Letters to the Editor

Marshall Offers Much to Transfer Students

Editor:

This is a letter in response to the article “”Transfer Students Ask for Funding”” by Ed Wu on the Oct. 16 front page of the Guardian. In the article, Wu stated that the All-Campus Transfer Association was created to “”address the lack of activities and support for transfer students at Marshall … due to the graduation of [that] college’s transfer student support coordinators.””

This statement is completely unfounded. We are the co-chairs of the Transfer/Re-Entry Student organization, referred to as the “”transfer student support coordinator”” for Marshall, and have been for the last year and a half.

The article also stated that only Muir and Roosevelt “”currently provide funding for transfer student activities.”” This is also inaccurate because Marshall’s student council has consistently allocated funding for TRES since it began several years ago.

As for the transfer organization at Marshall being “”defunct,”” we would like to point out that historically, TRES has held many meetings and programmed several large events for the transfer population at the college. This quarter alone, TRES has already had an ice cream social, two meetings and began the planning of this year’s events.

Our main concern is the well-being and successful integration of Marshall’s transfer students into UCSD. We are unclear on why there was no attempt to contact Marshall college to verify these facts. Marshall has been a forerunner in transfer advocacy and will continue to work on addressing transfer students’ needs.

With regard to the All-Campus Transfer Organization, TRES supports the establishment of a council that would help to unite transfer students from all colleges. For this cause, we would like to invite any interested transfer students to share their ideas with us and see TRES in action at our next meeting on Oct. 24 at 3 p.m.

— Nichole Rowland &

Anna Lucia Roybal

Co-Chairs of Transfer/Re-Entry Students

Olympic atheletes unfairly treated by writer

Editor:

Greetings. I will share some thoughts regarding the Oct. 5 article by Tait Miller. Briefly, Miller described the competitors from Equatorial Guinea, Paula Barila Bolopa and Eric Moussambani, as “”Olympic crashers,”” “”streakers of the Olympic variety”” and their performance as “”grotesque”” and “”uncompetitive.”” I feel honor-bound to reply in kind.

We are students of a university. Except for the few of us who will, or have, carried the flag of our nation in a place such as Sydney, Atlanta or Barcelona, many of us will not have the chance to compete in the Olympics. Bearing this in mind, Miller, I remind you that the Olympics are not merely “”about seeing the best of the best compete against each other,”” or simply about “”the pure sport.””

The Olympics, sir, are about a truce enacted to allow the warring nations of ancient Greece to engage in honored athletic events such as the 200-meter run, the javelin and the discus. They are about the Olympic truce. This moment of peace in a tumultuous world is supposedly what the Olympics are about. I would hasten to add that the Olympics are not merely about sports.

I feel honor-bound to briefly reply to your remarks about Bolopa and Moussambani. The last line of your article — “”let them compete, but let them be competitive”” — implies that Moussambani should not have competed because he was not competitive.

While not particularly captivated by NBC’s coverage of the Olympics, Bob Costas raises an interesting question that I feel you might ask yourself. Moussambani was asked to swim. He is a track athlete, not a swimmer. Would you have entered the water knowing your weaknesses, that your best was not enough, merely to show the world that Equatorial Guinea was not to be discounted? Would you have tried your hardest because your country asked you to? Would you have done so before 20,000 fans of swimming, knowing you would be laughed at for being so uncompetitive?

Your article pointedly implies that you would not. I would then ask why you to question Moussambani’s bravery (fortius in the Olympic motto) when you place your own in question.

— Kelly Xi Huei Lalith Ranasinghe

Though sympathy is given, skaters need to respect campus

Editor,

I am in sympathy with many points made in the editorial by David Pilz (The Editor’s Soapbox, Oct. 9), but I would like to offer another perspective on the issue of skateboarding on campus.

I grew up on a skateboard, and though my friends and I weren’t very accomplished, we used skateboards as means of entertainment and transportation. Especially as practiced by today’s adherents, skateboarding requires a great deal of skill, it provides exercise, a mode of transportation, and it requires little in the way of equipment (cheap fun). Skateboarding is the natural adaptation to an environment of concrete and asphalt. So why are there so many prohibitions against its practice? How did such an intrinsically wholesome sport become the province of grunge? Why is skateboarding considered by a number of authorities and skaters to be an act of rebellion? Who copped the first attitude?

