|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.
. . . Colgate lost one of its most devoted sons on August 20. Charles `Jack' Hughes '40 left us with a rich memory of a man who gave his all for his school and his fraternity. Who can forget Jack's wit and down-to-earth common sense? How can we replace his dedication to alma mater that manifested itself in so many ways? The Class of 1940 depended upon him to arrange and officiate at all of its eleven reunions and raise most of its gifts. Brothers of the KDR house were inspired by Jack for the 40 years he took personal responsibility for their welfare while he was president of the Kappa Delta Rho Corporation. Intercollegiate Red Raider athletes are indebted to him for his service on the Hall of Honor Committee and for his tireless personal attendance at most varsity games and many practices. As a merchant in nearby Madison, he sold appliances to many of the faculty and administration and always backed up his sales with prompt and reliable service. Jack was the epitome of a self-made man. He wanted an education and a vocation so desperately that he worked for everything he needed through college and later built a career as a salesman par excellence. With it all he left a wonderful wife, Barbara, and two splendid children. How much more can a man leave than Jack did with his many riches, not the least of which was a most distinguished reputation? We shall sorely miss him.
GEORGE W. FISK '40
. . . The picture on the first page of The Colgate Scene for September 1996 beautifully illustrates a problem that has not been addressed at Colgate for years. Wm. Brian Little is shown standing by the beautiful bronze replica of the Colgate Seal that is mounted on a stone column that I believe is by Broad Street at the northwest corner of the campus. The bronze plaque is not legible in the photograph, but more importantly, people driving past it on Broad Street probably can't read it.
In the course of a year there are probably many thousand tourists and visitors who drive through Hamilton on the state highway on Broad Street who may wonder what institution this is that sits so beautifully to the east of the street. The sign in the picture is the only thing that will give them a clue, yet the sign can't give them the information they want.
What is needed is a sign on a horizontal stone bench perhaps 5 feet high and 15 feet long, parallel to the street down by Taylor Lake. The sign should have large elegant letters cleanly mounted on an uncluttered light-colored background framed by stone that say "Colgate University." In this regard, the university has been holding its candle under a bushel for too long.
All the best.
ALBERT ALLEN BARTLETT '44
Editor's note: The Class of 1995 shared Mr. Bartlett's concern and gave as its class gift a sign that will be located at the intersection of Oak Drive and Broad Street. Construction is expected next summer. The sign, of limestone and bluestone ashlar, will be approximately 30 feet long, in a format similar to that suggested by Mr. Bartlett.
. . . I have followed with interest the recent correspondence concerning Attorney General Dennis Vacco's revocation of the Department of Law's policy protecting its employees from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.
I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of the Attorney General's statement that he does not regard sexual orientation as a proper basis for adverse employment decisions. The fact is, however, that when he took office in January 1995, Attorney General Vacco did revoke a long-standing, written Department of Law policy which prohibited employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and which provided employees who claimed to be the victims of such discrimination with access to an internal grievance procedure as a means for redress. At the time, the public explanation for this action was that since the State Human Rights Law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, it would be inappropriate for the Attorney General to do so by policy. This eliminated the only legal barrier that existed against sexual orientation discrimination for Department of Law employees.
I do not know why the Attorney General thought it necessary or appropriate to eliminate this legal protection. When Governor Pataki took office, he retained a nearly identical protection for employees of the Executive Branch. At any rate, in New York it is illegal for a public employer such as the Department of Law to change its employees' working conditions, including anti-discrimination protections, without first negotiating with the collective bargaining representative of the affected employees.
In response to the Attorney General's unilateral change of the anti-discrimination policy, the Public Employees Federation, which represents many of the Department of Law's professional employees, filed an improper labor practice charge with the State Public Employment Relations Board. The charge alleged that the Attorney General acted illegally by changing the Department of Law's anti-discrimination policy without obtaining the negotiated agreement of the union representing the department's employees.
In settlement of this charge, the Attorney General agreed to issue a letter affirming that the Department of Law would not discriminate against employees based on sexual orientation and restoring access to the grievance procedure. Effectively, this settlement restores both the Department of Law's anti-discrimination policy and its enforcement mechanism to those which existed before Mr. Vacco took office.
