Archive for November, 2002

Defending the ranking

Friday, November 22nd, 2002 | Aaron Wolfson
Annabelle de St. Maurice

The women’s basketball team at Washington University is perennially ranked at the top of NCAA Division III.

But this year, it’s the men’s turn.

As both teams have been given the preseason No. 1 ranking, it will be a new experience for the men’s team in trying to live up to the highest ranking.

“Its really exciting to be ranked No.1 going into the season,” said sophomore forward Anthony Hollins. “We worked extremely hard last year to get to this point, and even though we’re coming off a disappointing loss, I feel that we’ve improved and we do deserve our ranking.”

Last year, the Bears finished with a stellar 25-2 record, setting an all time record for victories at WU. The team also posted an undefeated record in the UAA Conference en route to its sixth league title. However, the Bears were defeated in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division III tournament, and are hungry to get back there this season.

The prognosis is very good. WU returns all five of its starters and highest scorers: seniors Chris Jeffries, Matt Tabash, Dustin Tylka, Joel Parrott, and Jarriot Rook.

With their scoring power, combined with amazing senior leadership and an outstanding supporting cast, it is no wonder that the team is expected to win it all. If that is not enough, the Bears have excellent incoming talent, including 7-foot freshman center Mike Grunst.

WU also has the school’s all time winningest coach, Mark Edwards, manning the bench. Edwards, who is a former WU player, has coached them for the past 21 years, including 18 consecutive winning seasons under his watch. Yet, WU has never been to the Final Four and the pressure will be on this year thanks to their No.1 ranking.

As the team moves forward during the season, their best bet might be to forget about the rankings altogether.

“The preseason No.1 ranking in no way effects our goals for the season,” said junior forward Ryan DeBoer. “We are going to approach every game the same way.”

Another result of the No.1 ranking is that every team on the Bears’ schedule will be even more anxious to topple them.

“The ranking is in a way putting a bulls eye on our backs,” said DeBoer. “Every team in the nation wants to beat the No.1 team, so every game we play this season is going to be tough.”

However, one thing that the No.1 ranking will not affect is the team’s expectations and goals for the season.

“Our goal each year is to win a national championship, so it doesn’t matter if we’re ranked 1st or 149th, our goal will still be the same,” said Hollins. “I think that this ranking will serve as a motivator for every game we play this year.”

Although they don’t want to get caught up in it, the Bears believe their ranking is well-deserved. This season they will try to prove it on the court.

“We just need to go out there and play like we know we can,” said DeBoer. “We will show everyone why we deserve that No.1 ranking. ”

A return to greatness?

Friday, November 22nd, 2002 | Sal Taliercio

It seems unfair to ever say anything bad about the forerunner in Washington University’s athletic program, the women’s basketball team.

But the team did have one of the poorest seasons in recent memory in 2001-2002, gathering a 25-1 record, a record that is eclipsed by the previous few seasons, which spanned an 81 game win streak. Thirty- win seasons and laughers have become the norm to the women’s basketball team.

Joking aside, the team is expected to reproduce the success of prior seasons. Coach Nancy Fahey, probably the most touted women’s basketball coach in Division III athletics, leads the Bears into action for the 17th season. Fahey has generated an .855 winning percentage during her tenure at WU and this season is not expected to be any exception.

This year’s squad has both a strong starting five as well as a deep bench, and the Bears will draw talent from each and every player this season. The team of 25 players has only four seniors, so a majority of the impact will be made by underclassmen.

“Everything is a team effort,” said junior forward Suzy Digby. “We have our first five and our second five, but each group is on a nearly equal level.”

“We don’t think of ourselves as having five starters… we are definitely an equal level team,” said junior guard Sarah Mullen.

The emphasis on equality runs deep. Each player should see significant playing time, a categorical necessity for freshman and sophomore hoopsters, looking to find their niche on this juggernaut.

The team, however, did lose a number of seniors from last season. While they miss these players, the team knows it must regroup.

“We did lose a bit of our character and personality,” said Digby. “Two of last season’s starters are no longer with us. This does change the lineup, but it gives us the chance to step up to the plate and perform.”

