Going Postal February 17 2005

?Mooching off Mom and Dad??
When I was a senior at UGA in 2002, I overheard two young women wearing North Face jackets talking about their post-college plans (“Bulldog Barbie,” Feb. 3). “Maybe I’ll go to nursing school, or work in a restaurant,” one said airily. “I really want to live in Virginia-Highland, but only if my parents pay for it.” Her friend nodded knowingly.

What worries me about this generation of Georgia’s college students is the absence of demand for their personal and fiscal responsibility. With the HOPE scholarship taking over tuition costs, many Georgia students have their college funds handed over to them in the form of cash, new cars, magically refilling checking accounts, or parents-paid rent at one of Athens’ many luxury apartment complexes (complete with tanning beds!), prompting them to continue the affluent lifestyle they grew up with at home.

At UGA in recent years, such college-life hallmarks as ramen noodles, sputtering Honda Civics, and wearing pajama pants to class have given way to student-driven luxury cars and leisure time whiled away at downtown bars or the Mall of Georgia. Living this way until age 22 (or later) will prompt many of these students to continue mooching off Mom and Dad after graduation, or to rack up huge amounts of debt in their 20s, all because they’ve never been presented with a reason to part with the trappings of the good life they’ve always known.

- Lauren Hopkins, Sandy Springs

A university is designed for higher education and should attempt to attract the best students they can, regardless of color, creed or national origin (“Bulldog Barbie,” Feb. 3).

I agree that the HOPE scholarship program has made the university more difficult to gain admission because of increased competition. I also agree that a lack of diversity is not the direction any institution should be headed.

While HOPE may make acceptance to UGA more difficult, it offers an opportunity for many to attend college at one of the other institutions in the state. Furthermore, just because someone has a relative who attended UGA, they do not have a “right” to attend.

I have attended most UGA home football games for the last 10 years. A student you quoted said she received funny looks for wearing a T-shirt and jeans to the game. I can only assume she was parading through the student section, but that is the only place people dress up for games. The women who sit near me do not dress up for any of the games. When I was a student, the women did dress up, but it is no different than at any other school in the South that has a Greek system.

While UGA may not be perfect, I think it is one of the best state universities in the country.

- Pat Otero, Atlanta, UGA grad, 1988

Taking a break from sipping on rum and coke and applying lip gloss, two suburban Atlanta graduates of UGA and current UGA law students found this article extremely hypocritical and stereotypical (“Bulldog Barbie,” Feb. 3). It seems that Alyssa Abkowitz is either a bitter UGA rejectee or simply enjoys crafting salacious articles. She seems to be implying that being from South Georgia and knowing Vince Dooley is better than graduating from Walton High School with a 1500 SAT score.

Maybe metro Atlanta is producing female children of the corn, but shouldn’t we be more worried about the academic integrity of the university? We both resent this article, as it seems to revert back to the day when women weren’t admitted to UGA. Let’s not put the blame on the women from north Fulton and Cobb counties who have achieved academic excellence and who deserve to attend UGA.

Ms. Abkowitz, a female, should not berate these bright women, but celebrate their success.

- Staci Swit, Marietta, and Taylor Chamberlin, Roswell

Nice discussion of the transformation of UGA to a “suburban bedroom university” for affluent Atlanta suburbanites and overachievers (“Bulldog Barbie,” Feb. 3).

But you stop short of raising the obvious question of why it’s necessarily a bad thing if mediocre students from rural areas can’t count on admission to the flagship campus.

It appears as though the state has perhaps in a sense tricked itself into raising the bar for itself, and faced with its own solid success now has to make the appropriate social-institutional adjustments and face the growing pains that go with the (already made) choice of whether Georgia really wants to remain like some of the more educationally challenged Southern states or join those with more distinguished educational systems.

- William McJunkin, Atlanta

Women have only had the vote for eightysomething years and now they slightly outnumber the men at one of Georgia’s finest public universities - what exactly is the problem (“Bulldog Barbie,” Feb. 3)?

It seems that these “Barbies” (as you degradingly refer to them) worked hard for the grades while their parents worked hard for the money that has been saved by the HOPE. Good for them!

- M. Stewart, Atlanta

Having read so many glowing reviews of Million Dollar Baby, I felt vindicated when I read Felicia Feaster’s review (Flicks, Short Subjectives, Jan. 27).

I went to the movie with a group who simply LOVED the movie and wondered what was wrong with me. I thought the only memorable performance was Hilary Swank’s. Otherwise, the movie was tedious, slow-paced and unaffecting. I normally admire the work of both Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman, but truly found my expectations unmet.

- Tinsley Patterson, Dalton

I, too, was saddened and dismayed at the anemic portrayal of Dr. King during the recent King celebration (Fishwrapper, “Remembering King by erasing him,” Jan. 13). His message has been converted to a safe, feel-good activity of community service for others, rather than social justice for the community. This was a man who “spoke truth to power” and used dramatic confrontations with the entrenched oppressors of poor and minority people to catalyze social change. I don’t believe he would ever have chosen to march in support of laws that oppress others and ignore our growing prison-industrial complex. I don’t think that he would flinch at confronting the fascism that is gaining power every day in this country. And I mean FASCISM!

We are being narcotized by our media into following a “pleasure religion” rather than digging deep into our spirits and fighting for what is good and true within humanity.

He did not play it safe. Our country has shown a pattern of killing or assassinating the character of leaders who fight “for the people.” But many of us have not forgotten what he died for. I will never forget. Not “peace at any cost,” but “peace with justice.”

- Vanessa McAdams-Mahmoud, Atlanta??