Letters to the Editor (Feb. 20)

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February 20, 2007

2:34 PM

**Nichol cross cartoon causes outrage**
**To the Editor:**

p. I am offended by the horrible cartoon in The Flat Hat showing President Nichol carrying a cross. “Loving students” are shown in the background and to the right you show a Roman soldier labeled “alumni” attacking Nichol with a weapon.

p. First, I am offended that you show the student body in the cartoon as “loving” to Nichol when hundreds of students have signed the petition at www.savethewrencross.org to reverse his policy, his agenda has embroiled our College in unnecessary controversy and, despite admitting error in removing the cross without discussion and study, he refuses to return to the former policy while his committee meets. This ensures continuing controversy, expense and distraction from the College’s “core mission”— to use Nichol’s words — of educating students.

p. Next, I am offended as an alumnus of the College because alumni do not persecute Nichol, but instead strongly disagree with his change in policy. In a 275-year old Christian Chapel, the former policy allowed those preferring the use it cross-free to do so upon request. This common sense policy served the College well for many, many years with few concerns expressed. Thousands of alumni have respectfully asked Nichol to change the policy back. He has stubbornly refused, preferring to let the concerns of a relative few count more than the concerns of the many thousands who have let their voices be heard that the former policy struck the right balance for the College.

p. Lastly, I am offended as a Christian because Nichol is certainly not a self-sacrificing figure as was Christ, but has doggedly pursued his personal agenda of making the College politically correct. Showing him as a Christ figure when he is ignoring the pleas of Christian and non-Christian students and alumni alike to return the cross of Jesus to display is shameful. It seems the only religion that can be made fun of in America today is Christianity. All others are “off limits” to the politically correct. I cannot imagine you publishing a cartoon making fun using graphic images important to a Muslim or a Jew, for example. Those types of images have spurred religious violence around the world.

p. I write this simple letter, and ask that you apologize publicly for the cartoon.

p. **__— Andrew McRoberts, ’87__**

**SA bill poses environmental threat**
**To the Editor:**

p. During a recent SA meeting, freshman senators Scott Morris and Andrew Blasi proposed the New Campus Improvement Act. Their bill seeks to add a sidewalk from Dupont Hall to the Commons as well as an asphalt path from Dupont to the Keck Lab. Along with six Dupont and Botetourt residents, they complained about the “heap of mud which is just not attractive.” Although these concerned students had safety and aesthetics in mind, the impact of adding to the impervious surfaces on campus outweigh the benefits.

p. As any geologist will tell you, increasing the area covered by impervious surfaces, such as sidewalks and concrete, will adversely affect the pathways and timing of flow during storms. Water that falls on these surfaces does not infiltrate into the groundwater system as it would, for example, on vegetated areas. Rather, water flows over these surfaces and enters streams more quickly. This creates the potential for local flooding in places such as College Creek during large storms. In addition to the effects visible on campus, locations downstream would also be affected.

p. By adding to the total area of ground covered by sidewalks and paved paths, storm water will pond in places where the water table is close to the surface, such as in the Sunken Garden. In fact, places where mud exists after storms will likely get worse if paths are added. Puddles and pondage are ubiquitous on campus because in many places the water table is less than 10 cm from the ground surface — you could extract groundwater by poking a straw into the ground.

p. However, all is not lost. Solutions to the problem include adding vegetation. Plants utilize the available water and reduce the height of the water table, in turn eliminating ponding. In addition, gravel paths, such as those near Common Glory, are more environmentally friendly because they allow water to permeate through the surface without generating a mucky mess. In the future, I hope that bills will be passed that account for long-term environmental effects.

p. **__— Erik Haug, ’07__**

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