Mail Room

By The Editors / September / October 2002
June 29th, 2007

In Ramallah

Watson Institute for International Studies assistant professor Jarat Chopra penned a dramatic account of his experience in Ramallah during the Israeli incursion ("Under Siege," Faculty P.O.V. July/August). He poignantly describes the difficulties Palestinian civilians have undergone during the Israeli operations in the West Bank. Tragically, many Palestinian civilians have in fact been swept into the maelstrom of violence. Their story should be told. Unfortunately, Chopra gives scant mention to one critical fact: that the Israeli forces entered the West Bank towns in response to a spate of suicide bombings of innocent Israeli citizens.

Would the professor have us believe that the Israeli forces entered the towns without good reason? Does he think that Israel, in the face of repeated bombings of buses, discotheques, and cafes, should simply sit back and take it? Did the United States simply sit back and take the September 11 terrorist attacks?

No, Professor Chopra, Israel was doing what any nation must do in such circumstances: acting forcefully to forestall future bombings and thus protect the security of her people. The military incursion was directed at specific Palestinian militant leaders, their bases, and bomb-making facilities. If Palestinian civilians were harmed in the course of these actions, then the Palestinian leaders have only themselves to blame - for allowing bombs to be built, weapons to be stockpiled, and suicide bombers to be dispatched from the midst of densely populated residential areas.

War is debilitating and demeaning to all unfortunate enough to get caught in its clutches. But Professor Chopra fails to tell the whole story, thus distorting the tragic reality of the Middle East conflict and obfuscating rather than elucidating a path to peace for all the inhabitants of the Holy Land.

Alan Axelrod '76

I was disturbed by the biases and inaccuracies in Jarat Chopra's Faculty P.O.V.

Chopra paints Ramallah as an innocent town victimized by an Israeli "invasion." He says a "great pall" hung over the city, "panic set in," and "men and women withdrew helplessly" as "well-armed soldiers in flak jackets" attacked, leaving Ramallah "disfigured and altered indefinitely."

If Ramallah is "disfigured," though, it is not because of Israel's "invasion." Ramallah's ugliness stems from the fact that it is, quite literally, the capital of Palestinian terror. It is the home base of both Fatah (run by Yasir Arafat) and Tanzim (headed by Marwan Barghouti, now in Israeli custody), organizations responsible for scores of deadly terrorist attacks. It is also the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority's official paramilitary forces, including the infamous Force 17. In addition, Ramallah is used as a rendezvous point for Hamas homicide/suicide bombers.

In the past year and a half, the terrorist infrastructure in Ramallah has executed or contributed to attacks that have killed and maimed hundreds - including (for example) the August 9, 2001, Sbarro pizzeria homicide/suicide bombing (fifteen killed, 100 wounded), the December 1, 2001, pedestrian mall homicide/suicide bombing (eleven killed, 150 wounded), and the March 9, 2002, Caf} Moment homicide/suicide bombing (eleven killed, fifty wounded). A Palestinian police station in Ramallah was also the site where Vadim Norzhich and Yosef Avrahami, two noncombatant Israeli reservists, were brutally lynched by a Palestinian mob on October 12, 2000, after making a wrong turn into Ramallah in their car. Incredibly, the inhuman attacks that led to the Israel Defense Force's operation merit passing mention in just two sentences of Chopra's article.

The article also badly mischaracterizes the nature of the operation, alleging that it was "understood that surrender was not welcome." In fact, the goal of the operation was, if possible, to arrest terrorists rather than kill them. The results of the operation bear this out. On March 31 the New York Times reported that Israeli troops "had returned to Ramallah and entered Yasir Arafat's compound, searching rooms and making arrests." By April 5, the Times reported 1,200 arrested. By the end of the operation, more than 4,500 suspected terrorists had been detained. The operation also netted thousands of firearms, mortars, missiles, homicide/suicide explosive belts, bomb-making factories, and other material banned by the Oslo Accords and international law.

