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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – In a recent op-ed column by Crimson White writer Tray Smith, the journalism and political science major explores an interesting avenue; relating the ever-changing bar scene at the University of Alabama to the metamorphosis the student body has seen over the past few years.

Smith manages to drive home a few solid points – reiterating how the decrease in popularity at Gallette’s, a UA bar staple for years – is related to the culture change at the Capstone.

Where Smith falls short, however, is in proving just how much the popularity at Gallette’s has fallen. If one is going to base their argument by comparing a bar’s fallen popularity to an ongoing culture change at the University, then some quantitative data is necessary. Smith however, has none.

For instance:

“The throngs of students normally visible outside the bar on a typical Saturday night have disappeared. “When are we leaving for Gallettes?” has become “where are we going?” You can almost hear Dave Matthews playing in the background as confused students, with their default option gone, attempt to choose a bar…the decline has been fast and surprising, but it really isn’t hard to understand.”

For starters, Smith backs up his rather firm claim with no data, zero quotes and nothing resembling substantial evidence or reporting at all. While this is an opinion column, one just can’t make such a loud, hyperbolic statement without giving the reader anything to quantify the reasoning.

Are we really supposed to believe Smith spends his entire Saturday nights standing outside of Gallette’s, taking note of the crowd? If he does in fact do that, he fails to mention it anywhere in the story.

Smith further continues his attack on Gallette’s by stating:

“Out-of-state students accustomed to living in suite-style dorms are no longer charmed by dilapidated restrooms that would be considered unsanitary even in a third world country. After all, bars in Charlotte, Dallas and Atlanta don’t distinguish themselves by not cleaning their toilets. One long weekend in the exquisite confines of Miami Beach only reminded them of what they’d been missing.”

Smith seems to be making the claim that Gallette’s has rather poor bathroom facilities and that is the reason why students do not go there anymore.

Once again, however, he has no facts, no data, no quotes, nor a poll to confirm his reasoning. Furthermore, he seemingly lays claim to having been in establishments in Charlotte, Dallas, Atlanta and Miami Beach that have exquisite bathrooms. Or has he? Is he referencing UA’s out-of-state student body population with that line, or am I reading too much into it? I guess we will never know since Smith is about as clear as a smudgy windshield in that paragraph.

Smith goes on to give Gallette’s a pair of backhanded compliments in the rest of the article before ratcheting up the hyperbole meter to levels never previously seen in journalism before or since (and yes, I was being ironic with that last sentence).

Smith closes out his uninformed, milquetoast op-ed with this ridiculous statement:

“…future students will have to decide how to reconcile deeply rooted traditions with a rapidly evolving campus. Their response to that challenge may emerge as one of the most fascinating stories in the state of Alabama over the next decade. Hopefully, we will celebrate and enjoy growth and change while still embracing noble traditions. In the coming years, Gallettes may show us how.”

Really?

So let me get this right…

Smith spends 80% of his piece throwing Gallette’s under the bus and telling us how horrible it is. Then, at the end of his article he decides that this same bar is going to set the gold standard at UA for embracing tradition and change?

And exactly how does a bar set an example for the student body when 75% of the students are under the legal drinking age?

Hopefully Mr. Smith didn’t write this article at Gallette’s, drink in hand, given the rather rambling incoherence it possesses. But I imagine he didn’t set foot in Gallette’s given how bad the bathrooms are. Or did he?

I guess we’ll never know…

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