Lawson condemns resume-padding

Dear Editor,

It’s time we stop saying, “It’ll look good on your resume,” especially if we want to cultivate civic responsibility that goes beyond four years at Transy. It is no secret that resume padding seems to be the incentive in joining organizations, primarily honoraries. Granted, with honoraries one must usually pay a fee to join after having met the academic qualifications. I’m beginning to think this act is symbolic, in that it appears students must buy their honors in the case of service oriented honoraries since the group effort to do service is almost nonexistent and in many cases it seems there is no consequence to the student for failing to uphold the values of the organization. The student will still wear those cords proudly on graduation day regardless.

I know at Transy we are all incredibly busy. Most of us are involved in several organizations. However, is that because we genuinely care about the causes and purpose of the organization, or because we know the more things we have on our resume, the more likely we are to look professional and be a great candidate for a job or graduate program? My time at Transy has made me feel that the latter rings the truest in general.

I’m advocating a change in our language. Instead of discussing how great our credentials will look in the future with the more offices we hold in organizations, let’s talk about the goals of the organizations we wish to join. I believe students should be genuinely interested in the aims and scope of the club. In terms of honoraries, perhaps instead of GPAs being the main criterion for admission, an effort criterion should be added to the list. However, even here we run the risk of falling into the “I gotta log my hours for my volunteer position” instead of “I am going to volunteer because I enjoy spending my free time giving back to my community…”

My proposal is not a simple task. I know how hard it is to avoid that mindset; the problems I’m raising are cultural. However, I look forward to the day that students engage in civic activities because of passion and not due to our achievement-driven-competitive-gotta-have-a-star-resume culture.

—Monica Lawson, ’12


Library hours critiqued

Dear Editor,

This isn’t one of those things you can generalize so I’ll just speak from personal experience (with a few admitted asides, of course).  I am currently writing the week before finals (and, yes, happily procrastinating). I am also a bit of a late-to-sleep, late-to-class kind of guy (working on that one). I live a few blocks away from campus.

I know you aren’t reading this till May term but, as this is a flourish, I’ll keep it as promised (personal and reactional). Next week is what our schedules and the Registrar’s office so cynically refer to as “Finals”. Regular class times are shifted on this Finals week. We have a new schedule.  We have a “Reading Day” built into this schedule. The library stays open later on this schedule.

But, I am turning in two term papers this week. Last week I was (sort of) writing them. This week I stayed up most of the night (I know, bad form) to finish a ten pager. It happens, though, ya know. Sometimes I stay up too late. But, in some ways, I really like working at night. Less distracted (I guess that is to say: I like to work some nights, others I write letters to the editor…).

I think that Finals week is not my busiest week in the semester. In fact, I don’t even think it’s my second. We’ll give it a competitive third as weeks go around here.

Why is the library not open till at least 2 a.m. for all three of my busy weeks? Or perhaps this is the wrong question.

I think the right question is: Why isn’t the library open till 2 a.m. every night of every week (holidays and such excluded)? Let me rephrase real quickly: Why isn’t the library open till 2 a.m. every night – Sunday through Thursday – of the week (etc.)?

There are two possible answers. One, “the administration” (like “the council of they” only closer and more benevolent) doesn’t know some college students study past 12 a.m. (except on Finals week, of course). Or, two, the library is too expensive or “unsustainable” to maintain till 2 a.m.

Whatever the answer – this needs to change.

I realize a slight shift in library hours won’t solve the world’s problems, but I also believe there are others who study past 12 a.m., study at the library, prefer Transy’s Gay to U.K.’s Willie, and, would, like me, like to study into the a.m. on our turf.

—Charlie Zwischenberger, ‘13


Quality of life lower in Clay Hall for first-years

Dear Editor,

At risk of sounding too curmudgeonly, I believe the party culture at Transy is a significant detriment to the quality of life for some first-year males on this campus, largely because of their inability to opt out of it. I think many social troubles exist at Transy that we underestimate or fail to identify, and this is one of them. Some of these are inescapable on a wet campus, but we could mitigate most of them. I hope to bring attention to those issues that concern first-year males.

Disregarding the troubles Davis Hall causes itself, there is no logic in housing first-year males in Clay Hall, which is essentially an extension to Davis. As I see it, a residence hall room should possess some basic qualities: It should be a place where one can get a healthy seven to eight hours of sleep during the entire week, it should be secure and it should be a place where one can simply exist peacefully. My room did not fulfill these needs.

Note that I make these assertions regardless of the nature of residence halls at other universities or at Transylvania in the past. I believe there is a causal relationship between the proximity of Clay to Davis and the disappointing conditions of the former.

The key problem with Clay-Davis is the failure to separate “places to live” and “places to party.” To illustrate, when someone rips out an exit sign and much of the ceiling around it on the first floor of Clay — and I will have to pay for it out of my housing deposit — I not only feel unsafe, but I’m also quite irritated that I was penalized for such behavior, for I did not choose to live in Clay.

The proximity of Clay to Davis is troublesome, but other factors contribute to the problem as well: an apathetic attitude toward harmful underage drinking habits, a Department of Public Safety staff often unwilling or unable to monitor dangerous behavior, and a poor sense of community.

More than anything, we require a haven for first-year males who do not wish to live in the heart of the party culture. Potential solutions would likely involve rearrangement of residence halls or construction of new ones.

Regardless of how we confront the issue, I hope we can improve the quality of life for first-year males and make their Transy experience that much better.

-Miller Travis ’13

Wear a hoodie today for Trayvon

Dear Editor,

In a recent shooting, Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old black male, was killed by George Zimmerman, 28, who was part of the neighborhood watch.

