Category: Editorial

As a journalist, I interview people with diverse opinions. Opinions I do not always agree with. But regardless of whether I agree, my job is to listen to and record those opinions without interjecting my own. I think more people should take this approach, allowing different groups and individuals the chance to voice and defend their opinions, regardless of how unpopular those opinions may be. Instead of limiting someone’s free speech by trying to silence them, listen to their side so you can get the facts before responding.

Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, agrees.  Lukianoff gave the keynote address during UNC’s First Amendment Day. He said students are learning to silence unpopular speech as a kind of noble act, and this kind of behavior limits speech. It kills the potential to debate different views openly.

The disruptive protests at the Tom Tancredo speech prove that this phenomenon is apparent on UNC’s campus.

I encourage students to break this trend and to be more open-minded about conflicting opinions. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with everyone, or that you can’t defend your own opinion. It means respecting other opinions as well as your own and respecting the rights of others to voice those opinions. Take the time to hear other people out—you may be surprised. By hearing other opinions, you will be aware of different viewpoints and discover where you stand in relation to others.

-MaryAnn Barone

Dear Carolina Football

Dear all supporters, haters, coaches and players of Carolina football,

I refuse to give up hope.

Contrary to what Caulton Tudor claims, I am fully confident that we are capable of surprising the masses.

Yes, we are young. Yes, we are inexperienced. But we are talented. It’s simply a matter of showcasing that talent in the most optimum way. I know, I know; easier said than done.  We need to channel our talent.  Feel it.  Play like it.

We are better than the University of Virginia.  And better than Georgia Tech, for that matter. Based on the previous two games, we’ve lost the heart and soul of Carolina football.  Where did our underdog mentality go? Forget national and conference rankings. They are meaningless until bowl season. Instead, let’s play with that chip on our shoulder that keeps us humble.  Let’s find that swag again.

We are better than the174 total yards on offense we recorded against UVA.  Heather Dinich, ACC blogger for, recently posted this about offensive coordinator John Shoop:

North Carolina’s offensive coordinator has been under the microscope, as UNC’s offense has the worst scoring offense in the conference with 18.6 points per game, is No. 11 in total offense, and No. 10 in rushing offense.”

Obviously, we are struggling offensively. So, how relentless are we? Ryan Houston showcased his persistence, rushing 5.2 yards per carry versus Virginia. Our defense proved unyielding as they managed to give up only one touchdown when the Hoos were in scoring position.  Our resilience might be all we have left to combat our offensive woes.

We are better than a 3-2 record.  In a post-game press conference, coach Butch Davis mentioned the unexpected turnarounds the Baltimore Ravens displayed during their Super Bowl-winning season in 2000.  He said this year’s squad may need to resort to unconventional forms of winning.

“I admire that,” Davis said in his post-game media address. “Sometimes you just have to find a way to win ugly. Sometimes the shoe is on the other foot from a team perspective. There were times last year when we’d score 45 and 38 points and it was not enough. It’s a team game.”

Please, prove me right.  I can only fight in the pigskin corner for so long.  I’m sick and tired of die-hard Carolina fans viewing football season as a mere precursor to basketball season.  I hate hearing Tar Heels, young and old, counting down the days until Late Night with Roy Williams so they can get excited about winning again.  Let’s win now.  On the gridiron.

Best wishes,

A believer among non-believers

-Anna Feagan

Blue & White sports editor

Think before you text and drive

This summer, Gov. Bev Perdue signed a bill making it illegal for drivers in North Carolina to text while driving. Anyone caught doing this could face a $100 fine, plus court costs.

I think this law was a great idea, and I’m a little surprised it didn’t come earlier. We all know how distracted we can be when we try to use the phone while driving. Just talking can be distracting enough, but add an activity that requires the driver’s hands and eyes to be on the screen half the time, and you have one dangerous situation. Especially driving around UNC-CH’s campus and Franklin Street, where pedestrians are everywhere and paying little attention themselves.