“We have a different team each year. The team last year had great chemistry but we feel we can match it,” said Mullen.

The team kicks off the season today against Wheaton. The first chance most Bears’ fans will be able to see their team is on Friday December 6th, against Illinois Wesleyan at 7:30 pm. Scheduled away contests and Thanksgiving Break prevent most fans from catching a glimpse of the action prior to then.

Committed involvement and sound training have been keys to the Bears’ overwhelming success in past years. With Coach Fahey working the girls at the accustomed, albeit strenuous level, another championship is likely to be in the works. The team can only hope the push toward UCLA’s 88 game win streak comes closer to fruition.

Longevity and success

Friday, November 22nd, 2002 | Lesley McCullough
Annabelle de St. Maurice

Nancy Fahey, the Washington University women’s head basketball coach, first arrived on the hilltop campus back in 1986, at a time when most of her current players were not yet in school, much less playing organized sports.

But over the last sixteen seasons, Fahey and her talented coaching staff have created what can be argued as one of the most successful programs in the history of NCAA women’s basketball.

“First of all, it starts with the players,” Fahey said. “We have a unique situation here where they truly understand the importance of education, which is consistent with everybody here. Then after that, they would like to participate in a program that still allows them to have a total college experience.”

There is ample evidence that her program works. Under her direction, WU has won four consecutive Division III national championships (1998-2001), including two back-to-back 30-win undefeated seasons, not to mention an 81-game winning streak that spanned three different seasons.

The Bears boast an .855 winning percentage and have posted at least 19 wins in each of the last 15 seasons. Furthermore, WU has made 14 NCAA Division III tournament appearances, and has won an impressive 12 UAA conference titles, including the last five in a row. However, this list does not even begin to include the numerous accolades her players, as well as those she and her coaching staff have acquired during this same time period.

“The same students who work so hard in the classroom don’t suddenly change when they get to the basketball court,” Fahey said. “They have high expectations for themselves regardless, so it’s a coach’s dream because you are dealing with people that really want to excel and truly care about it.”

Fahey’s philosophy is in no small part why, in recent years, WU has attracted several talented women who could have chosen to pursue the possibility of playing at a Division I or II school instead.

“I think because the players realize that after four years, like everybody else, they are graduating – that’s their priority,” said Fahey. “Division III is a philosophy, not necessarily just a level of play. I think it’s the balance between education and athletics that attracts them, and the fact that they have time to do other things here too.”

Last season came to an end when WU fell to the eventual national champions, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, in the second round of the playoffs. However, this year has already had a familiar beginning – the Bears, like two of the past three seasons, find themselves ranked No.1 top-25 preseason poll.

“There are 400 Division III teams, and I would think that a great majority of them want to win their last game; we are not any different than them,” Fahey said. “We are fortunate to have been in this situation before, but frankly four years ago, when we won our first national championship, we were not even ranked in the Top 25 in the preseason.

While Fahey has witnessed first-hand some great teams during her tenure, she hesitated to compare this year’s team to those of years past.

“It’s like you’re asking a parent to compare their children, and we love them all,” Fahey said. “The wonderful part about coaching these teams is that they are all uniquely different.”

With a few returning starters from last year, the team will look to sophomore transfer Terri Lakowski, from the Loyola University-Chicago, and freshman Kelly Manning, to make big contributions.

“It’s still early but they are getting to know the system and getting a feel for how we do things,” Fahey said. “They keep getting better with each practice and hopefully they can have an impact on this year’s team.”

Fahey assured that practices have been going very well and the team is ready to see some real game-time situations.

“The intensity has been good and we have had very competitive practices in a positive way, but I think just like every other team in the country right now the players are very excited to be playing somebody else soon,” Fahey said.

The team’s approach now and all season long will be quite simple: one game at a time.

“The minute you stop respecting anybody you play, that’s the beginning of the wrong step, the wrong direction,” Fahey said

Are you ready to be a part of something big?

