Referendum Actually Useful, other letters
To the Editors:
I am writing this editorial not for Student Senate, but as an individual who serves as a senator. This is a response to the Review editorial slighting this semester’s referendum. I will begin by agreeing that the question regarding U.S. foreign policy toward Iraq is irrelevant and unnecessary. I did not vote for this question’s inclusion. However, the other 15 questions are very pertinent.
The question regarding student organization compensation for position pay is relevant. Clubs have approached the Student Finance Committee about getting pay and been turned down. Students should have the option of voting for Senate to develop a policy where they can have more agency to decide what happens with their own money. As an organization that has compensated positions, I understand the Review’s vested interest in opposing this question. However, I think it is just that — an opposition and unwarranted fear to a legitimate question.
Many students have spoken vocally regarding indoor smoking on campus. It is necessary to see whether this is something that needs to be addressed or whether most students want to live in a smoke-free environment.
Credit/No Entry was approved in 1970 and voted to be replaced in December 2002. Course distribution requirements were only reinstated within the last 20 years. Of course none of this can be changed if, as the Review seems to suggest, there is an assumption that the status quo is the reality and the future. The purpose of Student Senate and of student governance is to advocate for student interests, not to give in to the status quo if it seems difficult to change.
The Review’s “prime example” of why Senate referendums are mostly futile was last semester’s no-confidence question regarding the Dye administration. This question was brought forth through a petition procedure outlines in Senate’s constitution and Senate was thus mandated to put forth the question on its referendum. It is important to note Senate did not vote to put this question on the referendum.
Lastly, I would like to put forth the questions Senate voted to put on last semester’s referendum and resulting Senate actions.
Formation of a Socially Responsible Investment Committee, passed: Two senators formed an advisory council this semester focused on financial transparency. These senators have been working on restarting this committee.
Establishment of outdoor smoking shelters, failed: There was a possibility for these to be created, albeit most likely in coordination with an adjusted stricter smoking policy on other fronts. However, Senate no longer discusses this issue.
Proper value on non-departmental arts, failed: This question gave Senate leverage through validating the fact that the situation of inadequate exhibit and performance space for non-departmental arts is not being appropriately addressed. Senate has been pushing the administration to address this issue expediently.
The continued boycott of Coca Cola products, passed: Many students expressed frustration with both the boycott and the process that initiated it. This question removed a reason for Senate to further revisit whether this is currently a worthy boycott.
The establishment of outdoor bike racks, passed: Senate has been advocating for outdoor bike racks and they were included in the proposed Phase II housing design. Some quite pretty architectural plans have been drafted. Bike racks will be constructed outside Mudd in the upcoming year. If these are successful, more will be built.
New housing should be built environmentally sustainable, passed: Senate is pushing for environmentally-sustainable construction. We have brought this up in almost every meeting we have had with the provost, president and VP for finance. We are currently pushing for the new Phase II construction to be LEED certified.
To the Editors:
Last week’s The Oberlin Review editorial stated that the “reinstatement of the Credit/No Entry system” is “unlikely,” implying that the new Pass/No Pass system has been “in place in practice if not in word for several years, and [is among policies] that have been debated exhaustively by both students and the faculty.” As authors of the referendum question on Credit/No Entry, we would like to take strong issue with this.
In reality, the removal of No Entry is a change that still incites strong opinions among both students and faculty. The value of the decision is by no means a settled matter. In 2002, the General Faculty voted to remove the No Entry grade and replace it with No Pass. A failure to advertise the change, among other factors, caused the implementation to be delayed until just last fall. The policy has now been in place for less than two years, affecting the classes of 2008 and 2009.
As the No Pass system was touted partially as a way to improve retention and speed progress towards graduation, it is both necessary and appropriate that the Educational Plans and Policies Committee and the General Faculty review the changed grading policies. Senate did not put this question on the referendum on a whim — students have requested its inclusion repeatedly all semester long. It is important that students get to weigh in on how the system affects them and renew a worthwhile debate. It is surprising and deeply saddening that The Oberlin Review, which so often advocates the reevaluation of College decisions, should be so flippant in declaring this issue over and done with.
