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"Oh no," you say, "not another water buffalo column!" Yes, you've heard it again and again, mentioned in everything from The New York Times to Rolling Stone to The New Republic. One Jewish freshman in the High Rises (whatshisname?) screamed out of his window at a group of African-American sorority members, and suddenly found himself in the middle of the most famous racial bias case since Rodney King. Quite a story: the problem is that it's only half true. What George Will, Rush Limbaugh and Gary Trudeau don't know is that there were many people who yelled out of their High Rise East windows at approximately 11:45 on the night of January 13, 1993. At least a dozen people were accused of screaming epithets that night, and some of them had complaints filed against them for racial harassment by the Judicial Inquiry Officer. The JIO formally investigated two of those accused. Eden Jacobowitz was one of those two. I was the other. My roommate Eden and I chose two very different methods of defense. When Eden went to the press in April, I asked him not to mention my name in any context. Feeling that I was on the verge of winning my case, I did not want the media attention that would no doubt greatly interfere with my finals and possibly my summer. While our respective defenses against the JIO were different, our motives for shouting out of the window were exactly the same. The Delta Sigma Theta sorority's founders' day ritual serenade began late at night, featured loud singing, intermittent screeches, and continued for almost an hour. Having lived with Eden for just over a semester at the time, I would have categorized him as a fairly conscientious person. I like to think that, for all of my faults, I am one too. Even the best of us, however, occasionally looses his temper. I will admit that yelling, "get your fat asses out of here," just moments after Eden uttered the now nationally famous water buffalo comment was not the right thing for me to do. Although the charges of racial harassment were eventually dropped, Eden and I were punished with months of bureaucratic abuse and the threat of a ruined education. Although we did yell out the window, the actions taken against us were wrong. The "water buffalo scandal" was the collective work of three entirely separate organizations whose attitudes and methods must change if the University wants to become the free thinking, just institution that it makes itself out to be. The University administration failed in any way to provide the impartiality that is expected of it. While well intended, the racial harassment code created more problems than it solved. Under the current code, one can be found guilty of racially harassing an offended party simply by saying something that is construed as racist, even if the actor did not know the race of the person(s) that they were offending. This was the nature of my case. The JIO also failed to provide impartiality. Instead, she caved in to outside pressures. The Assistant Judicial Inquiry Officer who heard my case admitted on several occasions that my situation was not occurring in a vacuum, and that it was subject to outside influences, such as minority interest groups. To allow parties not involved with the judical process a say in the finding is a mild form of fascism. It was only after Associate Vice Provost for University Life Larry Moneta heard about the situation and intervened on my behalf that the Assistant Judicial Inquiry Officer dropped the charges of racial harassment. Finally, the women of Delta Sigma Theta sorority mishandled what they perceived as racial hatred. While African-Americans have been and continue to be discriminated against in our society, the women's handling of the situation is an example of how certain paths toward equality are often misunderstood and badly executed. The most effective way to deal with a problem and "clear the air" between two people or groups of people is to sit down and, however painful it may seem, and talk it out. Despite the animosity developed between the sorority women and myself, I requested an informal meeting with the entire Delta Sigma Theta sorority on three occasions solely for that purpose both during the judicial process and after the charges of racial harassment against me were dropped. The first two were turned down. The last was not answered. Fortunately for every student at the University, changes are being made. The Racial Harassment Code is being re-evaluated and will in all probability be overhauled. Sheldon Hackney, chairman of the NEH, has been placed in a position where he can give more grants and do less harm. At the very least the JIO will be watched more carefully in the years to come, and hopefully, revisions to the judicial code are imminent. The problems of race on this campus and in this country cannot begin to improve unless all of the people in all of these groups talk out their differences. I hope that this encounter has not embittered the women of Delta Sigma Theta sorority towards relations with whites. If they will not talk to me now, I hope that sometime in the future we can put this all behind us, and talk. We all have a lot to learn. Christopher Pryor is a sophomore English major from New York, New York.

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