I hope more states adopt similar laws. Some opponents say the legislation is difficult to enforce, but I don’t think that means it shouldn’t be a law. People should come together to think of ways to prevent the use of cell phones while driving. A summit held by the U.S. Department of Transportation Wednesday and Thursday brought together researchers, automakers and lawmakers to discuss ways to prevent distracted driving. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he wanted the summit to set “the stage for finding ways to eliminate texting while driving.” I am glad to see that the government is addressing this issue and is trying to keep up with changes in technology that might present safety hazards.

-Brecken Branstrator

Greek blog fire photo

As a Carolina blue fire truck pulled into Fraternity Court Wednesday morning, 22 members of UNC’s Greek community stood bleary-eyed in the misty rain.  There was no fire to extinguish — only a photograph taken of UNC Greeks getting ready to ride to Washington, D.C.

As a participant in the program From Chapel Hill to Capitol Hill, I was in that photograph.  Sponsored by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, this program packed a group of motivated Greeks onto a charter bus and headed to D.C.  Our mission: to convince representatives and senators to support two bills for fire safety on college campuses.

Our trip was part of Campus Fire Safety Month on Capitol Hill.  Phi Gamma Delta recruited support from all the Greek houses on campus to make this trip in honor of the lives lost in a fire at their house in 1996.  We joined the cosponsors from the Ohio Fire Safety Coalition and parents that lost children in fires to represent students across the country faced with the threat or consequences of fires on and around college campuses.

On Thursday morning our day of lobbying began with a short press conference and photos on the Capitol steps, where we hoped to make a difference.  Thirteen groups headed to meetings in the offices of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

My group met with staffers from offices from Ohio, Florida and Maryland.  The staffers are the people who study all the bills that go through Congress and advise their respective representatives or senators how they ought to vote or what they should support.

It was surprising that these staffers, who were genuinely interested in what we had to say about fire safety, were only about 25 years old.  Our country is run by people only a few years older than the students who were lobbying for fire safety bills.

Taking full advantage of this unique opportunity, my group went to the basement of the offices and took the “members only” subway and trams to get from building to building beneath the Capitol.  We also got tickets to view the sessions of the House and Senate and saw John Kerry, John McCain and N.C. Sen. Kay Hagan at work voting.  After our meetings, we met Rep. David Price, who represents my district.  I was fortunate enough to have a chance to take a picture with the man I voted for!

This was an incredible experience.   I learned about fire safety, understood more about how laws are created and discovered that our senators and representatives really care about what their constituents want.  With enough time and persistence, we will have influenced the laws that govern this country and we’ll have made campuses safer for students.

The voices and presence of these UNC Greeks in D.C. influenced the future of our country this week.  I can’t wait to go back next year to continue to be a part of something that really makes a difference.

-Megan Cassell

Ooo Baby Baby

I have not been star struck many times in my life. I just don’t seem to run into celebrities that often. Maybe it’s because of the places I go, but none of the Starbucks’ I frequent seem to be visited by any famous people. So, when I went to the Clef Hanger’s Winter Concert on a Friday night in February, I wasn’t expecting to be graced with the presence of anyone special. (Other than, of course, our very handsome a cappella group, who can do no wrong.)

When I walked in, Gerrard Hall was already packed with people, waiting restlessly for the concert to begin. There was a particular group, however, at the front left of the hall, that quickly caught my eye. I saw flashes go off, and several girls jumping up and down in excitement. “I think the Clefs are cute too,” I said to my friend, who was sitting down beside me, “but that must be a serious fan club.” But as the crowd parted, and I got a glimpse into the circle, I saw something that I was not expecting. Yes, it was a Clef Hanger, but he was not singing that night. He was just there to support his friends. It was the one and only Anoop Desai. After that moment, with the Clef Hanger’s music serving as a wonderful, melodious background for my thoughts, all I could think of was Anoop, someone who millions of Americans had watched on TV only three days before, but was now sitting only a few rows in front of me!

