Letter to the Editor: Geneseo Community Expresses Solidarity with Black and Underrepresented Students and Community Members

Recent events on campus remind us once again that black students in particular and underrepresented students in general still face stereotyping and prejudice in our community. As an institution of higher learning, and as a community, we must call out these disturbing actions and attitudes at the individual and institutional level.

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Letter to the Editor

We write in reference to a Letter to the Editor in The Lamron, recently written by a certain professor of philosophy. This letter condemns The Lamron for publishing what this professor claims is a disingenuous apology from an anonymous student involved in the blackface incident on our campus. In the name of encouraging open dialogue, we wish to offer a rebuttal to this letter. 

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Letter to the Editor

From what I can summarize, the point of Dr. Everett’s letter, published in The Lamron on April 11, is that people who are “politically incorrect” are more persecuted on this campus than racial minorities (specifically African Americans). Of course he thought that. He’s a white philosophy professor with tenure. 

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Letter to the Editor

I write in reference to the interview The Lamron recently published with the student who made a joking reference to blackface on Snapchat. This was, to my eye, not a genuine interview at all but a forced public confession in which, to its shame, The Lamron was complicit. I have no specific idea how this came about: the decision of the student to request this interview and the agreement of The Lamron to participate. But the result strikes me as a put-up job in which the student mechanically repeats an apparently scripted apology. “Everyone is right to be angry at me,” “This is not about me,” “I was ignorant and privileged” the student said, clearly in order to avoid being suspended or expelled.

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Letter to the Editor

Urban Dictionary defines “slut” as “a disgrace to all women … someone who sleeps around,” and “stud” as “slang for someone very attractive … basically a badass.” Though Urban Dictionary is not a source for technical definitions, it may be used as an indicator of modern cultural perceptions. In the March 14 issue of this publication, an Op-Ed implied that the word “slut” is a valid characterization of 21st century women with multiple sexual partners. The Op-Ed went on to insinuate that “stud” is a title earned by men who have sex with multiple women because men have to “put more effort into getting laid, [while women] only [have] to ask.” 

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Letter to the Editor

As a queer woman, I find myself utterly confused by [the article] “Queer Should Not Be Reclaimed” [from the March 14 article from The Lamron]. While I would like to give the author the benefit of the doubt, the piece not only overlooks the vast history of reclamation the word has within their own community, but fails to address the word’s importance within some transgender spaces with the term “genderqueer,” or queer as a bridge between “non-normative” gender and sexuality. 

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Letter to the Editor: Gun control advocates have flawed arguments

This letter is in response to “Country must address gun laws, anti-Semitism after synagogue shooting,” which appeared in the last edition of The Lamron. While gun control advocates have an undoubtedly noble purpose, their approaches are often flawed and based on faulty or outright manipulated statistics. 

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Letter to the Editor: Pro-life article reduces differences within movement

Editor’s Note: This letter was originally published in the Nov. 1 print edition of The Lamron. We apologize for the delay.

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Letter to the Editor: Student Association President urges campus to voice critiques constructively

Editor’s Note: This letter was originally published in the Nov. 1 print edition of The Lamron. We apologize for the delay.

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Letter to the Editor: Article on Second Chance Prom misconstrues event

Letter to the Editor:

My friends and I laughed until our stomachs hurt when we read “Branding of ‘Second Chance Prom’ takes away from event’s intended inclusivity” in the Oct. 18 issue of The Lamron. The author has clearly never attended a Pride Alliance meeting or else they would know just how ridiculous their article was. Everyone is of course entitled to their own opinion, but I believe that the author completely missed the point of Second Chance Prom. In fact, just a couple pages later, there is a wonderful article titled “Second Chance Prom celebrates inclusivity, LGBTQ+ community” which communicates the idea behind Second Chance Prom much more effectively. The name doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are celebrating identity. If the author had been to any Pride Alliance meeting leading up to Second Chance Prom, they would’ve known that the e-board actually said that everyone was invited. They specifically said that non-LGBTQ+ students, LGBTQ+ students and closeted individuals were all welcome. I highly doubt that the author even attended Second Chance Prom because if they had, they would’ve witnessed and participated in the beautiful atmosphere. Students danced, laughed and smiled constantly throughout the night. When Geneseo Late Knight announced that the event was over at 1 a.m., dozens of students were still there having fun. Who is anyone to say that students should go to “formals and date parties” instead of a GLK event? Who is anyone to speak for the entire LGBTQ+ community on campus? If anyone is that offended by the name of that event, maybe they should talk to the Pride Alliance e-board rather than write an article about how deeply offended they are about a name. In the end, it just seems silly to be upset by a catchy name when there are much bigger problems facing the LGBTQ+ community.

