By The Editors / May / June 1998
December 28th, 2007

Revisiting Petra

Your article "The Enigma of Petra" (January/February) brought back two pleasant memories. The first was my own visit to Petra in 1994, just after Israel and Jordan had signed a peace treaty. Traversing the Siq on horseback to emerge into the sunlight in view of the Treasury was a memorable experience.

The other memory is of Professor Martha Joukowsky '58 addressing the then-fledgling Brown Club of Delaware in 1984. Needing a speaker from Brown, I phoned the alumni office and was advised to contact Martha at home. She quickly agreed to attend our meeting and, on the appointed day, took a train to Wilmington and gave an energetic talk on Brown archaeology.

We are all indebted to Martha for her devotion to Brown. May she have many productive digs.

Arthur N. Green '49
Wilmington, Del.


As a volunteer interviewer for the admission office, I use every resource I can to get Brown's story across to the candidates I meet. Not the least of those resources are specific issues of the BAM that I've squirreled away over the years.

If a candidate wants to know about culture and drama, I pull out the December 1993 issue on the new theater arts center. If they're interested in Brown and its surroundings, I produce the February 1995 cover feature, "Destination: College Hill." If they want to know about the beginnings of the New Curriculum, I show them the July 1993 issue featuring Ira Magaziner '69. And if they want to know how they can decide what classes to take, I show them "Shop 'Til You Drop" (November 1990). Another great issue was the one on President Gee (November/December 1997).

You can imagine my pleasure, then, when the January/February issue arrived with Petra on the front cover and the photograph of the Roman Road and the Great Temple on pages 32-33. I walked up and down that Roman Road a half-dozen times in the late 1980s. The candidates I interviewed this winter were absolutely fascinated that Brown had found the temple under all that dirt, and in the story of how the Nabataeans had controlled the trade routes from the Red Sea to Damascus.

So yes, good friends, we do read the BAM. All the best wishes for your continued success.

Victor J. Logan '49
Glen Ellyn, Ill.

The Courage of David Rohde

"Betrayal" (January/February) deserves special attention by the country. I hope your article is the keystone of action.

P.S. Yes, I remember Miles Cunat.

Frank J. Gaffney '52
Fort Worth, Tex.

Fishman the Godfather

Thank you for profiling art professor Richard Fishman ("Filling the Canvas," January/February). I am certain hundreds of artists who are his former students cracked smiles when they read that a current student called him a "godfather."

Fishman was a godfather to me, a fairy godfather whose presence floated around the sculpture studio, poking me in the gut and making sure I kept pushing my artwork, asking more questions about what it meant. His pokes made me dig deep into art and the myriad motivations for making it. That's the most important thing I learned as his student: to always keep digging, pushing, asking, and poking around for the real meaning and motivation behind my work.

It doesn't matter if the meaning is truth, beauty, ugliness, power, or pure financial gain. All of these things may serve as the subject of art. What does matter is that as an artist, you are deeply aware of the meaning you wish to convey, and that you go for it with gusto. Even if what you want to convey is confusion, doing it honestly, with all your energy, will keep you on the right path as an artist - one that I think Professor Fishman would be proud of.

Jecca '84

Comrade Clinton

It is too bad Janet Yellen '67 has chosen to believe that Keynesian economics really works ("Clinton's Budgeteer," January/February). Government intervention in markets is a contradiction in terms. A free marketplace is the only market that works, not one saddled by a liberal dose of government controls. Keynesian economics is just another name for socialism, and socialism has never worked anywhere in the world for any period of time worth mentioning.

Also, to claim that Clinton is a centrist in his approach to government is ridiculous, since he has done everything imaginable to expand government's role in health care, education, etc. The only part of government he has reduced is the military, and now the United States is the laughing stock of the world and lacks any true foreign policy.

The "safety net of social programs" is actually a cleverly disguised jobs program for liberal government employees. It is also a self-serving means for liberals to justify their self-worth by proclaiming that they will try to take care of everyone if you just give them lots of money.

Bud Brooks '83

Alternative Medicine

I was happy to see your article regarding the discussion of alternative medicine during Primary Care Day ("Patient, Heal Thyself," (Elms January/February). As an acupuncturist since 1980 and a zero balancing practitioner and teacher, however, I am disappointed that all of the presenters were M.D.s. I am not saying this out of disrespect for M.D.s, as I have the highest regard for allopathic medicine. But most M.D.s who practice any form of complementary medicine do not have the full training that others have. For instance, many M.D.s will practice acupuncture after only 100 or 200 hours of training as opposed to the 2,000-plus hours that a trained acupuncturist has.

