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Don't kill the Swamis tradition

To the Editor: The past couple of weeks have seen heated debates about the DP Swamis in various articles and letters written by members of the the South Asian Society and Sangam. On September 28, SAS, Sangam, the United Minorities Council and the Asian Pacific Student Coalition wrote a letter to the editor arguing that the depiction of the Swamis is a mockery of South Asian culture. While I totally agree that minorities should stand up and protest when they are discriminated against or when their cultures are being disrespected, I do not think this situation qualifies. I think minority groups should know where to draw the line. I feel sad that the South Asian groups have used race, a very sensitive issue, to force The Daily Pennsylvanian to put an end to a tradition almost half a century old. I also feel the DP should not have yielded to racial pressure, which is what I think happened in this case. As one of these letters pointed out, living under certain ignorant assumptions can be very dangerous and racist, but on the other hand, using race and the color of your skin to get your way even when there does not exist a racist situation can be equally dangerous.

Rajiv Sennar College/Engineering '02

JWSers are people, too

To the Editor: When I read Alan Bell's column "Wharton Scholars? Far from it" (DP, 10/3/00), not only did I feel disappointed, I also felt that I had been insulted. The column made very good points, especially with regard to program reforms. Like Bell, I believe that offering on-campus admittance as well as redesigning part of the curriculum could tremendously increase the quality of the JWS program. On the other hand, writing that "JWS further envision themselves as superior to the general student body" is at best inaccurate and at worst an insult directed to certain students based on their membership in an academic program. Calling arrogant and elitist some people that Bell probably never met is in my opinion a very immature attitude, which reveals the tensions and lack of unity that continue to prevail among different groups in Penn's student body. I suggest that Mr. Bell come to a Management 101-215 class and meet some of the JWS students. He may be surprised to discover that some of them are actually worth knowing on a personal level.

Mehdi El Hajoui College/Wharton '03

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