Friday, November 22nd, 2002 | Jeff Novack
Annabelle de St. Maurice

Topping last season’s record 25-2 mark will be a tall order for the Washington University’s men’s basketball team.

Fortunately, help has arrived that just may lead the team to new heights.

Freshman Michael Grunst, a 6’11” native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, joins an already deep and talented squad. Grunst, nearly seven feet tall and weighing in at 230 pounds, played his high school basketball for Marquette University High School. He averaged close to 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks a game while leading his team to the state sectional finals and a 16-7 record in his senior season.

He played on his freshman basketball team at the start of his high school career, played junior varsity as a sophomore, and competed at the varsity level his final two years.

Great height and a love for basketball are common attributes in the Grunst family. Grunst’s father, who stands at 6’10”, was a basketball letterman at Gustavus Adolphus University. Grunst also has two older brothers who play basketball for Butler University-Ben, a 7’0” 300 pound senior center, and Andy, a 6’8 220 pound sophomore forward. Grunst also has a 6’8” young brother who is a senior in high school, and his mother is 6’0” tall.

Grunst began playing competitive team basketball in the fifth grade. With his father’s experience in collegiate basketball, the sport was always encouraged in the Grunst home. In addition to playing for his high school team, Grunst competed on an A.A.U. traveling basketball team while in high school. He also played varsity volleyball in high school, though he had never played competitively till his freshman year. As a sophomore, Gunst and brother Andy led the Marquette University High School team to the state volleyball championship.

As a member of the varsity team here at WU, Grunst practices two to three hours a day. While he says the adjustment to collegiate basketball has not been too difficult, being able to practice against someone of similar height is a new experience for him.

Each practice Grunst must match up against starting center senior 6’8” Jarriot Rook and 6’8” senior Nick Geurts. Grunst hopes to learn from his veteran teammates.

“Hopefully, this year I will be able to contribute and be a role player and learn from the experience of the seniors and hopefully win a national championship,” Grunst said. “Next year, I hope to be prepared to be a consistent contributor to the team.”

To meet these goals, Grunst continues to hone his game. At the high school level, he primarily played on the perimeter. Now, at the collegiate level, he is working to develop his low post, back to the basket game.

Grunst also hopes to improve his rebounding and defense and become a stronger, more physical player. Already on a weight lifting program, his goal is to add fifteen pounds of muscle to his frame.

While Grunst enjoys painting and drawing in his spare time, basketball will always remain his favorite pastime.

“Basketball has been a big part of my life,” Grunst said. “I love the sport and I love to compete.”

The men’s starting five: four years in the making

Friday, November 22nd, 2002 | Nick Sreshta
Annabelle de St. Maurice

Four years ago, they were just lowly freshman trying to adjust to college-life at this haven in the Midwest.

Now, they’re the leaders of the top-ranked basketball team in Division III.

Joel Parrott, Matt Tabash, Dustin Tylka, Chris Jeffries and Jarriot Rook. these five all entered WU in the fall of 1999, grew up together in the system, and now make-up the team’s starting lineup.

“Its been a lot of fun,” Tabash said. “Coming in, usually you don’t have a class with as many guys as we had. Being able to come up through the system, and spending all four years together, has been great from the basketball standpoint.”

As WU prepares to face the pressure of being the number one ranked team in the nation, these five know that the team’s fate rests in their hands.

“We are the leaders of this team. its up to us to push the others and help everyone contribute to the team,” Rook said. “We help them realize that its not just us, its also them. Knowing that the five of us can carry the weight on our shoulders even though we don’t have to, it shows how much this team has really come together.”

As these seniors now make up the starting team, keep in mind this wasn’t like the “fab-five” with Michigan in the early 90’s, where all five players started as freshmen. These guys have gone through the growing pains, learned from one another and in the end, their hard work has finally paid off.

“Freshman year, we’d finally get to play at the ends of games together. all five of us,” said Parrott. “Right now though, its not only us five, but there’s nine of us [seniors]. We’re all best friends, some of us live together. overall its been an amazing experience.”

