Volume 96, Issue 57
Friday, January 10, 2003

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Sign your name or take a zero

Between Lines
Tait Simpson
Opinions Editor

It is a surprising amount of fun opening The Gazette mailbox. For most students, there is a feeling of dread that comes over them as they open their mailbox. Bills, flyers, final notices and more bills are all mixed together with the odd "real" letter. As the opinions editor, there is a similar feeling of dread when opening the daily mail, but it is coupled with a curious enthusiasm to see what students will think of next.

The opportunity to read all the mail that students and citizens sent The Gazette for the fall term of 2002 turned into a sort of guilty pleasure for me.

Looking back on the first term, a number of issues took up much of the space reserved for student opinions. Topics addressed ranged from homosexuality and Middle East issues, to an unlikely call to arms to preserve albino squirrels.

As evidenced by today's issue of The Gazette, Buy Nothing Day generated more responses than any other subject. Students were fairly split between backing the reasons not to shop and keeping their wallets open in order to keep the wheels of capatalism well lubed.

The biggest disappointment of the recently completed fall term was the daily letter that was signed "Joe Western" or "Anonymous." If readers hadn't already noticed, no letters are printed without the author's real name and facutly at the bottom.

For some students, writing letters to The Gazette is as common a post-bar activity as hallway golf and phone calls to ex-partners. But those letters are, by in large, still well written, concise and almost exclusively funnier than anything contributors often think to write during daylight hours.

To give an example of a great letter that never got to make it to print, allow me to premise a recent letter signed "friend of Jason Jackson" at the bottom. The letter was entitled "The Real Problem with the Double Cohort," a popular issue in campus papers.

The letter eloquently stated that the real problem facing the school was not a housing shortage, but the ethical concerns for students related to encountering a new breed of younger students – girls, in this instance. The letter recounted the story of a friend who had to flee an unfamiliar residence in the middle of the night after finding out that his new friend had just recently finished celebrating her 17th birthday.

The conclusion of the letter stated that "these young girls must understand that it is not cool for them to be running around in bars because it forces males like Jason to use their conscience in situations where they otherwise shouldn't have to."

Step up and sign your name. No letter recieved that did not go to print because it was signed "Anonymous" was outrageous or critical of other religions, races or sexualities.

Why take the time to write a good letter and then have only lowly Gazette staff read it? If the letter ends up being that embarrassing, which probably won't happen, you can take comfort in the fact that this is the only school in the country where there will be a fresh paper the next morning – full of more mail.

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2002 THE GAZETTE