Questioning the athletic administration's decisions

by Steve Horvath | 11/24/06 6:00am

WEB UPDATE, November 24, 5:45 p.m.

To the Editor:

How did it ever come to this? If this is the face of the Dartmouth athletic administration, then our long tenure in the wilderness of Ivy athletics is understandable.

In the interest of brevity, I'll limit my comments to just two points -- but really, this kind of thing calls for book-length treatment.

First of all, did it ever occur to Director of Athletics Josie Harper ("Apology for hockey tournament mascot," Nov. 21) that her sacred value of "tolerance" might encompass allowing others to identify themselves as they so choose? Maybe the Fighting Sioux don't intend to "affront" anyone. Who knows, they may even believe they are honoring those whom their mascot portrays. It's hard for me to believe that any group would become attached to a symbol that's meant to be denigrating -- that would be self-abasement. Who is Harper to be telling the University of North Dakota what they should call themselves?

Second, while it's nice to know that the athletic department "supports" the never-ending fight against the usual suspect "-isms," wouldn't it be reasonable to ask that they "support" -- for example -- a football program more in keeping with the traditions of Dartmouth? Or has such a goal been superseded by the necessity for impeccable political correctness, as her letter implies?

A modest proposal: might it not be in everyone's interest to have Harper reassigned to a position in one of the various departments of the college administration overseeing "diversity"? She's clearly got the mantra down pat.