Keep the Guard!
Letter to the Editor
I am writing this letter in response to Mr. DiPasquale's letter to the editor in Friday's Observer about the Irish Guard. As a former member of the band, I had a role that required I work closely to the Guard on a regular basis. As a manager, I was responsible for marching 10 yards in front of the Guard and clearing a path for them and the rest of the band. In doing this job for two years, I gained a real understanding of the nature of the work the guard does.
As someone who witnessed the activity of the band from a vantage point much closer than Mr. DiPasquale, I strongly believe the Guard does an invaluable service to the band. The guards' primary responsibility is to create a safe pathway for the band to march through. This requires moving people and objects out of the way along the route. Even though campus security and I demand people move beyond the established boundaries, people often move in front of those barriers to get a closer view. In that case, it is the responsibility of the Guard to move them. I have seen numerous examples where the Guard have gone out of their way to remove those such people with extreme care. I have seen the Guard also take special concern of those more fragile individuals such as the elderly, children and disabled persons. The Guard does an extremely difficult job with class, dignity and respect.
The specific concerns presented by Mr. DiPasquale in his letter are utterly ridiculous. It is obvious from his comments, he has never seen the Guard in action and I invite him to spend a game day with the managers to see what a difficult task the Guard must accomplish. Were it not for the Guard we never would have made it out of the Independence Bowl and the Michigan game (1997) in a safe manner. In addition, I have seen the Guard get punched, spit at and hit with glass bottles while protecting the band. In all those situations, the Guard continued to march because of their concern for the safety of the band. I have read the letters in The Observer complaining about the Guard and can assure Mr. DiPasquale that those who complained were told to move at least three times by campus police, a band manager and the Guard before they were moved. I also don't recall any letters from elderly women who were knocked over by the Guard.
l component of the marching band because of the way they accomplish a difficult task in a respectful manner. It would be a shame to remove a group of students so close to the heart of the marching band because of the comments of a few ignorant individuals.
All Viewpoint Stories for Tuesday, December 7, 1999