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The blue banner. online resource ([Asheville, N.C.]) 1984-current, February 20, 1997, Image 2

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Page 2 The Banner Opinions February 20,1997 The Banner Editorial 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 really need. 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 ignorant. 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. Editorial Board Michael Taylor Jennifer Thurston Renee Slaydon Brian Castle Kyle S. Phipps Del DeLorm Matthew Gibson Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor News Editor Features Editor Sports Editor Photo Editor Copy Editor Staff 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, Catharine Sutherland Wendy McKinney Thomas Estes Nate Conroy Advertising Manager Circulation Manager Electronic Editor Columnists 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 banner@unca.edu. 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 timeliness. 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 Nate Conroy columnist 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 America). 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 something?” “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 correct answer. 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 biguity. 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 mom. 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 it). 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 it. 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 talking about. 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. (Or studying.) End preconceptions about feminism TYacy Wilson 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 tice witchcraft. She certainly is not the kind of woman who acts on her own be half 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 am. 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 a feminist.” 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 columnist 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 gender. To believe that women are supe rior is as sexist as to believe that men are. 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 feminists. 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 cial system. 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 tions. 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 and heels. 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 the nude. 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 archy. 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 rior. Feminists are here to fight sex ism. 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.

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