I have never been the biggest American Idol fan. But my roommate, a regular voter, has managed to convert me. And with a new judge who went to Duke, and an old Clef Hanger on the show, how can I resist? Anoop’s renditions of “Ooo Baby Baby” and “Always on My Mind” made me grab my phone and vote for the next two hours. And not only does his voice make me want to melt, but his southern “Yes ma’ams” in response to the judges critiques him make him even more lovable. Yes, Simon may have called him “a bit geeky” at his audition, but he has announced to the American public that Anoop went “from zero to hero.”

Yes ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a new Carolina Idol. Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green might top that list, but Anoop Desai is climbing the ladder along beside them. And I have to admit that while seeing the basketball team towering above everyone else on campus is pretty exciting, seeing Anoop on a surprise visit to Carolina was almost better. It is important to support our fellow Heels, no matter what they are competing in. So even if you are not an American Idol fan, I advise you to watch Anoop. (To entice you, let me put it this way: it is like being able to have a Clef Hanger sing to you every week!) Who knows, maybe he will even grace us with a concert in the future, or sing a song with the Clef Hangers.

By: Vicky Waldthausen

Really No Snow Day?

Snow is not a common phenomenon in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. So let’s be honest: when it snows, we want to enjoy it because, as much as we hate to admit it, we will never be too old to play in the snow. There is something about the white, sparkly powder covering the dull browns of winter that really does transform the world into a Winter Wonderland.

Unlike our fellow college students down the road at Duke, however, UNC-Chapel Hill felt that it was necessary to “enhance our learning” by sending us to class on a day where all we wanted to do was be kids with limitless imaginations of all that can be done in the snow. To be quite honest, the decision to keep us in school was not the cleverest. Yes, half of the class showed up, but did they really pay attention? Or were the student’s thoughts on the tiny snowflakes that were still falling outside, on the snowmen that were not being built, or on the group of boys that like to run around in their boxers when it snows?

So while my friends at Duke were sending me text messages about their snow day, I sat in class, staring out of the window, thinking that maybe I should have gone to Duke.

Okay, maybe my yearning for snow is not quite that extreme, but if you have not noticed yet, I am a snow-addict. Yes, I love snow, and I think that the few times the weatherman predicts the weather correctly, we should celebrate by staying in bed, drinking hot chocolate, and sledding and building snowmen. Whatever the case, we should have a snow day.

By March, with Spring Break and an annual trip to the beach, most of the wishes for snow seem to fade as bikinis are being pulled out of the back of closets. And even I agree that it is time for spring to begin. But it is never too late to enjoy a few snow showers, and since they so seldom come, shouldn’t it be common courtesy to cancel school. Would one day less really be such a loss?

By: Vicky Waldthausen

Alert(?) Carolina

It was a normal Sunday night. I was sitting in my room procrastinating and deliberating whether I should go to the library. Deciding that my mastery of TV-Drama was more important, I jumped on my bed and turned on the TV. Desperate Housewives. Perfect.

But as I was watching Gabi trying to deal with her spoiled kids, and Susan desperately wondering if MJ liked her ex-husbands girlfriend more than her, my serenity was interrupted by my roommate. She was on the phone, and I couldn’t help but overhear that the words “bomb” and “threat” and “evacuation” being used over and over again. I checked my phone. If there was really a bomb threat, Alert Carolina was sure to send me a text message, or alert the school with some kind of siren or signal, I thought. So, still doubting the situation, I peeked out of my window towards Davis Library. And sure enough, streams of students were walking away from the library, guided by armed officers.

To think that, as I was innocently watching Desperate Housewives, a person felt it necessary to call the police before detonating explosives in the Pit. Why would he warn the police without even attempting to execute his mission? Whatever his idea, at least it gave the University a chance to test its wonderfully working Alert System.

