|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 different perspective
... While reading John L. Habib's "Letter from the Middle East" (November Scene), I was stunned and disturbed by his insertion of his political views on the Arab-Israeli conflict in an article that was, supposedly, a tribute to his years at Colgate. After I finished the article, I was appalled that you would allow the seemingly explanatory comments to be printed when they are obviously anti-Israel.
My years at Colgate taught me to be thorough. Yet, if Mr. Habib wants to "explain" East Jerusalem for those of us who are ignorant about the geographical complexities of that most holy city to the Jewish people, then perhaps he should point out a little more of the background. Specifically, Jerusalem has remained the capital of the Jewish people for 3000 years, whether or not the U.S., for political reasons, chooses not to accept this fact. Moreover, it was Israel that accepted the International Law set by the United Nations in 1948 and the surrounding Arab countries that chose to go to war -- in 1948, again in 1956, again in 1967 and yet again in 1973. Israel has defended itself and its mandated property when she pushed back her aggressors and took back Jerusalem, only to find the Jewish Quarter raped and pillaged with every synagogue (58 in total) destroyed.
Mr. Habib goes on to insert, again in a seemingly innocuous manner, another anti-Israel barb about the language spoken in East Jerusalem. East Jerusalem is part of Israel and has more religious freedom under Israeli authority than Jordanian. In fact, it was under Jordanian rule that Christians were prohibited from acquiring property and required to close schools and businesses on Muslim holidays as well as include Muslim teachings in their schools. Israel, on the other hand, encourages religious freedom and provides much needed economic and educational funding. Why hold Israel to a different standard regarding the use of Hebrew in legal proceedings when any other nation would do and does the same?
I give Mr. Habib credit for having some sympathy for the many Israelis who have suffered from the ongoing peace process which, since the famous "handshake," has seen over 150 Israelis killed in the name of peace. It's no wonder that border guards are ruthlessly careful to protect their population from possible terrorist attacks.
I object to the tone of Mr. Habib's letter. I object to the underhanded way in which he used our fond memories for Colgate to entertain his political agenda in an alumni newspaper. I object most strongly to your lack of common sense in printing his article with those explanatory comments remaining. Shame on you for what I can only surmise was a desire for "editorial evenhandedness" when what it resulted in was giving the Arab view without any consideration for the Israeli perspective.
NANCY RABIN NEFF '79
Sexuality an issue
... I was surprised to learn that Dennis Vacco was a Colgate alumnus (November Scene). I wouldn't expect the Scene to negatively portray an alum in a feature story, so I felt compelled to express my dissatisfaction with Mr. Vacco as New York State Attorney General.
Earlier this year Mr. Vacco removed sexual orientation from a list of categories that merit protection from discrimination in his office. While age, race, creed, color, nationality, disability, or marital status are still protected "categories," Mr. Vacco can now fire gay or lesbian employees of the State Attorney General's office based solely on their sexuality.
It is frightening to think that in 1995, in a state as allegedly progressive as New York, the top law enforcement official in the state would champion such an archaic rule.
But we shouldn't be surprised after the homophobic tactics he employed in 1994 to defeat Karen Burstein in the election. Vacco refused to condemn or distance himself from Guy Molinari's vicious atacks on Burstein for being a lesbian, which supposedly made her an unqualified candidate for the position.
I wish the Scene had added this to the article, which read more like a press release put out by Mr. Vacco's office.
RICH SANDS '91
Follows our first letter to the editor via e-mail ...
The Scene is graphic expression of the quality of Colgate today. It is candid, interesting, timely and well-written. It would be a bargain if you charged a subscription fee.
TERRY THOMPSON '63
And another ...
I think it's great that you now have The Colgate Scene on-line. Keep up the good work. Maybe now I can toss out some of the back issues I've accumulated over the years.
JOHN-MICHAEL BATTAGLIA '68
... I would respectfully request that The Colgate Scene provide us with more news about the problems and controversies on campus. I read the Maroon-News and the vast majority of controversies and problems and alleged problems mentioned in it are never mentioned in the Scene. I read the Yale and Harvard alumni magazines and notice that they regularly mention controversies and problems on campus, and a recent issue of the Harvard Alumni Magazine blasted the Harvard administration in an editorial. Such reporting on controversies and problems creates an honest coming to grips with problems and provokes thought, change and hope.
The second issue I deal with in this letter is leadership at Colgate. Colgate's founders, and its early presidents, had a clear idealistic vision about the purpose of life. It was to convert as many people as possible to Christianity, a vision I share. Several years ago the Maroon-News questioned those on campus thusly: "Is life guided by idealistic principles or pragmatism?" One of the respondents was President Neil R. Grabois who said, "Neither. It is guided by the struggle for survival." This is a totally non-idealistic view and indicates Colgate's presidency has swung 360 degrees since 1819.
Unfortunately, President Grabois carried out this view several years ago when the faculty voted overwhelmingly to abolish fraternitiess and institute the Yale-Harvard-Williams-Amherst residential college system as the Colgate living system. Ignoring the faculty vote, President Grabois continued to implement the present living system, passing up the greatest opportunity for idealistic change in recent Colgate history.