I was surprised that, with his legal training and expertise, Chopra did not see fit either to make substantive mention of Palestinian terror attacks against Israel, which constitute grave war crimes, or to acknowledge Israel's legal right (enshrined in Article 51 of the U.N. Charter) to use military force in self-defense.

I can only hope that the Israel Defense Force operations in Ramallah (and elsewhere), like the U.S. military operations in Afghanistan (and elsewhere), will discourage would-be terrorists from plying their trade, either in the Middle East or on our shores. The siege of Ramallah may well have prevented the next terrorist attack, on our (Warwick Mall) Sbarro, (Meeting Street) Caf} or (Thayer Street) pedestrian mall.

Michael N. Rader '95
Brookline, Mass.

The writer is vice president of the Lawyers' Committee for Democracy in the Middle East.

It's refreshing to read something that does not parrot the party line that the Palestinians are the terrorists and the Israelis are making a justifiable response, encouraged by President Bush in his one-sided support of them and obvious opposition to, and insulting treatment of, Arafat.

I hold no brief for the horrible murderous suicide bombings, but as a Jewish American, I am appalled and ashamed by the disproportionate, humiliating, and, finally, ineffective behavior of the Israeli army and government. Each hostile incident on either side delays peace and increasingly makes it hostage to the most extreme elements on both sides. They must forge ahead regardless, as the opposing forces have done with substantial success in Ireland. The chain of catastrophic incident followed by catastrophic retaliation must be broken.

Arnold Messner '49 A.M.
Great Neck, N.Y.

I am unhappy about your decision to print Jarat Chopra's P.O.V. without placing alongside it a piece written, for example, by a Brown alumnus living in Jerusalem, fearful every day of what might happen to his children on the bus to school. Perhaps you thought that by packaging the essay as "a teacher [finding] himself unable to return to his students," you obviated the need to give equal time to another perspective. But there is more to be said than Chopra's fleeting reference to the bombing at the hotel in Netanya, which precipitated Israel's military action in Ramallah. Does Israel not have the right, indeed the obligation to its citizens and to the international antiterrorist effort, to attempt to root out the terror infrastructure?

Let me be clear with you that I am a Jew whose loyalty lies unquestionably - though not unquestioningly - with Israel. My politics generally run considerably left of center and to the more peaceful end of a dove-hawk continuum; I support the establishment of a Palestinian state; and I grieve for dead children no matter where they lived. I also hold the Arab - not Israeli - leadership of many decades primarily responsible for the straits in which Palestinians find themselves, which is where Chopra and I part company.

Leslie Pollack Wenning '75
Bethany, Conn.

Is chopra's position as an assistant professor at Brown sufficient reason for the BAM to print such an essentially unsubstantiated piece? The situation in the Middle East is immensely complex and it deserves a complex treatment, not a one-sided screed in which anecdotal Palestinian accusations are presented as pure fact, where anything said by an Israeli is framed in quotation marks to highlight the author's derision, and where the exasperated reader is expected, amid all the carnage, to lament the end of Chopra's ability to appreciate the music from Am}lie. The BAM must do better.

Lawrence Jurrist '70
Hollywood, Fla.

Jarat Chopra's Faculty P.O.V. was a refreshing and welcome contrast to the reporting typically found on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and I wish to thank you for publishing such a straight-forward, important, and powerful story.

The picture painted by Chopra is not a pretty one. It is, however, an accurate picture, one the broader media often fail to portray. Our resulting ignorance or, to borrow an apt phrase, our "illusion of knowledge," actively helps perpetuate the catastrophe that is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Articles like Chopra's, on the other hand, have the reverse effect.

Thank you again for publishing it, and let's hope that courage - Chopra's, yours, and the courage it will take us, your readers, to confront the reality that the article describes - will lead to the resolution of a human tragedy that, like it or not, has come to affect us all.

Ahmed Aki Taha '98
San Francisco

As i am sure Chopra is aware, good Friday could never have occurred in the absence of Passover. His poorly named Good Friday invasion would never have occurred in the absence of the Passover massacre that claimed twenty-nine Israeli civilian lives.

