O'Neill secretary explains shirt
Letter to the Editor
This letter responds to the letter printed in the March 2 edition of The Observer, "Letter erred on the facts, hurt reputation," submitted by Patrick Miller, Mike Scharpf, Charlie DeRubeis, Bill LaFleur and Walter Pruchnik. First of all, let me say that I am O'Neill Hall's Merchandising Commissioner, the person at the center of this controversy. I have held that position for the last two years and have served O'Neill as its Secretary for the past year. I want to clear the air about the facts of the entire situation and hopefully bring closure to all of this.
The argument of the aforementioned five men is centered on the premise that they are "giving the facts." The men state, "We also suggest that in the future, the authors of any letter make sure they have collected all of the facts regarding their issue before sounding off and attacking someone else's reputation and good name." While I agree with this statement, I find it humorous that these men do not practice what they preach.
These men never spoke to me to hear exactly what happened in the process of approving and ordering the shirts. That is a pretty big factual omission. Men, if you are making an argument based on fact, then perhaps you should have all the facts first.
Now, let me give people the clear sequence of events, from my perspective. The first shirt idea thrown on the table at our hall council meetings back in January was that of having a beaver on the back, with the slogan, "More Beavers than at the Fiesta Bowl." I discussed this with Father John, and he did not like the saying, understandably. My understanding the whole time was that he disagreed with the slogan, but did not have a problem with the artwork of a cartoon beaver. This was the first miscommunication between he and I. We changed the slogan to "More than at the Fiesta Bowl," less blatant, but still questionable to Father John.
Since we were running out of time to get a shirt approved so we would have them by Mardi Gras, the Hall Presidents and I sat down and had a brainstorming session to come up with an idea. We settled on the slogan, "Show Me Something," just bland enough that it would be ok. We decided that the beaver did not really go along with this saying, so we were going to put a "fleur de lis" on the back instead. I took this design to Father John and he signed on it. At the next hall council meeting, many brought up the idea of still putting the cartoon beaver on the shirt, with the "Show Me Something" slogan. I had no problem with this and Father John, who was in attendance at this meeting, did not object. I made an assumption at that point that the shirt design with the cartoon beaver and "Show Me Something" was OK by him and had it approved by Student Activities.
I ordered 175 T-shirts, nearly $1700 worth of them. This was the second breakdown in communication. My mistake was that I made an assumption, an incorrect one at that and when the shirts arrived and Father John saw them, he was upset. He met with me that evening and told me he felt I deceived him, which was never the intention of anyone involved. I explained my thinking to him just as I have to everyone else just now, but it was not enough to convince him. He decided to keep the shirts. He would not let them be sold for the dance and was going to have them donated to some charity in Zimbabwe.
Bill, Walter, Charlie, Mike and Patrick, now you have all the facts and I would encourage that in the future you have all of them before you write letters. The last point that I would like to make is in response to the criticism of the T-shirt design made by these five men. They state that not all men in O'Neill support the content of the shirt. I would ask that if they are in disagreement with the decisions made by our hall council, that they come to our hall council meetings and give their input. Anyone in O'Neill can come to these meetings. They are held at 10 p.m. on Tuesday nights in O'Neill's 24 hour lounge.
Bill, Walter, Charlie, Mike, and Patrick, your ideas and input would be more valuable there than in the Viewpoint section of the Observer.
March 2, 2001
All Viewpoint Stories for Monday, March 19, 2001