To the Editor,
To the Editor:
While the football scholarship issue is one where reasonable people can differ, I think you’ve overlooked a few things.
Many strong academic schools offer far more athletic scholarships than does Bucknell, with no damage to their image. Looking just at Patriot League schools, Bucknell has given out the fewest athletic scholarships for years–which has caused a number of BU teams/coaches to have to compete on an uneven playing field.
Do you have any evidence that the money for football scholarships will come at the expense of academic-based scholarships? For a number of reasons, I think it is unlikely that any academic-based scholarships will be cut. It is likely, however, that a significant amount of the additional expense of scholarships will be raised by additional donations from alumni who support football as well as the University in total.
Had Bucknell not followed the lead of its peer schools in the Patriot League, the short-term effect would have been to destroy the football program’s competitiveness, while the likely long-term effect would have been the disbanding of the program. No matter your opinion of football, there would be serious consequences of such a result. One would be that a number of Bucknell donors–-those who have built up the school’s endowment and its ability to give need-based scholarships–-would cut back their donations significantly. As one piece of evidence, consider that when Lafayette’s president took certain anti-scholarship moves less than two years ago, it cost Lafayette a number of its top donors.
As for academics, when Colgate added athletic scholarships for many sports other than football about eight years ago, they expected that action to improve the academic profile of CU athletes. After a few years, the University confirmed that scholarships had indeed improved academics. That should come as no surprise, since it allowed CU to recruit student-athletes who previously would have gone to Ivy League schools or other strong academic schools with athletic scholarships. Other Patriot League schools who have added athletic scholarships in various sports (soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, swimming, etc.) have also found that the academic profile of their athletes was improved.
While you worry that somehow football scholarships may “diminish the standards of the University,” the reality is that they are almost certain to improve Bucknell’s academic profile for the reasons cited above.
No one who values sports over academics is ever going to consider Bucknell or any other Ivy/Patriot League school, so that surely cannot be a concern. However, many of the most successful alumni to come out of every Ivy League and Patriot League school have been those who valued both academics and athletics. Bucknell for years has given out more merit scholarships in dance, music, art, etc. than it has in athletics. Has that hurt the University or decreased the value of a Bucknell degree? If not, then why would athletic scholarships –which many people, depending on their own point of view, would argue have a more positive effect on the University’s image.
With the addition of scholarships, it would be possible to fund part of the cost by playing one game a year against a FBS school such as a Rutgers, Army, UConn, Wake Forest, etc. Maybe even Penn State at some point. The current payday for such a game is typically $300,000 to $500,000, although it sometimes can run as high as $1 million. Colgate and Fordham have already scheduled this sort of money-maker and there are reports that Lehigh and Lafayette are not far behind. However, this sort of money-maker, by NCAA rules, is only possible for a school that has at least 56.7 scholarships or their equivalent.
One last thought. If you google “Bucknell” for the last week (or any other time period), you will find that the great majority of the publicity BU receives all over the country is due to the University’s sports program. Like it or not, that is how most people hear of Bucknell and its brand, and that is what keeps the Bucknell brand out there in front of this national audience. The only question is whether the exposure consists of Bucknell having a winning program and stronger student-athletes or a losing one and weaker student-athletes. Frankly, almost no one in the community-at-large cares what kind of aid a given student is receiving.
Kenneth Doak ’71
To the Editor:
Many professors and students are quick to criticize the Patriot League’s recent move to give the football team merit-based scholarship because this would result in Bucknell University getting “farther and farther away from our academic mission.” While no one outwardly said it in the paper last week, the general concern of the detractors for granting these scholarships appears to be that the quality of student at Bucknell would decrease if these scholarships were granted. With this subsequent decline in quality of student, a Bucknell education potentially could not be as highly regarded as it once was. Would a Bucknell education now suddenly be lowered by having these lowly scholarshiped athletes attend classes at Bucknell? I tend to think not. Additionally, to infer that the football players and other scholarshiped athletes are somehow academically inferior to the NARPs (Non-Athlete Regular People) is both insulting and shameful. The amount of time and effort that goes into playing a Division I sport may take a toll on student-athletes’ grades, but to infer that these scholarships would bring in a less-than-capable student in general is a groundless accusation rooted in the anti-athlete sentiments held by some of our faculty and administration.
The editorial last week points out that the Bucknell administration is choosing money over education in granting these scholarships. To say that offering three to five scholarships to student athletes per year (.03 percent to .05 percent of an incoming first-year class) is a choice of money over education is a ridiculous claim. By the looks of all the construction going on in the estimated $24 million effort in creating numerous new academic buildings, such as Academic West and Academic East, it would seem to me that academics at Bucknell is not taking a back seat to anything. Providing an excellent education has, and will, continue to be the defining feature of Bucknell University, no matter how many scholarships are given to football players.