I cringe to think what it must be like to take one of Chopra's classes in which the Israeli-Palestinian issue is a topic for discussion.

Eric Sommers '93
Northampton, Mass.

I salute the BAM for providing the perspective of a Brown professor on the tragic events in Ramallah during early April. Many alumni have an emotional attachment to Israel that leads them to perceive any criticism of that nation, or indeed, any criticism of any of its citizens in uniform, as anti-Semitic. Just as I regret that one readily finds even today Germans who deny the involvement of many Wehrmacht units in the slaughters that constituted the Holocaust, I regret that many Saudi citizens deny the extensive involvement of Saudis in the Great Crime of September 11; but I also regret that so many otherwise moral and discerning individuals refuse to acknowledge the obvious when Israelis are involved. Our children will inherit a better world when each of us is willing to accept that members of our nation, tribe, religion, or ethnic group have committed atrocious acts.

Alan Balboni '73 Ph.D.
Las Vegas

What the article by Jarat Chopra possesses in detail, it lacks in context. The words diaspora, ghetto, pogrom, inquisition, concentration camp, genocide, and Holocaust were all originally coined or brought to their current usage to describe the hospitality Jews enjoyed as guests in various lands. Arafat was calling for "a million martyrs" to retake Jerusalem and giving speeches in Arabic advocating the destruction of Israel. There are still twenty Arab countries, including "moderate" dictatorships and kingdoms, that do not recognize that Israel has a right to exist. The unfortunate lesson Israelis have learned from history is that, to survive, Jewish blood can never again be cheap. If the Arabs lay down their weapons, there will be no more violence. If the Israelis lay down their weapons, there will be no more Israel.

Farrel I. Klein '77

The BAM should be a forum for information and ideas - not propaganda.

Jeremy S. Gaies '83
Tampa, Fla.

Jarat Chopra replies: It is a common condition of the Western media that a story on a suicide bombing is news - which it certainly is - but that a story about humanitarian conditions among Palestinians is biased unless it is divided in two, with half the coverage devoted again to what has already been told.

We now know from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that the invasion of the West Bank, which began on Good Friday, 2002, has had profound humanitarian consequences. In a July report, USAID found that 30 percent of children under five there suffer from chronic malnutrition - up from 7.5 percent in 2000; that 30 percent of the 3.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza depend on food handouts from the United Nations, the Red Cross, and other humanitarian organizations; and that 50 percent have to borrow money to purchase food. We also know from USAID that while 720 homes were destroyed by Israeli military forces over the eighteen months before the invasion, 881 homes were destroyed and another 2,883 were damaged in three weeks during it, affecting 22,500 residents. The fact is that 70 percent of Palestinians live below the poverty line of less than $2 per day - a percentage that has risen from the pre-invasion figure of 50 percent. In Nablus not one household was found to have clean drinking water without contamination by fecal bacteria. In addition, USAID reports that, due to closures and curfews, medical facilities in the West Bank are operating at 30 percent capacity, while some 87 percent of households have reported psychological difficulties in one or more family members.

Meanwhile, in June, Israeli forces assessed that Israel could pay for the indefinite occupation of Palestinian areas but could not afford to provide basic services to the population. Where is the humanity in denigrating the suffering of one group by arguing about the suffering of any other? Both are tragedies in their own right.

Job Woes

Thank you to Sasha Polakow-Suransky '01 for constructively highlighting some of the career challenges currently facing many Brown alumni and students ("For Love and Money," July/August).

Since 1999 the alumni relations office and the Brown Alumni Association (BAA) have allocated significant resources to enhance the career programs offered to the Brown community. In doing so, we collaborate with numerous entities on campus, including the Office of Career Services, the Swearer Center, the Graduate School, and the Creative Arts Council. We provide financial support and guidance to student groups, such as the Brown University Entrepreneurship Program. We offer regional career programming through Brown clubs and associations and hold numerous on-campus workshops aimed at connecting students with Brown alumni and preparing them for the practical challenges that lie ahead.

