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Privacy and truth at UNCA
Perhaps one of the great ironies of our society today is the overwhelming mass of
information that floods our lives, troubles our consciences, and invades our
privacies. Yet, at the same time, we cannot always grasp the information that we
At a university, the free flowofinformation keeps the clockwork running. But the
North Giroiina General Assembly had different ideas in mind when they passed
Statute 126 in 1989, regarding the privacy of state employee personnel records.
Only ten years after a person’s state employment has ended can general informa
tion about “personnel matters” be released. Information relating to demotions and
disciplinary actions resulting in dismissal are never released without a court order
or unless the case winds up in litigation.
What does this mean? For an employee, it assures privacy in difficult matters. A
similar federal law, commonly known as the Buckley Amendment, assures the
same right ft>r students.
But what does it mean to the rest of the community? Not knowing what has taken
place m a suspension or dismissal can lead to an undue amount ol speculation on
the part of a small campus like UNCA Thoughts can be quick thieves—our wild
conjecwres rob us of the tmth. Sometimes our guessing games leave us blind.
There is a simple solution. Allow universities to discuss “personnel matters” as they
arise, when it is most important. If something indeed happens that poses a threat
to the campus cornmunit^f, the university should be allowed to take action and
explain it publicly. In (aa, a university like UNCA, with its liberal bent and
seemingly concerned and conscientious administration, would probably like to
take positive steps immediately.
But there is an even better reason: we deserve to Itnow the tmth. It is not Ray
Ingram’s responsibility to tell us what happened in his case, nor is it the
responsibility of the unknown person who dis^reed with him over whatever
subjea it was. The UNCA administration should be allowed to arbitrate disputes
publicly, so that the community is informed and the process may be lair.
To paraphrase the words ofThomas Paine, who championed freedoms of every
kind, knowledge is everything. We may be kept ignorant, but we cannot be made
Where do we draw the line between what should be known and what should be
kept private? Imagine a different scenario: a professor rapes a smdent and leaves
the university for imdisclosed reasons, never to be seen again. The student never
speaks out. The university never informs the public, because they are prevented
ftom doing so by law.
Who vwU know? Who has the right to know? It may happen at UNCA, and we
may find that the line was drawn in the wrong place. It may have happened before,
and we will never know.
Kyle S. Phipps
Rafrica Adams, Bonner Butler, Lara Barnett, Shelly Eller,
Elise Fox, Gary Gray, Robert Hardin, Kristi Howard,
Stephanie Hunter, Trish Johnson, Tracy Kelly,
Erin King, Melinda Pierson, Kristin Scobie, Chanse Simpson,
Nate Conroy, James Hertsch, Pam Williams, Tracy Wilson
Mark West, faculty advisor
The Banner is the student newspaper of the University of North
Carolina at Asheville. We publish each Thursday except during
summer sessions, final exam weeks and holiday breaks. Our offices are
located in Carmichael Hall, Room 208-A.
Our telephone number is (704) 251-6586. Our campus e-mail
address is email@example.com. An on-line version of The Banner is also
available at http://www.unca.edu/banner/
Nothing in our editorial or opinions sections necessarily reflects the
opinion of the entire Banner staff, the faculty advisor, or the
university faculty, administration or staff.
Unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of the Banner
editorial board. Letters, columns, cartoons and reviews represent only
the opinions of their respective authors.
The welcomes submissions of letters and articles for publica
tion. All submissions are subject to editing for clarity, content and
length and are considered on the basis of interest, space, taste, and
Letters should be typed, double-spaced, and should not exceed 300
words. Letters for publication should also contain the author's
signature, classification, major or other relationship with UNCA.
The deadline for letters is noon on Tuesday. If you have a
submission, you can send it to The Banner, 208A Carmichael
Hall, One University Heights, Asheville NC 28804.
The deadline for display ads and the FYI calendar is on Monday
at noon. The deadline for classified ads is at noon on Tuesday.