Speaking for ourselves alone, we believe we need to reexamine the value system used to justify the demise of No Entry grading. Most of the supposed “problems” with Credit/No Entry grading are also arguments in its favor. Learning and intellectual risk-taking are themselves valuable things, and the uniqueness of the system is a draw for prospective students. Students should be encouraged to take classes in which they might not excel, rather than be discouraged with the threat of a GPA-affecting failing grade (No Pass grades bring down one’s GPA, while No Entry grades do not). ExCo instructors should not have the unwanted burden of affecting the GPAs of their fellow students, and professors should not have to inflate grades out of concern for their students. Most of all, we should encourage students to graduate with a major that actually fits their future plans, even if it means changing their major late in their Oberlin career and graduating later. The value of an Oberlin education ought to be of more importance than the speed with which we can push our students out the door.
We do not deny that there are strong arguments in favor of the Pass/No Pass system. But the burden of proof is on the proponents of the change to show what we have gained in exchange for sacrificing intellectual risk-taking.
We credit the Review for drawing attention to many of the problems with the Student Senate referendum, from the large bite it takes out of Senate’s time to the variable worthiness of the questions. We agree that Senate must closely examine the ends to which it directs its credibility and influence. However, we feel, and we hope students and faculty will agree, that these changes to our grading system ought to be critically and continually reconsidered.
To the Editors:
After reading the title on D’Souza’s recent talk, I became confused. Anyone who attended the lecture could note it should have read: D’Souza Justifies Continued American Imperialism Based on a Denial of Historical Facts and a Series of Racist Remarks. I realize that the copy editor would have flipped their proverbial flop over this lengthy run-on. However D’Souza did more than “defend Bush’s War”. It should be noted that he thought it acceptable to make blatantly racist statements about Mexicans, Japanese, Muslims and Africans. Apparently, “Islam knows no liberalism...all Muslims seek unification under a single nation”. This is worrisome to any historian, who has seen that the same generalizations about Jews, “as a unified people, against any nation, but Israel”, used to justify hundreds of years of violent, apartheid politics in Europe. With such remarks sprinkled throughout his argument I was surprised that when it came to the “free speech” part of the program, formerly known as the “question/answer session”, no one, not even myself, and I am ashamed of this in retrospect, attacked him on these grounds.
While the above statement is shocking, I think this shows the nature of D’Souza’s speech. Most notably, students so busily corrected a blatantly distorted view of history that they forgot to correct the racist character of the speech. Why was the audience forced to do this? Mr. D’Souza is an educated man. He found it “funny” to belittle the audience with rude remarks about their compared intelligence. Yet, he did not display this knowledge.
Instead, D’Souza deemed it appropriate to lie about the Reagan Administration’s “lack of” relationship with the “Contras” in Nicaragua. Based on fears that the Sandinistas were going to turn Nicaragua into a “Communist menace” the administration found it “necessary” to organize the remaining supporters of the former Somoza dictatorship to form the “Contras”. These terrorist forces are known for U.S. funding and training. They used fascistic tactics to suppress the people of Nicaragua. They became well known as Nicaraguan refugees fled the country, even to the U.S., although the administration labeled them “illegal immigrants”(achem: 1939). This provides context to the student who asked, “How did you sleep at night”. As the confrontation with the student unfolded, he backpedaled away from the discussion. D’Souza also stated that the “original” federal government of the United States did not codify/officially support slavery. Perhaps sometime in his years at Dartmouth he read of the “three fifths” laws, which codified slaves as 3/5ths of a person. I do not take this man to be a fool. He told us that he was aware of the facts. However, he denied them too comfortably. This concerns me, as he also asserted that “American lives” are worth more than any other Nationality. This sort of nationalistic rhetoric, comparable to that of a dictator, is not acceptable.
