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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration

My Reponse to the Letter to the Editor

Jim Coder, a senior who plans to work at NASA, decided to directly attack me in the paper. It is extremely disappointing to see someone make their arguments personal rather than about the issues at hand. I am happy to educate Jim about the work of Safeguard Old State so that he better understands what he is talking about in the future.

To begin with, I have no issue when anyone takes shots at policies or initiatives that I have led or was a part of. At the same time, I will not stand for attacks without merit.Below, I have broken down Croder’s so called argument point by point. At Safeguard Old State we promote diversity of thought; all this person does is promote mindlessness and blind obedience to authority.

Sentence 1. Gavin Keirans needs to accept the fact that he lost the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) election last year and move on with his life.

I was 18 years old when I ran for UPUA President and I finished second losing by less than two percent of the vote. I am sorry that my life goals did not end when I lost the student body election my Freshman year. Did John McCain, John Kerry or Al Gore quit public life because they did not win the presidency?Kerry is still a leading senator. McCain is now leading the polls for the Republic Nomination, after losing the nomination to Bush in 2000. Gore, who first ran in 1988 and did not receive the nomination, ended up as VP in 92 and 96, ran again in 2000 losing by electoral votes, and is now a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.But hey, you make a great argument by telling me to just go on with my life and not to be involved anymore.

Sentence 2. Since then, he has used his failed campaign to get media attention for Safeguard Old State and its ludicrous ideas.

Wrong Again. I used my worth ethic and genuinely shared ideals to lead an advocacy group on campus. A week after I lost the campaign, SOS held a rally to protest the ticket lottery, which was reversed. After this, SOS attended the Association of Big Ten Students on behalf of Penn State in the fall. Safeguard Old State and I wrote the Roadmap for Change which point by point spelled out changes needed at this university.I am no longer referred to as the UPUA runner up but the Executive Director for Safeguard Old State. Further, thousands of people visit our website every week. I guess they are all ludicrous as well by your logic.

Sentence 3 and 4: First and foremost: believing that a student should be mayor of State College. It is that kind of bigoted attitude that makes locals dislike Penn State students and ignore student issues.

Bigoted? Residents do not completely hate students; otherwise, why would they live in a college town? Many do not appreciate students because we are not full time residents. It is lackeys like you who allow the borough to ignore student issues because they hold the borough above themselves as if they were mere peons.

Sentence 5 and 6: The fact of the matter is that State College can function perfectly fine without the student population. One may even argue that the borough is better when students aren’t around to vandalize property and urinate in the alleyways.

If you believe this then you do not deserve a Penn State degree. The State College economy depends almost entirely on the student body. The only time throughout the entire year that Penn State is without students is during Winter Break and Spring Break. During every other part of the year, the town is filled with students. While residents may not always realize it, the town will fail with out students.State College would still be here without students, but no one would know where it is or care. It would be lost as another town in Central PA. You speak so poorly of students that it is shocking. Do you really believe that vandalizing and urinating is what students do? Sure there are some incidents of this, but give me a break if that is how you talk about your fellow students.

Sentence 7: Conversely, can the students at Penn State function without the borough of State College?

I highly doubt it.The question in itself is ridiculous. Are you arguing that the borough is just going to disappear? With that logic in my next editorial I will write, “Can people function without the Earth?” And then reply, “I highly doubt it” as to assure myself that I am right.

Sentence 8: Another questionable action of Safeguard Old State is their State Patty’s Day initiatives. By promoting “responsible drinking,” you still promote drinking, and coordinating non-alcoholic events as alternatives is like going to a golf course and trying to convince people to not play golf.

First off, you are in the Facebook group for State Patty’s Day! Yes, we want to promote responsible drinking, the idea that students are not going to drink is wrong. Prohibition failed; people drink across the country, not just in Penn State.As far as alternatives, it is absolutely necessary. We moved State Patty’s Day to Saturday in order to have alternative programming such as Irish Bands in the HUB. We wanted to work with Late Night, and most importantly make it so students are not missing two days of school work which is what would have happened if State Patty’s Day was scheduled on a weekday.Blackthorn, an Irish Band from the Philadelphia area, actually said they would sign on play at Light Night. Now, we are just waiting for our programming association to come around to host them.

Sentence 9 and 10: If the students are going to drink, they’re going to drink. No alternative activities will change that.

I agree with your logic that people are going to drink, but at the same time there are some people on the fence. For those people, we want a viable alternative.On State Patty’s Day am I really going to want a dollar hot dog and board games which is the normal programming or a party off campus? The answer is obvious for many students, so we wanted to work with Late Night to offer more viable alternatives such as well known Irish Bands for those who would consider attending Late Night.

