|The Colgate Scene invites responsible letters, addressed to the
editor, regarding any subject that may be considered of interest to the
Colgate community. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity.
A noble legacy
. . . Thanks for the article in the Scene about Living Writers and our subvention in the publication of Reg McKnight's book. I hope you agree it's worth using a little space to clarify one statement - that we used "funds specifically allocated for Living Writers." What I wish we could celebrate with our readers is this: those funds were given by alumni expressly to be used for a course taken by undergraduates following in their footsteps - the noblest sort of legacy I've recently heard about.
. . . I was offended by the "Kudos for Kunz" box in the September issue. I have never written any kind of animal rights letter before in my life, and feel that at times the animal rights movement can be taken to extremes. I eat meat and wear leather but . . . Tom Kunz's assertion that "If we make wildlife valuable then it will be preserved" through the licensing fees that wealthy hunters are able to pay the governments of developing African nations seems absolutely absurd to me. Surely, as a corporate finance attorney Mr. Kunz could think of a better way to help protect and preserve the magnificent animals he is so fascinated by other than gunning them down in the hilly South African countryside.
I found it truly offensive to pick up the Scene and find a picture of an alumnus grinning over the body of a beautiful 400-pound animal which was killed for no other reason than Mr. Kunz's enjoyment (and perhaps for a stuffed head to place on the wall of his office). It is all very impressive that Mr. Kunz got to participate in this barbaric sport with South African Deputy President F.W. DeKlerk, but let's not forget that Mr. DeKlerk didn't have much of a problem with apartheid either.
SUSAN MANLY PELOSI '85
. . . The photo of a dead kudu, once majestic, and a smug Kunz, once innocent, is the most repugnant piece I've ever seen in the Scene. The "cute" title is enough to enhance the value of the Kunz-like so-called conservationists in a manner similar to what is prescribed for the wildlife of Africa. His logic of preservation went out with Teddy Roosevelt. Preserving by killing is egotistic, flawed, and should not be condoned or promoted by Colgate. Seeing his Colgate cap truly embarrasses me. Just how much will he pay to shoot the next-to-last bongo?
DAVID HOWELL '66
. . . In your September issue, you have a picture of Tom Kunz standing behind a kudu, whom he had just shot. The association of the Colgate hat and Colgate Scene with the high-powered rifle and death of a majestic animal absolutely sickens me. Hunting of a majestic animal in what remains of rural Africa should neither be condoned or publicized by your newspaper. I hope that you will be more sensitive to articles which convey exploitation of our natural resources in future issues.
BERTRAM W. BERNEY, MD '75
. . . The photo of a healthy 400-pound animal that was shot and killed for fun by Tom Kunz, along with your caption, "Kudos for Kunz" mystified me. Are kudos in order here? The Colgate Scene should be ashamed that it would actually publish a picture like this, along with Kunz' associated drivel about hunting and killing being essential to the survival of African wildlife. It is remarkably naive to think that trophy hunters are, in any manner, providing ecological benefits to wildlife. This type of hunting is nothing other than murder for laughs: the animal pictured took several years to achieve its size and maturity, and was destroyed in less than a second by a high-powered rifle with a telescopic sight.
Nor can Kunz and his cronies hide their purely recreational activity behind a banner of providing money to local villages. There are numerous African villages that profit from non-consumptive ecotourism activities such as wildlife viewing and photo safaris. The Owens Foundation for Wildlife Conservation, for example, is working with 2,000 families in 14 African villages on rural economic development programs and ecotourism activities. With the growing number of world citizens who are concerned about the environmental and animal cruelty versus the small number of people who still kill wildlife in the name of fun African villages will undoubtedly profit more by protecting their wildlife than by caving in to the special interests of the trophy hunting lobby. Wealthy, elitist trophy hunters who fly to other lands and take guided tours to assassinate wildlife cannot disguise their contemptible and biologically reckless activity as "conservation." The killing of animals for fun is a good example of suspect cruelty, not sustainable utilization.
JOHN BRODERICK '74
No Baseball at Colgate
. . . We recently had the pleasure of visiting our son at Colgate on Family Weekend. While enjoying a walk around campus on a beautiful day our pleasure turned to sadness as we reached the athletic fields. The baseball diamond was no more. Gone were the bases and the pitcher's mound. Gone were the dugouts, the backstop and the foul poles. All that remained was a solitary batting cage, looking lost and forgotten. New sod covered the barely discernible remnants of the infield. Fresh white lines adorned the grass for some unknown replacement sport, most likely under the control of a clock rather than the last out. Although we have had more than two years to prepare for this fateful day, we were not prepared for the complete erasure of our national pastime at Colgate.