Each of these players understandably played large roles last year, their first full year of playing together as the starting unit. Jeffries led the team in points and rebounds, with Rook right behind him in each of those categories as well as leading the team in blocks. Tabash was the team’s leader in assists, steals, and minutes played.

While these five have helped turn WU into a perennial contender, one cannot go through the hardships of leading a team without creating emotional bonds with one another. That chemistry is ever-present in these individuals.

“These guys have basically become my best friends in college,” said Rook. “I couldn’t imagine a better group of guys, these are life-long friendships, and I couldn’t imagine changing it for anything else in the world.”

“We’re really tight, we spend time during the summer visiting each other’s houses,” said Parrot. “Even our parents get along. its really awesome.”

It is understandably rare to have a starting lineup composed entirely of seniors. Many schools try to avoid this to prevent the disaster that occurs the following year after the team has graduated. However, these guys were the best players on this team when they were sophomores, which says a lot about how special they are when they’re on the floor together.

“We’ve been able to get really close of the court,” said Tabash. “I think that helps us elevate our performance on the court as well.”

As all things come to an end, this season will be the end of an era for WU when they bid goodbye to the players who have been the backbone of this team for the last three years.

However, as these five embark on their final season together, they all agree that there will be plenty of time to reminisce later.

“I’m sure it’ll be something that will probably hit us towards the end of the season,” said Tabash. “But right now, we’re just trying to stay focused and win a national championship.”

A team’s ode to WU fans

Friday, November 22nd, 2002 | Renee Hires

Parrott- “We love the student section in the corner to be going crazy the entire game, being loud and jumping around the entire time.
“The Sigma Chi’s are the best. They are great fans and come dressed up. They started the Bricklayers. The Phi Delts’ bomb squad dresses up in camouflage, and they are rowdy as well. The Theta Zi’s are always wearing jerseys and having fun.”

Mike Paradowski – “They supported their team in high school, why not support their college team? What else do you have to do on a Friday night than watch us play? You can party afterwards.”

Edwards – “I think that the players feed on the fans, and the fans feed on the payers. It creates and environment and an atmosphere for basketball that everyone enjoys.
“We go on the road to some places like Illinois Wesleyan, and the place is packed to the gills, and even in your own team you see it have an effect. It creates a heightened awareness of something exciting that’s going to happen. To me, that’s about as fun as you can get in basketball, regardless of wins, losses, made shots, missed shots.
“It’s the atmosphere that creates the game.”

Jeffries – “We played at Blackburn last year, and there were probably 10 people in their gym, and I bet five of them were work study students, and that game was just so boring. But, if you have a gym like Illinois Wesleyan, for example, you feed off their energy.
“One of the best things I’ve ever seen was the result of the Bricklayers. They were so amazing. I remember one game sophomore year, we were getting beat by Rochester and we were feeling like crap on the end of the bench, and I look over at those guys and I can’t help but laugh.”

Laura Crowley – “Get to know the players. We’re always wanting to know the people who are in the stands and talk afterwards.”

Nancy Fahey – “I’m a coach who thinks every game is going to be intense, exciting and fun to watch. Every time we get an opportunity to play that’s how we feel.
“The tempo is so high. The players play a quick style, and hour half court offense allows freedom for the kids to play, so it’s fun to watch.”

The home games fans won’t want to miss

Friday, November 22nd, 2002 | Renee Hires

11/22: 19th Annual Lopata Classic – The men open the season as hosts of the tournament this weekend. The Bears will take on Wesleyan at 8:00 pm tonight and play again Saturday.
Senior Joel Parrott on the Lopata Classic: “We really want to win it bad. We’ve won it the past 3 years and it’s a goal of ours to win it again. It’s also our opener so we want to show everyone what we’ve got.”

12/6: Washington University Tip-Off Tournament – Beginning Friday, Dec. 6 the women will host the tournament that will likely feature a show down against DePauw U on Saturday. With a 69-61 win last season, the Bears DePauw one of only four losses. DePauw enters this season ranked 9th.
Senior Laura Crowley on the Tip-Off Tournament: “Those are always good games because the second game is the championship.”
And assuming WU faces DePauw, “That’s going to be a really good game. They’re preseason rank is really high and so is ours,” said Crowley.

