Mutter exaggerated sidewalk conditions

It was indeed disappointing to read Dan Mutter’s opinion concerning the sidewalk conditions on the day of the Feb. 22 snowstorm.

As the leader of the snow-removal crew in my capacity as supervisor of Grounds and Automotive Services, I was an active part of the grounds crew, and can attest to the following:

Metzger Drive was completely plowed before 6 a.m. by the sanding crew. The full staff was on site and mobilized by 6 a.m., deploying eight snow plows, two mechanical brooms and the John Deere Gator.

As of 9:30 a.m., the entire campus had been plowed once, including the areas cited in the opinion. As of noon, the entire campus, for the most part, had been plowed a second time, which was required due to the continuing accumulation of snow throughout the morning hours.

As of 2:30 p.m., the entire campus was plowed a third time. A final inspection of the campus was completed at 3 p.m. and it was verified that all roads, sidewalks and parking lots were totally clear.

This was three and a half hours after the snow had stopped, with a final accumulation of four to six inches. Before releasing the grounds crew at 4 p.m., the entire campus was salted to address potential freezing temperatures throughout the night.

We take our role very seriously on this campus, and that is to provide for the safety of the College community. It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and the picture provided with Mutter’s editorial is no exception.

Ed Gruber,
supervisor of Grounds and Automotive Services

Comedy shouldn’t come at LGBT community’s expense

Ryan Yorke’s letter published in last week’s Signal shows that he, and perhaps other members of the campus community, just don’t get it.

I don’t care that the WIRED writers only had six hours to write their shows. I don’t care that they were told, once into the writing process, that they had to throw in a bigoted/racist/chauvinistic character or element (and as an aside, is the small-mammal-in-the-anus joke what we’re calling PG these days?).

The fact of the matter is that in our society and certainly within our College culture, it is considered acceptable to mock homosexuality and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, and indeed far more acceptable to mock the LGBT community than, for example, the black community, which Yorke brought up in his letter.

One Rosa Parks joke? I somehow don’t think that compares to a short play whose plot was wrought in crude humor mocking homosexuality.

You might think to yourself, “That’s nonsense. People don’t isolate and make fun of gays more than any other group.”

No? How many times a day do you hear people casually throwing around the words “faggot” and “gay” as insults?

On the contrary, how many times a day do you hear people casually throwing around the n-word as an insult?

Big difference, isn’t it? I hear residents calling each other “faggot” in the hallway on almost a daily basis.

As a Community Advisor, I see door tags I’ve spent hours working on defaced with penises and moved so they are mounting each other. How dare anyone say the LGBT community is not mocked or marginalized more than other groups?

“Faggot” and “gay” have negative connotations and have come into use as insults because of prejudice attached to them, not for any other reason. These are hateful slurs.

I imagine that Yorke would call me, too, oversensitive to WIRED’s sophisticated “comedy,” but the way I see it is this: As long as members of the LGBT community quietly tolerate discrimination, we will be discriminated against.

As long as no one takes a stand to say that we don’t want to be a punch line, we will continue to be a punch line. I don’t want to be a punch line, and I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that way.

I am not, by any means, condemning Dan Keyser or Vincent Scafuto, authors of the play in question, as being homophobic. While Yorke might not think that the jokes made in “Suite!” were homophobic, they were.

Homophobia, like racism, has many faces. As a white person, I cannot fully understand the discrimination blacks face in our society because I have never felt it. I have never been on the receiving end of that prejudice.

I presume that Yorke has not been on the receiving end of prejudice present in our society against the LGBT community, so perhaps he just cannot see why it is a problem. Point blank: Gay jokes should be no more acceptable than racist jokes, and yet they are, because we as a society allow them to be.

I commend David Adams and Alex Seise for having the courage to stand up for members of the LGBT community by signing their names to a letter that opened them up to discrimination, or even attacks such as the one Yorke presented. I commend Adams and Seise, also, for wording their letter in such an even-tempered, non-confrontational manner.

It is not OK to target any group, and it is certainly not OK to treat homosexuality as an affliction in the way some of the WIRED shorts did.

I look forward to the day when people outside the community will take as much offense to negative, tasteless LGBT jokes as they do to negative, tasteless racist jokes.

Any group can deal with a bit of teasing when it is really in good fun, but not as a means to an end of cheap laughs because gays are the easiest group to target. We need to work our way out of that provincial mentality.

As one member of the LGBT community, I will not tolerate the furthering of negative stereotypes against gays in the interest of another’s idea of “comedy.”

Kaitlyn McMahon