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Racism, but not in reverse

To the Editor: In his column entitled "John Street's reverse racism" (The Daily Pennsylvanian, 9/20/99), Ronald Kim provides a rational and valuable viewpoint. However, by calling it reverse racism, he unwittingly suggests that racism means anti-black. This is neither true nor helpful in fostering responsible interracial harmony. Racism is racism regardless of who commits it against whom.

Charles DeMirjian Senior associate College of General Studies

Gene death not a surprise

To the Editor: I am not at all surprised at the turmoil at the University of Pennsylvania Health System and School of Medicine. I was an employee of the Medical School from 1988 to 1999 and witnessed some of the dysfunction first hand. Although I was not a direct participant in clinical gene therapy trials, I strongly suggested that physicians were attempting gene therapy with patients much too rapidly. The response was: Animals are animals, and we will not know what clinical problems will occur until we try this with humans. Following the report of the unfortunate death of the young patient at Penn -- and continuing reports of improprieties with this experiment and potentially unethical financial conflicts of interest -- one wonders whether or not there is any criminal investigation into this tragedy. Manslaughter, for example? I fear that the positive potential for new technologies such as genetic engineering will not be realized if willful violations of the public's trust are not vigorously prosecuted. The distrust engendered by unethical practitioners has a negative impact upon the whole field and may delay potential benefits for the many because of the greed of the few. Of course, this is my opinion only, and I would welcome open discussion of this issue publicly in this forum.

Samuel Reisher College '69

The writer is president of Analytic Genomics Inc.

Greeks, they are a-changin'

To the Editor: Edward Sherwin makes a good point in his column "In new environment, it isn't easy being Greek" (DP, 9/21/00) that so long as college students continue to refuse to take responsibility for their actions, we'll have more fraternities kicked off campus. As InterFraternity Council President Andrew Mandelbaum said, we as individual houses have done a fabulous job only in damaging ourselves and the system as a whole through our disparaging remarks and deplorable conduct. Fraternities should remain the center of social life on this campus as they have been for the past century, and all students should have the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful advantages of the Greek system. The realities of today's politically correct world, however, force us to act conscientiously in our social interactions. As a system, we can only survive if we adapt to this climate. Sherwin also mentioned recent "membership difficulties" at Beta Theta Pi. From over 45 brothers just a few years ago, Beta has recently struggled as we determined our direction for the future. I am proud to report, however, that with the support of the strongest national organization and hundreds of local alumni, Beta Theta Pi will recolonize next month offering a unique opportunity for young men on this campus -- calling them to become leaders and giving them the tools they need to do so. We hope that other fraternities will follow our lead in realizing that Greeks' days are numbered if we do not change while we can.

Brian Godfrey Wharton '01

The writer is president of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

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