Each program seeks to complement the offerings of other departments to ensure that alumni and students can access communities and services that represent the Brown curriculum, regardless of industry focus or professional interest. For example, Brown's ACCess (Alumni Career Connections) program features a searchable database of more than 8,000 alumni from nonprofit, public, and for-profit sectors volunteering as informational-interview contacts. The Career Networking Conference sponsored in January 2002 involved more than 120 alumni volunteers, including federal employees, nonprofit administrators, and artists, who shared their experiences with more than 900 participating students.

In many ways, alumni represent a ready resource for students by helping them envision and shape their professional lives after Brown. The alumni relations office and the BAA are committed to supporting our diverse alumni and student communities with a broad menu of relevant and compelling programs. We look forward to further improving and expanding these programs so that we may continue to serve all facets of the Brown community. (To learn more about these programs, visit

Lisa Wurtzel Raiola '84

The writer is vice president of alumni relations.

As a former peace corps volunteer, I was pleased to read that some recent Brown graduates are considering careers in public service and nonprofit organizations. However, as a teacher of English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) for the past ten years, I was dismayed and disappointed to read that Dean Ashley seemingly equated teaching ESOL with traveling and volunteering. At the very least, he gave the impression that the teaching of English is not a professional career.

While it is true that many people think that teaching English is an easy way to see the world and are willing to accept very low - or even no - salaries, to teach the English language well requires advanced graduate study and years of experience. People such as me, for whom teaching ESOL is a career, must continually work to overcome the stereotype that just because a person can speak English, he or she can teach English. It is unfortunate that such an attitude was perpetuated in the BAM.

Susan L. Schwartz '81
Haverhill, Mass.

As a Brown alumna and the assistant director of Brown's career services office, I was horrified to read many portions of "For Love and Money." The career services office was supremely misrepresented throughout.

My role in that office is one of counselor, meeting individually with students, facilitating skills-based workshops, and covering various walk-in r}sum}-critique sessions. Many, if not most, of the students with whom I speak are, in fact, not interested in "structured" opportunities but are, rather, among those whose passions extend to nonprofits, to teaching, and to public policy. The consulting hopefuls that Sasha Polakow-Suransky '01 refers to in his article are among those served but, in my view, do not dominate our services or expertise.

All the counseling staff have had rigorous post-bachelor's training in the career-counseling arena, thereby equipping us to work with students and alumni from all walks of life, with varying interests, and in any stage of career development. Quite simply, this is the essence of being a counselor - having the ability to "meet" an individual wherever he or she may be. I encourage every Brown student (or alum) to seek out the assistance of career services because we are a skilled and dedicated group, striving to provide the highest quality services to all.

Andrea Casey Eastman '90

Sasha Polakow-Suransky replies: I am disappointed to hear that my article "horrified" Ms. Eastman. It was never intended as a critique of the career services office; rather, I tried to convey the difficulties faced by seniors and recent graduates in a rapidly changing economic climate. I do not dispute the qualifications or skills of the career services staff. In fact, I have a great deal of respect for much of what Ms. Eastman and her colleagues do.

However, based on my own observations of campus-recruiting culture while I was a Brown student, as well as on extensive interviews with students and alumni in the course of researching this article, I discovered what I judged to be limitations and shortcomings in the career services office. Criticisms of it were routinely voiced by my sources for this article and privately by peers during my senior year at Brown, especially by those seeking careers in the nonprofit sector.

I do not deny that the career services office has successfully aided some students seeking nonprofit and public interest employment, but it is my contention that Brown's office has consistently suffered from the same business bias that has characterized such offices at most elite universities since the consulting/financial services boom began in the early 1990s. This bias underscores the urgent need for greater representation of noncorporate employers and for greater access to them.

