly turned to the Letters to the Editor section. Imagine my surprise when the first heading of the first letter read: “Seperation of church and state.” I was flabbergasted that the misspelled word made it to copy. Misspelling separation looks, at worst, uneducated, and, at best, sloppy. I also found another typo in the staff editorial section: the word “unfriednly.”
p. I have yet to finish reading the paper, so there may be more mistakes like these. Is there a copy editor at The Flat Hat? I know that The Flat Hat can do a better job than this.
p. **__— Meredith Johnson, ’91__**
**Stand up to the NCAA**
**To the Editor:**
p. President Nichol, the issue surrounding the Tribe name and logo boils down to two major points:
p. First, the decision by the NCAA is inconsistent, arbitrary and, on the whole, without merit (and, if my sources are correct, the decision was rendered summarily without explanation or justification).
p. Second, despite this inconsistent and arbitrary decision, the leadership of the College has decided to accede to the demands of this decision of an unaccountable authority, primarily for reasons of practicality and political expedience.
p. As I reflect on your Oct. 10 letter, I pause to consider the message the decision sends to me, as an alumnus of the College, the lesson it teaches to the students of the College, who will become the leaders and decision makers of tomorrow, and the message it sends to student athletes, who work hard to represent the College on the athletic field as genuine student-athletes. It is not a message or lesson I am proud of.
p. About 230 years ago, a group of Americans, including several alumni of the College, wrestled with the implications of the arbitrary and meritless decisions of an unaccountable authority. Fortunately, for the generations of Americans who followed them, these brave alumni chose to do the right and honorable thing: to pursue justice, even to the point of going to war against the oppressors, despite the long odds and the political and economic cost. I thank all that is good and just in the world that those courageous and principled alumni came to a decision different from the one you and the rest of the leadership at the College came to in this case. The United States and, arguably, much of the western world have immeasurably benefited from that decision in 1776 and the principles it represented — indeed the highest ideals of human progress, achievement, service and dignity.
p. More recently, the NCAA held a stranglehold on and dictated the contractual terms for broadcast rights of NCAA-sanctioned athletic competition, with very little or no consideration for the institutions engaged in the competition. Under the same threat of foreclosure, no academic institution dared challenge the authority of the NCAA dictatorship. No one, that is, until a few universities, with their own proud heritage of producing a combination of scholastic and athletic excellence, recognized the unjust usurpation of the valuable athletic franchise and decided to stand up to the oppression and challenge the arrogance. Today, member institutions of the NCAA have much more latitude in negotiating their valuable broadcast rights and are immeasurably better off because a few institutions chose to stand up and do the right thing.
p. Regardless of the stakes involved, be it the fate of an independent nation, the fate of basic contract rights or the fate of an athletic symbol, the principle is the same: standing up to tyranny and the pursuit of justice is the right thing to do, even when doing so requires commitment and sacrifice. That is the message and lesson the College should be supporting.
p. I understand that, as the administrators of the College, you have many constituencies to serve and that decisions, such as those cited in your letter, are not taken lightly nor are they made without considerable reflection, discussion and debate. However, despite the fact that the decision was made with great effort and consideration, it does not mean it was the right one. I hope, at some point, you and the Board of Visitors will reconsider and choose to stand up to this abusive and unjust exercise of authority and practice what you preach as the hallmarks of the College.
p. **__— Kevin Krizman, MBA ’92__**
**A message from the Grinch**
**To the Editor:**
p. President Nichol, I write (in the voice of your proud mentor, the Grinch) to congratulate you on your recent achievement. Removing the cross from the Wren Chapel is perhaps your greatest maneuver as president thus far. I’m proud of you beyond expression. However, I believe there is room for even more improvement. I must admit, when I first met you at the Winter Celebration, I didn’t think you had it in you to truly live up to my expectations.
p. Why stop with the cross, President Nichol? May I suggest taking further steps and also remove the coat of arms hanging in the Chapel? They clearly represent the absolute and tyrannical rule of English monarchs this country fought so hard to defeat. It is a disgrace, and offensive to my American heritage, to have this symbol of monarchial rule hanging in our Chapel. While I am at it, on my last tour of the school, I noticed paintings of past college presidents and various leaders who were, no doubt, supporters of slavery. It is shameful for our school to be showcasing these white supremacists as great heroes of our college. Along with the coat of arms, they represent the disgraceful past of our country.
p. Now that I think about it, the Brafferton should also be removed from our campus. Each brick sends to the community the message of white supremacy and enslavement of Native Americans. We are certainly cheating ourselves of the College’s proud past by continually reminding ourselves of its mistakes.
p. In fact, President Nichol, you have your work cut out for you. All of the statues of Thomas Jefferson, James Blair, Lord Botetourt and the like should be replaced with statues of androgynous purple people (purple so as not to offend people of any color). Oh, and may I suggest one more change. The name of the College itself further suggests monarchial tyranny and opposes all of what America stands for. Perhaps a more appropriate name, such as The College of “We’re All So Special and Important,” is in order.
Best wishes, President Nichol. You’re on the right track and I look forward to finally seeing this school fulfill its potential of being the number one “Most Progressive Small Liberal Arts College in America.” Don’t lose hope. I’ve taught you well and I’m sure you’ll one day be remembered as the President who stole Tribe spirit.
p. **__— Elizabeth Bowman, ’07__**
**Web site lacks creativity**
**To the Editor:**
p. I note with encouragement that The Flat Hat has refreshed its website’s design. However, I must point out that as an avid reader of The New York Times that I found a disquieting similarity between The Flat Hat’s new web design (flathatnews.com) and The New York Times’ current offering (nytimes.com). Web design is an art form that lends itself to creative inspiration and limited sampling, and taking inspiration from an existing design is certainly the sincerest flattery. I am a professional graphic and web designer, and I can attest to this process. That said, I feel that the web designers at The Flat Hat should be careful to take a little less inspiration and use a little more creativity in their design process. The line between duplication and imitation is a fuzzy one. Plagiarism isn’t limited to the written word.
p. **__— Michael Weissberger, ’05__**