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Thursday, October 17,1991
THE OPINION PAGE
Now that the Senate hearings into Anita Hill’s
charges against Clarence Thomas are over, the
nation is left with a raw nerve exposed: the issue
of sexual harrassment of women.
Many men say they don’t understand this issue, but it is
one which strikes home immediately to women. The sexual
harrassment of women is a universal problem that cuts
across lines of class, race and religion.
Women in our culture are the constant targets of a great
deal of sexual aggression—from catcalls and subtle innuen
dos to brutal crimes of rape and murder. Part of the problem
lies in the way our culture uses women as a tool of merchan
dising products. Bombarbed with media images of women
who use sex appeal to sell products, many men begin to see
women as products to be used instead of human beings
deserving of dignity and respect.
Anita Hill showed a great deal of grace, dignity and
composure in what must have been a difficult thing for her
to do: go public with her story before a panel of largely
unsympathetic men, and in front of millions of viewers. In
speaking out on sexual harrassment, she brought this issue
to the forefront of the American consciousness.
It is an issue that needs urgently to be addressed.
When does the joke, the subtle hint, the off color remark,
the crude look become harrassment, become demeaning to
women? Many men still say they do not know.
American men, including some ECSU students, instruc
tors and even administrators, need to become more sensitive
to women’s feelings in this matter.
Many women bear comments and behavior that they find
demeaning out of fear for jobs, grades, promotions, or their
Women can help improve their lot by expressing their dis
pleasure and even anger when they feel mistreated. Male
abusers can misinterpret silence for acceptance of inappro
priate behavior when, in fact, the woman is only being quiet
out of fear.
Men can help by becoming more aware of women’s
feelings and treating the female half of the population with
Anita Hill deserves credit for bringing this issue to the
front burner of the nation’s attention.
It is a relief to know that intelligent people at a univer
sity up for accreditation are able to put away theii
differences long enough to organize a party weekend.
Months before Christmas, the Grinch almost stole Home
The taxing aspect of the month-long controversy is that it
took place within our triple entente of student leadership.
Is is really the belief of Student Affairs that a group of
students who practice long hours, buy outfits and compete
to entertain a crowd for the school is selfish to ask for
Is it really the belief of the Greek-lettered organizations
that non-Greeks who currendy pay money to attend this
institution have more money to pay for a pass into the step
show and dance than Greeks who have graduated and
hopefully have jobs now?
Is it really the belief of the Student Government Associa
tion that the Greeks are not truly a large enough part of
Homecoming Friday to not insult them by trying to replace
them at the step show with dormitories and individual
organizations that, well...can’t step?
Is it the belief of all mentioned that this much deliberation
over something everyone is a part of should be done without
asking the student body how they feel?
Perhaps this “mess” that Homecoming 1991 had briefly
turned into will motivate us to strive for the day when “The
University Family” is more than a public relations slogan.
The Editors Craig Avondo, Mark Morris
Advertising Manager Julie Osmon
Production Manager Craig Avondo
Staff Artist Kevin Cruz
Photographers Jackie Rountree
Staff Writers GaryBrinn,
Sharon Chappell, Lavenia Dameron. Lonnie Davis, Anna Herring,
Renee Knight, Ursula McMillion, Evonne Martyn, Rodney Moore, Tonya
Moore, Julie Osmon, Jody Riddick, Jackie Rountree, DeAnna Rudisill,
Tarick Scott, Mary Ann Pitt, Tarsha White, Kim Whitaker, Robert Wilkins
and Albert C.F. Woodley
The Compass is published by Elizabeth City State University students under
the direction of the Department of Language, Literature and Communication, Dr. Anne
Henderson, Chairperson, and Mr. Stephen March, faculty advisor.
The Compass welcomes letters to the editor. Letters should be sent to ECSU
Box 815 Elizabeth City, NC 27909. AH letters must be signed and include the writer's
address and telephone riumber. They may be edited for length, clarity, and taste, as well
as accuracy and grammar. Because of limited space, not all letters can be published.
“Yes, I don’t believe the story they
have come up with about Judge
Thomas. I feel the Senate was
looking for this type of thing when
they reopened the case against
him, but they should stop. He is
the best person for the job, plus
he is black.”
Talk of ECSU:
In light of Anita HilVs charges
against him, do you believe Clarence
Thomas should have been confirmed
to the Supreme Court?