1/24: University of Rochester – WU faces the first of seven UAA conference match-ups to be held at home.
Rochester’s men placed third in the NCAA tournament last season and placed second to WU in the UAA. WU defeated them 65-48 at home but barely pulled off a 65-63 win on the road. Rochester may be the biggest obstacle between the Bears and another 14-0 conference record.
The WU women have gone a combined 92-2 in home conference games. Last season, they won 61-44 at home, but Rochester fought harder in their own gym in falling to the Bears just 60-62.
Men’s head coach, Mark Edwards, on Rochester: “I think Rochester is going to be a big showdown for us this year. Rochester graduated only one player off their team, and it took a tip in at the buzzer for us to beat them at their place. Of course we know that Rochester, Chicago and New York are always a challenge. The conference in itself is a battle, game by game by game.”

2/2: New York University – The men handled NYU easily last season, once winning 77-43 in New York. For the WU women, a bitter rivalry always inspires them to bring its best against NYU, and that showed in 57-47 and 78-60 wins last season. This should be no exception.
Crowley on NYU’s women: “As far as our conference games, we hate NYU, and they hate us more probably than we hate them. They are our biggest conference foes so that’s another exciting game.”

2/16: Case Western Reserve University – Last year, the men bettered a close 97-92 win on the road with an 82-49 victory at home. The CWRU women, currently ranked 30th, challenged WU, who won 74-63 and 75-62.
Edwards on the UAA and CWRU’s men: “This is going to be an interesting conference because a lot of the young teams last year return a lot of players. Teams like Carnegie, Emory and Case were right on the verge of turning the corner. Those are teams that this year are going to be stronger, more confident and playing them this year is going to be a little more difficult than it was last year even.”

3/1: University of Chicago – This game is both the season finale and senior night. The lady Bears dominated Chicago last season. However, the men have experienced some thrillers over the years. The Chicago men will try to avenge 65-62 and 64-62 losses last season. Don’t be surprised if this game, or the match-up against Rochester, becomes from the get-go a literal edge-of-your-seat, back-and-forth, down-to-the-wire thriller.
Jeffries on facing Chicago in his last collegiate regular season game: “I’m loving it. I am so looking forward to that; to have the last game be Chicago here, senior night. I want it to be against someone who has really given us trouble over the past few years.”

Uniqueness frowned upon

Friday, November 22nd, 2002 | Keon Ho (Andy) Park

Being unique is cool. But here it sucks. It really does.

Ever since the Big Gay Picnic, there has been a continuation of debate regarding the intolerance towards different sexual groups. This discussion should have taken place a couple of decades ago, but I’m still glad that it’s at least happening. There also has been a discussion about racism and segregation among the ethnic groups on campus, which I also think should have happened a while ago. I’d like to offer a more general and inclusive opinion about intolerance and insensitivity based on personal experience.

I’m an Asian, 20-year-old male-5’7″ and 120 lbs. with brown eyes, black hair, and tan skin. These are the facts that will be appreciated if I am on the run as a criminal or if I got in an accident and I didn’t have my wallet with me. But are these the facts about me that contribute to the diversity at WU?

Once in a psychology class here, the professor asked what or whom we associate ourselves with. When I answered that I’m an Asian but I associate myself the most with the Latin Americans, my professor and the classmates were laughing. I laughed along in frustration because I didn’t know how else I could react. I admire the passion Latin Americans have towards life in general. I love their food and I love their music. Jazz is my favorite genre, and therefore I give a great respect for the origin of one of the most influential element in jazz. Although I wasn’t born in Latin America nor can speak Spanish fluently, I’ve loved everything I’ve learned and experienced about it until now. Borrowing a Buddhist idea, I believe I could have been a Cuban in my previous life. I’m pretty sure that there are people laughing at my statement right now.

