Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bones to pick

Stern has bones to pick with YC, YC has bones to pick with Stern...everybody everywhere has a bone to pick with one thing or another. But there is a proper way to pick a bone and then there is just plain whining. Here is an example of a proper way to pick a bone:

In the article "YC Men Inconvenience SCW Women" in the October 22, 2007 edition of The Observer, a disgruntled Stern student explains the frustrations of Stern women who make their way uptown to an event where the attendants are mostly female. Many events which take place uptown on the Wilf campus are situated there in order to make it easier for the Yeshiva College men to attend the events, especially seeing as they have night seder and classes which run late and may not have time to both end class and come to the Beren campus in midtown. However, it came to the author of the article's attention (as well as to the attention of many other inconvenienced young women) that even when the events are held uptown, very few YC men actually make an appearance. Therefore, she decided on an ultimatum: either the guys start showing up or these events should be held at Stern. Now, this is not a threat. It is not a punishment. It is not a, "you'd better come or else." No. It is merely a logical resolution to a pressing problem. It is not necessarily a bad thing if the YC guys choose to stay in the Beit Midrash instead of attending events. It is not a problem if they are too tired after a long day to go anywhere other than their dorm rooms. No one is criticizing that. But if that is the case, then why are we trying to convenience a population which has no intention of taking advantage of being convenienced? If, for whatever reason, YC guys don't show up to events, then why should Stern young women trek all the way uptown at night when they could just as well have the events on the Beren campus and that'll be that? It isn't like many guys are showing up anyway and the ones who feel passionate about going will be able to find the time to make their way down to Stern. This is a logical argument, a logical resolution, and done in a mature but convincing way.

Here is an example of just plain whining:

In the most recent issue of The Observer which came out only a few days ago, a letter to the Editor read as follows:

To the Editors,

RE: "YC Men Inconvenience Stern Women." While I take issue with many aspects of [author's name]'s extreme opinion as to how to handle the low attendance of men at co-ed YU events, I have two fairly objective arguments to make regarding her strong "ultimatum," as she so eloquently puts it.
First of all, to the best of my understanding, for the most part, classes in SCW and SSSB rarely go past 4 p.m., if that far at all. To finish classes any earlier than 6:30 p.m. on the Wilf campus, however, is an extreme rarity. Even my own schedule, which allows me to finish at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesdays has me going to 7:45 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. The point is, to complain about "vast oceans of homework and a pounding headache," whilc you have a tremendous amount of free time in which to do your work and unwind and do whatever it is you do to reach your work/play equilibrium, the men do not. The only time to actually do work at all is starting at 8 p.m., and that is only if you don't go to night seder, which brings me to my second point.
While knocking night seder seems to have become the latest fad at YU, it is still something integral to the Yeshiva part of Yeshiva University. Now, the balance of Yeshiva and University is in and of itself a very hot topic, which would not be very objective of me to discuss. However, the only time an event was pushed off until after night seder was for Torah Tours, which: a) featured a large male population, majority or not; b) needed to accomodate the men, who play a central role in helping communities on Yom Tov. Unfortunately, women cannot read from the Torah, daven for the amud, or count towards a minyan, three essential Torah Tours objectives. So by default, the men are catered to.
I am not trying to criticize the fact that the programs are planned during night seder, rather, that there may be a fairly reasonable basis as to the lack of male attendance at such programs. The attendance issue isn't a fact that should be embraced by transferring all programs downtown, but rather a product of causality.
I think that [author's name] is very quick to indict the men without thinking of the other point of view, and is especially quick to offer a solution that clearly does not solve the issue.
Oh, and last but not least, I have never seen a YU guy look as nerdy as the one in that comic. Come on, that is real Stern propaganda.

Indicting the men, was she? Since when did the author of the article ever say that men learning in night seder was bad? She merely said that since they have night seder, they cannot make it to events, which makes it rather pointless to inconvenience Stern women on their behalf. In addition, she was responding to the attitude of some YC guys at the Torah Tours event which was specifically scheduled after night seder who thumbed their noses at the fact that many Stern women showed up to the event, assuming they had come to meet guys. Do the men at YC really think this is the motivation for Stern women being involved in their school and in outreach and chessed events? Is their opinion of us so low?

And, by the way, many Stern classes most certainly do go past 4:00 p.m. There are classes available to be taken in Stern starting from 9 in the morning (or maybe even earlier) until 7:30 at night. And yes, there is a lot of work and a lot of pounding headaches going around. We'll all play our violins for the YC guys and their rigorous schedules, but we have rigorous schedules, as well. And many Stern women also have jobs and internships on the side. Just like YC men are busy, so are Stern women.

The intention of the Observer article was not to knock night seder, like the letter suggests. It was to come to a resolution concerning the fact that the reality is that way more girls than guys show up to events held uptown and it is pointless to inconvenience the majority of attendants at an event when it can just be moved to Beren campus. The author of the article's solution does, in fact, solve the issue - or, at least, the issue that the article is raising. The writer of the letter raises another issue, which is why are there so few YC men attending YU events and can this be changed? That issue is for a different article and is a different discussion. This article is merely about the events themselves and how to make them most accessible and convenient to the people actually attending them.

So this is my bone to pick: stop whining. It only makes you seem really immature. And if the whining didn't do it, the last line of the letter most certainly did.



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