Monday, September 20, 2010

Debate Team comes to Greg Sgammato's Defense

Hopkins Underground has obtained an e-mail to members of the Hopkins Debate Team about Greg Sgammato's opinion piece on overweight women. Omar Qureshi, the team's treasurer and the opinion page editor for the News-Letter, sent the long-winded message to debate team members Sunday night. We have posted the entire e-mail after the jump.

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UPDATE 9/21/2010 3:00 p.m.: Sources tell us that Qureshi is not only part of the debate team leadership with Sgammato, but also Sgammato's roommate.  Sgammato is the president of the debate team.

From: Omar Qureshi
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2010 22:36:16
To: [redacted]
Subject: [Debate] Concerning the News-Letter

Dear Team,
I am emailing concerning a recent News-Letter article that was published in the opinions section, to which I am the editor. The content of the article was extremely unfortunate, and its intention as a satire piece failed completely. I, alongside all of the editors of The News-Letter, should have demonstrated better judgment. To make matters worse, our very own Greg Sgammato wrote the article. Unfortunately, this has led many of our team members to feel insecure or unsure about the nature of equality and acceptance on our team.

Greg’s article was intended for humor, not as a statement of his true feelings. The article was a poorly conceived satire. What has been most hurtful for me, personally, is that my friends and those closest to me now think of me as a bad person. I will not attempt to claim that I am not. I just want to say that everyone on the debate team is held in the highest regard. And if anyone feels unsure about whether or not they want to be a part of this team on the basis of the article in question, I urge them to reconsider. The team is and always will be a group of progressively minded intellectuals committed to excellence in speech and debate.

I have spent the bulk of the day along with all the editors of the newspaper apologizing for allowing this article to be published. I will only be able to sway a few. But, to the people who matter most to me and the rest of the board, I am committed to demonstrating to you that you should feel comfortable on the debate team. An article in The News-Letter is not reflective of the culture of debate. I would like to spend some one on one time with all of you if possible.

I encourage you to email me your concerns anonymously or transparently. I am more than willing to speak with any of you on the phone about this issue at any time. In the interest of open dialogue, I will be on [redacted] from 5-7 and 9 to 10 tomorrow. Please come talk to me about any of your concerns. I consider this team to be a family. We will certainly go through good times and bad times. I only hope we can recover from this bad time stronger than ever.

Omar Qureshi


  1. His reasoning and logic is laughable. And, why is his writing so terrible? And he's an editor? The standards must be low!

  2. I'm sorry, it took the bulk of a day to write that ridiculous apology? Really? And that was the best they could come up with? Because "I'm sorry you were offended because you don't understand our comedy" isn't an apology.

    Plus, they didn't even bother apologizing for Javier Avitia's charming guide to date rape. They just closed comments so people couldn't publicly complain about it. Fuck these guys, seriously.

  3. Honestly, there were some really fat girls wearing nothing at the Phi Si party... I witnessed it first hand. I am a thin girl and would never dress like that. It isn't even about being fat or thin, try having some self respect and class. And if you're 50 pounds overweight, expect someone to talk shit about you being half naked at a FRATERNITY party.


    It was advertised as a "LingeRave." The DRESS CODE was next-to-nothing. If you weren't comfortable with seeing people dressed like that, why were you there to "witness it first hand [sic]"?
    Also, regarding how "it isn't even about being fat or thin": then why did you identify yourself as a thin girl in your otherwise-anonymous comment?

    On the topic of the whole article: Sgammato. If it's satire, it goes in the Black and Blue Jay, or at least uses completely over-the-top language to point out the ridiculousness of the position being satired. Whether satire was your intent or not, you fail at not being an asshole.
    Editors: If satire was Sgammato's intent, how did none of you catch that the piece reads like it was written by your average run-of-the-mill asshole, as opposed to someone trying to be over-the-top and funny? If satire wasn't Sgammato's intent, how did none of you catch that the piece reads like it was written by your average run-of-the-mill asshole, as opposed to someone who should be writing for the school newsletter?
    I'm not even going to talk about Avitia's article about "banging under the influence" (i.e., getting a girl drunk) because if I try to get any more of my rage out this way, my head will explode and I won't be next to anyone who deserves it when it happens.

    I'm a dude.
    I'm too skinny for my own good.
    I don't drink.
    I didn't go to the LingeRave.
    I'm a virgin.
    I'm motherfscking outraged.
    That is all.

  5. What has been most hurtful for me, personally, is that my friends and those closest to me now think of me as a bad person.
    Really? What has been most hurtful for me, personally, is being compared to seven different giant animals and called "it."

    Even putting aside, for a moment, the deep problematicity of his comments about the women who were actually at the party, the article addresses its hateful language to all so-called "fat" women, not just the ones who were at the party.

    Which is not to say that there's anything right in what he said about the women who committed the so-called indiscretion of showing off their bodies at a party whose theme was women showing off their bodies.

  6. Expect someone to talk shit about you *in the school's newspaper*? Puhleeze. The brotards can say what they want in private, but they are not entitled to a university forum.

    - 104 pound girl

  7. stop advertising this as the debate team coming to sgammato's defense. it is not the TEAM coming to his defense, it is ONE MEMBER OF THE TEAM sending an email to the rest of the team defending HIMSELF. we are certainly not defending him as a team. the piece was not satire, it was misogyny, and i for one am disgusted and embarrassed to be on the same team as either of these men.