Tips to help you take tests
Flat out cheating is, of course,
wrong. But I admit, the so-called
“honor code” is a joke at most
schools. Still, if you haven’t got
ten over the cheating phase now
that you’re out of high school,
maybe you should go back there
(or quit school and make millions
cheating people in corporate
Nonetheless, occasionally life
throws you a curveball. You wake
up one bright day, stroll over to
class, and walk into... (cue scary
music) THE TEST ZONE. In
the Test Zone everyone gets to
class early with two sharpened
pencils. No one talks except for
brief commiseration about how
hard the test will be.
“Um, is there a test today or
“Yes!” they snap as they go back
to last-minute notecard review
ing and frantic page flipping.
Reality begins to sink in. It’s
time to accept that you’re pretty
much SOL and up the creek (and
if you fail the class again, it’s
gonna hit the fan).
Basically, you’re DOA from the
start on this one, and if being
SOL is just the SOS, you might
get frustrated and do something
drastic and get a DWl. Don’t
despair, you can still get out of
this A-OK! Although you’re go
ing to get a low grade, you can
still set your sights on a D- or F+!
And as every baseball player
knows, you can’t go up to plate
looking for a curveball, you’ve
got to look fastball and adjust.
Partial credit is a slacker’s best
friend. If you hint at the answer
or leave a little ambiguity, the
prof might assume you just made
a mistake and meant to write the
The prof wrote the test. He/She
knows the answers. Like an opti
cal illusion, his/her mind might
fill in the blanks of what you left
out. (Unless you’ve proven your
self a moron in class, in which
case he’ll assume you’re going to
write something stupid.) Don’t
focus on any fact you’re not abso
lutely sure of; always rely on am
Q: Where did Odysseus go after
he escaped the Cyclops?
if I were escaping from a Cyclops,
what would I do?” K'. He ran away.
Q: Who helped Tom build the
raft? A: Tom’s friend.
Q: Whom did Oedipus
marry? “Hmm... his wife... no, that
won’t work. Ah, I don’t know. I’ll
just put a joke answer. ” A: His
For harder exams, partial credit
can be tougher to bulls—t. In
math, put something like “x”, a
low number, or some number that
a lot of problems result in like 0,
1, or “D.N.E.” With a graph,
draw an ambiguous line that never
really chooses a direction, poorly
label the axes, and pray for sym
pathy points (next to the big red
question mark that will be writ
ten on the test next time you see
Another partial credit technique
is the “half-erase.” When used in
conjunction with “writing things
off to the side" the half-erase can
be a powerful tool to squeeze out
a point when you don’t deserve
Use crappy pen erasers to look
like you tried your best to erase
and rewrite something... maybe.
If what you wrote is right, that
was your answer. If its wrong...
that was just some scratch work.
Throw in random words that
would enhance if they’re right,
but be ignored if they’re wrong.
Just don’t give anything in your
answer that would reveal you
don’t know what the hell you’re
For multiple choice and essay
tests, there’s only so much you
can do. You can try to answer a
dijferent question than the one
asked. Bring in stuff that you
know well from other places, as
long as you know it well. This is
risky because you can use up your
essay time going way off topic.
However, a little irrelevance is a
small price to pay if you come off
like an expert. Try this formula:
Expertise + (Max Points - Irrel
evance) = grade.
Try focusing on the ideas that
run throughout the major. In so
ciology, throw in something about
sociological structures, patterns,
and regularities. In accounting,
just keep performing math opera
tions on your given numbers until
you get an answer that makes
sense. In humanities, focus on the
teacher’s favorite area: “This is
reflected in the (art, architecture,
or music) of the time.” (Explain
ing why would be nice, but if you
don’t know a well-worded answer,
this deserves a few points.)
For tests where you can omit
questions, you can try under
handed stuff like writing “omit”
an extra time or answering all ques
tions and hoping the teacher takes
the best of your answers. (But
don’t be a jackass; you know they
know you knew what you were
supposed to do.).
The bottom line is to fill in the
white space with something. If
you’re gonna fail, don’t kill your
average for good. At least get close
to a 60.