Hannah Fahy

English major junior with a certification in adolescent education 

Letter to the Editor: Former professor calls attention to wage disparity

Editor’s Note: This letter was originally published in the Oct. 18 print edition of The Lamron. We apologize for the delay.

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Letter to the Editor: Article unreasonably opposes Kavanaugh nomination

Editor’s Note: This letter was originally published in the Oct. 4 print edition of The Lamron. We apologize for the delay.

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Letter to The Editor

Geneseo is an exceptional college, but it lacks a reliable staff support system for LGBTQ-plus students. This is entirely unacceptable for a leading SUNY school that is considered a “public Ivy.” A cursory Google search of “Geneseo LGBTQ” reveals few resources for students. This highlights the core problem facing LGBTQ-plus students: the college officially offers essentially nothing. In all fairness, an LGBTQ-plus working committee was established in 2013 to advocate for students on a policy level for the college. This was an excellent step, however, it does nothing for students seeking LGBTQ-plus support systems.

Associate professor of English Alice Rutkowski has done incredible work for students entirely on a volunteer basis and firmly believes that Geneseo is invested in providing support and resources for LGBTQ-plus students.

“My experience on this committee has demonstrated that our campus is filled with generous, well-intentioned individuals who want to help LGBTQ-plus students in any way they can,” Rutkowski said. “The fact that our Diversity Statement has recently been revised to include gender expression and sexuality is also very heartening.”

While Rutkowski is proud of Geneseo’s commitment to addressing topics like sexuality and gender identity, she believes that the university could do more to improve.

“Our college does not have the same kind of institutional commitment to these issues that our peer institutions do,” she said. “Given the college’s longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, I hope that we would soon be able to officially dedicate new staff and resources to this important issue.”

The peer institutions that Rutkoswki referred to have an on-staff representative to respond to crises, plan events, advocate for the students and make the college a safer and more comfortable place for LGBTQ-plus students overall.

Not only do schools like Syracuse University have comprehensive support systems with staff, but they also have a resource center and “safe spaces” for LGBTQ-plus students seeking help. Geneseo has nothing of the sort––the only “safe space” here is in the form of weekly Pride Alliance meetings.

Even SUNY Oneonta, a college of comparable size to Geneseo, has both a resource center and a staff member dedicated to these concerns. I have often heard that conditions are just fine for LGBTQ-plus students at Geneseo, so nothing needs to be done. In light of recent alleged harrassment of a transgender student, however, this is clearly not the case.

One might argue this is an anomaly, but my brief tenure on campus says otherwise. As a Pride executive board member, students come to other students and me with intense personal issues, seeking support and guidance because they have nowhere else to go. It is entirely unacceptable that this burden is placed on Pride, a student organization, because the college has put no other safety net in place for these students.

Unlike other minorities, LGBTQ-plus people often have no one to look to for specific support; family members aren’t often LGBTQ-plus, let alone understanding or tolerant. This unique status is what demands institutional support systems that other colleges have recognized and established. Until Geneseo recognizes that it needs a staff member to protect and support its LGBTQ-plus students, the college will fail to adequately show support for them.

The LIVES Program reflects

April is Autism Awareness Month, which is an excellent time to think about one of the core values of this great college: diversity. Diversity is a word that means a lot to us as students in the LIVES Program at Geneseo.  LIVES stands for “Learning Independence, Vocational, and Educational Skills,” and it is a program based on diversity.

The LIVES Program is offered through the college in conjunction with outside agencies that support people with disabilities: The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming, Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Services Office. In the LIVES Program, students with all types of disabilities – autism, down syndrome and speech, intellectual and physical disabilities – learn, work and socialize with each other and with students who don’t have disabilities.

We are proud to be an active part of a thriving Geneseo student body. Like so many of our non-disabled peers, some of us started out as shy, nervous freshmen who feared being thought of as “different.” Those thoughts change with time and experience, however.

Over the course of our four years here, us LIVES students studied beside you, dined with you on Main Street, played and grew in integrated social settings and lent a helping hand through our internships at Milne Library, the mail room, Merritt workout center and the dining halls.

Next month, our seniors will walk across the stage like every other graduating student, decked out for commencement in full cap and gown. Our dads will beam with pride. Our moms will shed some tears. And after the pomp and circumstance, we’ll face the “real world” together, with excitement in our eyes and butterflies in our bellies.

Then we’ll go our separate ways. Some of us will hunt for jobs, and others will go on to further studies. But we’ll all look back at our time at Geneseo as some of the best years of our lives, with immense gratitude for the friends, faculty and staff members who gave us confidence to succeed.

Our internship supervisors come to mind: chef Bob Grant at Mary Jemison; Colleen Hopkins, Mary Fran Tiede and Patricia Hoffman at Milne; Cindy Wood at the mail room; Paul Simmons at the fitness center; and chef Deena Kingston at Red Jacket. Thank you for helping us to set goals, working closely with us and always believing in our abilities.

