Defending pure rubbish
Yesterday, my Tuesday column was criticized in "Crew faces financial upstream battle." There are a few things I wanted to address in response to the author's letter, as well as clear up my own argument.
First, my article was in no way an ad hominem attack on liberal arts majors, especially criminal justice. I had used criminal justice as an example, as this constituted the majority of the football team. But, for my own sake, I will say that history or political science is not nearly as challenging as a math or science related field. I still fully support my argument that these fields are much more rigorous than liberal arts in general. When I say "rigorous," I'm referring to the time commitment each respective major entails. The few who choose to take on math or science are making an enormous four-year obligation, in which they have to deal with not only higher standards but completely objective grading. Let's put this into perspective:
A history major can put off a 15-page research paper until the very last minute and still manage to pull off a B. A student who is taking an upper-level science course, on the other hand, will fail if he or she does not put in the time and effort to study for an exam. For these individuals, their answers are either right or wrong, as they are not subjectively graded by their professor. As a result, they cannot get away with writing 15 pages of "pure rubbish." While I do not think your choice of major correlates to your success, there is clearly more demand on students who decide to take the math or science route. At this point and time, I am inclined to give these individuals more credit, as their hard work is more likely to translate into success.
Second, despite the author's interview with Morgan Carter, it still does not discredit my overall argument. When comparing and contrasting football to crew, I was implying that crew takes on a stricter academic regiment (see argument No. 1). If we are going to give football players full scholarships, then the least we can do is provide sufficient funding for these club sports. I understand the nature of being a Division-I school, but it is simply not fair for the student population to assume financial burdens while funding for football is at full strength. These club sports that combine for less than a million dollars a year provide meaningful outlets for students. For some, it shapes their entire college experience. This is how you ultimately build a strong base of prideful alumni. As a result, this overall experience is what pushes them to be active with the University in the long term. While a few Louisville 2006 games will definitely help the process, it will not define an alumnus' four years on the banks.
Finally, the cutting of the Olympic sports and tuition increases should not be dismissed as being "unfortunate." That is the problem with the student body now. Everyone just accepts it when Trenton cuts our budget or the school raises tuition. It is, however, considered blasphemy the moment a columnist displays football in a negative light. The football team has hardly been hurt by the economic downturn, and I believe they should be making the same sacrifices as everyone else. The crux of my argument does not lie in profit gains and losses. These club sports, especially crew, will never generate any revenue for the school. But from the perspective of an academic institution, these students have shown to be overall gifted individuals. The University should take away some of its priorities from football and place it into other athletic endeavors, as these students have gone above and beyond the term "student-athlete." While there should still be a primary focus on football, these other individuals should not be so blatantly disregarded.
Brian Canares is a Rutgers College senior majoring in history and political science.