Communism never was the menace, D’Souza. History has yet to produce a communist state. What was the true “red scare” then? The idea that some other city slicked, black tied, intelligentsia would someday propagandize the power out of our hands. Where are the people in all this? Mr. D’Souza, the people, “Were in the Depression before 1929...we just didn’t call it that”. Nonetheless, his closing remarks rang most true. Such words of respect I have not heard in years. If only this tone was apparent in the rest of his speech, as opposed to racist remarks. Let me end with a toast: The futures forbid I become more conservative with age, for then I would be a socialist.
To the Editors:
Due to the fact that I personally pushed for the Iraq question on the student referendum, the opinions of the editors and others disturbed me profoundly. The intent was totally misconstrued. If it were an end-all poll to decide what the campus believes, the Democrats’ concerns would be valid. This is clearly not the case. Even with their answers, groups have entered in a debate with me. How could it be that this question will limit the exchange of views?
In my memory neither the Democrats nor the Republicans had themselves come to the campus community this semester to discuss the strategies of the national parties on this issue. Considering the huge effects of the war on our country, the world and the people of Iraq, this is nothing short of a failure of leadership. When leaders of the Democrats, Republicans or anyone else assumes no one is considering withdrawal as fast as possible, they are the ones limiting the debate.
After reading the editors’ take on the question, I had to wonder when Oberlin began to object to consideration of international and domestic controversies. In the Vietnam era, the Senate put to referendum the idea of a student reporter being sent to Vietnam. It also led with resistance to military recruitment and the protection of student rights to protest U.S policy. In that period, the Review itself carried stories on Vietnam almost every week.
I’m not concerned whether the editors think they can predict which way this question is going to turn. We should hear from everyone. When the results come in, we can decide as individuals and as a community how to interpret them. In this process I hope we can productively engage our differing opinions. If the editors or students believe that paying speakers to come here and tell us what to think is a sufficient debate, we have accepted an erosion of Oberlin’s role. Much student feedback on the question has affirmed the instinct I acted upon to include it. If the senate, student media or the student body refuse to engage with issues in the wider world, we are abdicating our duty as academics and citizens, as well as failing to live up to Oberlin’s progressive heritage.
To the Editors:
The article recently published about the fall opera Dialogues of the Carmelites [Nov. 18], was a misguided and undereducated ranting by a writer who was less than educated about her subject matter. The purpose of this letter is to give her information so this does not happen again. Her opening statements about the quality of Megan Hart’s acting were completely unfounded, particularly for an instrumentalist with little to no stage experience of her own.
Freedom of speech is a basic human right. If those opinions are published, however, they should be based on the writer’s deep understanding of the material. Sophia’s lack of knowledge is particularly apparent when she speaks of a major plot point: “She redeems herself near the end in an agonizing outburst to reveal her opposition to taking the vow of martyrdom.” This sounds lovely and dramatic; unfortunately, Alice’s character, Constance, never speaks out against martyrdom. This kind of mistake would not happen if the reviewer had simply read a plot synopsis.
It is also evident that she does not understand the practical aspect of performance: a reviewer must be mentally and physically present for each act, instead of using performance time to conduct interviews with the other cast. The interviews themselves were conducted incorrectly and she took too much license with their content. Ellipses are used for many things including incomplete thoughts and shortening long passages. They should not, however, be used to make a compilation of quotes from multiple people.
Jessica Marcrum is quoted as saying “...I’m always a whore or a boy.” This, combined with the statement that directly precedes it, is a hodge-podge of words said by both Jessica and Kira McGirr. Another person overly criticized by Sophia’s writing was Alice Teyssier. The review stated that her voice was “much to shrill...and altogether much too uncomfortable for the ear to handle.” This type of opinion is malicious. It seems that this reviewer has no knowledge of the high level of artistry that Alice has achieved. She has been praised by Marilyn Horne and Thomas Quastoff, two of the finest classical singers of the century. If they find her voice beautiful, Sophia should have good reasons to state otherwise.
