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Racial bias claims are unsupported

To the editor:

I am deeply disturbed by the tone of a Feb. 5 article (“Attack prompts questions,” 2/5/10). While the attack on Christina Zhang is clearly an upsetting and frightening incident, the article makes repeated and entirely unsubstantiated allegations of a possible racial basis for the attack.

Printing such inflammatory and unsupported claims is certainly not helpful in finding Zhang’s assailants or preventing such attacks in the future. It is just a global smear, followed up by an equally disturbing comment by Zhang that she wants students to be aware of “the situation outside Penn grounds.” As a commuter student, I regularly came and went from the Penn bubble. I do not think it reflects well on the University community for the DP to print, uncritically, such a careless and sweeping statement about the space beyond Penn’s campus. It is otherwise known as the City of Philadelphia. More than a million people live, work, play and visit here every day.

Amanda Bergson-Shilcoc The author is a 1999 alumna of the College of General Studies.

Penn Dems should not endorse

To the editor:

As an active member of the Penn Democrats from 2002 to 2005, I applaud the decision of the Penn Democrats to not endorse a candidate in the Senatorial primary (“Penn Dems mum on Senate Race,” 2/9/10).

As an organization, our main purpose was to build as much on-campus support as possible, and our decision not to endorse a candidate in the 2004 presidential primary, despite many members’ personal support of Howard Dean early in the election process, allowed us to enter the general election cycle united and prepared for an effective get-out-the-vote campaign. Our decision was based in part on the fact that the Al Gore–Bill Bradley primary divided the group in 2000 and, unfortunately, it sounds like a similar mistake may have been made in 2008 when the group endorsed President Barack Obama. To be most effective, the Penn Democrats needs the support of all Democrats come election time, and it can best facilitate this by staying neutral in contentious primaries that can only serve to divide the group.

Brian Linde The author is a 2005 College alumnus.

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