Additionally, I find it ironic that last week’s issue also covered the issue of diversity at this school. The athletics department, especially the football team, contributes to a large part of the socio-economic, racial and religious diversity on this campus. As Coach Susan pointed out, these scholarships will allow the football team to reach out to more middle-class kids (a type of student lacking at this school). Offering opportunities to someone who would not have been able to attend Bucknell just by looking at high school grades (like me) because s/he has something to offer athletically to the school will only enhance a diverse experience at Bucknell. These scholarships would not only improve the level of inter-conference competitiveness of the football team, but would also allow for Bucknell education to reach a different demography.
To the Editor:
Fostering a diverse, supportive and welcoming university community at Bucknell is a never-ending process. I applaud Jasmine King (“University is uninviting for minorities,” Feb. 10, 2012) for bringing attention in her article to this critically important goal.
Ms. King discusses the role of student admission in this process, so I’d like to share information about partnerships we are cultivating to make Bucknell a more diverse place.
Over the last few years, we have pursued a strategy of building meaningful partnerships with excellent organizations that help us recruit outstanding students from diverse communities in addition to the individual recruitment of students. For example, since 2005, Bucknell’s relationship with the Posse Foundation has opened our campus to exceptional students who otherwise may not have considered attending the University. Since then, 152 Posse scholars from Boston, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles have enrolled at Bucknell, making Bucknell one of only three universities in the country with such an extensive Posse network. In addition, through the generous support of Andy Hartman ’71 P’00 and Janet Bauer Hartman P’00, Bucknell established the Charles T. Bauer Scholars Program for students in the Baltimore City School District.
Bucknell has also built partnerships nationally with five other related programs: A Better Chance and Prep for Prep in the New York City area, YES Prep Public Schools in Houston, Schuler Scholars of Chicago, Mastery Charter Schools in Philadelphia and One Voice in Los Angeles. Our relationships with these programs will help bring new students of exceptional academic ability from a variety of underrepresented backgrounds to Bucknell.
Just last year, we also launched an effort to connect more closely with high schools in such Pennsylvania cities as York, Reading and Harrisburg, where families of color and families with no experience with the college process have begun to settle in greater numbers. We are determined to extend Bucknell’s outreach and to give students from all backgrounds the chance to be part of Bucknell and contribute to our community.
Finally, as Ms. King notes, the effort cannot stop at simply recruiting students to apply. A truly selective university has both the privilege and obligation to build a learning environment that provides opportunities for all of its students to succeed. We will continue to review every applicant for the ability both to benefit from, and contribute to, academic and residential life at Bucknell. We are building global citizens at Bucknell, and we share with Ms. King a deep appreciation for the importance of this effort.
Dean of Admissions
To the editor:
Here’s a shining example of Bucknell courtesy. A few days ago, I invited a friend to work with me at the Bertrand Library. My friend lives in Lewisburg but is not affiliated with Bucknell. She drove up to campus and parked on Fraternity Road near the fraternities and library. A group of students, mostly male, stood nearby monitoring traffic. After some hours in the peaceful reading rooms at the library, my friend returned to her car.
Imagine my friend’s shock when she found this belligerent note tucked under her windshield wiper:
“Learn how to park you fucking douch [sic]. I’m watching.“
We were dismayed by the crassly sexual language and by the threat implicit in “I’m watching.” The writer of the note could simply have walked over and said, “Excuse me–you parked over the line.” But no: this road-rage artist went through all the trouble of pulling out a three-ring notebook and writing an anonymous note (in red ink to boot, as if to compensate for the puerile penmanship and spelling).
My friend reported the incident to the local police and I reported it to campus security, but I have little hope that anything can be done.
I am infuriated by the humiliation my guest faced on our campus, and have to wonder about the mentality that produced such gratuitous vitriol. Did the writer feel powerful or manly by lashing out at an innocuous woman who is twice the age and half the size of the average student?
I am well aware that drunken crudeness passes for social life on our campus, and that some of my students might be animals when they are not in my classroom. This much has not changed in the 20 years I’ve taught here. However, I’m appalled that a random visitor was treated so abusively. That’s a new and shameful low.