Not enjoying a particular singer’s voice and writing a negative opinion is valid, but writing an unqualified opinion that completely disrespects her as a singer is mean and unprofessional. We wonder how Sophia would feel if any singer wrote a review of her piano playing, even though we have had more training in piano than she has in singing. This review is the antithesis of one Don Rosenberg wrote for The Plain Dealer. His was a glowing and educated review of the same opera, though different cast. One may wonder whether Sophia watched the performance at all, or if she is simply seeking attention.
To the Editors:
Daily, I am appalled by the amount of Andrew DeFranco I see on campus, much more than I see in my hometown of Oakton, Virginia. My peers know how irritating Andrew DeFranco is, and have had this confirmed by his letter to the editor last week regarding smokers and how Oberlin should, like, get rid of them.
Well, I am affronted by the fact that it is nearly impossible to enter a dorm or academic building without seeing Andrew DeFranco, and am affronted even more about the arrogance of Andrew DeFranco when he rebuffs and ignores my requests to move. Now, Andrew DeFranco has the arrogance to claim that Oberlin should get rid of its smokers, and that this would be completely rational, feasible and legal. This is an empty claim that excludes a large chunk of the student body and is, quite frankly, insulting to smokers.
Oberlin is lacking a progressive vision toward an Andrew DeFranco-free community, one that is in line with the scientific knowledge of how irritating he can be. Already, Oberlin is more advanced in that one of its dorms, Baldwin, bans Andrew DeFranco from its premises. We would build on this status by:
Now: Creating a student-run organization, similar to SIC, which would provide quitting resources and counseling to friends of Andrew DeFranco; this organization would be highly publicized.
Next year: Vigorously enforcing a 30-foot rule by having a greater presence of safety and security personnel ready and waiting to remove Andrew DeFranco if he should get within 30 feet of any Oberlin College building; having an apparent and publicized channel for anonymous complaints about Andrew DeFranco from students and shifting responsibilities to confront Andrew DeFranco to professors and other staff.
In a few years: Superseding (not superceding) the 30-foot rule; permitting Andrew DeFranco only in parking lots on campus.
In about five years: Rejecting all accepted applicants who admit friendship with Andrew DeFranco, and putting on probation status students who have been seen with Andrew DeFranco in the past, giving them a semester to break all ties with Andrew DeFranco and not inviting them to return to campus unless they can prove that they are no longer friends with him.
Concurrently: Staff would be given a several-year period, starting now, to break ties with Andrew DeFranco or quit their jobs, and no new professors seen fraternizing with Andrew DeFranco would be given tenure.
This process would be transparent, so Andrew DeFranco would have plenty of time to adjust. This would keep Andrew DeFranco from feeling that his “rights” are being unjustly wrested from him, because he would be able to see when and why these steps were being implemented. It would also give students who vehemently oppose the policies, such as (one would assume) friends of Andrew DeFranco and Andrew DeFranco himself, ample time to transfer to different institutions.
People are concerned about Andrew DeFranco when they apply to college; having a totally Andrew DeFranco-free community would be a unique draw for Oberlin. This is yet another area where Oberlin could be a shining beacon of the progressive values that we hold dear.
In response to Andrew DeFranco:
Mr. DeFranco, I know that you are not alone in your dislike of smoking. However, as a smoker, I am nothing less than offended by your suggestion to eradicate the smoking population on campus by systematically rejecting applicants who admit to having this habit.
I am a very conscientious smoker. I always stand away from the building. If I see someone coming my way who is not smoking, I move away. If I’m walking to class and someone is behind me while I’m smoking, I let them pass me so the smoke doesn’t blow in their direction.
Smokers, contrary to popular belief on this campus, are not bad people and should not be treated as such. And where do you get off telling faculty and staff that they have to quit smoking or quit their jobs? These are qualified adults, and their choice, although unhealthy, should in no way affect their credibility.
