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Letters to the Editor

Published: Thursday, May 5, 2005

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

What's in a name? To the Editor:

Recently, Harry Belafonte, the celebrated African-American artist, made a statement. He said, "I was born colored, after that Negro, then black, and now we have settled on African-American. No other group has taken a century just to learn what to call ourselves and what others should call us." It needs no emphasis to state that Belafonte's statement accentuates a corrective trend concerning misnomers regarding people of African descent. While the university called Boston College advanced by shifting from the semantically misnaming "minority" to AHANA, the same institution has lagged behind by sticking to the name black studies. On one hand, the University ought to be commended for encouraging the coinage and usage of the geontological acronym AHANA - a program known for its caring qualities. On the other hand, BC should be advised to update itself from black studies to African-American studies for one of its most important diversity programs. Continued use of the phrase "black studies" reflects a continued holding on, albeit inadvertently, to the Judeo-Christian distortion of the so-named "Curse on Ham" of Genesis 9:20-27. For reasons mentioned here, I propose that BC thinks seriously about a paradigm shift from black studies to African-American studies.

Aloysius M. Lugira Theology department

Lack of funds for other crew teams To the Editor:

I am a coxswain on Villanova University's women's rowing team. I recently read your article about the women's rowing team's successes at the Big East Championships last weekend, which I linked to from row2k.com. While I commend Boston College for its accomplishments, there was an inaccuracy in your article. BC is not the only team in the Big East without scholarships. Villanova is also fighting an uphill battle against teams with full scholarships. The girls on my team also work hard every single day for the love of the sport, without any financial incentives. We have also seen great results this year, as our lightweight eight is currently ranked eighth in the country. I wish BC good luck for the rest of the season. I hope that someday soon this disadvantage will be corrected for both of our programs, so we can represent our great institutions on a more even footing with other successful programs.

Emily Beck Villanova University '05 BC Law '08

Ethnic Studies program growing To the Editor:

We would like to echo Liz Winiarski, Megan Connelly, and the UGBC's Senate's sentiments in affirming the desire for AHANA Leadership Council (ALC), UGBC, and GLBT Leadership Council (GLC) to have a close working relationship in the 2005-2006 academic year. We see the need for UGBC to fully support both ALC and GLC's initiatives, as our government must be representative of all undergraduate students on this campus. This year we have worked together as chief of academic diversity for ALC and chief of academic affairs for UGBC to mobilize faculty and establish an ethnic studies interdisciplinary major program. The efforts have been progressing steadily, and we are hoping to begin a pilot program for a major in the study of race and ethnicity in America in the next academic year. Though the prospect for a pilot program is exciting and the support from the interested faculty has been encouraging and extremely positive, there is still a need for a more concerted effort at curriculum diversification and AHANA faculty recruitment and retention. A permanent faculty-student Council on Academic Diversity at BC is necessary, and our efforts in such a Council must include not only the ethnic studies proposal but many other subject areas as well. Issues ranging from the diversification of the history core program, filling the Nelson Chair position, the overall progress of the black studies, Latin American studies, and Asian studies programs, and a new proposal for a more comprehensive freshman course on cultural diversity need constant attention. While these issues and others are often addressed by individual faculty members or administrators, a Council on Academic Diversity would mirror the pre-existing Intercultural Council's structure by creating an enduring and coordinated approach at solving these long-standing systemic issues, rather than just relying on the work of just one group. In order for this to happen, it is imperative not only that ALC and UGBC work together, but that they collectively work to bring in other student organizations and individuals. If you or your organization would like to be involved in the effort for an ethnic studies major or in the formation of the Council on Academic Diversity, please contact either of us via e-mail. We would welcome any suggestions regarding the ethnic studies efforts, the formation of the Council, or any of the other aforementioned issues.

Tina Corea Chief of Academic Affairs, UGBC Helina Teklehaimanot Chief of Academic Diversity, ALC

Webmail photo system is corrupt To the Editor:

As a concerned member of the Boston College community, I feel it is my duty to inform you that a powerful and potentially malicious political position has been purloined from the huddled masses of our fine university and rests solely in the hands of an anonymous rogue. No, I am not referring to the recent Undergraduate Government of BC. I speak of the man or woman who is charge of updating the Webmail photos. Whoever this faceless autocrat is, they have abused a power that requires both the king's temperance and the artist's touch. Also, they should update the picture every couple weeks. OK, enough with the hyperbole. I should tell you I am a BC student studying abroad in Barcelona. Now, we students abroad generally do not get to check our e-mail more than a few times a week, but those few moments alone have been enough to make us sick of the "Gasson Rotunda" photo. A beautiful picture it may be, but its month-long run has forced me to make sure none of my classes for next semester will take me within eyesight of that godforsaken statue. And let us not forget "Lamps of Devlin." I hope those lamps burn in hell. Perhaps it is my fault, though. I complained to no end last year of the stupid pictures posted each week with something along the lines of four freshmen dudes at a hockey game or a braggart group of students studying in Spain. At the time, I could've cared less. Now I realize those precious moments of making fun of "that person on the left" are forever lost to me. You see, to BC's expatriates, those Webmail pictures are the only connection we have left with our beloved alma mater. While many of us are off seeing the world's greatest wonders like Big Ben, the Great Wall of China, or that place where they filmed Lord of the Rings, we can not help but wonder what the average BC student is like these days. Have the collars finally been flipped back down? Have people started wearing their pants inside out like in Back to the Future Part II? These are important questions that we need answered. I thought I could turn to Webmail. I was wrong. I would not mind so much the artistic campus pictures if they just changed every once in awhile. Or perhaps they could rotate back and forth with pictures of a group of nondescript students at a nondescript Boston locale. If my calculations are correct, I'd say five days is a good run for any Webmail photo, no matter how many attractive girls are in it. Or why not forget the photos altogether and just set up a webcam outside Beans, Creams, & Dreams? In the end, I think it boils down to the fact that the students of BC deserve more. I will be a senior next fall, and with all the stress that comes with maintaining a satisfactory Modular, I cannot continue to have this plaguing my thoughts. I hope there are others out there who share my sentiment. As this school year draws to a close, I can only hope that we can at least get one new picture up there (preferably that sweet shot I took of a bunch of us studying abroad in Spain).

Tom Ganjamie A&S '06

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