Now, would you laugh at a Chinese descendent who claims to be a Californian? How about a half-German, half-Irish who claims to be an Argentine? Even if they didn’t grow up there or have not yet moved, being an official citizen is only a matter of paperwork. Gone are the days when your birthplace and the ethnicity of your parents defined who you are. You are what you identify with. The unique identity you create gives you diversity-more than the things you were born with. There’s very little you can predict from someone’s nationality and appearance these days, but people still try to do so. The same goes with sexuality.

I have long hair. And I don’t have a stubbly face like most of the guys with long hair. People sometimes mistake me for a woman. Whenever I want to get food on campus, I have to expect to be called “ma’am” or “lady” by the servers. Why only on campus? Because that’s where it all happens. Most restaurant workers tend to avoid gender-specific appellation such as sir or ma’am.

People think I’m gay simply because I “look” feminine, or “pretty.” It tells me how little knowledge students here have about gays. Forget the image of gays you saw on the television shows and movies. There are plenty of gays who are not feminine. In fact, by definition gays are attracted to guys, not to the guys who think they’re women.

It’s hard not to notice the suspicious looks and the distance kept by some people who think that I might be gay. Before we even go in to the topic of homophobia, let’s establish that no one likes to be viewed as something one’s not. Sometimes it’s easier on my nerves to just shut up, let others mistake me for a girl and pass by because I hate the looks on their faces when they discover that I’m a guy and start wondering if I’m gay. Although I’m neither a gay nor transgender, I’ve come to realize the cruelty of the silent criticism they must endure. How will they ever come out when difference is not appreciated but feared?

I can go on about the prejudices and intolerances people here have, but let me just tell you this: so far it’s been a pretty cold and dry place to live. A scary one, too

Rethinking Palestine

Friday, November 22nd, 2002 | Daniel Berkman

With the noblest of intentions, students last week stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of the Palestinian Authority. I have seen Palestinian children throwing rocks at Israeli tanks; I have seen the damage done by Israeli bulldozers-and I am sympathetic. But I have also seen the Israeli father who lost his wife and two children on an Israeli Kibbutz when a gunman burst in, sprayed the dining hall with automatic rifle fire, and then ran into another room and shot his two children. And after seeing this, I wonder why students would continue to stand with the Palestinian Authority. If there is one party in this mess that is guilty of the gravest of crimes, it is the leaders of the Palestinian Authority, who have done next to nothing to control the spread of terrorism in their country and nothing to ensure that Israeli civilians will no longer be killed in acts of terror in the name of religious fundamentalism.

Support for the Palestinian cause has picked up momentum at other universities as well. At Harvard and MIT, students and faculty members have been leading a crusade to encourage their universities to divest from companies that do business with Israel. Palestinian Solidarity Week, held last week at WU, was part of a resolution adopted by the Second National Student Conference on the Palestine Solidarity Movement. WU’s events-including the speaking invitation to Robert Fisk-were part of an attempt to draw attention to the plight of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.

But we cannot be naive about what support for the Palestinian cause amounts to. Palestinian terrorists do not want to engage in debate; they do not want peace. What they demand is the complete destruction of the state of Israel. I am not suggesting that every Palestinian person is a terrorist, but the responsibility must lie somewhere. A poll taken in June of this year by the independent Jerusalem Media and Communication Center found that 69 percent of Palestinians surveyed were in favor of suicide bombings.

If the Palestinian people were so opposed to the use of terror as a means of achieving political goals, they would be in the streets, calling for the arrest of members of Hamas or the Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigade or for a change of government. If Palestinian civilians are not to blame, let us point the finger at their security forces or at Yassir Arafat. Can we honestly say that we support only the “good” Palestinians, those that do not support terror? How does one make such a distinction?

One cannot simply support the Palestinian people without supporting the Palestinian state. Palestinians are obviously dissatisfied with their life of curfews and violence. But that does not justify the killing of civilians. We should not tolerate in any way the killing of civilians as a means of redressing human rights grievances. The Palestini-ans have pursued a diplomatic solution only sporadically. They could have had a state in 1948, at the Camp David Accords, or at talks with President Clinton in 2000. At every opportunity, they have turned down the offer of statehood. What makes their claim more viable now, in light of recent violence on both sides?

