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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Diss-course

    ‘Burning down the house’

    The story: Three unoccupied, 4,000-plus square foot model homes were set aflame last week in a Seattle suburb by the radical environmentalist group Earth Liberation Front. The ELF left behind a sign reading “”Built Green? Nope black! McMansions in RCDs (rural cluster developments) r not green.””

    The response: To dismiss these actions as “”eco-terrorism”” would not only be misleading – the group did not injure or kill anyone, nor intend to do so – but it would overlook the fact that these radicals did have a pretty valid bone to pick. The homes burned were unoccupied, furnished “”luxury”” model homes built to show off cutting-edge design and landscaping techniques, among which were a few “”green”” techniques like carpet made of recycled materials and super-insulated walls and windows.

    It’s nice that the designers and builders of these homes did put forth an effort to lessen the environmental impact of their project, but recycled carpeting doesn’t exactly make up for the fact that they have used it in luxury homes – homes which are, by definition, excessively large and extravagant. The only real effect of these green measures would be to stroke the egos of wealthy homebuyers who want to feel less guilty about buying unjustifiably large houses, which inevitably waste large amounts of energy and building materials. (And on top of all this, the location of these particular homes may cause harm to some endangered salmon.) So in that respect, it’s hard to argue with ELF’s complaint.

    There is some irony to the group’s actions, however: It’s probably better for the environment to use the building materials to actually build something, even if it is a flawed something, rather than to burn them up. If the group had wanted to make a difference, rather than just a statement, they should have involved themselves in the planning and building process.

    – Alyson Hill is a senior majoring in classics, German studies and history.


    Accomodating Muslim women

    The story: Harvard University has banned men from one of its campus gyms for a few hours a week to accommodate Muslim women who say it offends their sense of modesty to exercise in front of the opposite sex. The special hours allow the Muslim women, who adhere to traditional dress codes by covering their hair and most of their skin while in public, to dress more appropriately for exercising.

    The response: After running for 45 minutes on the treadmill at the UA Student Recreation Center, I dread walking through the overcrowded weight room red-faced, out of breath and a mess from my workout, but I do this every week because I understand that everyone else has a right to the gym despite the fact that I may not be presentable or comfortable. The same ideal should be applied to the Muslim women at Harvard.

    There is no reason why Harvard males should be denied a service they pay for because of someone else’s religion, especially because Harvard is a secular university. How is this new policy much different than proselytizing or imposing religious acceptance in a secular university? What are these men supposed to do if they conveniently live near the gym or can only work out during these hours? It is unfair to eliminate their rights at the convenience of others.

    During these hours, the university has arranged its staff so only women work. Not only are the college men being discriminated against for who they are, but this absurd new rule is potentially disrupting the work schedule of the gym staff. If the women were considerate of their other classmates, they would understand that their requests are a bit unreasonable and borderline sexist. Practicing one’s faith is innocuous until it requires inconveniencing others.

    An appropriate solution would involve the university reserving a specific room for the women to exercise in so men would not be penalized for being of a different sex or have to go out of their way for resources they were once allowed. In attempting to accommodate women of the Muslim faith, Harvard University has crossed the line and is discriminating against men as a result.

    – Laura Donovan is a creative writing sophomore.

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