Associate Professor of English
Dear Ms. Lace,
After reading another column of “Sleeping Around,” I felt compelled to write with some parental thoughts. Yes, parents of Bucknell students subscribe to “The Bucknellian” and read your newspaper! Your newest column “Sleeping Around” just may be “TMI” for some parents. I realize the college students of today are a far cry from back in the 1980s when I was a college student. I read this column each week and am basically stunned by what I am reading. It is unfortunate in today’s world that hooking up is simply a typical thing to do and sex is no longer an act of love between two consenting adults. The academic standards to be admitted to Bucknell are high, but unfortunately, the moral standards are nonexistent as evidenced by your weekly column. Maybe by the time a college student of today’s society is married, he or she will have reached the triple digit number of sexual partners. Maybe even a sexually transmitted disease will be picked up along the way. That’s something to be proud of along with your degree from Bucknell.
It’s all about having a moral compass and high standards. Apparently that’s not the case for “Sleeping Around.” What a disappointment. You can do better.
To the Editor:
As a parent, I have been following with interest the attempts to improve the campus climate
. One of my sources of information is The Bucknellian. From the Nov. 18 issue, I learned that Bucknell is a university that takes sexual assault seriously. There are “shocking statistics about sexual violence on campus,” and there are efforts underway to change things (“Campus Rallies Against Sexual Assault”, p. A3). From a Letter to the Editor, I learned that “men continue to be high-fived for scoring a different girl every weekend.” The writer lamented the fact that women were not respected for the same behavior. Finally, from the column “Sleeping Around,” I learned about the columnist’s ex, who is not a human being but an “animalistic outlet.” Aided by alcohol, the writer describes her “half-night stand,” during which she leaves around 2 or 3 a.m. so she doesn’t have to speak to him. After all “it’s 99 percent about the sex and one percent about the ex.” Could there be a connection between these casual attitudes toward sex and the sexual violence on campus? A young man accused of date rape might argue that it wasn’t about her at all, he just needed a “convenient animalistic outlet,” and he “put a little inebriation into the equation to soften the blow.” When the campus newspaper gives an entire column to a young woman’s description of behavior that resembles that of a dog in heat, it seems to be sending the message that sex is not a private matter between two consenting and loving adults, but rather a necessary bodily function that must be attended to on the weekends, preferably with the aid of alcohol.
I think your paper can do better. Your editorial decisions can help to improve the campus climate, or they can perpetuate the problem.
Trudy Goodwin, parent
The University and the Lewisburg community are so interconnected, it’s no surprise that downtown businesses have been leaving a larger footprint on campus as of late. The recent popularity of Pizza Phi, the New York-style pizzeria on Market Street, is no exception. Pizza Phi’s decision to extend its business hours to more “student-friendly” ones was a very smart business decision. As students, we are up very late. It comes as second nature to us to order from places like Domino’s, which we previously thought was the only late-night option for food. It’s great to know that there are local businesses that we can support while also feeding our late-night food cravings.
Local businesses should follow in the footsteps of local restaurants like Market Street Deli, Hot Diggity Dog and Pizza Phi in extending their operating hours. Many of the stores downtown close very early and sometimes students don’t find the time, due to classes and other extra curricular activities, to actually shop around downtown until 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. The Sweet Shoppe, for example, closes at 8 p.m. on weekdays, not leaving much time for students to grab some ice cream after dinner.
In addition, it was a smart move on Pizza Phi’s part to offer free delivery. Despite Pizza Phi’s late-night hours, if they didn’t deliver, we are positive a majority of students wouldn’t take advantage of them in the first place. Market Street Deli is also considering a delivery option to cater to students unable to make the trek downtown. If local restaurants offered the same delivery option that Pizza Phi, and hopefully Market Street Deli, does, more students would become involved in local businesses.
To us it seems unreasonable to be telling local businesses to extend their hours or offer more options to the campus community when we are sure that the ideas have been discussed in detail. However, maybe if we express our frustrations or suggestions, local businesses might give the idea a little extra thought.
To the Editor:
I am a senior on the men’s
soccer team. I just finished reading your article in The Bucknellian this week (Oct. 7) regarding our recent games against American and UMBC, and wanted to take the time to thank you for what is an unmistakably poor account written by someone who ostensibly has no competent background or understanding of the game of soccer at all. Let me expand on this in several ways.In light of what is written below, if I have misread the tone of your article, or have made accusations that are inaccurate or inappropriate … I apologize. I am merely expressing my disappointment in your account, while keeping in mind my own expectations for a journalist writing about his own school’s soccer team.The men’s soccer team has won two consecutive Patriot League Championships, broken several records in the past two years, and continues to demonstrate a capability of playing with the top teams in the country (See 2011 games against #10 Notre Dame, #6 Indiana, and #25 Monmouth, if you find this hard to believe). We recently shutout a UMBC team that advanced to the second round of NCAAs last year, and has one of the top attacking duos in the country (their roster is online …#9 and #10, if you are curious) … your coverage of the UMBC game went no further than mentioning that we have been “unable to break [our] winless streak”.Our recent losses in the Patriot League have come against two very good teams … both of which happened to be losses in my sophomore year when the team went 17-6 (a program record), won the Patriot League Regular Season Championship, and the tournament, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championships … I may be wrong, but I believe that this is further than any other athletic team at the University in recent years.My problem with your article is grounded primarily on the fact that it appears as though it is written by a journalist from another school. You apparently saw no problem in using phrases such as “the struggles continue” and “men’s soccer was unable to break its winless streak” (it’s a two-game losing streak for God’s sake … with a tie against one of the top offenses in the country). What bothered me even more is the tone you use in actually complimenting the American team in last Saturday’s game. I quote: “American answered with a goal by Seth Goldman after a beautiful pass from Cristobal Soto.”