These questions might become the genesis for a dissertation in sociology, so rather than attempt to provide a universal explanation I would simply like to relate my present experience. I have a corner office wrapped on two sides by concrete steps. Located strategically next to the steps are teak benches and 12 inch curbs. There is a winding rail on the opposite side of the plaza.

Although I know this was not an intention of the architects, the area is excellent for street skating; however, it is also the place where I am paid to write grants, manuscripts and lectures. It’s where I talk with students, predocs and fellows. It’s where I dream up new methods to torture, er, educate students.

Ollies, boardslides and grinds do not provide the meter for contemplation. This is where I strongly disagree with Mr. Pilz. People passing by on foot, bike or even skateboard, do not make a disturbance. In contrast, every time a skateboard slams to the concrete, my adrenals kickflip and my heart boosts a 360. I begin to anticipate the next crash which, though irregular, is a certainty. My productivity is zilch. I have to admit there is also an aesthetic issue. UCSD is an attractive place to study and work, though it is my opinion that scraped curbs and ground benches are simply ugly. Even if noise was not a factor, grinding is destructive.

Now, I’m not very comfortable as an authority figure, but my choice is to stew in my own adrenaline, or have a word with the skaters. Eventually I’m driven to the latter, and my experience is now sufficiently extensive to constitute a scientifically significant sample.

I note that the preponderance of skaters are not UCSD students, but most likely younger residents of the surrounding ‘burbs. Typically, I first wave to the individuals outside my window and pantomime excessive noise or point to the signs prohibiting skateboarding (they are now torn down). When that doesn’t work, and it usually doesn’t, I walk out and say, “”I’m sorry guys, but you can’t skate here, it’s too noisy.”” This is greeted in several ways, though my favorite is that I become the focus of a video camera. What follows is a caricature, but it is accurate in the sense that out of at least 30 encounters only one skater said anything like, “”OK, sorry man, thanks for being cool.””

The oldest boarders usually won’t even look at me, as if I’m not recognizable as entity entitled to acknowledgment. The knit caps cover intense anger. I’m not even worthy as an enemy.

The second group includes adolescents early in high school. They sport spiked hair, often frosted in a bright color, and spotless shoes. They at least look my way, but rarely make a verbal acknowledgment. They leave, but not before acting out disdain.

The third group are really very young. While they are not any easier to lose, they haven’t yet developed an attitude and one individual was even polite (see above).

When I have chased skaters more than twice in a day, I admit that I pick up the phone to call the campus police. Suddenly, although seemingly oblivious of anyone inside the building, most skaters split. The slow ones are busted.

Clearly, this much resentment comes from a feeling of unfairness, excessive restrictions and a perceived tyranny. In one sense this is perfect for post-adolescent teenagers. They need a target for rebellion, and lacking the Robert MacNamara we had, the enforcers of prohibitions on skating will suffice. That’s where the skate-posturing comes in.

Notwithstanding that tangential issue, the clash between skaters and those who oppose them is typical of two groups with legitimate conflicting goals. Lacking enlightened self-interest, they take up polarized positions and gird for war. They attempt to dehumanize the other side; police treat skaters like gangsters, and skaters treat authority like faceless pigs. This type of conflict has taken place throughout history and all over the world.

There is much that could be done by both sides. The city’s fathers and mothers should be interested in providing places for skateboarding. The fact that they aren’t, I suspect, comes from laziness more than an anti-skateboard agenda.

The police are good at being authority figures, and adolescents are good at giving them lip. Skaters have the most to gain, and they might consider directing some of the energy currently spent on frustration toward lobbying city officials and businesses for skate parks. Writing to the newspaper is a good place to start, but organizing an entire message board to flood the news media and petition local government officials would be even better.

There are many possibilities, and a little effort and ingenuity would go a long way. Destruction and defacement of property, and a seething resentment of anyone who doesn’t embrace unrestricted skateboarding is a waste of talent.

— S. Hedrick

Professor of Biology