Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

Here’s a shining example of Bucknell courtesy. A few days ago, I invited a friend to work with me at the Bertrand Library. My friend lives in Lewisburg but is not affiliated with Bucknell. She drove up to campus and parked on Fraternity Road near the fraternities and library. A group of students, mostly male, stood nearby monitoring traffic. After some hours in the peaceful reading rooms at the library, my friend returned to her car.

Imagine my friend’s shock when she found this belligerent note tucked under her windshield wiper:

Learn how to park you fucking douch [sic].  I’m watching.

We were dismayed by the crassly sexual language and by the threat implicit in  “I’m watching.”  The writer of the note could simply have walked over and said, “Excuse me–you parked over the line.”  But no: this road-rage artist went through all the trouble of pulling out a three-ring notebook and writing an anonymous note (in red ink to boot, as if to compensate for the puerile penmanship and spelling).

My friend reported the incident to the local police and I reported it to campus security, but I have little hope that anything can be done.

I am infuriated by the humiliation my guest faced on our campus, and have to wonder about the mentality that produced such gratuitous vitriol.  Did the writer feel powerful or manly by lashing out at an innocuous woman who is twice the age and half the size of the average student?

I  am well aware that drunken crudeness passes for social life on our campus, and that some of my students might be animals when they are not in my classroom.  This much has not changed in the 20 years I’ve taught here.  However, I’m appalled that a random visitor was treated so abusively.  That’s a new and shameful low.

Meenakshi Ponnuswami
Associate Professor of English

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