You say that it would be in line with Oberlin’s progressive ideals to recognize a scientifically proven fact through punishing all those who do not conform to that fact in their actions. However, how is punishing people for their individual lifestyle choices progressive in any way, and what kind of implications would such a decision have?
We know that artificial sweeteners can cause cancer, so maybe we should screen applicants who drink diet pop and reject them immediately on the grounds that we want to promote a healthier lifestyle on campus. On that note, I think we should ask prospective students if they like to eat bacon, as bacon is a seriously unhealthy choice for any meal. Some of the greatest minds in history were smokers — Orwell, Hemingway and Helmut Schmidt just to name a few — and I cringe at the thought of them being denied the facilities they deserved and thus not being able to create what they did because of their habit.
You complain that you have to walk through a haze of smoke to get into any building. However, as much as you complain about this, smokers will not go away unless a shelter is built to protect them from the elements. I believe in the 30-foot rule, but I believe that it cannot be enforced legitimately until there is some sort of concession made to smokers’ needs. There are a lot of lounges in dorm rooms that are actually built to be smoking lounges, complete with proper ventilation to prevent the smoke from getting anywhere else in the building. Employing these rooms in just a few buildings would substantially decrease this divisive issue.
On a final note, I’m just displeased in your overall attitude and lack of respect towards your classmates. We are all in the same boat. Especially at this stressful time of the school year, I feel an acute sense of camaraderie because I know that everyone is going through the same experience as me, and I support any way that they can cope with that stress. You must choose now, Mr. DeFranco, between your own personal preferences and supportive humanity towards your peers.
To the Editors:
I applaud your gallant efforts to give voice to an underrepresented and virtuous minority of Oberlin students. I raise the following question: Is it possible to experience a sense of “community” or “commingle” when you are killing yourself? The answer is no. Those who exercise autonomy over their bodies in the wrong way, like smoking, do not have the capability to “commingle.” As you suggested, we should cleanse Oberlin of the impure. Students and faculty who smoke should be put on probation until they have successfully quit or transferred institutions. But... ready your noble steed, because I propose that we take things one step further — to Elyria! Many Oberlinians are acquainted with the small and dismal town northeast of here and it would be a prime location for rehabilitation and reformation. Even though Elyria might be the crack capital of northeast Ohio, there is an ideal parking lot behind the First Merit on Broad St. where Oberlin College could form its very own internment camp.
On second thought, Elyria cannot provide enough stimulation for our unfortunates. A much more productive location would be the Jones Farm. After all, our school motto is “Learning and Labor.” Smokers attempting to quit need to be kept busy and the Jones Farm will occupy their time and their hands. The fruits of their forced labor would not go to waste; instead, the raw produce could fill CDS and OSCA with locally-grown, organic, sustainable, gourmet, non-honey vegan delicacies. Oberlin would make a name for itself as the only upstanding institution of academia that is so progressive it has become fascist.
I do have to take issue with your SIC analogy. Following your logic, the SIC could no longer promote safe sex but would help people to quit sexing. Either that or we would open up a tobacco shop in Wilder with wholesale prices. The analogy is my only problem with you, and I mean my only problem with you. Send me a message on Facebook and we will arrange a time to get together and have tea. I hope you like role-playing — I will be Eva Braun and you can be, well, you know who...
To the Editors:
In previous letters, assertions were made that Israel’s security measures were the sole cause of the Palestinian’s economic suffering.
Since the beginning of the second Intifada, both Israeli and Palestinian economies have been affected adversely. The success of the Palestinian economy has been hindered by the corruption of Arafat’s government long before the outbreak of any violence in this Intifada.
Israel relies on Palestinian workers for its own economic needs, and the Palestinian economy is highly dependent on Israel. Therefore, it is beneficial to both sides to have a flourishing Palestinian economy, as well as an Israeli one. When Palestinians suffer, Israel suffers, and vice versa.
