Letter to the Editor #1, Vol. 103, Issue 11
Dear Trail Staff,
I write to express how unimpressed I am with Jordan Macavoy’s article “Superstitions and myths of Puget Sound” (December 13, 2013).
First, the remarks about the “strange markings on the back of the sign that welcomes you as you drive onto the University grounds” are pretty offensive. These plaques were explained in the recent Spring 2013 issue of Arches, which is the second hit when you search “Alder entrance” on the university’s website. Beyond being a very easy thing to research, the meaning of them is rather important: they say (roughly) “University of Puget Sound” and “Her guardian is the mountain” in the Lushootseed dialect of Salish, one of the local Native American tribes in this area. Attempting to paint these plaques as something sinister or of the occult shows real ignorance and insensitivity on Mr. Macavoy’s part. As both an alumna of the university and a member of staff, I expect better from our student journalists.
Second, the university does have a somewhat rich history of actual student superstitions and myths. Doing real research for this article would have revealed this history to Mr. Macavoy. One example off the top of my head: tradition has it that any student who steps on the clover inscribed in the floor of Wheelock Student Center on the way from Marshall Hall to the dish return will fail their final exams. I don’t know the background of this superstition, but that is the sort of thing that would have been interesting to read about. Given that there are real superstitions and myths about campus makes it all the more appalling that Mr. Macavoy chose a xenophobic, uninformed route in his article.
Finally, all content aside, the tone and style of this article are far better suited to Opinion at best. I actually did a double-take on which section I was reading to see if I had slipped into the Combat Zone, as I was more willing to believe that this was a piece of satire rather than a case of true benightedness. I could not believe it was in the Features section. Of further irony is the fact that it appears on the very same page as pieces about CHispA, BSU, and the Martha Nussbaum lecture on religious intolerance.
Editors, I beg you: hold your writers to better standards than this. It’s embarrassing. This is a public representation of the university. I would rather you had left a 4”x9” blank space than print articles like this.
Arielle Hill-Moses ‘05