As I write this, I’m still confused as to whether you are a writer for The Bucknellian or the American University school newspaper.
In an article about your own school’s soccer team, you managed to include the names of four
American players … and four Bucknell players … a ratio which I hardly deem appropriate or fitting for a journalist covering his own school’s athletic endeavors.
In the future, I want to ask you to please consider the implications of writing an article in which you (perhaps indirectly) castigate your own school’s soccer team after two heartbreaking losses. I want you to try to understand that, when students and faculty read The Bucknellian, an article like yours isn’t very conducive to bringing fans to games or encouraging support for the athletes.
All the best,
Ryan Sappington ’12
To the editor:
I must speak out about those things that are important to me, even when I know that my thoughts will likely be misunderstood or challenged. I don’t mind, especially when the result is dialogue. I have been flooded with many emotions since participating in the Stop the Hate Unity Rally on Monday night. Having never attended the rally before, I was excited to take part in something that called for “people of good will to act nonviolently as agents of healing in their communities, to speak up for the victims of hatred and intimidation, and to raise a united voice against hate-inspired violence.”
I saw it as an opportunity to connect with like-minded folks. My seven-year-old daughter, Olivia, was particularly excited about the rally. As Dana, Olivia and I were preparing to go, Olivia asked if this was a march like Martin Luther King, Jr. led. I told her that it was, in that it was a group of people advocating for love and equal treatment for all. Olivia is aware that our family is often treated differently because it includes two moms and a variety of ethnicities. Olivia has always been concerned whether other kids will be where we are going. More recently, she has also begun to ask if the event is “gay-friendly.” Sometimes events like the rally leave me feeling conflicted. They often seem to be more about talk than action. I believe that is why many view them as not doing much to actually change the campus or community environment, a view that was expressed in last week’s
When attending an event, Olivia has clearly communicated to Dana and me that it’s important for her to have other people that she can identify with there (kids) and that it is a safe environment for our family (“gay-friendly”). Initially, I didn’t think much about how frequently she asked about those two things. Then, I began to closely observe her behavior and our behavior as a family at various events. Olivia cares that events we attend are “gay-friendly” because that’s when we get to act like a real family and the people around us acknowledge us as one. She’s more likely to refer to Dana as “mom” when we are in an overtly “gay-friendly” environment. We are all more likely to hold hands, hug
and show affection in general. Our family is different and Olivia is acutely aware that those differences make some people uncomfortable. Every event, no matter how small, that highlights diversity of any kind opens up our world as a family. Maybe the Stop the Hate Unity Rally won’t change the world. But I believe it and events like it change my family’s world. I believe that the 13 annual Stop the Hate Rallies that have taken place in Lewisburg have made this community a safer place for my family than it would have been without them.
I often think that it is difficult for folks to see the value of activities that don’t seem to have an immediate or direct impact on their lives. I can’t “stop the hate” in the world. And I’m really not interested in trying to; I’d prefer to focus on spreading the love. However, I don’t have a problem with using a “Stop the Hate” rally to do that. How many of you have really looked into the stated purpose of the rally that I quoted at the beginning of this letter? “Stop the Hate” can be more than just a rallying call. Most things are far more purposeful than the title alone might suggest. For critics to focus on an event’s ability to “stop hate” is myopic. When asked what she thought was the most important message of the night she stated, “It’s good to be different, not bad.” Olivia gets it.
The Stop the Hate Rally does nothing to promote hatred. Yes, it acknowledges that hatred and violence exist. But it focuses on our ability as individuals and as a collective to find ways to speak out against hate-inspired violence. Some people do not like me (or even hate me) just because I am black or because I am queer; I don’t let that hate infect me. I focus on love. Hate stops with me.
Asst. Professor of Education