By this time, of course, rumors were flying on the Internet, ranging from a bomb on campus to gut shots heard on North Campus. My roommate and I looked at each other, and she automatically got up to lock our door. Desperate Housewives was the least of my concern. Now I was desperate – desperate for some sign of confirmation of the rumors.

Of course, if the school urges everyone on campus to sign up for an alert system via cell phone, then they are going to use the text messaging system to announce the possibility of danger on campus. Or least to subdue rumors that would inevitably be going around. And ideally, the system would work. But it was not until I read the Daily Tar Heel the next morning that I figured out what had happened. And a lot of good that did me. I had been “safe” since the treat had been cleared at 4:30 in the morning.

But not to discredit the Alert Carolina system completely, I did get a text message at 11:46 P.M. stating “!!Alert Carolina!! UNC Public Safety is investigating a bomb threat near the Pit. Go to for updates.” Thanks, that really helped me sleep.


By Vicky Waldthausen

Honey, I uploaded the baby

            The other day a friend sent me a link to a YouTube video called “David after dentist.” According to said friend, it was “so hilarious.” Always being up for a good laugh, I clicked on the link and waited for whatever hilarity would come my way.

            David, supposedly straight out of some sort of dental surgery, sits in the back seat of his daddy’s minivan while he rides a laughing-gas high. Meanwhile, his father tapes all of the drugged-up action from the front seat, laughing and egging on the poor kid.

            Over 12 million people have watched David screaming and confused, asking his dad, “Why is this happening to me? Is this going to be forever?” Sure, it’s funny. But we’re laughing at an innocent kid who has no control over who sees a potentially very embarrassing moment.

            David’s video isn’t the only case of parents using their child to grab that elusive 15 minutes of online fame. Take “Dizzy kid runs into pole” as an example. Apparently, spinning your child incessantly in a swivel chair and watching as the toddler runs face-first into a pole is all okay as long as it’s a YouTube hit. Hey, it’s the perfect opportunity to sell some ad space and make a quick buck. Magic.

            Forget the crazy stage moms pushing their overworked child stars onstage; the new age of offspring exploitation is making a home on YouTube. Now parents can break into the limelight simply by letting the world have a laugh at their unknowing children. And by selling advertisements at the end of videos, the money rolls in with every view.

            Maybe some day all these child Internet stars will log on and be able to see the comments people write about their videos. I’m sure it will be a big boost of confidence for David to read how he’s “probably retarded” and a “moron.”

So let Scarlet take a tumble in front of her webcam or Shane Mercado shake it like Beyoncé all over the Internet. But leave your kids to their Cheerios and T-ball games without using their childhood missteps for fame (or rather infamy). They’ll thank you when they’re old enough to actually understand what YouTube is.

By Erin Locker

Practicing Safer Sex at UNC

Prominent sexual activist Sue Johanson does not promote safe sex, but she does promote safer sex.

Johanson, also known as the Sex Lady, is considered North America’s foremost sexual educator and counselor. Johanson led a discussion on sex for UNC-Chapel Hill students in Memorial Hall on Tuesday evening as a part of her college-university tour.

Johanson, a registered nurse who turned 78 this July, has played a vital role in reaching youth all across the U.S. that have unanswered questions about sex. Sue’s guidance, while extremely honest and uncensored, expressed a very strong message to students: they need to be informed and comfortable talking about sex.

Johanson stressed that safe sex, does not really exist unless you’re pleasuring yourself or not having sex at all. Practicing safer sex is not just a choice; it is a requirement for any and everyone having or considering sex.

Johanson has provided thorough sexual education through her lectures, radio programs and television programs for over the past 35 years. She is most well-known for the “Sunday Night Sex Show,” a live phone-in program on the Oxygen TV network.