Those who suggest that Israeli violence and Palestinian violence are interchangeable make dangerous assumptions of moral equivalence. Israel, though it tends to overreact, is nonetheless trying to defend itself against people that seek its destruction. At worst, Israel kills civilians by accident in the process of attacking suspected terrorist targets.

Palestinian terrorist organizations, however, kill civilians at random, targeting men, women and children regardless of their role in the present conflict. Such actions should be abhorrent to every student on this campus. There should be no excuses made for these cowardly actions, and no solidarity should be expressed with the people or government of a nation that condones terrorist tactics.

Columns search for scandal in the wrong places

Friday, November 22nd, 2002 | Kyle Wagner

If you read Student Life on a regular basis, you will undoubtedly come to one of two conclusions: a) WU is the most racist, bigoted, sexist, heterosexist, misogynistic, and repressive college campus ever, or b) WU students and/or Student Life writers have a love affair with making mountains out of molehills.

It seems like every time I pick up the paper, ABS is segregating itself in Mallinckrodt. No, wait, my mistake-it’s the white population on campus that is forcing the minorities to segregate. Next week I will probably read about the Greek system being the root of all racism, alcoholism, and sexual assault on campus.

I am by no means saying that WU is devoid of negative facets. I am not so na‹ve as to believe that everyone gets along. WU has its fair share of racists; I will not deny the heterosexism, and I will certainly acknowledge the terrible cases of sexual assault. However, I would like to say that things are not as bad as many columnists, op-ed writers, and student groups would have you think. All too often I see exaggeration, faulty logic, and outright lies at the heart of many “arguments” that I either read in the student newspapers or hear coming from the mouths of my fellow students. I recall reading a scalding piece that accused the woman in charge of choosing the questioners during Salman Rushdie’s speech of picking only males and ignoring females. I also remember a noble reader correcting the writer and mentioning the two women who were picked to ask questions.

By the way, I would like to take this time to acknowledge the good ideas and arguments that I have seen and heard. Many of these are found in the form of letters to the editor in response to the less well thought-out pieces that (dis)grace these pages. I would like to count this column among those responses-except, of course, that it will come before many of the columns that it is ‘responding’ to. I’ll call this a preemptive strike. Yes, before you have a chance to write a boring, overstated letter or accuse some innocent group of unethical practices, I am calling you out. I am challenging you to take a step back, take a deep breath, and realize that things are not black and white. Evil organizations and totalitarian administrators do not lurk around every corner. They are not waiting to ambush you as you wait in the Subway line. Before putting pen to paper, please take the time to develop an argument.

Before writing your next column or article about the sexist, alcoholic, racist fraternity members, or the evils of ABS, or an accusatory piece about the hiring practices of the athletic department, please take the time to do a few basic things. First, take down accurate quotes that are reported in context; second, get the facts straight; and third, please, for the sanity of all who read your work, have a coherent essay that makes a logical argument and offers a solution to the problem.

By no means am I advocating a policy of “grin and bear it.” If there is a legitimate problem, then it should be discussed. But many of the columns I have read either restate what someone else said three weeks earlier, or (and in my opinion this is much worse) they inflate a non-issue. In the cases where they have no evidence to support their claim, they write an empty meaningless piece that wastes everybody’s time.

One such article appeared just last Friday on the back page of Student Life. To me it appeared as if the author, Matt Goldberg, was trying to make the Athletic Department appear as if it was using unfair hiring practices. He mentioned the lone minority coach and tried to portray the Athletic Depart-ment in a negative light. Unfortunately for him, all the evidence he presented seemed to defend the hiring practices of this particular establishment. To me, it looked like the half page article said, ‘WU only has one minority coach, but that is about right according to the figures I looked at. So I wrote a big long article about nothing.’

There, I have offered constructive criticism and put my thoughts out there for you to take them as you will. You can begin writing your responses to my audacious narrow viewpoint. now.