A note on petitions

I’d like to start by saying the “student-athlete, non-athlete” divide is myth. It’s an issue given power by frustrated students, and used to substitute a larger and far-less discussed concern — a lack of true community.

Recently, I read Quinn Johnson’s “Petition criticizes use of funds for athletics,” discussing Christian Honein’s Facebook petition protesting “bloated” athletic teams and, what he feels, are financially neglected academics. Now, students are free to protest, but there’s a number of issues with this case.

Firstly, the petition’s language lacks empirical evidence, it is more of a complaint than a document advertising any sort of change and it promotes the idea that President Jane Fernandes simply needs 50 signatures to slash athletic spending.

Secondly, the article’s author not only gave free advertisement for an impulsive Facebook complaint to our school’s administration, but he also interviewed three track athletes and petition signer Alexander Witek, a person who doesn’t attend Guilford College. I run track, and I’ll tell you that we do not have a stake in this imaginary divide; if it existed we’re not “sporty enough” to be among the rest of the athletes, but much too physical to be considered a part of the non-athlete population. Also, does The Guilfordian lack so much journalistic integrity that it’s willing to interview anyone who emails back? By giving this sound bite to a non-community member, the author promoted one side of “the issue” without real grounding, and thus secured his grade at the expense of our college’s social growth.

Finally, in what’s the worst of this all, both the article and petition continue to promote the ridiculous idea that a fourth of the traditional student population (student-athletes) and the other three quarters (non-athletes) are somehow divided. We attend a small school that advertises itself as “community” driven, but then there isn’t actually anything fun to do; there’s little opportunity for people to make friends outside of their teams or cliques, so naturally people continue to associate with those they can.

This problem rests with students, not with OSLE, not with Todd Clark, not with Jane Fernandes — if students want to make friends with people who are different, then they have to try. Have a party, join a club, talk to someone after class, but stop producing detrimental documents that only deepen an issue that should not exist.