Later that day during dinner at the Colgate Inn there would only be football on the Tap Room TVs. Coincidentally, it was an off day in the Major League playoff series. How appropriate, no baseball! While discussing the possibility of a club sport, difficult without a playing field, our son called our attention to a picture of the 1889 Colgate baseball team hanging on the wall. This was the only reminder of what once was. More than 100 years later and less than 100 miles from Cooperstown there is no longer baseball at Colgate. How sad.
DAVID R. AND PATRICIA G. RENAUD
. . . Just received my November Scene and noted with sadness the passing of Bill Fackelman '56. Bill was a friend and fellow footballer when I was in school - tough did not begin to describe Bill. He was a rock.
One of the biggest occasions in Hamilton during those years of long very cold winters, before color TV, the hockey team, bowling alleys, pubs and girls on campus were the intramural boxing matches. Every evening it was SRO in the gym. The winter of '53 saw Bill, representing the Phi Psis, vs. George Gardella, now deceased, another football player, representing the Phi Delt house, in the heavyweight finals. Bill was small in stature with a murderous right hand but George was quite large, well built and about 6'3".
As I recall it was somewhere in the first round that Bill landed a right hand haymaker that was heard in Sherburne and George was out cold. The Delts claimed it was a fluke and their cry was "wait 'till next year."
Winter '54 came inexorably, same heavyweight final matchup, but even bigger anticipation. The gym was really rocking. Alas the same result, exactly. George went out on his shield and Bill reigned indisputably. Not certain there will be another rematch - maybe - but Bill Fackelman and George Gardella were both winners - big time!
GARY CHANDLER '54
. . . As a member of the Class of 1956 and a fairly close friend of the late Bill Fackelman during college days, I feel compelled to pay some tribute to his memory.
`The Whale,' as he was pleased to be known, was a rare combination of many ingredients, even for a Colgate man of that era. He possessed intelligence, discipline, good humor, exceptional athletic ability and a beautiful singing voice. It should be no surprise then, that those qualities, when considered with his intramural championships in boxing and chug-a-lugging, made him the most popular figure on campus for four years. He was a person who made an indelible impression on many others and I, for one, will not soon forget him.
ARTHUR DISCHIAVO '56
I went to see the film director Joe Berlinger '83 speak in San Francisco about the release of his new documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders of Robin Hood Hills. In his opening remarks he said he wasn't always a filmmaker. He started off as a German major at Colgate University. I was so proud! I clapped quietly and he said, "Wow! You went to Colgate?" Then a third person in the small lecture hall waved too. Small world.
I can't stop thinking about the people in the film, and what the film says about the media and the court system. I hope lots of you alumni go to see it. You will be proud too.
SUE JACOBY '86
. . . Enjoyed your very interesting article on Cornel West in the November issue, especially where it says that "his hope rises from a faith in the individuals of our society and country." It seems that his hope is really brought out to your readers by the spread on pages 18 and 19! Congratulations!
BOB BURLINGAME '52
. . . My congratulations to Monica Crowley '90 for furthering our understanding of one of the most complex personalities of this century, Richard Nixon. I anxiously await the second volume. In her introduction, Ms. Crowley states her first memory of the man was his resignation speech when she was five. Mine was his first election victory when I was seven. Now, we have both grown up with remarkably different perceptions: hers, a sense of awe and devotion; mine, tainted with cynicism.
Although Ms. Crowley and I are clearly from different political camps, I have followed Mr. Nixon through many biographies (mostly unfair), memoirs, videos and interviews right up through Nixon Off The Record and my feelings toward this man, while more sympathetic, still reverberate with caution. When I first arrived at Colgate in the fall of 1978, he had yet to "shake the yoke" of cruel public ridicule. "Don't buy books by crooks!" was the dorm room poster-du-jour. There was even a general boycott of a lecture by former subordinate and loose cannon G. Gordon Liddy.
Now Ms. Crowley has given us a distilled Mr. Nixon. In a charming opening to the book (a wide-eyed Q&A with her mentor) he invites comparison with some of our greatest presidents. As well-intended as this might have been, I still cannot help but remember this kind of braggadocio in the context of his wily "I had no knowledge" speeches during the two-and-a-half years of Watergate. In this section, he also objects to charges of insecurity when by contrast his own "Mr. Clean" at the time, Defense Secretary (and later Attorney General) Elliot Richardson stated that it was this very insecurity that led to his drive.
