• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


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    Thursday, February 17, 2005

    Speaking of Diversity...

    Got to school today, went into work and started studying for the MCAT while waiting for my partner. When she showed up, she read me this editorial, from the editor of the student newspaper (not the administration) on BYU fans.

    First, while Brigham Young University is far more diverse than when I first started attending, no student I have ever met (including everyone at work today) argued that it is culturally diverse. The percentage of caucasians at BYU is far higher than any other school I visited before deciding on a college. More important than skin color (as I posted earlier today) is the observation that 90-95% of students are Mormon. This religion is a culture. Although students of other faiths are allowed and encouraged to attend BYU, to say the culture surrounding BYU isn't shaped ultimately by this religion would be wrong. In fact, I would say the BYU culture is extremely different from the rest of America because it is a conglomeration religiously conservative morals and extensive experience living abroad--both Americans living in other countries and international students at BYU. BYUs diversity comes from its international students, which make up a far larger % of other faiths and ethnicities in the student body than other campuses.

    Second, since when can "culturally diverse students" not be BYU sports fans? Last I checked, people outside of the US loved sports too. Especially soccer. And BYU's men's volleyball team, (The volleyball version of the New England Patriots) which has won the national championship 3 times in the last 6 years, is comprised mostly of international students.

    The editorial argues that "while a foreign student may have a love for soccer, for example, he or she loves the game itself and not so much the BYU team." That's absurd. Anybody with a love for the game and an appreciation for the school they attend can put the two together. The author doesn't mention American students that love soccer but don't show up to BYU soccer games. My wife is an international student, and I take offense personally.

    The author comments that
    "the problem is, because of its religious and educational standards, BYU doesn't bring in many Cougar sports loyalists" while "for Tennessee Volunteer fans, knowledge of past football heroes is more important than schoolwork. In Texas, rivalry week hovers on the brink of insanity as dueling Longhorn and Aggie fans taunt and tease back and forth."
    I see ... BYU's fans aren't loyal because they're international students, and those loyal to Cougar sports aren't allowed to enter BYU because they can't live BYU's moral code or meet it's academic standards. Either BYU's education is heads and shoulders above schools like Tennessee and Texas A&M or people who like BYU sports are too dumb to metriculate to college.

    All in all, I'm sick. I may agree that often die hard fans grow up around the college (I grew up in Houston, TX and all my friends were ready to die for either Texas A&M or UT), and that BYU's admissions criteria which gives preference to out-of-state students (Not just international students nor contains extremely high academic standards), may handicap the recruitment of life-long fans. I also know that many young kids are chaffed by BYU students' air of arrogance at their moral lifestyle, a holier-than-thou attitude, and feeling of educational superiority (like this article evinced). These kids choose voluntarily to go to the University of Utah (BYU's arch-rival) because of that.

    But to argue that it's the fault of international students, or BYU's amazing academic standards?? The author of that editorial is proof the second reason is incorrect, and he's disgusted me by arguing the first.

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