Tuesday’s discussion was co-sponsored by The Carolina V-Day Initiative, a week of entertaining and informative events for UNC-CH students in which all donations benefit the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. The Center aspires to be part of the movement to end all forms of sexual violence by offering members of the Chapel Hill community free support and therapy after rape trauma.

Johanson’s charismatic personality and obvious interest in sex kept students interested in what she had to say. The most important issue Johanson stressed was safety.

“There’s so much you need to know about sex. Don’t let sex just happen,” Johanson said.

Johanson openly discussed generally socially taboo topics like female orgasms, anal sex, oral pleasure and her thoughts on the best sex toy for financially struggling college students.

Many students at UNC-CH are having sex, but do not have enough information to fully pleasure themselves or their partners. Johanson informed students how to reach optimum pleasure during sex while still being safe.

Opponents of the discussion are appalled with the openness of the topics and the degree to which the topics were addressed. However, this type of sexual education is about developing young people’s skills so that they make informed choices about their behavior, and feel confident and competent about acting on these choices.

More and more college students are participating in casual sex with either the same or multiple partners. Johanson’s guidance should influence students to familiarize themselves with their partners, encouraging each other to get tested regularly.

We live in an environment where sex is thought about constantly: how to get it, where to get it, and whom to have it with; we need to know not only know how to protect ourselves but how to enjoy ourselves.

Johanson provided us with the information to do both.

By Alyssa Griffith

10 Ways to Tell its Election Time at UNC

In America we can throw our votes anyway we’d like. Want to vote for improving the environment? You’ve got a candidate. Want to lower taxes? Someone will fight for you.

UNC-CH works on the same principle for its Student Body President elections. And at no time is it more evident that the candidates want your vote for them than it is in early February, the week before elections. Here are the top 10 ways to tell it’s election time on Carolina’s campus:

10. There are 20 different soundtracks playing in the pit at once (which is quite annoying, especially when one of them is I Want it That Way by the Backstreet Boys and you have this huge urge to sing along and relive your middle school memories. But agh, it’s so unfair. I can’t wait until I’m grown up and don’t have to deal with this anymore.)

9. You end up with a stack of five different papers in your hand before you open the door to Lenoir (these can be especially useful for spontaneous games of hangman with friends when conversation inevitably sags at lunch and you feel inadequate attempting the crossword puzzle).

8. You feel like you’re at Disney world. Simply stick your head through the small hole in the wooden stand and smile. Ta-da you’re J-Russ 4 CAA Prez!!

7. The Kvetching Board is full of either complaints about candidates campaigning or personal ads.

6. No one answers their dorm room doors anymore. Could it be a dorm-stormer? You can’t be too careful…

5. The platform points start making you think differently about issues. For instance, one platform advocates for an Alpine in Davis. Why? Well then, again…why not an Alpine in Davis?

4. You think there are only 6 people who really matter in this world. Well, maybe seven. Those 6 smug faces whose photos are constantly on the front page of the DTH and that ‘YOU’ person they keep talking about.

3. You walk down to the Dean Dome, dressed in Carolina Blue, excited about the basketball game and are struck by how strange it is that six people would sacrifice their game experience to stand out in the cold chanting “TE for SBP” and holding up the letters “SAMOHT.” Is that Polynesian…?

2. You have to develop code names for the candidates in case any of the campaign workers overhear you trash-talking their candidate (some good suggestions are: Blagojevich (Thomas Edwards), and Captain Balboa (Ron Bilbao))

1. You plan on meeting your friend in front of Lenoir at noon for lunch. But then end up waiting for an hour. And then spot her standing behind Ashley Klein’s enormous A-frame in the pit. She’s actually been standing there for the entire 60 minutes. But with the 10 other gigantic A-frames and the lunch line stretching halfway across campus, and the 25 songs advertising candidates you weren’t able to see her, much less hear your cell phone ring when she called to tell her that she was freezing cold and would you please hurry up and get there already?

by Shannon Spain