Letters to the Editor

Facilities available for special diets

Danielle Nismov’s article “Dining options fail to meet special dietary needs” (Jan. 13, 2010) prompts me to remind students there is a vegetarian meal plan option available at the USC Honors House Residence, located at 2710 Severance St.  The Honors House is the only USC residence hall in North University Park.  All other USC housing options are apartments.  Located on tram routes B and C, the Honors House includes a commissary, and housing contracts there come bundled with a ten meal (lunch and dinner) board plan.   Our chef, Brenda Jarmon, Assistant Manager of Everybody’s Kitchen, has been with the facility for more than 30 years.  She is a vegetarian in her own life, and she is a wonderful chef and an expert at vegetarian cuisine.  She prepares three entrees each evening:  meat, fish or seafood or poultry and vegan.

James E. Moore, II

Professor and chair, Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISE)

Athletic department needs transparency

I write regarding USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett’s announcement to ban the USC men’s basketball team from postseason play this year, as well as additional penalities, such as the reduction in a scholarship for this season and next, as concerns the alleged improprieties surrounding O.J. Mayo during Mayo’s time at USC.  As a lifelong Trojan fan, a USC alumnus and a longtime USC men’s basketball season ticket holder, I am saddened and shocked by Garrett’s announcement.  I do not find sincerity in his words but rather a sense of hypocrisy.

USC has rarely showed any serious committment to the men’s basketball program.  The university’s on-campus arena, for example, was supposed to have been constructed decades ago.  Football has always been the school’s heart and soul and apparently will forever remain so.  Even the formulation of a new Song Girl squad follows the calendar year as opposed to the academic year so that the Song Girls may be in top synchronisity for the start of football season.

With penalities self-inflicted by the university on the men’s basketball program, Garrett has shown that once again nothing shall touch the sacred cash cow that is the football team.  Perhaps indeed there is a ring of truth to former coach Tim Floyd’s accussations of a lack of support from university officials during the investigation of O.J. Mayo’s Trojan tenure, an investigation, as I understand it, that was being performed in conjunction with the NCAA’s investigation of allegations of improprieties involving Reggie Bush and his family during his senior year.  If the athletic department was indeed committed to true self-regulation, then why no stripping of scholarships of the football team?  Or returning the Rose Bowl money earned during Bush’s senior season or giving back the university’s edition of Bush’s Heisman Trophy to the Downtown New York Athletic Club?  Likewise, if the current allegations against running back Joe McKnight are true, will the university return its Emerald Bowl money and erase the 2009 football season from the record books (an action I’m sure not too many alumni and fans would, in fact, mind)?

Rather than a committment to playing by the rules, as Garrett asserts, the athletic director’s actions appear to be more an attempt to demonstrate to the NCAA that USC’s athletic department does not lack “institutional control” when it comes to its programs, specifically the football program, which has been under investigation partly for just such a concern.  Thus, the men’s basketball team is the scapegoat to protect the sanctity that is USC football.

If USC truly is committed to excellence on the basketball court, as Garrett claims, then the USC ticket office should be directed to refund a percentage of the money we season ticket holders paid for what is now an absolutely pointless season.  Garrett ought likewise to demand that the ticket office lower its prices for men’s basketball season tickets for the 2010-11 season.

Ryan Ignatius Pratt

Class of 2002