The ‘Void’ has a voice

In response to Keith Lucas’ Nov. 1 opinion “College community houses an intellectual void,” and on behalf of all of those who endured reading it, the shortsightedness of his views on academia at the College must be refuted.

Initially, Lucas describes a summer spent researching at Princeton University. While impressive, this belabored account is self-serving. However, it does effectively seat him on his “high horse,” as described later in the column. This account borders on pretentious, and serves only to anger the College community.

One is never hard pressed to find people interested in “ideas of some sort” at the College. Perhaps Lucas did not attend the Thornton Wilder Society’s discussion panel on Wilder’s works. Perhaps Lucas was not aware of Pat Buchanan’s politically incendiary lecture where poignant questions and political tensions were exchanged. If he knew of, or acknowledged these events, it is entirely possible that he wouldn’t have asserted the dormancy of our intellectual community.

Greatness in any career, whether it be that of a successful businessperson, a budding philosopher, an inspired educator or even a stay-at-home mom or dad, requires a great deal of “abstract thinking.” Success and self-fulfillment cannot be measured by a monetary scale or by social standing. It is something better recognized ourselves than by Princeton intellectuals or Lucas himself.

If Lucas craves intellectual discussion, he only needs to contact the author of this letter. If this doesn’t suffice, he can always take a one-way drive down Princeton Pike.

Ashley A. Gallagher

I am disgusted and appalled at Keith Lucas’ ignorant and misinformed piece published in the last issue of The Signal. Not only did it lack substance and proof to validate his opinion, but he completely neglected to mention the people that attend.

He states that he knew nothing about the college before coming here, except the blatantly obvious SAT scores and high GPAs. It is not the school’s problem that he was too lazy to bother opening a college encyclopedia documenting the personality, nature and atmosphere of the school. Instead, he just whines, moans and complains about how horrible the students and their monotonous solitary representation of the middle class are.

I can honestly say that, yes, I am slightly disappointed by the depth of some conversations; however, there have been insightful conversations held. People that I know talk about affirmative action, disability studies, gay rights and many other “hot topics.” Contrary to his opinion that we are a bunch of self-absorbed airheads only focused on matching clothes, chewing gum and the plot lines of “The O.C.,” we do think about current issues.

Then, he had the audacity to compare us to such schools as Princeton. If Lucas truly thought that by attending the College, he would be attending a school equivalent to Princeton, et al., which he so aptly decides to compare us to, then he is less of an intellectual than he claims to be. Anyone with half a mind would know that there could never be such an equivalency, ever.

Furthermore, if he had such a lovely relationship with Princeton, why didn’t he go there? If you don’t like the school, I have one word for you Mr. Lucas: transfer. No one is keeping you here, and no one wants you here if you will only bring the morale of the school down.

Finally, how dare he say that having children and teaching them “does not take much thought.” Last I heard, those people, those worthless individuals that do not know what else to be, taught him. They dealt with his ignorant opinions and his snotty, arrogant attitude, but still taught him. If it was not for them, I doubt he would be where he is today, so why doesn’t he say thank you to them rather than put down the future teachers of his children? He is a disgrace to the community that makes up the College.

Nicole Gallo

Keith Lucas, I disagree. Students like to live their lives here when they still have time to. I’ve found in my three years here that our students do think. We study hard, we understand what we are taught, we take our lives seriously and yes, we play too. I am 20 years old – I am allowed to watch television and enjoy it. I don’t think anyone here needs to be judged for his or her lack of anything.

You so unfairly compare us to Princeton when our student body has so much more character than the ego driven, soon-to-be-suicidal CEOs that reside there.

Apparently “it does not take much thought” to care for your children and raise them to be good people. Who are you to discredit women who want to be mothers and take on the most difficult task that exists in this world? I have a mother who raised me to relate to other people and to relax and enjoy my youth.

I don’t think that people have one mold they should to conform to because that diversity you were talking about does exist. I guarantee you could learn something from someone who is not like you, for instance, how to deal with people who think they are better then you or how to quit being so uptight. If you want “abstract thinking,” get into psychedelic drugs.

The College is alive even without The Wall Street Journal in its bag and a caf? latte in its hand. We are both smart and fun. It’s the magical yin and yang combination that only college can provide. And since we’re all obviously “destined for middle class,” we couldn’t possibly understand your intellectual banter even if we so desired to. I take pride in the work I do here and I enjoy the student and the intellect level that surrounds me.

If Princeton impressed you, why are you here? Did you apply there? Was their intellectual standard too high for you? If your article wasn’t “sitting on your high horse and complaining,” I don’t know what is. And since you are so intellectually deprived here, I suggest you leave.

Laura Guarraci

Domestic Violence Awareness

sparks painful memories

For one week each year, I feel forced to avoid walking through certain parts of this campus. Domestic Violence Awareness Week is my least favorite time of the year. A victim of repeated abuse from a “boyfriend” at the age of 15 and as someone who was subsequently raped by that “boyfriend,” Domestic Violence Awareness Week only serves to bring back awful memories for me.

I understand that awareness is necessary to help stop the vicious cycle of abuse, but I cannot help but wonder how many of the people posting all the signs and getting their faces painted with bruises and playing dead in the grass are actual victims. I have to imagine that very few of them are.

I feel as though many of the signs serve to overwhelm and that they make each victim, each person, simply a statistic. I find it offensive that people will receive “makeup-drawn black eyes” as though that can project what it is actually like to have a black eye delivered by a person full of hate and loathing.

No amount of makeup can make a person understand what it is like to be in the emergency room getting X-rays because someone you once trusted decided to kick you, breaking two of your ribs and bruising three others, and all of this months after you broke away from the abusive cycle.

While it may be important to send a dramatic message, it is also important to take into consideration the others on campus who have been victimized; it is important to understand that this week’s many reminders of a terrible time in someone’s life can be hurtful and upsetting.

I hope that maybe I am one of only a few students on this campus who was abused. I hope that Domestic Violence Awareness Week did help even one person to have the courage to leave a violent situation. But I also hope that, in the future, this week would be done in a way that keeps in mind the actual victims and what they must go through with each yearly reminder of their abuse.


Mixed views on Campus Police conduct

In response to the Nov. 1 article “Faculty handcuffed by strict police policies,” there are always two sides to a story. I have been employed at the college since 1999, working 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. I have never received a ticket nor have I been stopped by an officer for any reason.

On any occasion when I had to contact Campus Police, I was always treated both in a professional and respectful manner. In light of the negative reports communicated by the faculty, I am glad to see a committee has been formed to look at both sides of the issues, especially the harassment the police receive while on their job.

Nina Simpson

My son is currently a sophomore at the College. Both he and his family have been very happy with his experience. It has been exciting to see all the acclaim the school has been able to accomplish in the past several years. Unfortunately, all of the hard work could become jeopardized by an overreaction to the tragic events of last year. Authoritarian approaches including intimidation of students, faculty and visitors is, without doubt, the wrong approach.

The College is fortunate to have a student body made up of some of the best young men and women New Jersey has to offer. To treat them as if they were petty criminals or offenders will not create the “happy” students the administration so proudly touts.

Students should be treated as they always have been. They need to be assumed to be mature young people whom we all trust to make good choices, and if they make mistakes to learn from them. All who reside on campus should be treated with the utmost respect. We can not turn the College into a mini police-state as a way to enforce behavior.

I certainly hope that Dr. Gitenstein and her staff will approach this situation in a way that perpetuates the excitement, respect and openness the campus has been known for in recent years.

Bert Hirsch

Sparta, NJ