SEAN LITTLE, Staff Writer
Late on Tuesday, Feb. 21 in Mather’s Lounge, an interesting conversation took place. Evan Mascitti ’12 invited the whole campus, including quite a few professors, the dean of students and some Residential Life employees, to a discussion about the disconnect between athletes and non-athletes on campus. Unfortunately, the number of non-athletes who showed up to the dialogue was very few.
“I really would have liked to see more than a few non-athletes at the discussion,” said Mascitti. “Most students at Beloit would agree there is a disconnect between non-athletes and athletes here. Certainly there are many positive interactions between the two student groups, but if you’ve been at Beloit for a while it’s obvious there’s a misunderstanding and even some occasional animosity.”
Mascitti is not the only one who sees this animosity play out on a regular basis. Owen Boardman‘14 was one of the two non-athletes to attend the discussion. Later, she spoke up about the perceived animosity.
“I always thought it was interesting how people on campus are engaged in the dialogue pertaining to racial and gender equality, but still feel comfortable generalizing athletes,” said Boardman. “The problem lies in the fact that being an athlete is often considered the most essential part of an athlete’s identity. I feel as though they are looked at as athletes who are students, as opposed to students who are also athletes.”
According to Mascitti, that is exactly why this conversation was worth having. Fundamentally, all of us are Beloit College students, whether we play sports or draw cartoons. Still, there are commonplace discussions on campus that marginalize and generalize student-athletes.
Not all football players are the same. So, should we feel comfortable judging a person by the jersey that he or she wears?
Elsa Kendall ’14 was the other non-athlete to attend the event. She discussed the importance of acknowledging all marginalized groups on campus
“It’s not just athletes that are being wrongly ridiculed based on general assumptions. It’s important for us to talk about any marginalized group on campus,” said Kendall. “I was bummed there weren’t more non-athletes who attended the talk because I feel the conversation is more for them than for the athletes themselves. It takes two to tango.”
Athletes aren’t the only ones on campus who are marginalized. However, when they are, rarely do people speak up.
If someone claimed that all women are dumb prostitutes who fail all their classes, you and I both would put him in his place in a second. But, replace women with athletes, and prostitutes with jocks, and do you have the same reaction?
“Student-athletes are regular people just like everyone else. We want to contribute positively to Beloit in our own way. Give us a chance!” said Mascitti.