Curfews, checkpoints and closures are the result of very real security concerns and are part of an effort to protect innocent Israeli citizens from terrorism. They are not simply random acts of Israeli aggression directed at Palestinians in an attempt to destroy the economy.
To place the blame exclusively on Israel is both disingenuous and intellectually irresponsible. It is unhelpful to the cause of peace, both in the Middle East and here at Oberlin. Only when both sides can admit to their own mistakes and take responsibility for the past can there be a possibility for a future peace.
To the Editors:
I was quite shocked at Andrew DeFranco’s proposal for a purging of all smokers from Oberlin College. First of all, there is a significant difference between encouraging students to quit and forcing them. As was pointed out, we have been inundated with evidence of the destructive effects of tobacco. Smokers are well aware of the consequences. DeFranco is attempting to save them from themselves; perhaps he does not believe they should be allowed to govern their own lives?
DeFranco claims, “Oberlin is lacking a progressive vision towards a smoke-free community.” Oberlin is indeed a progressive school, but I pray we never progress towards DeFranco’s autocratic ideal. He has formulated a five-year plan, which, like its historical predecessors, seeks to strip the rights from a segment of the population while telling them it’s for their own good. That proposal is repugnant to all who value the ability of an individual to make one’s own conscious decisions. It envisions security constantly patrolling. I suppose “if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to be afraid of,” but such an Orwellian rationale for constant surveillance terrifies me. The plan furthermore wants to isolate and eventually expel all who smoke, claiming it would be a “unique draw” for prospective students. Such a claim is baseless and absurd for the obvious reason that, while it might (and I emphasize “might,” as there is no evidence that this would actually be the case) interest some prospectives, it would alienate many, many more who smoke or learn that a single cigarette results in expulsion.
DeFranco claims, “It is nearly impossible to enter a dorm or academic building without coughing on tobacco smoke.” Being in my fifth semester, I know this to be hyperbolic, an exaggeration of the facts which is not conducive to an honest examination of the situation. Nobody should be treated like a second-class citizen, penned in parking lots. If smokers at the doors are bothersome, this problem could be solved by smoking lounges.
What would a smoking lounge accomplish? Would it actually “exclude a large chunk of the student body?” Thou hypocrite! How dare you rail against exclusion and in the same breath cry for the expulsion of over half the campus! A lounge would give smokers a place indoors, so that they would not have to supposedly block every doorway with their poisonous fumes. I agree that the 30-foot policy is beneficial, but an indoor lounge would also help the situation.
I must laugh at the utter ludicrousness of DeFranco’s arguments while at the same time lament that such intolerance and autocracy could be fostered at our school. Why stop at smoking? Someone could just as easily extend such logic and policies to whatever else one wishes. Perhaps one doesn’t like seeing people drunk on the weekends? We could have breathalyzers connected to door locks and all those whiskey-soaked sots would not be allowed in. After all, drunkenness is bad for the liver and evidently we are not responsible enough to care for ourselves. Perhaps one doesn’t like it when one’s neighbors make loud, passionate love? We could police that, I’m sure. Since an information center wouldn’t be enough for smoking, why should it be enough for sexuality? If people are not intelligent enough to make their own choices, as DeFranco implies, therefore we must expel everyone who drinks or engages in premarital sex. DeFranco’s plan would do irreparable damage to Oberlin College; we must vigilantly guard against those who would strip others of rights, dignity or respect for their own convenience.
To the Editors:
I am a member of Adenike Sharpley’s Ritual and Performance I. As you may have noticed, there have been art installations popping up around campus. As a member of the class, I have received many, many questions about what they are and what they are for, so I decided to write a letter to the editor clarifying.
These installations are memorials and gravesites, including altars and family flags of the students in Ritual and Performance I. They are done in the African paradigm, most notably using techniques and symbols from Yoruba and Congo culture. African art is made to speak to and for a community. The students in this class, as artists, incorporated elements of their ancestry, culture, family, community and life experience into their final installations.
