The Colgate Scene
May 2004

Letters
The Colgate Scene welcomes letters from readers. We reserve the right to edit letters for brevity and clarity.
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Praises action on KDR

. . . I have nothing but the greatest respect for the courage and integrity it took for President Rebecca Chopp and Dean of the College Adam Weinberg to carry through on the decision to revoke the KDR charter after their last incidents of hazing. When I joined KDR in the spring of 1969, I had my own questions about "selective living" units, but pledged KDR because it seemed one of the least nefarious of the houses on fraternity row, with fewer ceremonies and rites than the others. By the time I graduated in 1972, I had "deactivated" more because I just didn't believe in the system than anything to do with KDR in particular.

In the past 30 years I have kept in close touch with Colgate and have enthusiastically welcomed President Chopp's vision for Colgate's future. That vision, and the vision of anyone thinking toward a tolerant and harmonious world, must include the abandoning of such conventions as hazing and humiliation. If we are to truly become the very best liberal arts institution, where young men and women grow into contributors to community and society, then they must learn to be so while they are here at Colgate. That excludes the supposed right for Greek letter houses to segregate and humiliate.

I am terribly disappointed in KDR alumni who are objecting to this important decision, but extremely proud of my alma mater for making it.

Remembering Hal Lahar

. . . I believe Coach Hal Lahar's legacy was not connected to a coaching technique or methodology; the impact he made on us was based on his intractable integrity.

When he had something to say, you knew it was the plain truth. Today, public figures are said to put a "spin" on events to recast them. No way would Coach consider that. When he acted, he did something because he believed it was the right thing to do. You didn't do something for the wrong motive. When he undertook something, he gave it everything he had, and he resolutely expected the same of everyone around him. Anyone who played for him can certainly recall his response to less than 100 percent effort: "No excuses." I can still remember on punt and kick-off coverage, one of his favorite admonishments: "Make errors of commission, not omission!" It is a lesson I have tried to carry on in my life.

About ten years ago I was having dinner with him and his wife Dottie, and as we were about to leave, he carefully formed a question for me: "Tell me, was football important?"

"Yes." I said. Not that we gave it much introspection in our playing days, but my awareness of the ways it has shaped me has continued to grow with the years. Just as my appreciation for the standards Coach set, and his enduring impact.

When everything is said and done about a man, what is more important in life than being remembered for your integrity?

Thank you, Coach, for the privilege. It is an honor.

(Former football coach Hal Lahar died in October 2003. -- Ed.)
Kudos for football coverage

. . . Gary Frank's article titled "Our Team," followed by Timothy Sofranko's photographs, titled "A season to cherish," were two of the finest, most well-written, and emotionally moving documents that have ever been written about any sports program at Colgate. For my wife and I, it settled all doubt about the greatness and character of the football team, despite the loss in the [NCAA] championship game. To both of them, we say bravo. With so many of the team members returning, including Chris Brown '05 and Jamaal Branch '05, we should have another memorable season. My wife and I will be at the Homecoming game to cheer the team on. I have always been proud of the college, but now I am exceptionally proud and honored to be part of the "Colgate family."

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