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To the Editor,

I am a Penn parent. I have written to The Daily Pennsylvanian before about the tone of many of your editorials, and I have communicated as well with University administrators about the coverage of alcohol and substance abuse in the DP. Please read carefully yesterday’s piece by Sally Engelhart (“Beer goggles demystified, 1/13/2011”) and think about the image it presents of Penn.

All colleges have issues relating to alcohol. It is entirely appropriate to report honestly about them and to give students across the spectrum the opportunity to weigh in about alcohol policy. I am not advocating censorship. Yesterday’s opinion piece is not reflective, intelligent or even humorous in tone — although clearly it is meant to be “ironically” funny. It perpetuates a certain image of Penn as being a “party school,” an image that, sadly, in the months since I have been a regular reader of the DP as a Penn parent, now seems more accurate to me than it did in the past.

While the behaviors Engelhart describes are prevalent among some students everywhere, I respectfully suggest that you read recent issues of other Ivy League newspapers and see how these problems are covered. Newspapers at Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Princeton universities also report on these issues and weigh in with strong criticisms of university and state policies about alcohol and drugs, sometimes with the suggestion that these policies be significantly more liberal. I may agree or disagree with those editorials, but they deserve to be taken seriously. The difference is that the subculture of the college newspaper in these other schools seems to overlap much less with the subculture described so vividly by Engelhart. There is a difference between advocacy, criticism or satire and self-indulgent revelation.

-- Emily Schneider The author is the parent of a Penn student. Want to submit a letter to the editor? E-mail us at

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