“No, I don't think he is very
sympathetic to blacks or
“Yes, I feel Judge Thomas
should’ve been confirmed. The
allegations against him seem to
be falsehoods, and I’m sure they
have been conjured up by some
powerful organization that would
prefer not to see a black man on
the highest court in the land.”
“I don’t think Judge Thomas is guilty
of sexual harrassment. If he was
guilty, why did she follow him and
why did she wait ten years to make
the charges? Also, other women
spoke out on his behalf. When
someone is nominated for a high
office, someone always tries to
condemn them. T think Judge
Thomas should have been
confirmed because he is highly
experienced and highly qualified for
Thomas confirmation is a mistake
By Gary Brinn
The best and the worst in Ameri
can politics was highlighted this
weekend during the Thomas/Hill
debacle before the Senate Judiciary
Committee. Those who conducted
themselves with decency this week
end deserve praise, but there are many
more whose conduct was disgraceful.
Cheers- to Sen. Joe Biden for his
fairness in conducting the hearings.
As the atmosphere became increas
ingly charged with political maneu
vering, Biden kept control. He was
polite to the witnesses and to his col
leagues on both sides of the aisle.
Cheers- to Clarence Thomas for
refusing to participate in the Republi
can smear campaign against Anita
Hill. Despite his angerover the charges
against him, he conducted himself with
dignity and honor in not attacking
Professor Hill’s character.
Cheers- to Anita Hill and the other
witnesses for their courage in coming
when asked to by the Senate. Their
willingness to testify speaks to the
obligation each American has to par
ticipate as needed in our collective
Jeers- to George Bush for patroniz
ing African-Americans by nominat
ing an unqualified candidate. Bush
continues to arbitrarily place his sup
porters in high office without regard
to their abilities.
Jeers- to Clarence Thomas for
equating the hearings to a lynching.
Approximately 2000 African-Ameri
cans were murdered by the White
Camelias and other white suprema
cist groups around the turn of the
century. Being dead, they did not have
the opportunity to return to a lucrative
job which was guaranteed them for
Jeers- to Clarence Thomas for
crying racism. He has refused to sup
port the black community in address
ing the very real issue of racism in
today’s society. If Thomas wants to
look for racists, he should begin by
looking at his own political bedfel
Jeers- to Arlen Specter for breach
ing the line that protected the private
conduct of both Thomas and Hill from
scrutiny. By introducing the Dogget
Affidavit, he followed the age old
technique of blaming the victim. This
is no better than accusing a woman of
asking to be raped.
Jeers- to Joe Biden and the other
senators who equated the hearing to a
judicial proceeding. Nothing could be
less true. Thomas does not have a
right to sit on the Supreme Court.
Jeers- to the American public for
failing to understand the real issues.
Few people fol lowed the first round of
hearings. If they had, they would know
that Clarence Thomas is a man with
out integrity. He refused to stand by
the positions he has espoused in the
past, backing down on the key issues
of natural law and the right to privacy.
He evaded many of the questions posed
him by the Judiciary Committee o
such issues as Roe v. Wade.
Most Americans don’t realize thi
their constitutional rights are slow!
being eroded by the conservative cour
They have allowed the White Hous
to define the issue, focusing on whetht
Thomas harassed Hill or not. The issu
should be the make-up of the Suprera
Court, and its effect on our constiti.
tional rights. A few years ago tli'
Court allowed states to regulate se'
between consenting adults. Last yK
the court began eroding the freedot
of religion in a case regarding Nativ
Americans. Freedom of the press ha i
been in jeopardy for many years. Witi |
Clarence Thomas shepherding ou
constitutional rights into the ne.
century, we may have much to won
iGary Brinn, a Junior English m
art major and a Democratic precim
chairman, was a county key durin
the Gantt campaign.)
Daddy is still ^always there* for me
By Alan Thomas
Some might say that in the summer
of 1989 I lost a great deal. This so
called “loss” opened my eyes and
showed me that I had learned a great
deal and that it was time for me to start
putting that knowledge to use.
I left for Wisconsin in early June.
The relationship was on the rocks and
I knew that I was taking a chance. I
packed the barest of necessities in a
1960 Ford Falcon and with $130.00
and two credit cards in my wallet I set
out for a dream called Ellen. Within
three days of my arrival in Madison,
Wisconsin, I knew that dream was not
going to happen and I came home.
