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The North Texan welcomes letters from alumni and friends. Send letters, with writer's full name and address, to

The North Texan, University of North Texas, Office of University Communications and Marketing, P.O. Box 311070, Denton, Texas 76203-1070.

Letters may also be faxed to (940) 369-8763, sent via Internet to or submitted on this page. Letters may be edited for length and publication style.


No surpriseWinter 2002 North Texan

I read the article on Dr. John Neuberger's never owning a television ("Did You Know," winter 2002). It doesn't surprise me at all. Dr. Neuberger's demeanor and his style of teaching made him a unique teacher. He was one of my favorite math teachers, who allowed learning math to be enjoyed, less threatening, but challenging. I am glad to hear that he is still active in many ways. Good for you, Dr. Neuberger. Maybe we all should follow his lead and not own a TV.

Roxanne Reslier ('88)
Piscataway, N.J.

Weight loss wonder

Regarding your article on Christi Trotter (who lost 188 pounds, "Campus Trotter," winter 2002), HOLY MOLY. You go, girl!

Jackson Townsend III ('69)

women's basketball adFan enough

I want to commend the photographer, the university, and The North Texan for the inspiring ad for women's basketball at UNT, inside the back cover of the winter edition. If I lived closer, I'd be there. I am a big supporter of women in sports and love the "Are you fan enough?" challenge.

In lieu of attendance at games, I will prominently display the ad in my office in the Honors College at Arizona State University, where I teach history while I complete my Ph.D. dissertation in history at the University of Arizona.

Pamela Stewart ('95)
Phoenix, Ariz.

Editor's note: Thanks for the compliment. In fact, The North Texan won two awards from the Admissions Marketing Report, the national benchmark publication of the admissions marketing field. A silver award was given for the marketing pages promoting UNT sports and athletics that appeared in the summer through winter 2002 issues. The complete winter issue also won a merit award.

wife of Reinhard OppelRemember this

I was reading the winter issue and the photograph in the "Remember this … story?" on page 11 caught my eye. Do you know who the lady holding the baby is?

Dean Mountz

Editor's note: The woman is the wife of Reinhard Oppel, a music historian and composer whose correspondence with music theorist Heinrich Schenker led to the establishment of the Center for Schenkerian Studies at UNT.

Sexist language?

I would like to respond to a reader's criticism in the winter issue. The reader was deeply offended at the use of the word "freshman" in the fall issue. Her objection was that the word is sexist and should be replaced with "first-year student," as other institutions have done (according to her letter).

This ignores the issue of the many part-time students who are not in their first year but do not have enough hours to be sophomores. Thus, we must work together to solve the dilemma between language that is politically incorrect and that which is factually incorrect. The pursuit of gender-free language loses its nobility when it is used as a weapon to attack a writer who apparently meant no harm.

Sheri Meyers ('93, '95 M.S.)
via e-mail

It never ends. When there are so many things to be thankful for and at the same time to be fearful of these days, it seems we never find ourselves lacking in people with nothing better to do than to tilt at windmills.

In the winter edition, a letter to "Feedback" reminds us all that while there are many positive changes being made on the North Texas campus, and I presume the writer means elsewhere as well, we all still need to be cognizant that no matter how innocent the remark, there is always something inherently offensive to someone or group about anything written or spoken.

To castigate the publishers for the statement, "The Freshman Experience," suggests the writer's post-graduation life may not be filled with the happiness and satisfaction of someone at peace with other humans (oops — excuse me, "hu-persons").

Let's face it, no matter how offensive a phallocentric reference may be to us all, regardless of its oblique nature, there are some words that will probably remain intact in the lexicon for at least a few more years.

Human, lineman, journeyman, "freshman," woman. ... Where do we start?

Kevin R. Davis

I was mortified to see a picture of North Texas lady basketball players scowling out over the headlined, obvious challenge: "Are you fan enough?" This blatant example of play-on-words bigotry cut to the very quick (or is it, "the very slow") of my very masculinity. The very idea! And I'm sure the lady who wrote last time to point out your faux pas in using the term "freshman" was equally incensed. ... Give me a break.