Other difference-makers for us include our graduate student assistant teachers, Molly Jones and Brittany Rauber; all of the professors who welcome us to audit their classes (there are too many to name); our teacher aides, Viki Kellogg and Jen Buchwald; and Elizabeth Hall and Tabitha Buggie-Hunt, who have guided the LIVES Program since it began more than five years ago.

Finally, we’d like to wish all the very best to the “traditional” students with whom we learn and laugh.  You help us a lot, and we’d like to think that you gain something valuable from our diversity. After all, we’re not your average Geneseo students.

But then again, is there even such thing as an “average Geneseo student?” The truth is, we are each extraordinary in our own special way.

Thanks for sharing this journey with us.


- The Students of Geneseo’s LIVES Program

Letter of the Editor: Geneseo community stands by sexual assault awareness

Present efforts to raise awareness about sexual assault at SUNY Geneseo were recently challenged in a public forum on our campus. We look forward to further public discussion of the facts and issues surrounding sexual assault. Meanwhile, we wish to assure the SUNY Geneseo community of three things: First, we are convinced that sexual assault is a serious problem on our campus, as it is on other campuses and in our culture generally.

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Live Green Event focuses on increased sustainability

On Wednesday Feb. 20 Geneseo celebrated its fifth annual Live Green Event with an expo in the College Union Ballroom. There were several departments, student groups and environmental organizations that had displays and planned activities designed to generate increased awareness about sustainability.

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Letter to the Editor: New SUNY allocation model slippery slope to privatization

Jesse Goldberg, Class of 2012

I’ve read Maddy Smith’s news article, “SUNY releases enrollment-based Resource Allocation Model,” a few times now, and I am scared. I am frightened that a pattern and trajectory I began to notice when I reported on SUNY budgets in my tenure at Geneseo is more real and threatening than I let myself believe. Within the parameters set by the last half-decade of financial troubles and its “solutions,” is it still possible to envision SUNY as a public institution of truly “higher” education? 

I should start by saying that I see the logic and it seems fair that schools with more students should receive more funding. The analogy isn’t perfect, but if I heard that a public high school with 200 students was receiving the same exact public funding as a high school with 2,000 students, I’d be upset at the inequality between funding per student. 

There are many things that trouble me about this allocation model, though. Primarily, I am concerned by the sheer ratio between the number of schools that would see increased funding versus the number of schools that would see decreased funding from this pool of money. 

According to Smith’s article, 11 of the 13 comprehensive colleges, five of the eight technology colleges and one of the four university centers would see decreases in funding. That means that a majority of these schools would each see a loss in resources so that a minority would benefit. I know that actual enrollment figures should balance everything out, but remaining at the institutional level, this solution seems troubling. Why not allow the university centers to charge a rationally higher tuition? Students at Stony Brook, Buffalo, Binghamton and Albany may have to compete with more peers for access to resources, but the resources available at these research institutions are simply greater than the other SUNY schools; perhaps these students should pay a slightly higher tuition?

But to elaborate on what most troubles me: The context in which this allocation model has developed is unacceptable. SUNY students, past and present, should be complaining about this. I look at the aforementioned pattern, the path from the crisis of 2008 and the terrible cuts that followed, the program deactivations not only at Geneseo but at Albany and elsewhere as well, the consolidations of multiple campuses under single college presidents, and the recent reallocation of funding, and I see a trajectory toward the privatization of higher education. And that scares me beyond belief. 

State support cannot exist in a crippling, debilitating context in which public higher education should be forced to make these kinds of decisions. This is the projected loss of SUNY 2020: Since schools can raise their tuition to close budget gaps, the state doesn’t feel the same contractual obligation to fund them. And if resource allocation is 87 percent based on enrollment, then at a college like Geneseo where enrollment isn’t going to increase at a rate comparable to rising rational tuition, students will inevitably wind up paying more tuition while their school sees less resources from the state – based on SUNY’s own rules. 

If you want to kill a community but don’t want to dirty your own hands, sometimes it’s best to make conditions so unbearable that the community destroys itself.

- Jesse Goldberg, Class of 2012

Letter to the Editor: Freedom of speech should be extended to everyone regardless of content

On March 8, The Lamron published an article by Nick Yager about the Westboro Baptist Church and the United States Supreme Court’s decision to uphold their ability to protest at military funerals.

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Letter to the Editor: Lack of birth control coverage creates new burdens for employees

There has been a great deal of talk about President Barack Obama’s new health care bill in the news recently, and I feel that the recent article by The Lamron columnists juniors Joe Flynn and Alex Dee provided some questionable information that lead to misguided opinions.

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Letter to the Editor: Birth Control means more than safe sex: necessary for responsible, healthy choices

There is finally an issue that the Catholic Church and lesbians agree on!

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