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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Open letter to the Poli Sci Department

<r Political Science Department,

Please take a seat as I take a minute to tell you about two of my dear friends, Russell Fujisawa and Dan Matthews. These two young men are senior majors in the department and also baseball players. As a member of the baseball team myself, I have had the privilege of playing alongside them. These guys have given their heart and souls to the baseball team for four years. They have set the standards for work ethic and performance for Carleton athletics, I can’t imagine having better leaders to learn from.

Right now, the team is in a bit of a pickle. We have four conference games left and in order to make the playoffs we need to win them all. Russ and Dan’s presence on the field, furthermore, is crucial to our team’s performance. Both will be there for our doubleheader on Saturday against Gustavus Adolphus College.  Russ and Dan’s presence, however, is in doubt for our last conference games of the season—and the last conference games of their careers at Carleton—on Wednesday at Bethel University. On Wednesday, both of these fine gentlemen are scheduled to take part in their COMPS poster sessions during the same time, and so far efforts by each player to create an alternative to the Wednesday session have been rebuffed.

So let me say this, to make these guys miss the last conference games of their careers for the poster session would be tragic and unnecessary. I understand it is important for seniors to make these posters; they are a crucial part of the COMPS process. But lets be honest, attending the specific session and standing by your poster to answer questions in a room of 35 other majors should not be seen as so sacred as to be impossible to reschedule. Having a proxy stand by your poster or arranging a private poster presentation for some department faculty should absolutely be acceptable alternatives for these students (and yet these proposals have been refused).

While this is of course not an ideal situation for anybody involved, making these seniors pay the consequences of scheduling issues that are out of their control would be an incredibly poor decision. In addition, it would send a bad message to student-athletes throughout the school who dedicate an incredible amount of their time and energy to their teams while maintaining high levels of performance in the classroom. I want to make it clear that this is not just an issue pertaining to varsity athletes. A senior with a conflict like an end of year Frisbee tournament or the last play of his or her senior year should be allowed to be an exception as well.

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to strongly recommend to those members of the faculty involved in this decision to rethink the department’s current stance and work with Russ and Dan, as I know they are willing to do, to find a compromise that accommodates the needs of everyone involved.


David Heifetz
B.A. Candidate, 2011
Political Science/International Relations

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