Hugh R. "Buz" Craft ('72)
Wills Point

Never have I heard that "man-linked terms like 'freshman'" are "grammatically incorrect and improper" and have been "for decades." I have been around for decades and personally testify to this. Next thing you know, "woman" will be a bad word because it has ... gasp ... "man" in it.

Rene Girard
via e-mail

I'm surprised the writer did not recognize that Penn State is named for William Penn, also a man, and that there is no team in the word "I"daho. If the writers of The North Texan believed the word "freshman" was sexist, they surely would not have used it, just as a matter of good journalism.

Corine Sutherland (attended '94-'95)
via e-mail

The letter writer's concern about offending many of the student body clearly does not extend to the vast majority of students who enjoy the traditions of the university system.

Has she looked into what studies have been done on the demoralizing effects of political correctness? Has she considered that to avoid being hypocritical UNT would finally be forced to give up the bachelor of arts or other bachelor's degrees in favor of the "person of arts" degree, or something similar? I doubt even Penn State would contemplate such a move.

I strongly urge The North Texan not to implement such suggestions simply to assuage a very, very small minority at the expense of the rest of us.

Scott A. Miller ('94 M.L.S.)
Hutchinson, Minn.

I was surprised to see such a strong display of offended reactions in the letters section of the winter issue, especially when they were in response to such trivial matters.

It took a second to put together that one took offense to the word "freshman." The word has been used for years without any problems, so what's the big deal? Should we eliminate any word with "man" in it because a small group of people is bothered by it? There is no proof that such words cause problems. The real problem lies within individuals who lack maturity and are offended by anything and everything under the sun.

The sticker matter was equally baffling. I couldn't understand why readers were making such a big deal about a UT sticker. I could see that reaction if it was an Osama bin Laden sticker, but not one from another Texas university. UT happens to be a good school. What's the problem with admitting that?

People are really getting carried away these days with very petty, insignificant issues.

J. Rouze ('96)

The letter about the word "freshman" may be offensive to many because of its sexist tone and nature. The writer laments your use of the word "freshman," but compounds the problem by suggesting "first-year student" from the enlightened Penn State system.

Alas, her suggested term is terribly sexist and doubtless offensive to sensitive and enlightened readers. How so? One needs only to look at the initial four letters of "student" to be shocked and appalled. I'll not spell it out for fear of offending.

I am tempted to suggest that the editorial staff go to the alternative "freshperson," but you see the problem here. Note the final three letters of the word. (The same criticism applies to the much-offensive "waitperson.")

May I suggest "freshthing"? Of course, the last five letters may offend a few readers, and rearranging some of the letters spells a sexist term, but I think "freshthing" gets you on the road to closing the sexist gap between UNT and the Penn State system.

Peyton Roden ('67 M.A.)
via e-mail

I got a kick out of the "freshman" letter in your last issue. The writer stated that the word "freshman" is sexist and outdated. Until I saw her letter, I never noticed the word "man" separately from "freshman." Due to her opening my eyes to this problem, I will now change the word "mandate" to "persondate," "manicure" to "personicure," and so on. Thank goodness she pointed out how UNT was trying to personipulate us!

On a separate note, I am currently a full-time student at Texas Wesleyan School of Law and have heard rumors UNT will make an offer to buy our law school. It is a great school with outstanding professors. Best of luck in the negotiations.

Mark Garrett ('87)
via e-mail

I am curious how the letter writer refers to herself. By her own logic, it would be harmful to say she is female, woman or even human. She is probably offended when men open doors for her too. I never noticed princes or presidents feeling put down by such acts of respect, so I take it as a compliment.

C. Kay Boyd ('87)
via e-mail

For the sake of individuals who blame society or their own genetic structure for personal failures and handicaps, either real or imagined, words ending in "man" are not sexist. "Freshman" is not "sexist language from the past." I have no problem with anyone who prefers to use "first-year student" rather than "freshman," but how will you handle the words crewman, Doberman, German, human, husbandman, layman, marksman, Norman, ottoman, statesman, talisman, Truman or yeoman? How many more "man" words must I list to make my point?

I'm a fisherman, my wife is a fisherman, and she's 100 percent woman. Oops! There's one more word ending in "man."

Curtis Warner ('90 B.S./M.S.)


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