It's fine to highlight the triumphs of his inroads to China and his brilliance in assessing other heads-of-state (particularly in his memoirs.) It is also fine to now temper the somewhat hysterical reactions of the press and the public during each break in the Watergate story. Nevertheless,
I still get my feathers ruffled when we try to use these accomplishments to minimize the impact of what, in 1994, CBS' Daniel Schorr called the "tragic legacy of Watergate," that no president since has ever been trusted - or is likely to be trusted - for some time.
KEITH GARSSON '82
. . . Count me in among those who are glad Nixon did not make Colgate "the one" (the university to be addressed again in his `comeback'). It's clear that Monica Crowley knew a very different Nixon than I did.
One of the favorite songs of the Colgate 13 during the Nixon Presidency was "Draft Dodger Rag." A favorite line went, "I ain't no fool, I'm a-goin-ta school," oft in disguise as, "I ain't no tool, I'm a-goin-taschool."
It would have been a mistake for Colgate to allow itself to be the tool of the most ignominious figure of our time. 'Nuff said.
THOMAS C. MATERA '74
The Scene and mainstream
. . . Surely the Colgate Scene must be one of the most original and comprehensive college alumni publications in the United States. I applaud you for that apparent fact.
Throughout the many years I have read your publication, I have been impressed, however, that it is a publication which does not represent the "mainstream" of thought or representation of many graduates of Colgate. Your features and articles seem to forget that there were many who received their degrees from Colgate who were not athletes or sons of wealthy families or famous personages. Contrarily, I submit that most Colgate graduates were of ordinary, broadly representative families of society.
I personally tire of reading of the litany of the wealthy, favored and privileged group who perpetuate themselves as alumni spokespersons of the university. Granted, Colgate was founded and sustained on the generous support of wealthy and successful families but there are countless graduates who have distinguished themselves by deeds and contributions to society who are not "known" or who are not publicized. We never hear about them.
My reaction over the years of digesting Colgate publications is that unless you are from a privileged and/or wealthy family, you do not deserve recognition by Colgate. There are many who deserved admittance to Colgate who did not receive it because their parents were not substantial contributors to the Alumni Fund or who were perceived as never being able to fit that standard.
Colgate congratulates itself for being a college of diversity and background, lending itself to a distinctive and commended admittance policy. My impression over the years is that Colgate has established itself as an elitist institution which is foreign to what I knew as a student during the postwar 1940s when I was in attendance. I no longer know the school from which I graduated.
You have turned many of us off and tuned many of us out. Perhaps the Colgate "direction" needs to be evaluated in order to formulate itself into a more representative posture. I applaud the wealthy "who make the Colgate Scene," but I wonder why the recognition is also not given to others who make significant contributions to society upon which one can't place a dollar sign. I am sure they vastly outnumber those with deep pockets.
GERALD J. (PETE) PHELPS '49
An editor's praise
As a one-time editor of the Scene, I recall that criticism of our effort was much easier to collect than praise. Therefore, I want to comment on recent Scenes, and I shall presume to speak for my successor, the late Bob Finegan, in saying that we are mightily pleased with the growth and maturity of "our baby." In both text and photos, the publication is one of such all Colgaters should be justly proud! I found the Stephen Levy article in the November issue relating to the importance of parenthood to teachers especially telling, reflecting that most of my teachers from K-8 were older, single women. In my area of Upstate New York (Southern Tier) there apparently was at that time a prejudice against married women, based, I suppose, on the theory that they should be home taking care of the house. And I'm sure that my era was far from alone in that benighted theory!
In any case, though it is 20 years since I left the Valley, I look forward to my bi-monthly visits back in your pages.
Help from Beyond the Reef
Here at our school on a remote island in Micronesia, we were overwhelmed by the response from Colgate alumni and friends to our May 1996 article in the Scene. We received a terrific amount of supplies, including pens, pencils, paper, crayons, books, magazines, math games, stationery, glue, scissors, construction paper, rulers, stickers, markers and other much-needed materials. We also received donations toward the building of our new school, medicines, pen pal contacts and letters of support.
Your generosity has opened up for us far more opportunities to teach, learn and create. And your contact has made a world of difference in what we are able to strive for and accomplish. But more than anything else, you have given us hope. Kinisou chapur - thank you very much.
GARDNER D. SMITH '91