I came home in debt, most of my
expenses were paid for with plastic. I
was quite the wounded puppy, and
sleep seemed the only escape. I used
to say it was the next best thing to
being dead though I wished for the
latter. I guess ‘89’ was my summer of
hibernation yet something happened
to wake me from that sleep. My father
died—or should I say left me indefi
Daddy was fond of saying, “When
you come to look at me Aat last time
you’ll remember.” He used to say this
when my brothers, or my sister and I
did not want to do something that he
wanted us to do. When Daddy left this
world, I did remember. I remembered
everything he taught me and he taught
me quite a lot.
First, he taught me about loving,
that if you loved someone you sup
ported thatperson whether you agreed
with him or not. I always knew that
whatever I decided to do with my life
my Dad would always be there for me.
He taught me that a hero need not be
a warrior, a daredevil, or some other
doer of “stupendous feats.” Daddy
wa^ a quiet hero; all his life he worked
and grubbed to care for those he loved.
He was just your average working
man. He loved to work. I’m glad he
left this world in his sleep after a day’s
work rather than waste away in a
I once asked my father why he
didn’t become a preacher—he taught
Sunday School and he knew the Bible
pretty well. He said simply, “I wasn’t
called to that.”
He taught me that the best preach
ing comes firom example. Some people
who claim to be Christians seem to
know nothing of the Golden Rule. My
father would give the shirt off of his
back to a friend and he considered
everyone a friend. His life was like
that of a modem day Job; his patienci
and faith were always being tested
On Aug. 22,1989 the Devil was pay
ing off some bets.
Everything that had happenei
seemed to fit together after my fathe
left. I’m glad things didn’t work outi
Wisconsin. I had two months more c
wonderful talks, laughter and soms
one who 1 could always count on to t
glad to see me. I don ’ t regret going t
Wisconsin because thinking that I’
be living that far away made me closi
to my father before I left.
My father’s death caused me t
look at his life and that gave me a
example to try to live up to.
(Alan Thomas, a major in
Department of Language, Literatw
& Communication, is from Elizabei
Mr. Haley, you bored and dissapointed us
By Ursula McMillion
Well, Mr. Haley most of the audi
ence at the Fall Convocation was
familiar with your book and resulting
TV mini-series, but many students
have expressed discontent regarding
your address. You did bring out good
points about genealogy, about the
yearning fora "better day” for human
kind. History has several other great
voices which you could have drawn
on as a source in your presentation
other your personal work.
Many of us feel that you should
have made reference to ECSU as the
“root” of your higher education since
this institution gave you your only
accredited formal education. And, Mr.
Haley, was your request for Si0,000
compensation due to your status as a
world renown author? Many families
struggle to survive with that amount
of money as their gross annual in
come. Thank you for saving that
HBCU slot for us as your busy sched
ule allowed but many faculty mem
bers, administrators and students feel
disappointment with your perform
To pay a man, especially a man of
African descent SI0,000, to speak
about genealogy and the future to a
group of young people does not seem
You made a numerous references
to your novel Roots for which you
have not only received a Pultizer prize
but also much material rewards. You
have also been sued for plagiarism
twice, and now two other authors are
sharing your royalties for Roots.
And why no mention of your bio
graphical work on Malcolm X?
Among Africans or African Ameri
cans or Black Americans—whichever
we chose to call ourselves—there is a
high degree of interest in his life and
his Pan Africanist philosophy. Why
did you ignore this great mind and his
ideals in your speech to us?
You spoke of your most emotional
experience while filming your mini
series and the symbolism of Louis
Gossett’s passionate declaration of
there being a better day for the human
We felt there were many other
sources which could have enhanced
your address. Roots, which has been
read and thoroughly analyzed, is a
good novel but not a historical docu
We were looking for you to wrap
your performance up with ribbons for
our Centennial Celebration and maybe
a donation; with words more fervendy
related to people of African descent;
we were looking for you to captivate
and motivate, and instead you boK
and disappointed many of us.
We understand that you are a writi
not someone with great oratorical skij
or maybe your role as a writer is i
question too considering your plagi^
rism suits. You professed history bein
your specific discipline—well yc
should have given us more to sinkoi
teeth into other than our person:
It is difficult to understand how a
institution of this caliber with needsi
dormitory services, faculty and stal
and general operating funds, can a
ford to pay “a name” $10,000 to d(
liver such a bland speech.
(Ursula McMillion, a senior Eni
lish/News Media major in the Depof
ment of Language, Literature '
Communication, is from Calaba^