Sentence 11: If Safeguard Old State wants to combat these problems, they should coordinate efforts to investigate the root cause of drinking in State College.

The way to combat drinking is to promote responsible drinking. Frankly SOS believes that way too much time and money is spent on supposedly combating drinking by telling people not to do it.The university has been investigating the root for years. In fact, Pulse Surveys have conducted a survey about drinking for 12 of the past 13 years without any result. This is a national occurrence: college students engage in drinking.

Sentence 12: Accommodating the culture does absolutely nothing to solve the problem, and it’s sad that Keirans and his organization are using this to get media attention.

We do want the media to say that Safeguard Old State is telling people to go enjoy themselves but to do so responsibly. People can say we are doing it for PR or whatever other reason they want.

But at the end of the day, if there are less alcohol related offenses this year than last year, we will have had a small part in that.Let me end by addressing all the Jim’s out there who think like this. I care about this university, specifically the student body who I believe can have the strongest voice at this university and in State College.

Listen when I tell you I am not going anywhere and neither is our vision for a student centered university and a student centered State College.

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Note: The Safeguard Old State Executive Staff does not moderate the comments posted by the public to blog entries. The comments of Safeguard Old State readers do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Safeguard Old State.


I had the torturous experience of reading Jim’s letter to the editor in today’s Collegian. As a tax-payer in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and thereby a financial contributor to Penn State University, I demand he retake some basic college courses before he is permitted to graduate. Because while Jim may have passed these courses in the classroom, his letter to the editor proves he has failed each of them in the test of life.

1) First, Jim must consult a dictionary and retake English 100 to learn what the term bigoted means. Wanting an individual to be mayor of State College who represents the majority demographic in the town – a student – is not “bigoted,” its idealistic.
2) Retake Econ 002 (as well as discontinue using such mass amounts of mind-altering substances) for the comment: “State College can function perfectly fine without the student population.” Seven home football games bring about $100 million into the State College economy. Where does Jim think the population of State College Borough would be employed without Penn State and it’s students?
3) Similarly, I demand Jim retake History 101 to learn a bit about Penn State’s historical impact on the State College Borough economy and society.
4) Retake Civics 100. State Patty’s day will occur and be promoted regardless of the actions of Safeguard Old State. So, how is attempting to work with the University to provide alternatives to drinking “another questionable action?”
5) Please retake Communications and Public Relations 101. Jim says, “it’s sad that Keirans and his organization are using this to get media attention.” Retaking Public Relations would help Jim realize that it isn’t exactly a ground-breaking idea for an organization to sponsor a major event to get positive publicity from the media. And by retaking a Communications course, perhaps Jim would realize that by writing a letter to the Daily Collegian, probably Penn State’s biggest media outlet, he gives more “media attention” to Safeguard Old State and their affiliation with Sate Patty’s day.

As a citizen of the Commonwealth, my tax dollars must be used to fund worthwhile endeavors. Therefore, I insist Jim Coder be required to pass the aforementioned courses once more to prove he is worthy to graduate from Pennsylvania’s flagship university.

Coming from Jim Coder, someone who opposed the USG-endorsed Academic Bill of Rights, consider his insults a compliment. Sounds like Jim Coder really does have something against students. Sounds like he and Kate have the same attitude regarding student civic participation. I wonder if he would call himself a “miscreant” or if that’s just the rest of the student body. Keep on truckin, Gav!

Does wanting Ron Paul to be President make me a bigot?

its ridiculous his letter was published.

it was a juvenile personal attack, it remains unclear just what his beef is. sometimes people are both malicious and stupid or illogical, and this appears to be a classic case.

NASA = not another stupid ahole!?

I find a great deal of humor in that Mr. Coder derides State Patty’s day while being in the Facebook group. that sort of behavior is the mark of utter hypocrisy.

i think its bigotry.

I had class with Jim Coder freshman year and unless he’s changed he is to the left of Mao Zedong. He also prides himself on being a “State College local” (from Bellefonte). He probably is recalling his childhood when his parents and neighbors hated Fall and Spring every year when students make up the majority of the town.

His attitude is typical of grumpy townies who in fact should not live in a college town. Why not move to Lewistown or Port Royal or something?

Ultra liberals in the vein of Jim Coder hate change and decry most public service (not your typical Democrat). If you aren’t part of the government, they believe, you are obviously not qualified to effect change or contribute to public discourse. It would be a dream for us to have a super regime that controls all. In this case, UPUA should not exist or at least be controlled by the university administrators who obviously “deserve” and are the “most qualified” to control students.

Oh well, I highly doubt he would read SOS anyway, he probably only checks live.psu.edu for his news.

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