I feel compelled to write a rebuttal in response to Matt Evans-Young’s opinion piece “True Blues or Mercenaries”.

He goes particularly hard after one demographic – the international MSc Management Research students trialling for the Blues Boat. I fit that description very well, actually perfectly. I also feel it is my responsibility to set the record straight on some insinuations made in his article.

I couldn’t disagree more that I am “tarnishing” Oxford’s reputation. My decision to attend Oxford was mostly based on the reputation of the University and my interest in the course, along with the opportunity to compete at a high level in rowing while studying.

My reason for acceptance probably had something to do with my 1st class degree from Brown, my 1st class degree from Noble and Greenough School, my scoring well above the course requirements on the GRE entry exam, sterling recommendations from past professors, and yes even my personal statement (which was excellent and something I am happy to share with Mr. Evans-Young). In short I am more than academically qualified to be at Oxford.

In response to rowing providing me a “free meal ticket” this year that charge is absolutely laughable. As a non-EU student I am paying over $51,000 to attend Oxford this year, helping to subsidize the artificially low tuitions paid by E.U. residents. If you want to talk about something that is fundamentally unfair about this school, how about discriminatory fees based on your country of origin. Perhaps Mr. Evans-Young and I have a different interpretation of “free”.

As for the charge of somehow not representing the school, I would invite you to come by Christ Church and introduce yourself to some of the other graduates who will tell you that I am indeed involved in the community and a respected member. I will cede this point though, rowing takes about 40 hours a week on top of my studies so I don’t have as many late nights as the average student.

I suppose the difference in our views on athletics is that I see the added challenge, discipline, and goal setting required to maintain this balance as and element that enhances my experience. Prior to arriving at Oxford I competed for the United States on several national teams, an achievement that took a lot of effort, and my international accomplishments compare with the current and past Olympic medallists from the OUBC. People who have shown this amount of drive and dedication to such an arduous venture have a lot to offer to Oxford, both academically and on a world stage- and the Boat Race is just that.