Homophobia in the Greek system won’t end overnight

In response to the Daily’s article Monday about fostering better LGBT understanding in the Greek system (Encouraging Greek tolerance, 09/22/2008), forgive me if I say I’ll believe it when I see it. Two years ago, when I was a sophomore living in East Quad, I turned onto East University Avenue, followed by two (clearly intoxicated) fraternity brothers. How did I know they were Greek? By the Greek letters on their clothes.

As the two got closer to me, and noticed the pride ribbon on my backpack, they began to speed up, hurling homophobic epithets and threats of physical violence at me. Had I not been so near to East Quad, I shudder to think what might have happened to me that night.

This is not to say that all members of the Greek system are gay-bashers. It is simply meant to illustrate the (perceived) climate of homophobia in the Greek system, and the fact that one incident like that changed my entire perception of what it is to be Greek. According to the study cited in the article, even the majority of Greeks perceive that their housemates wouldn’t react well to living with an openly gay person, so it can’t just be me imagining this.

Which brings me to my final point. I wonder how differently the campus community would react if a majority of Greeks were uncomfortable living with an African American, an Asian or a Jew. It’s hard not to feel that the uproar would have been greater and much more immediate not only from the student body but from the administration.

I applaud the Lambda Alliance for what it is attempting to do, and I sincerely hope that it works. But I think it’s going to take a lot more than ally training. After all, every student at the University sat through the exact same seminars about tolerance during Orientation. It’s going to take years of education and real consequences for homophobic language and behavior. It will also, unfortunately, mean the sacrificed dignity of more than a few LGBT students as they break down barriers for the rest of us.

Baird Campbell
RC senior

GM deserves more credit for development of Chevy Volt

Usually when I read inane viewpoints on the editorial page, I laugh and do the Sudoku. This time I could not stay silent. In his column about General Motors’ efforts to go greeen (Going green against the family, 09/22/2008), Imran Syed claimed that the Chevy Volt is “technically” a hybrid, as if he had done some research into the subject.

If he had, Syed would have discovered that the Volt is an electric car because the battery always powers the motor, which runs the drivetrain, the defining feature of electric vehicles. Only when the internal combustion engine and the battery-powered motor run the drivetrain — either together or intermittently — is the vehicle a hybrid vehicle, like the Prius. On the Volt, the internal combustion engine runs a generator that recharges the battery and does not run the drivetrain.

Also, I think that GM has clearly made up its mind to go green since it has staked its entire reputation on the Volt, whether its vice president of vehicle development accepts the underlying environmental argument or not.

Brandon Gipper
Ross School of Business graduate student

Diag slander has no place in either side of campaign

On Monday, students awoke to see that the Diag had been chalked over with slogans supporting John McCain. Some of the slogans lashed out against Barack Obama in offensive, crude ways. The slander left behind on the Diag amounts to little more than dirty campaigning and fear tactics, which are not representative of the caliber of dialogue we expect at the University.

We demand that this sort of dirty campaigning cease on campus. The College Democrats and the College Republicans have collaborated by presenting dueling viewpoints in the Daily and in co-sponsoring debates. We have worked hard to keep this election focused on the issues important to students. Muddying the waters with falsehoods quickly scrawled on the pavement only cheapens your voice.

We call on supporters of both John McCain and Barack Obama to keep this campaign positive and in good humor. Offensive slogans, like those on the Diag on Monday, will not be tolerated by either campaign. If you would like to engage in a campus dialogue we invite you to attend our first College Democrats and College Republicans debate on Oct. 9, or attend either organization’s weekly meeting.

This election is far too crucial to be denigrated by dishonesty and hysterics. Let us work together to strengthen the United States through a respectful, issue-oriented campaign.

Nathaniel Eli Coats Styer and Brady Smith
The letter writers are respective chairs of the University’s chapters of the College Democrats and Republicans.

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