In order to fully understand these projects requires knowledge both of the artist, their background and the African paradigm. There will be a book published next semester on the projects from this semester with artists’ statements. The book from the last ritual and performance class is available at Ben Franklin. If you are interested in finding out more or want to get involved, you can buy a book at Ben Franklin or take a class with Johnny Coleman or Adenike Sharpley.
The installations should be up at least until this weekend if you are interested in seeing them all. There are two installations on A-level of Mudd by Ben Malament and Georgia Wall. There are three installations in Third World, one in the lounge by Kei Tateyama which memorializes victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as her family and self, one in the maze by Rebekah Steadwell and one in the library by Francisca “Kika” Chaidez-Gutierrez, the creator of La Chingada.
Kantara Souffrant’s installation will be outside of Afrikan Heritage House and Maitreya Levanchild’s at the arch. Other projects that are in personal places or have been taken down are Ethan Baldwin’s and Sela Steiger’s. My installation is in the basement of Warner outside the men’s bathroom and is dedicated to survivors of sexual abuse and rape.
To show support for projects such as this, support diversity at Oberlin, both in the student body and the faculty. Without professors such as Ms. Sharpley, projects like these would not be possible.
To the Editors:
As a non-Conservatory student walking through the Con the other day, I was shocked to see a letter posted on the bulletin board. The subject was Sophia Yan’s review of an Oberlin Opera. I have read the original review, the letter to the editor and Sophia’s response in the Review.
I thought that Sophia defended her review very well and made excellent points, all of which were missed by Hepfer. When Sophia cited the New York Times critics, she did so as an example that nobody can escape criticism. I’m not sure at what point she likened herself to them on a professional level. Hepfer completely misunderstood the purpose of her words.
This whole controversy seems confusing to me. If she is so “unqualified” to write an accurate review, why does it matter if she writes a bad one? In my opinion, she is qualified and wrote a strong review. Furthermore, if Sophia lacked “credentials and experience,” she would never have been hired by the Review. It can’t go both ways.
But the notion of being “qualified to review” seems very classist. It implies that opera is too high of an art for most people to understand. I certainly understand the difference between something that sounds great and something that doesn’t.
I think this controversy has been prolonged and Hepfer is running a one-man circus show, talking himself in circles and making assertions when he doesn’t know what he is saying.
For example, he criticized Sophia for reviewing a dress rehearsal, a “work in progress,” when in fact, the Review had been invited to review that show.
A healthy college environment encourages differences in opinion, but in this case, Sophia has been personally attacked.
Hepfer is being immature, an example of the stereotypical “brainless” Connie, and whoever he is defending is obviously not ready to handle the pressures of the professional world.
To the Editors:
I am disheartened at Ezra Temko’s letter’s efforts to delegitimize the lived experiences of Al Sarraj’s family and the Palestinians that I have spoken with. I challenge Temko to identify where, in those two letters to the Review, I or Al Sarraj dehumanize Israel. The two letters simply refute blatant falsehoods by drawing on people’s experiences.
I do not have any interest in decrying Israel as an abstract idea. That said, I loudly decry Israeli “security” policies that both make Palestinian lives miserable and Israeli lives less safe. If it were the case that Israeli government policies of harassing Palestinians protected Israel, attacks would have subsided long ago. Rather, Israeli repression breeds desperation and, hence, more attacks.
I also challenge Temko to specifically tell me what it is that Aryeh Green does to help Palestinians. I worry that a lot of rhetoric around this aspect of the conflict aims to fit Palestinian society into a unidimensional Western mold (think Bush’s goals in Iraq) rather than working with what is already there. I hope Temko will prove me wrong. To see a couple of local Palestinian groups working with Palestinian society to build for the future check out www.holylandtrust.org and www.planet.edu/~alaslah
I would like to propose an alternate way to understand the situation in Israel and Palestine. Let’s ask, who is suffering? And, how can we lessen that suffering?