This all began with Zimmerman saw Martin walking down the street with his hood up at a very late hour in the evening. Zimmerman saw him as “suspicious” and contacted the police. The police directly asked Zimmerman if he was following Martin and Zimmerman replied yes. The police then gave him the order to stop following Martin and head home.

After disregarding the police, Zimmerman proceeded to follow Martin, which led to a physical confrontation resulting in Martin’s death. Zimmerman has not been charged of any murder or crime in claim of “self-defense.” Martin’s intentions were to get candy at a convenient store for him and his brother when he was shot to death.

Last Sunday, a New York City church called a Wear Hoodie Day for Trayvon Martin to show that wearing a hoodie does not have any implications of being a criminal or someone of danger and that justice must be served.

As a part of the Foundation of the Liberal Arts II section of Racism in the United States: Then and Now, I would like to hold a Wear Hoodie Day for Trayvon Martin to show that racial discrimination is very much a part of our current society and that justice should be served. Wearing your hood up or having a certain skin color does not define who you are, and in this case it appears that race was the leading cause.

If possible, I would like this to take place on April 5 in hopes that a majority of the student body will participate. This is an important cause to me and the fellow students in my class, and it would be wonderful if the Transy community would stand with us. Thank you.

-Hayley Mansur ’15

Response to Berry’s letter

Dear Editor,

In regard to the letter in last week’s Rambler about publicizing our events to the Transylvania community, I am delighted to share the following information.

As noted, nearly all campus events — and most certainly major events like the Canadian Brass concert — are posted on Columns, the daily online newsletter on Inside Transy.

In addition, events are publicized on the 10 electronic display boards located throughout campus; on the online calendar at both Inside Transy and the main Transy website,; on main website’s front page and its news and events page; and on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

We send news releases to all local media, including The Rambler and The Kentucky Kernel. Events that are open to the public are also posted on eight outside calendars including LexGo, Smiley Pete Publishing, Downtown Lexington Corporation, and Tops in Lex. For events such as the Smith Concert Series and Kenan and Harlan lectures, we run ads in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Before Columns was initiated, campus communication was by scores of mass emails that were often ignored, lost or forgotten. Imagine getting an email for every post on Inside Transy.

Columns, which is updated every weekday before 9 a.m., consolidates all of the university’s information in one place and categorizes it so that items can be scanned quickly. In a recent survey, 80 percent of respondents said they consider Columns their primary source of campus information.

Those who choose not to read it miss the promotion of upcoming events as well as important information about classes, registration, internships, study abroad, scholarships, meetings and much more.

Columns is available online — on and off campus — and accessible on smartphones by downloading MOX and selecting Transylvania University. The RSS feed is also updated every weekday before 9 a.m.

I encourage everyone in the campus community to make a habit of checking Inside Transy and the other information sources regularly. We are always looking for ways to better our internal communication efforts, and we welcome your ideas.

-Sarah Emmons
Associate Vice President for Communications

Response to Sept. 29 “What’s Right?”

Dear Editor,
In every argument for capital punishment, we hear the phrase “an eye for an eye.” This phrase comes from the Hebrew Bible, and while it has become part of modern-day arguments for retaliation (particularly capital punishment), it was originally meant to restrain punishment for offenses, rather than to justify or encourage revenge.

Not only is the meaning of this phrase commonly misinterpreted, the phrase’s omnipresence is no justification for capital punishment.

“An-eye-for-an-eye-for-an-eye-for-an-eye … ends in making everybody blind,” Mahatma Gandhi said.

An argument like this commits a very common logical fallacy known as “argumentum ad populum,” or an appeal to the people. This fallacious argument concludes an argument’s validity and truth simply because a majority of people believe it to be true.

However, that is not the central argument in this article. The real problem that I have with the argument is what comes next.

“Some, understandably, may believe that the death penalty is ‘morally incorrect,’ ” the author said. “However, in order to really understand this opinion, take it from a personal standpoint.”

The author then goes on to ask readers how they would feel if their family member fell victim to homicide. Once again, we encounter a logical fallacy in the argument in favor of capital punishment. This time the fallacy is that of an appeal to emotion, where the argument attempts to manipulate the readers’ emotions rather than rely on valid logic to prove the point.

“Murder is wrong,” said the author. “And that is why anyone who commits such a terrible act should be given the same fate.”

I question how the author can state that murder is wrong and, in the same breath, suggest that people who commit murder “should be given the same fate” (i.e., be murdered in return). With this inconsistent logic, one could just as well support rape as a punishment for rape, or forcing a person to buy drugs from the government as a punishment for selling drugs.

We, as a society, cannot condone the murder of any individual under any circumstances if we continue to hold that murder is unjust.

-Daniel Cooper ’11

Kemper weighs in on Christian campus

by Nancy Jo Kemper
Guest Columnist

Please allow me to respond to John Johnson’s letter in the Oct. 13 issue of The Rambler.

First, despite rumors to the contrary, Transylvania does not plan to sever its relationship with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). This rumor must be put to rest. It is false.

Second, I was expressly appointed by President R. Owen Williams, in part, to help the college articulate what it means to be a church-related college in the 21st century. A small committee, including a trustee, Dr. Paul Jones, Dr. Carole Barnsley, Dean of Students Dean Mike Vetter and me, has been at work since early August. We hope to include student representation soon.

This committee is exploring the key characteristics of our church relationship, its current meaning and the expansion of religious life programs in a manner that would also further Transy’s abiding commitment to education of the whole person for life in a world of cultural, ethnic and religious diversity. Thus, I repeat: Transylvania will continue its historic ties with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Johnson’s letter assumes that somehow a church-related college will reinforce particular religious convictions, whether his or those of another. That assumption might apply were Transy to identify itself as an explicitly sectarian Christian college, with a stated purpose of Christian formation for its students.

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