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Fighting stigma

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter in response to the hateful 34th Street shoutout directed at my mental illness. The shoutout attacked me for having bipolar disorder and commanded me to go to the "nuthouse."

This is hate speech. 34th Street would never have been comfortable printing an equivalent shoutout attacking someone for being gay or black, and the fact that this made the cut is a serious problem.

When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I originally kept it hidden. During my second hospitalization for mania, I realized that I needed to be open. And when my psychiatrist in the hospital told me not to be open because the stigma was unbeatable and I had a bright future ahead of me, I knew that this was a problem I had to fight.

After I heard there was a shoutout about me, I was nervous that it might be something embarrassing. Then I read it and I was relieved. They tried to call me out on the one thing that I am totally secure about - my mental illness. And they did it in such a bigoted way that it justifies everything I'm fighting for. It allows everyone to see for themselves how real and ugly this stigma is.

It is ironic that this shoutout, which expressed disdain for mental-health awareness activities, has actually helped raise more awareness than those activities could have done by themselves. My sister is the vice president of Active Minds, a student group on campus devoted to mental health. If you would like to get involved in mental-health advocacy and awareness, or just added to our listerv, e-mail her at

Dan Berstein Wharton senior

Working together

To the Editor:

We are writing in response to your 4/4/07 editorial, "Cooperation among Grads." We appreciate your attention to the important developments in graduate-student government and would like to suggest a few corrections to some of your statements

First of all, GET-UP has not "insisted on remaining separate" from GSAC and GAPSA. Since GET-UP's inception in 2000, GET-UP members have been presidents, executive officers and active members of both GSAC and GAPSA.

As recently as the fall of 2006, GET-UP officially met with both the GSAC executive board and general body to share our concerns - namely, our lack of comprehensive health benefits, fair compensation in line with cost-of-living increases, affordable health care for dependents,and the growing casualization of the academic workforce.

Whereas we, as GET-UP members, hope to continue to work with the new student governments as we have worked with their predecessors, we acknowledge that some of the new government representatives may not have the same fundamental belief shared by GET-UP members that only collective bargaining can resolve these difficult issues faced by graduate students.

As a result, GET-UP is not a "splinter group" but simply a different group; it is not "in opposition" to student government but a complement to it; its "fight" is not against "fellow students," but in solidarity with them.

Julie Kruidenier, Walt Hakala and Lucas Champollion The authors are the outgoing GET-UP chairwoman, incoming GET-UP co-chairman and GSAC representative, and GET-UP member and GSAC representative, respectively

Lack of dialogue

To the Editor:

In "A Better System for Greek Gays," the reporter quotes me in such a way as to make it seem as though I had a uniformly negative experience in Kappa Alpha.

My experience in KA was, in fact, quite complex. While some brothers did say very negative and offensive things, others emerged as supportive friends and allies.

As the first KA brother to come out in a long time, I faced misunderstanding and hostility that resulted, I believe, from a lack of open or serious dialogue about LGBT concerns in some parts of the Greek community.

However, I could hardly speak to KA as an institution or to its current membership. If anything, I think they have learned from past and current gay members and become more open (a lesson in itself).

Joshua Matz College senior

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