Sock and Buskin

Leslie Allen Jones '26, who joined the English department in 1942, was a talented scenic designer ("Shakespeare and Scandal," July/August). He built a raked stage for Measure for Measure. For Under the Gas Light he created the illusion of a train running back and forth in miniature, until it arrived on stage, full size. Every four weeks he built sets for a new production from canvas painted with tempera from five-gallon buckets. He ran the front of the house, too. When the Faunce House Theater's antique electrical board caught fire during a performance, he put it out. He had time for students, some of whom won fame and fortune: John Pleshette '64, Will MacKenzie '60, and the late Duke Kant '64. He shared homilies. A stage manager at the St. James Theatre, where Jones worked, dissed a chorus girl and found himself knocked down and stepped on twenty-seven times as the girls kicked on stage. Jones's point was the importance of kindness, and he set an unobtrusive example. You failed to mention his decades at Brown and reduced him to a nameless man who "smoked cigars and mixed paint up in the loft." They weren't cigars; they were stogies, Muriels. If I had an umbrage, I'd take it.

James Sutton '64
Des Moines

I was most interested in the Sock and Buskin article by William Bunch '81. My father, Ted Sweet '22, was very active in theater at Brown. We knew professors Crosby and Brown quite well. For the record, the "downtown Providence restaurant" referred to was the Spaghetti Place, not House, owned by the Saglio family.

William Sweet '50
Bethesda, Md.

You Go, BAM!

The July/August issue was excellent as usual, and showed principled journalistic style in not avoiding some of the perplexing issues of the day in the greater community beyond the "ivy walls."

J. Russell Tyldesley '62
Catonsville, Md.

Congratulations on being recognized as the best alumni magazine in the country (Here & Now, July/August)! A well-deserved honor! Best wishes for continued success and popular acclaim!

Tim Hurd '70
McLean, Va.

Building Support

My husband and I attended our 35th reunion at Brown over Memorial Day weekend, and we both were struck by the poor condition of many of the older University buildings, including labs, dorms, departmental offices, and professors' houses. President Simmons's new initiatives do not appear to include focused attention on facility renovation, but this is a must if these buildings are to be preserved - and many of them are architectural treasures! If the University waits much longer to take action, they will become teardowns, which would be a real loss.

Judith Minno Hushon '67
Arlington, Va.

Executive Vice President of Planning Richard Spies replies: Ms. Hushon is correct that the Initiatives for Academic Enrichment have, so far at least, focused primarily on people - faculty positions, faculty and staff salaries, undergraduate- and graduate-student financial aid, and so on. Importantly, the initiatives have also concentrated on the University's core academic and educational values: namely, enhancing our ability to attract the very best students and faculty and providing an environment and a support structure that will enable those students and faculty to do their very best work. But the current plans and initiatives are really just the beginning of a longer-term enrichment process, and President Simmons has already turned her - and our - attention to the next steps in this long-term planning process. The development of a master plan for the Brown campus, including a systematic assessment of the current condition of our campus buildings and the development of a program of restoration and ongoing maintenance of those buildings, will be an important part of this next stage of work. Toward that end, the University has engaged architect and planner Frances Halsband to assist us in the master planning effort. We invite Ms. Hushon - and all other interested friends of Brown - to let us know their thoughts and suggestions concerning the campus as we work our way through this important part of the planning process.

More on ROTC

As a graduate of the Navy ROTC program I was shocked (and angered) in the 1960s to learn that the faculty deemed the courses I had paid for and studied hard for were not of sufficient academic quality ("The Cadet," May/ June). These included such subjects as hydraulics, spherical trigonometry, steam engineering, history, law, and leadership - courses I doubt many of the same faculty could have mastered. However, when I asked for a refund for these "unworthy" courses I didn't even get the courtesy of an answer.

The truth is that some faculty got caught up in political correctness, at the expense of whatever personal integrity and dedication to academic freedom they may have had. Whatever their political views may have been, to deny students who chose to serve their country the opportunity for a Brown education was hypocrisy.

