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Mastrian column mangled facts and resorted to personal attacks (1)

I was disappointed to see that The Tech had to reach deep into the pine to fill space on the opinion page with Shawn J. Mastrian '91's writing about the Undergraduate Association elections ["For undergrads, a time for thanks," March 16].

I do suppose that writers lucky enough to have their text published are getting to develop their writing skills which will undoubtedly be a great benefit to them as they begin their treks through the real world. They will probably be able to put "editorial writer" on their resumes, and these writers will not need any help at all in writing excellent resumes that will assure them of securing jobs.

The article certainly brought up some relevant points about the UA's role on campus and how well it effectively executes its operations.

Unfortunately the relevant comments were hidden in the "beefy" column inches the article consumed. Such complaints as posters with names and no message bears a certain irony when compared to Mr. Mastrian's large byline followed by his vacant text. Those posters also bear a striking resemblance to most political campaign posters in the "real world," which consist largely of such banner titles as "Dukakis/Bentsen," "Bush/Quayle," or "McGovern/Eagleton."

As far as the Weekly World News is concerned, at least their equally righteous columnist, Ed Anger, provides writing that proposes to be based on larger philosophical absolutes than "things I hate." Anger is also a bit funnier than Mr. Mastrian.

Now, I believe the referenda placed on the ballot were definitely of dubious intent, but why not write an article on the questionability of the Corporation's accountability to undergraduates at all? Instead, Mr. Mastrian chooses to ridicule a group for participating in an activity he deems to be an autocratic, embezzling organization. The latter attribution is quite a claim, especially without supporting evidence. Another questionable practice is his repeated implication that all UA candidates are liars.

And for the other question, "severe trauma" probably better describes how people's stomachs react to the controversial ARA food than Residence/Orientation Week flushing, but some people are placed under a large amount of emotional duress during R/O. Most people get over it, but feelings are hurt nonetheless. If a student organization is trying to eliminate those bad feelings, more power to it.

Viewing the pictures in the supplement, I didn't manage to come across Mr. Mastrian's visage.

I'm sure that if I had had a chance to see his imposing presence, there would be no doubt in my mind as to the meaning of "Undergraduate Strength." The trailer at the end of his article cutely describes him as a "three time failure in the UAP/VP race."

That's a fairly flattering description of an unofficial candidate who consciously contributed to "narrowing the Infinite Corridor by three feet," with "ugly and confusing" posters. As far as strength and posters are concerned, last year, Mastrian and his running mate Adam Braff '91 challenged Paul L. Antico '91 and Andrew P. Strehle '91 to a tag-team wrestling match.

Too bad such a fearsome bout was not realized with the Thomas S. Kang '91/Jon D. Strizzi '91 ticket when Mr. Braff came up from Brown to observe the elections.

I do almost feel like I am playing to the need for copy that Mastrian insists The Tech has, but maybe something positive will come of it.

Perhaps the publishing of this letter will squeeze some obscure article updating the progress of the NCAA basketball tournament off of the back page, which would be cause for thanksgiving. I do not expect Mastrian to deviate from the cute style of wit he exercises so frequently; but, since The Tech has long ago gained the respectability the UA lacks, perhaps it could have respectable writers write opinion articles.

Jeff Meyer '90->