"Return of Campus Gripes"
All right, I took off one little semester from Brooklyn College and the whole
place went crazy. The Comrades from PHD have been replaced by the
Comrades from USL. One set of kooks has been replaced by another set
of kooks. And then there was the latest incarnation of the Excelsior
Kingsman battle, complete with accusations of sex, greed, and online
terrorism. I'll start with the horror stories about SG that have been
forwarded to my e-mailbox:
The move to quit reciting the pledge of allegiance at SG meetings. I
spent the latter part of elementary school and high school in
Tennessee, where saying the pledge of allegiance in a public school is
unheard of. Why? Down there, the rednecks who run the public schools
think Tennessee and the rest of the South is territory illegally
occupied by the Union, and that's the main reason the public schools
in there don't recite the Pledge. What's USL's excuse? Do they think
the United States flag represents something hostile to their views,
like, say, the rights of dark-skinned individuals to be free citizens?
Or is it because a lot of BC students (that supposedly vote USL)
weren't born in the United States? If that's the reason they oppose
saying the Pledge, why do they go to school in this country? Most
people who immigrated to this country came here for the freedoms, for
the ability to think or worship or vote without some government
official telling them how to think or worship or vote.
And then there is the idiocy of renaming Student Government to UNITED
Student Government. What's wrong with the old name? And isn't there a
problem if you have an institution called UNITED Student Government
when the officials in said institution are not united? I think, or at
least hope, that someone would oppose some of the resolutions that
have come up in the past 4 months in SG. If not, maybe we're all
better off in a state similarly governed, say, Iraq.
And then there was the saga of a new student third party that dared
to call itself USG. A few friends of mine from the Excelsior were
dissatisfied with both PHD and USL and tried to start their own
party. What happened? Almost the entire USL gestapo flooded the USG
introductory meeting place, and proceeded to vote themselves in as
party officials. Unfortunately, this is perfectly legal.
And then there's the Danihottie mess, which unbeknownst to many
students, started with a flame war on AOL. "Danielle Renald" went by the AOL
name of Danihottie. She sent threatening e-mail and instant messages
to Aly Walansky and some of my friends- two of whom never attended
Brooklyn College. I tried writing to her in order to resolve the mess.
She responded by calling me "one of Aly's goons". The last time I wrote
to her, afterwards, my AOL software shut down. I tried rebooting the
computer to find out the whole hard disk with AOL and Windows had been
wiped out. I have since only been able to access AOL through a friend's
computer. And I got a strange e-mail from Ann Marie Adams (the Kingsman
editor-in-chief) asking whether she should direct Danihottie to more
damaging dirt "on that goofy looking (Thomas) Donald Clarke".
Somebody shot back at Danihottie with an "anti-Ann Marie" newsletter,
sent to the editors of both campus papers as well as several student
government letters and even me. At this point, I decided to do my own
investigating. I still haven't found out who Danielle Renald/Danihottie
is (Ann Marie promised to reveal her identity in the November 16 issue
of the Kingsman but never did), but I do know Danihottie and Ann Marie
are not the same person. They were online on AOL at the same time, which
means they are separate individuls and have separate accounts. A couple
of weeks ago, I tried sending an e-mail to Danihottie's account. AOL
sent it back to me saying the account was closed. I suspect Danihottie
threatened enough AOL members so that AOL had to close out her account.
Dani is best known on campus for smearing Excelsior editor-in-chief
Aly Walansky with charges of having an illicit affair with ZBT
President Joe Ciraco. First of all, Aly Walansky is innocent of Dani's
charges. I've known her for two years, and she certainly wouldn't
carry on an affair with a campus political leader while she still
had an editorial position on the Excelsior. Perhaps the biggest
surprise to Dani is that Aly and Joe can't stand each other. They
certainly wouldn't spend the night thrashing about in the SG offices.
And then there is the saga of Aly's alleged boyfriend Joe Ciraco, one
of the biggest bullies to ever roam Brooklyn College. He has threatened
countless students, Excelsior, and Kingsman staff members over the
past two years. Who can forget his move to have tape recorders banned
from SG? Unbeknownst to Dani, Joe has a girlfriend, Victoria Velez
(whom he regularly and publicly calls "spic", in what can be assumed to
be a relationship straight out of the Jerry Springer show since she
loves him). Aly and Vicki are friends, but that friendship would quickly
turn to violence if Vicki suspected her Joe was really having an affair
with Aly. Joe Ciraco was the main suspect in the February 11, 1998
Excelsior Orientation disaster, in which numerous frat guys stole the
food and beverages from the Excelsior party even though Aly had hired a
ZBT disk jockey to provide music for the gettogether.
How did this putz get on the Excelsior staff? Well, Joe still has some
friends in the GLOs and in PHD (whose 1998 Presidential candidate,
Elan Kornblum, worked for the Excelsior's sports section long before he
ever joined PHD and SG). In my humble opinion, it was Elan Kornblum, not
Aly Walansky (and certainly not anyone else on the Excelsior e-board)
who got Joe his staff writer position at the Excelsior. Fortunately Joe
will graduate next month (unlike Kingsman Editor Ann Marie Adams, who
was supposed to graduate next month but still has a course or two to
finish next semester), and some semblance of sanity can return to the
Assuming the financial aid goes through, I should be back next
semester to finish up my Core and English classes. I will also return
to the Excelsior staff. To anyone who wants to start a flame war with
me or any Excelsior staff members, my advice is: DON'T. I would advise
Ann Marie and Danihottie to listen to the majority of the staff on the
Kingsman and stop inflaming the war between the papers. The Kingsman
has some good writers. Don't ruin their reputations in order to
satisfy some long standing grudge against the Excelsior.
I hope this little op-ed explains the complexities of the whole Danielle Renald and SG messes. I'm sure Dani, Ann Marie, Joe Ciraco, PHD, and USL will be offended by my mentions and criticisms of their actions, but hey, the truth hurts.
Don't forget to log on to my new Brooklyn News and Views Forum (defunct as of 2005) to discuss this matter or any other NYC, CUNY, or BC issues.
Intended for the BC Excelsior, but never published; written in December 1998