Why would the military want to return to Brown, particularly when there are so many excellent universities that treat military officers and candidates with respect and dignity? Incidentally, perhaps if the graduates portrayed in "For Love & Money" (July/August) had had two or three years' experience in leadership training and professional growth, they would be worth more to prospective employers.

John P. Burke '55
Salisbury, N.C.

Thank you for featuring ROTC in the BAM. I was commissioned from Naval ROTC at Brown in 1968, and the program provided me the only way to avoid the general draft. It changed my life as much as anything.

Our commissioning was scheduled to follow the awarding of degrees out on the Green, as had been done for decades. At the last minute Brown informed the ROTC units that they would be relegated to Sayles Hall because of the protesters. We were disappointed and felt as if we were being shunned by everyone, faculty and students alike. That year Brown presented Bob Hope with an honorary degree, and the president made excuses for Hope's early departure to rush to the airport. About an hour later the admiral who was speaking to the assembled group in Sayles stopped in midsentence. At a loss for words, he simply introduced "Mr. Bob Hope," who came walking down the aisle in his trademark powder-blue blazer. He had been told of our banishment and had canceled his flight to return to speak to us. We were overwhelmed as he told us of the confusion in the country and in the war, and assured us that we were doing the right thing. He then spent another half-hour talking to all the new ensigns and their families. In hindsight, being commissioned off the Green was the best thing that could have happened!

Brian Barbata '68
Kailua, Hawaii

I welcomed your cover article "The Cadet." When I was an ROTC cadet twelve years ago, we were at war in the desert, and liberal tolerance did not extend toward those in the military. In fact, an associate dean explained to me that he would "no more give credit for ROTC than he would for Sunday school." Looking back, I see that the moral hazing ROTC cadets endured at Brown was tougher than anything West Point could deliver.

I spent the majority of my eight years in the army as a captain in the elite 82nd Airborne Division. Most of my fellow officers had never heard of Brown (or any other Ivy League university). The prevailing view among my peers and superiors of the officer corps was that an engineering degree from Lower Alabama State College was superior to a liberal arts degree from Brown. In fact, a liberal arts education was seen by many military officers in combat units as a hindrance rather than a benefit. When I later volunteered to work in the military's frail race-and-gender-relations program (a career killer), I found that the military has a long way to go in terms of civil rights and other civilian mores, especially in the elite units, which often produce the generals.

Brown and similar institutions did the country no favor by dropping ROTC thirty years ago. Consequently, military academies and other "nonliberal" institutions have educated today's military leadership top to bottom. This is unbalanced and has resulted in a grave disparity of values between the officer corps and the rest of society. It is time for Brown and the other Ivies to reassert their voices in the military community by educating officers who can counterbalance the perspective of too many academy graduates.

Sean Sapone '92
Washington, D.C.

I was both proud of and dismayed by your coverage of Myko Hull and the continuing nonstatus of ROTC at Brown. Mr. Hull is to be commended for his decision to participate in the ROTC program at Providence College and to recognize that the freedoms enjoyed so readily at Brown and elsewhere have a price - which he is willing to pay.

My attendance at Brown was largely made possible by the scholarship program of Navy ROTC. I subsequently served in the U.S. Navy for twenty-four years. I like to think that the liberal education I received at Brown helped me make a meaningful contribution to the navy and to our country.

The attitudes and leadership of the University today are more regrettable evidence of a lack of tolerance and the continuing intellectual snobbery of its faculty. Perhaps it is time for a school that prides itself on providing a liberal education (emphasis mine) to reexamine just what the meaning of that word is and to reintroduce it as a guiding concept in the university. Brown should sincerely, and openly, reexamine the contributions ROTC and its graduates have made and would make to our nation - in or out of the active armed forces. For Cadet Hull, thank you again for offering to serve.

Steven van Westendorp '53
Raleigh, N.C.

