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Athletes are students, too

To the Editor: I can't imagine how my fellow athletes feel, but I did not enjoy reading Brian Cope's rambling, thoughtless assessment of the University, the athletic department therein and the "jocks" who play sports here ("Too costly at any price, The Daily Pennsylvanian, 9/18/00). I wonder where you get off delivering such remarks. Are you not aware that the Ivy League was founded as a football conference that endeavored to preserve the academic intent of the universities within its membership? You are right about the academic index. It does, in fact, exist. However, what gives you the right to speculate what an athlete's SAT scores were or what his or her high school GPA and class rank were? Moreover, I applied and was accepted as a Wharton School undergraduate student. My acceptance letter was not headed, "Dear Punter, Congratulations on being accepted on the football team, and oh yeah, you are also in Wharton." From Day 1, I was a Wharton undergraduate student who happened to play football as well. I probably have to fight more than regular students to debunk stereotypes in the classroom, so don't tell me about special treatment. I wonder, too, how you can't recognize the marketing impact athletics has for a school like Penn. Do you not understand the ramifications of our basketball team playing schools like Florida, Kansas and Illinois? This is a wonderful asset for Penn. Such advertising attracts the best students from areas of the country other than Long Island and New Jersey. Thus, while the Athletic Department may not realize great gains on the balance sheet, it can claim to be one of the University's best assets. You're from Tennessee, so I'm sure you can understand the impact a football victory can have on the morale of a whole state (or maybe you're just still seething about Florida's win this weekend). This Athletic Department is a great source of pride for the University, its students and its alumni. When was the last time 20,000 people showed up for a Physics lecture? We play Lafayette this weekend in our first home game of the 2000 football season. While I invite the student body to come and share in an afternoon of Penn pride, I ask you, the author, to stay at home. We "mighty football warriors" can win without you.

Ryan Lazzeri Wharton '02

Making the most of Penn

To the Editor: I am writing because I am offended by Brian Cope's column about athletes at Penn. I am a member of the varsity lacrosse team and I am confident that I would not have been accepted to Penn if I had not been recruited. Brian says that recruits rob other kids of their chance to attend this University, going so far as to say that the Athletic Department "distributes degrees to unqualified students." I have a 3.6 GPA at Penn. I am a double major in Economics and Communications. That doesn't mean anything to Brian though, because I should not be here according to him. In fact, I will be less deserving of a degree than a student who has a lower GPA simply because I did not do as well in the classroom in high school. Brian goes on to say "If we wanted to watch some ball games, we could just hire some trained seals from Barnum and Bailey's." On top of saying that I have no right to be at Penn, Brian says that it would be better for the school to hire seals than have me here. If Brian wants to criticize the school for giving the Athletic Department more money than he thinks is appropriate, that is fine, but insulting every recruited athlete here is entirely inappropriate. I think Brian owes a lot of people an apology.

Read Mortimer College '02

U. stalling on sweatshops

To the Editor: As members of the Penn Students Against Sweatshops, we commend the DP for the spirit of its staff editorial ("Still stalling on sweatshops," DP, 9/14/00) that states that the University should make progress on the issue of an apparel factory monitoring organization. We would, however, like to point out an important error in the piece. The FLA has not made any significant changes in allowing more university representation on the board since the time the Ad Hoc Committee on Sweatshop Labor made its final recommendations. Given that there are over 130 schools that are members of the FLA, the voice of one college or university has very little influence. In addition, a two-thirds majority is required for any substantial changes in FLA policy. Since corporations currently hold six seats on the board of the FLA, they hold veto power over any changes. This exposes the FLA's greatest flaw: It serves the interests of corporations over those of the workers whom the FLA is supposed to protect. The FLA serves as a cover-up rather than an organization dedicated to worker interests. Corporate self-monitoring does not work, as evidenced most recently with the Firestone fiasco and our own gene research at Penn. Meanwhile, the Worker Rights Consortium has moved much more in line with the desires of the committee in terms of university representation. Over the summer, the WRC increased university representation from one-half to two-thirds of the governing board. Let it be perfectly clear to President Rodin, the Committee on Manufacturer Responsibility and the rest of the University community that while the WRC has made significant changes to its governance structure, the FLA has not made a single significant change.

Kurt Spiridakis College '02

Annie Wadsworth College '03

Spiridakis is a member of the University Committee on Manufacturer Responsibility.

Say yes to Napster

To the Editor: Thanks for reporting on recording artists' continuing efforts to prevent students from using Napster on campus. Even more amazing than the artists who opt to stop music-sharing -- instead of taking advantage of it -- are the thousands of artists who refuse to take the industry's side in the matter. After all, Metallica and Dr. Dre are no longer available on Napster, and every other artist could, with a good lawyer, achieve the same result. So artists, not just consumers, are fed up with the huge profits and inflated prices that the industry takes from the artists' sweat and tears and from the fans' devotion. Middlemen are out; the Internet empowers the masses and I can think of no greater way for artists to lose my respect than to make this unequivocal statement that they are not about making music, but maximizing profits. How much time have they taken away from their music to pursue the unattainable goal of stopping users from using the Internet's main purpose: data sharing? Artists and fans want to see changes and they refuse to see profit interests and an outmoded concept of intellectual rights restrict the Internet's possibilities. Recording executives could better spend their legal fees on computing lessons.

Yoni Rosenzweig College '02

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