Test tricks work better in some
majors than others and on certain
kinds of tests.
But what really separates magna
cum laude from your average stu
dent? I say, test taking techniques.
End preconceptions about feminism
In my 21 years of feminine ex
perience, I’ve heard women say
plenty of things that really an
noyed me. By far, the most irri
tating of these is a phrase I’ve
heard friends say so often that I
know it has become a part of
American feminine culture. Ev
ery time I hear a woman begin a
sentence, “I’m not a feminist,
but,” I cringe.
When I hear a woman say she’s
not a feminist, I instantly make
assumptions about her. I suppose
she is weak, unassuming, and
afraid to take up for herself She
must be opposed to the Equal
Rights Amendment under the
argument that it encourages
women to abandon their fami
lies, become lesbians, and prac
She certainly is not the kind of
woman who acts on her own be
Usually, I am wrong. Within a
few moments, I realize I am speak
ing to a very strong woman. She is
intelligent, active, and happy.
Usually, she is also as wrong as I
She really is a feminist, she just
won’t call herself one. When she
says, “I’m not a feminist,” she
means, “I’m afraid to call myself
Women in America refuse to
call themselves feminists for two
primary reasons. First, women
who are hesitant to call them
selves feminists usually don’t want
to be labeled man-haters. Second,
popular misconceptions about
feminism have made women think
that to be a feminist, one must
abandon the feminine.
Often, women think that one of
the prerequisites to being a femi
nist is to believe that women are
superior to men, and therefore
react hatefully toward men. But,
the basic argument of feminism is
that people are equal regardless of
To believe that women are supe
rior is as sexist as to believe that
Superiority and inferiority dis
appear in the face of equality. By
this definition, any woman who
believes herself equal to men
should call herself a feminist.
Women do not have to abandon
their relationships with men to be
Instead, women should be able
to enter into relationships with
men that are fulfilling to both
parties involved and are on terms
of respect and equality.
Such relationships are not lim
ited to the romantic sphere; they
need to exist in the workplace,
the government, and in every so
With this understanding of rela
tionships between the genders
comes the idea that men and
women should be able to live to
gether, comfortable- in gender
roles, legal rights, and social posi
Without the need to be the
dominant or the submissive, both
genders can coexist without preju
dices based upon sex.
The second reason women hesi
tate to name themselves feminists
is that they are afraid of having to
abandon what is traditionally
feminine. They argue that moth
ers cannot be feminists and that
women cannot argue their equal-
Illustration by Jay Nelson
ity while dressed in pantyhose
That idea, though, simply is not
true. Feminism has nothing to do
with whether a woman wears
make-up, paints her nails, or
shaves her legs, whether she pre
fers jeans or dresses, whether she
wants to be a manager, a mother,
or both. Any woman can claim
feminism, whether she be in an
evening gown, in overalls, or in
All that matters is that a woman
choose her roles, both socially and
personally, based upon her desires
rather than upon what others de
mand she do; she must act for
herself rather than allowing oth
ers to subvert her power.
I am a feminist. That statement
makes people assume that l,,3m a
lesbian who hates men, who re
fuses to be feminine, who recon
structs the English lan
guage, who spends all
her free time con
structing new ways to
overthrow the patri
I avoid sexist language. I argue
against oppression where I find it.
I refuse to be denied rights be
cause of my sex.
At the same time, I am not the
militant stereotype which persists
in following the word “feminine.”
I don’t blow up men’s clubs or
pull guns on people who say “wait
ress” instead of “server.” I cer
tainly don’t hate men.
When I hear someone say, “I’m
not a feminist,” I am hard pressed
to imagine a woman who really is
not feminist. I cannot conceptu
alize what she is like.
Sadly enough, though, some
women live their whole lives un
der the belief they really are infe
Feminists are here to fight sex
We don’t try to rid ourselves of
men or of femininity to do so; we
need to become secure of our
selves as human beings.
Feminism is not extremism;
feminism is equality, rationality,
and common sense.