Letters to the Editor


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Reflections from a former pledge

About three weeks ago I read an article on the DI’s website titled “Greeks can lead UI to better reputation.” I was surprised because I didn’t realize that the DI Editorial Board was in the business of writing press releases for the greek community. Virtually ignoring the fact that the majority of UI students don’t feel the need to pay for our friends, the article’s statistics even suggest that there is no measurable advantage to joining yet the piece still ends with bland, vague praise of the greeks.

Predictably, the piece wisely chooses not to mention fraternities, because as everyone knows, there are certain frats (party frats we’ll call them) that practice indefensible behavior. With Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s recent suspension, I was reminded of this article, and felt as though another point of view should be presented. Mainly because SAE was a frat that I, as a mere lad, rushed several years ago.

I only lasted a month, but I was morbidly fascinated the entire time. SAE was a remarkably irony-free zone, with every man involved unknowingly fulfilling the same stereotype. They hazed us, sure, they “strongly encouraged” us to drink, but it was the casual, constant mistreatment of women that most concerned me. The average member of a “party fraternity” (like SAE) has even less respect for women than he does for his liver, and it bothered me that “Greeks can lead UI” made no mention of the very real correlation between fraternities and a hostile sexual environment for women.

Now, I live in a place just around sorority row. Every year during rush, I can hear the mantra of the ladies chanting their strange slogans. To me, they sound like dystopian Barbie dolls. I pity them, and I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Collin Doherty
Iowa City resident

At-home births extremely dangerous

Regarding the article “Women’s rights activists draw attention to Iowa birthing process,” I feel the need to comment on the attempt to describe labor and delivery as “a birthing process” and a “human-rights issue,” and the fact that only doulas and others in favor of at-home births are quoted.

As a graduate of the University of Iowa medical school and a current pediatrician, I feel it is vital to point out that labor and delivery are primarily a medical process, and that at-home deliveries can be extremely dangerous for both the child and mother. Laurie Hagg at the WRAC (an organization I highly respect), makes the usual comment that “[childbirth] has been going on for centuries.” Yes, it has; and women and babies have been dying during childbirth for centuries as well. The mortality rate for childbirth in the past was high due to predictable complications, and modern medicine has changed a lot of that. There is a lot of rhetoric currently among higher-income, educated people that childbirth is an overly medicated process, and that obstetricians are the enemy, when the opposite is true. All the obstetricians I have ever met are committed to the health and well-being of mother and child, and all their concern is to deliver a healthy baby to a healthy mother. I personally have had to try to resuscitate a full-term newborn brought to the emergency room (not at the UIHC) by ambulance who was born at home because the mother felt a home birth was superior. The baby girl's father held her after we finally stopped all resuscitation attempts, and all the medical personnel in the room stood silently as he held her and told us how he had tried to get his wife to deliver at the hospital. Most deliveries are uneventful, but when they are not, mother and/or child can die if the right medical personnel and medical equipment are not available quickly. I am a feminist, and this baby's mother probably was one too, but none of that matters if you need medical help and it's too far away. I have three boys, and all were born in a hospital (one at UIHC), and I would never deliver at home. The laws in Iowa regarding home births are there for a reason, and that is for safety; it makes no difference what your political views are if you deliver at home and you or your baby needs immediate medical help but we can't get there fast enough. Pediatricians and OBs are in their chosen fields because we like babies and mothers; please let us help so that everyone has the best possible outcome.

Dr. Carrie Barker
UI alumna

Don’t eat the pizza 

I have been booing at recent Hawkeye football games, but not at anything related to football.  I boo when I hear “Palermo’s Pizza is the official pizza sponsor of the University of Iowa.”  Don’t get me wrong, I really like pizza, even Palermo’s Pizza.  But I don’t like the way Palermo’s workers have been treated in the last few months.  In May, Palermo’s workers frustrated with low pay, unsafe working conditions, and unfair treatment petitioned to form a union.  Within two weeks, management fired many of workers alleging that an audit by Immigration and Customs Enforcement would not allow Palermo’s to employ people that the government determined ineligible for employment.  The National Labor Relations Board is currently investigating this issue.  Since June, Palermo’s workers have been on strike and advocating for fair pay, safe working conditions, and ability to collectively bargain without the threat of losing one’s job.  The striking workers, along with other organizations including the AFL-CIO, have called for a nationwide boycott of Palermo’s pizza (sliceofjustice.com).  Workers everywhere need to have the ability to oppose wrongful termination and unsafe working conditions.  As a graduate teaching assistant I am a proud member of my union, UE Local 896/COGS, and I have seen first hand how valuable the union is for graduate employees at this University.  COGS is a member run union dedicated to improving the working and living conditions for graduate employees at the University of Iowa.  Let’s help Palermo’s workers get fair representation by sending a message to Palermo’s owners by boycotting their pizza.  Don’t buy Palermo’s.  Don’t eat the pizza on campus.  I plan to keep booing Palermo’s at the football games until the workers get a fair contract.  I hope you will join me.

Josh Pederson
graduate teaching assistant

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