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Diplomacy goes awry at the U of C

One student fumes about fumbling mispronounciation of VIP names

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Editors, the Gauntlet,

I had an absolute need to write this letter with regards to the talk Mikhail Gorbachev gave at this university on Thurs., Oct. 12.

The actual talk given was beyond phenomenal, as Gorbachev proved himself to be consummate and passionate speaker. Every word he spoke carried across the gymnasium floor with authority and clarity. However, there was something quite wrong with his lecture, but it had nothing to do with Mr. Gorbachev at all.

As usual, this university embarrassed itself beyond words. To say that I was disgusted with Terry White and James Palmer would be a ridiculous understatement. I cannot put into words the shame I felt for this university as I listened to Terry White mispronounce the name of Mikhail Gorbachev, and then proceed to completely slaughter the name of his daughter as he attempted to pronounce it in separate syllables. Fortunately, Dr. White spared the university an unending introduction, but his shameful production was followed by an introduction by James Palmer that was just as bad. One can certainly not deny that Dr. Palmer was not a good speaker. He spent his "brief" introduction fumbling over words and destroying sentence structure at virtually every opportunity. His introduction was too long and poorly communicated.

As well, the lecture started almost 30 minutes late. These events have not been isolated ones, and it is not the first time that a very important event has been poorly organized. Past the fact that the lecture started late, White mispronounced the name of Time magazine's Man of the Decade, Palmer fumbled through his introduction and questions from the floor were not screened. The disgusting lack of organization lead to idiotic questions like what Mr. Gorbachev thought about the Middle East peace process, or what type of political system would dominate the world. Most of the questions asked indicated that the individual had either not thought out their inquiry or were only interested in sounding intelligent.

In short, I am embarrassed for this university and its students. Once again, university administration has done a pathetic job of representing this university, and in particular, so has Dr. Terry White. Mr. Gorbachev was an incredible and dynamic speaker whom I admire greatly, yet I was ashamed to have seen him treated the way that he was. I hope that his experience will not keep him from visiting us again.

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