Within hours of reading "The Cadet," I came upon this passage in Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire confirming the argument that, as Byron Lichtenberg '69 says in the article, "liberally trained officers are preferable to those indoctrinated only with a military education.":

"As long as Rome and Italy were respected as the center of government the principal commands of the army were filled by men who had received a liberal education, were well instructed in the advantages of laws and letters, and who had risen, by equal steps, through the regular succession of civil and military honours. To their influence and example we may partly ascribe the modest obedience of the legions during the first two centuries of the Imperial history.

"But when the last enclosure of the Roman constitution was trampled down by Caracalla, the separation of professions gradually succeeded to the distinction of ranks. The more polished citizens of the internal provinces were alone qualified to act as lawyers and magistrates. The rough trade of arms was abandoned to the peasants and barbarians of the frontiers, who knew no country but their camp, no science but that of war, no civil laws, and scarcely those of military discipline. With bloody hands, savage manners, and desperate revolutions, they sometimes guarded, but much oftener subverted, the throne of the emperors."

I respect Myko Hull '03 and hold in contempt the jackal mentality of the self-righteous students who forced such a good man as Robert Shinn '70, '72 A.M. to carry his uniform in a paper bag. The faculty members who encouraged such shameful behavior were the blind leading the blind, sadly typical of that era.

Pat Randall Welch '51
Charlton, Oxfordshire

Too Liberal

Editor Norman Noucher says there "probably" is a liberal bias on campus (Here & Now, May/June). I say, probably, indeed. Look at some recent examples: The May/June cover headline asks how a Brown student could be in ROTC, the story explaining that the program has been "banished" from campus and so Myko Hull must go to Providence College for his training. "Suite Talk" (Elms, March/April) reported on continuing efforts to foster cohabitation. "ID, Please" (Elms, May/June) tells of two students who repeatedly refused to show their Brown identification and physically resisted campus security officers performing their designated duties. The president responds by saying she's victimized every day and by hiring consultants, while minority students loudly critique the security staff and create a gun-control issue. Last year minority students protested an ad in the Brown Daily Herald by stealing a subsequent press run, and the administration responded sympathetically ("The War Over Words," May/June 2001).

I could, and perhaps should, continue, but my point is made. Brown is the poster child for political correctness, and the editor should recognize that fact.

Bruce Bristow '66
Rocky Hill, N.J.

I see that U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg received an honorary degree at Commencement ("The Big Parade," July/August). Am I seeing more out of my left eye, or is Brown a tad liberal these days? How about a nice balance by awarding a similar honor to Clarence Thomas?

Robert West '55
Englewood, Fla.

Too Conceited

Referring to the "Dangerous Liaisons" Elms piece in the March/April issue about Brown's remedial training on business-related table manners, Erin Timmerman '97 writes: "I certainly have never stopped short of my career goals due to any perceived imperfections in my professional eating habits. I firmly believe that the speed with which I have climbed the corporate ladder is in part due to living and learning at Brown and not to any higher form of institutionalized etiquette" (Mail Room, May/June).

Though I wouldn't look forward to sharing a sandwich with her, Timmerman may be right. What Brown obviously needs instead is a workshop, seminar, anything that - with young alums as well as students as its target audience - might instill just a shred of modesty.

Peter Mandel '81 A.M.

Too Sexy

I'm responding to the somewhat satirical letter written by Edward A. Johnson '53, concerning "cohabitation on campus" ("Suite Talk," Mail Room, May/June). He suggests that "best friends" live off campus where they can "indulge their needs" and "tomfoolery." Since Johnson would prohibit "best friends" from engaging in such "foolish behavior" (tomfoolery) as sexual intercourse in the dormitories, I suggest that an organization of sex police be formed, and that Johnson be the Chief Sexual Policeman, thereby satisfying his "needs."

Campus living was created to foster the University's educational purposes in numerous ways. Whatever students do with regard to sexual activity in the privacy of their campus rooms in no way detracts from the educational role of the University. I'm certain that indulging one's needs may even enhance the receptivity of the student to the educational feast put before him or her.

Larry Ross '52
Tucson, Ariz.

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September / October 2002