RICHARD E. CASAGRANDE '72
"An end in itself"
. . . Andy Rooney's commencement speech as printed in the July 1996 Scene reminded me of a comment one of my professors made almost 20 years ago. This professor described with great disdain the choice a fellow classmate made to go into farming. He said this person was "wasting his life and education" being "just a dirt farmer." I remember thinking at the time "How would you eat if people didn't waste their lives being dirt farmers?"
It was refreshing to hear Mr. Rooney applaud those among us who work with their hands (or backs). I would like to remind my fellow Colgate graduates that all wealth is generated by those folks who labor at the most elementary and physical level. The farmers who feed us, the miners and wood sawers who provide raw materials, the factory workers who make things, the carpenters
and masons who house us, the well drillers who bring oil to us all fuel the economy. Without this most elemental labor there would be no colleges or universities. These important institutions, which we value so highly, exist because of the surplus wealth generated by those who labor. This is not to detract from those professions that do not involve physical labor. Doctors, lawyers, business executives, professors and scientists all play important roles too. It's just that the laboring people of the world are so often looked down upon by those who are "educated."
I consider myself lucky that in my circle of friends I know a lawyer who works as a carpenter, an auto mechanic who has a Ph.D. in history, a carpenter who has written a novel, a stonemason who has a Ph.D. in history, and many college educated artisans who weave, build cabinets, make wooden bowls, make pottery, paint houses, paint paintings, do plumbing, wire houses, build houses or fix cars for a living.
As Andy Rooney said, "Being educated is an end in itself." It enriches our lives no matter what we choose to do to "make a living." It can only be wasted when we stop learning new things, when we put up walls to block new experiences and ideas, or when we write off people because of the type of work they do.
WILLIAM B. WYLIE '77
. . . The late Frank Dugan, a member of the library faculty from 1970 to 1988, was also a staunch friend of the library. It seems especially appropriate, therefore, that the Friends of the Library, at the suggestion of Bruce Brown, university librarian emeritus, have established the Frank Gale Dugan, Jr. Book Fund in his memory. His family was pleased to hear about this fund, and they are helping us design an appropriate bookplate -- perhaps with a Celtic border -- for each book purchased.
Contributions to this fund may be sent to the Friends of the Library, Case Library, 13 Oak Drive, Hamilton, New York 13346. We will notify the family of the names of all who make contributions to honor Frank in this special way.
JUDY GIBSON NOYES
No more kudos
. . . This large photograph of carnage (September, pg. 24) is certainly not appropriate for the Scene.
If this gentleman and his exploits were mentioned, perhaps, in text, in his class column, it might be tolerated. The killing of wildlife, especially African, is a very sensitive subject. This photo certainly offended me and may well affect my future giving habits to Colgate.
Thank you for your kind and prompt attention to this matter.
ELIZABETH DOBRICKI '81
. . . We find it unconscionable that the Scene would publish Tom Kunz's pathetic, ego driven musings and depraved photo. Conservation? Mr. Kunz, leave hunting to the big cats.
South Africa's DeKlerk would be wise to consider the teachings of Gandhi; the nation will be judged by the way it treats its animals.
JUNE R. PETROFF '74
Women at Colgate
. . . I was one of the first females accepted at Colgate. I remember interviewing an ancient alum for the Colgate Maroon. What did he think of women at Colgate? He looked me up and down quite thoroughly and then pronounced, "Dissssssgusting." Ah, delightful old coot.
As far as I recall, in 1970 there were 132 women and 1,800 men at Colgate. It was quite a year. One year at Colgate, I took a Russian history course from Doc Reading. I was the only woman in the class. Doc regaled us with sentences that always seemed to end with, "and then they rolled in the bowels of Mother Russia." Doc would get all wound up to tell some incredibly bawdy story. Then, he'd peer out at his audience, see me, and say, "Aw, can't say it. Hazel's here." Toward the end of the semester, when this happened again, I gathered up my courage and yelled back, "Go on! Tell it! I've been waiting all semester for this!" Got an ovation from the rest of the class. Quoth Doc: "Don't push your luck, honey."
I loved Colgate. It was a terrific educational experience for me -- and I don't just mean learning how to cope with angry ol' alums. Grad school and law school definitely paled by comparison.
HAZEL BLUMBERG-MCKEE '74
Keeping in touch
. . . Today I happened to stumble onto @Colgate.
Alumni access to the email directory is great! If more people knew about it and registered, it may actually become a reasonably good resource for networking and keeping in touch with people.
PETER HAFFENBERG '85