Alcohol not necessary

As a UR student, a staff member, and mom to a wonderful UR sophomore, I take umbrage to recent articles by Chris Voisine and Nick Delahanty, bemoaning the downtrend of fraternity-related alcohol consumption.

Consistent lack of responsible behavior by some Greek organizations and some students are causal in the recent probations, not offenses by the University.

UR almost lost a wonderful young man last year as a result of some dangerous Greek organized practices; his life and the lives of those who love him are forever changed. Last weekend’s MERT activity is only further evidence of continued irresponsibility on the part of some students, not administration.

Parenting a UR student who happens to be a proud member of this campus community, who realizes earning an education here is a privilege and an opportunity that can make a true difference in life – his words, not mine – I’m at a loss to understand why the CT gave these columnists open forum to trash the University they chose to attend, merely due to decreased alcohol availability.

If you have nothing to do “outside the dorm room on the weekend,” that’s your choice. Amazing bands at Milestones, our Jazz festival, GEVA theatre, High Falls/Browns Race, the Finger Lakes, horseback riding, skiing, ice skating, local sports venues, are but a few off-campus alternatives to inebriated weekends in your room.

Snow? Go enjoy it. Cold? The warmth of community is part of what makes Rochester special. Dreary? UR is one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, and happens to be a world-class arboretum! Misguided administration? UR has made significant contributions historically – one only need look into the number and stature of Nobel winners from among UR ranks – and continues to nurture and develop some of the most beautiful young minds the world has to offer.

In spite of the Voisine/Delahanty articles, I believe a much larger portion of UR population count their blessings to be here, have an appreciation of the caliber and contribution of faculty and staff who work hard to develop and maintain an outstanding curriculum, and value the wide range of cultural, social, and community-related activities this community has to offer.

-Kathy Adamski

Secretary

Offices for medical education

International isolation

It was interesting to read Michael He’s piece, but I would like add to something. While the label multicultural is erroneous as you pointed out there are several reasons that these groups become the way you describe them to be.

They need to be exclusive because that perhaps is the only place where they can feel completely at home, because every single day of their lives, while in the United States, they have to deal with the bewildering reality of being stranded in a culture whose signs they just can’t understand, and for which there is no little handbook.

For instance – why don’t people offer you the food they are eating? Is this the way things are in this culture, or are they being rude?

While these questions seem ridiculous to any American, they are very crucial ones for people trying to get through the day without unintentionally stamping on someone’s toes.

That is why they need to form a community/group formal or otherwise where they can just be and perhaps feel more at home, when home is a zillion miles away.

And if the Caucasian American feels completely out of place in their group meetings, that’s just a tiny taste of what it feels like to live everyday in America. The international students are being multicultural just by being here – the group is just a place to be themselves.

-Krupa Shandilya

Class of ’06

Drinking a crime?

I read the article about the increase in alcohol consumption on campus and immediately thought back to last year’s D-Day, when a very good friend of mine needed to be transported to the hospital because of intoxication. Friends on our hall debated taking her to the hospital because of potential consequences.

I’m glad they didn’t wait, but I was dismayed when I found out that she received a citation from the university. Students who are intoxicated and go to the hospital for treatment, even if they are underage, should not be penalized.

This sends the wrong message to the student body, and could have far worse consequences for the administration if someone decides not to go to the hospital.

-Melody Kramer

Class of ’06

Confusing the issue

Last week Michael He wrote about the true nature of cultural-awareness groups on campus by addressing their perceived cliquish-ness.

As an active member of one such group, I would like to respond by presenting raising awareness of the role the clubs play and their enriching presence which extends beyond the sphere of membership.

I would like to clarify He’s terminology in referring to UR “multi-cultural” clubs as not being “multi-cultural” enough. Clubs are classified as multicultural if they foster a multicultural atmosphere. Their function is not intended to be strictly multicultural; they are also “cultural-awareness” organizations that focus on a specific heritage.

I understood his argument to be that these “ethnic” groups are too exclusive for the common good, especially by excluding the “white Caucasians” who according to some are the antithesis of cultural expression.

As a Caucasian, I have the right to decline misplaced sympathy for white exclusion. I know from experience studying abroad that white Americans are quite capable of forming their own cliques when submerged into a foreign environment, responding to the same needs to “seek one’s own” that cultural groups on campus are being accused of. Furthermore, some students join cultural groups that do not necessarily reflect their ethnic background.

He also contends that the groups do not add to UR’s diversity. It is true that most cultural awareness organizations’ activities promote the most salient aspects of their respective heritage, instead of more in-depth activities.

That being said, all clubs strive to organize well-attended events, which means appealing to the masses. For more depth, one could take the initiative to travel outside the United States to experience all aspects of an unfamiliar culture. Or for starters, check out a book from the local library on your culture of choice. I’m serious.

Perhaps the real issue is why people feel excluded from cultural-awareness organizations. Would an Eastman student feel slighted if he weren’t invited to join the “American Society of Mechanical Engineers?”

Does a member of Hillel consider herself overlooked if she is not included in Christian Fellowship? Why would these organizations not also be viewed as sources of student body fragmentation?

Possibly because most believe that an academic major – and perhaps even religion – are matters of choice whereas one’s ethnicity, native language and initial cultural background are fixed. Therefore, it may seem inappropriate to celebrate a heritage that others cannot appreciate.

What He does not acknowledge is that in order for multiculturalism to exist, the people who identify with a culture for whatever reason have the right to explore first what they have in common before gaining the momentum needed to contribute to the diversity of campus in the form of organized activities.

The cohesiveness of cultural groups should not be seen as threatening but rather as a testament to the UR’s ability to foster a stimulating and colorful environment without being a melting pot where everyone is a different shade of gray.

-Sara Korol

UR Polish Club President



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