He has not taken a strong stand against alcohol use and abuse at Colgate. He has not set forth a vision by which Colgate athletic coaches teach the values of love and abstention from alcohol as Colgate coaches did in the early years of the university.
Many positive changes have taken place at Colgate while he was president. He has clearly been impressed by the true spirit of Colgate which is rooted in the message of Christianity. But I feel he has been at Colgate long enough and that it is time for a change and a new president who more closely reflects Colgate's founding and eternal purpose.
EDWARD T O'DONNELL JR. '70
A commitment to football
As an avid and true "blood flows maroon" Colgate football follower, I would like to offer some sensible comments and observations:
(1) The new coaching staff will know what to do on the field. It is up to the community and administration to support their efforts.
(2) In order to win on this level you need juniors and seniors playing on both lines, and to be able to dominate teams on the line.
(3) There has to be a clear mechanism in place to ensure that prospective players commit to playing four years at Colgate.
(4) If players drop out, we should not be so elitist as to not offer the opportunity to a junior college player with the commitment and experience needed to fill the void.
(5) In order to attract a skilled player the caliber of an Erik Marsh [at Lafayette], the coaches have to be able to say we will average 6'4" on the lines with experience.
(6) The junior varsity program needs to be upgraded to allow for at least one game per season to be played in the New York metro area. This would motivate players in the early part of their careers by having a chance to play in front of family and friends.
(7) Now that the Patriot League will finally allow a representative in the 1-AA playoffs, that should be our goal. We should empower Coach Biddle to recruit players with the commitment to compete for four years to get into this event, or else replace those who choose to quit with someone who will not quit.
(8) President Grabois should take note that we alumni cherish our shared experiences and challenges at Colgate. For many of us, on fall afternoons, we choose to remember those days with an outing to a Red Raider game. And we want to have more memories to include the proper protection and enhancement of players like Mark Lindell ['98] and Marcus Cameron ['97].
Let the quitters attend other Patriot League schools. The time has come for Colgate to reach out to its fans with a commitment to legitimate Division I football once again.
MICHAEL A. CAREY '74
... Who has seen at least one Colgate football game per year for the greatest number of year? I saw Eddie Tryon defeat Syracuse in 1925 at the tender age of 10. And excepting the 1944 season when I was in the Army, I've seen at least one Colgate football game in every year thereafter.
My record was early tainted by the fact that for the first five years, forgive me, I was pulling for Syracuse! I had a valid reason for this early malfeasance, however. My father, who had attended Amherst College, had then gone on to law school at Syracuse University. Why he had gone to Amherst rather than Colgate is a story I only tell to Phi Gams. The record will show, however, that I never saw Colgate lose to Syracuse until I myself was in law school in Albany (Union University) and had returned to watch that annual event in the fall of 1938.
My longtime close friend Ted Mulford '41 and his family and whose mother had gone to Syracuse, joined my family in those annual treks to Syracuse in 1928 and we both soon became converts to the noble cause.
This continuous record of attending at least one game per year was kept intact on Thanksgiving Day 1945 by a Syracuse law graduate who drove me to Providence to watch the Colgate-Brown game. We were at the time trying court martial cases at Camp Edwards on Cape Cod.
My record was begun by games against Syracuse. Of these I missed only the ones during World War II and one happy miss in 1961 when I was preparing for a law suit. We lost that one -- the game, not the lawsuit.
My years in the State Senate often made attendance difficult in campaign years. This was usually solved by combining a campaign stop at a shopping mall in Norwich with going to Hamilton. Here I was usually accompanied not only by Ted Mulford but by Joe Burczak '46 and my son Larry '68. Joe had been a stalwart lineman under Andy Kerr.
I hope attendance at one of the home games this fall will extend my record to 71 years and that we will win at least one game. On that score, however, I must admit that my attendance of late has much more to do with a chance to talk with alumni friends before and after the game than what happens on the field.
Did any alumnus start watching games before 1925 and have a longer continuous record?
WARREN M. ANDERSON '37
... This may not be a very popular suggestion/criticism, but after reading the last two years worth of Scenes (I was a bit behind) I feel it needs to be made.
While I enjoy reading the profiles of fellow Colgate alums achieving their career/personal dreams, it seems that this singular perspective on life does not adequately convey the diverse lives that we alums are living. Not all lives or efforts achieve success and many end in failure.
Why not a few profiles of courage? The woman who fought breast cancer yet succumbed. The man who struggles day-in, day-out with AIDS. The entrepreneur who gambled all, and lost. The family care giver who works tirelessly, in obscurity, to give the best to his/her family and community.
We are a community that should be interested in, and celebrate, all the battles of life, not just the successful or high profile ones. Failure, tragedy and setbacks are not only universal but also important learning experiences.
Let the Scene reflect this diversity and let the community learn from all the efforts and outcomes we, as alums, experience.
JAMES R. EHRLER '84