In addition, most complementary practitioners have a very different paradigm. We look at the whole individual - body, mind, emotions, and spirit - and see how best we can help each unique person come to better health. I do not "fix" anyone or any problem. Instead, I view my work as helping individuals get healthier and work on healing themselves. Crucial to this is taking a detailed history and spending at least thirty minutes with the patient at each treatment. I know that in this day and age, most M.D.s unfortunately can't spend this amount of time with their patients.

As complementary medical therapies move into the mainstream, it is good to hear that medical students at Brown are showing some interest in how these other approaches may help their future patients. I have long believed we need practitioners of many different modalities to best serve our health interests. No one system has all the answers.

Bob Brown '74

In the Groove

Torri Still's article on Groove with Me ("Role Models with Rhythm," The Classes, January/February) was a beautiful glimpse into this free dance program for low-income girls in New York City. Readers of the BAM who agree that addressing the causes of teenage parenthood, broken families, gangs, and substance abuse is more effective than treating their effects should contact us at (212) 505-5995; 70 E. 3rd St., #9, New York City 10003. There are many ways to get involved, including participating with the kids, helping us connect with resources, coming to performances and fund-raisers, and, of course, making a donation.

We are a small, grassroots nonprofit organization, less than two years old, that is already making a big difference for kids. We urge everyone to help ensure the survival of this program.

Abigail Rosin '94
New York City
The writer is the founder and director of Groove with Me. - Editor

Meditations on Marcus

I enjoyed Brian Floca's encounter with Marcus Aurelius ("Pagan's Progress," January/February), but I don't buy the claim that scholars find Marcus's Meditations "the greatest literary work by a Roman." Degustibus non disputandum, but if BAM would do an informal poll of the classics department, I doubt if anyone would put Marcus in the top twenty.

The only person I know who rates the Meditations so highly is President Clinton, who claims it's his favorite book after the Bible. I'll leave it to others to assess Clinton's scholarship and adherence to Stoic doctrine, but I don't want any of the BAM's readers opening the Meditations and thinking, "Is this the best the Romans can do?"

Ken Mayer '88
Iowa City, Iowa


The article refers to Constantine the Great as "the emperor who had legalized Christianity in 395." Constantine did indeed establish the toleration of Christianity under his Edict of Milan of 313. But he was in no position to legalize anything in 395: Constantine died in 337.

Henry J. Stevens '68
Portsmouth, R.I.


During my time at Brown, a story circulated regarding the unveiling of the Marcus Aurelius statue. It alleged that prior to the removal of the canvas from the statue, some pranksters had placed a few shovelfuls of horse manure beneath it.

Please let me know if there is any truth to this delightful tale.

Arthur C. Gentile '51 Sc.M.
Bloomington, Ind.
According to University Archivist Martha Mitchell, photographs of the unveiling reveal no manure under the statue. - Editor

Boosting the Graduate School

I was greatly excited and heartened to read that President E. Gordon Gee ("Good-bye, Columbus; Hello, College Hill," November/December) plans to make the Graduate School "one of [his] highest priorities." As I am sure President Gee is aware, the quality of a graduate program depends greatly on the caliber of graduate students it can attract. However, several recent Ph.D.s have mentioned to me that they are dissatisfied with their graduate experience at Brown and actively discourage prospective grad students from attending. Such negative word of mouth is highly lamentable, and every effort should be made to address this situation.

I encourage President Gee to remember the graduate students in his "hope to have every student over for dinner during their time at the University." I urge him to listen to the unique concerns of graduate students and to try to improve their conditions. Any such improvements must be made from the top down and the bottom up; the Graduate School by itself is powerless to make such improvements without the support of Brown's administration. At the same time, improvements at the graduate level are meaningless if departments or advisers fail to meet students' needs.

Irene Antonenko '95 Sc.M.
The writer, a Ph.D. candidate in geological sciences, was president of the Graduate Student Council in 1996. - Editor

Whose Brown?

In his letter "Off the Mark" (Mail, January/February), Robert Sarno '86 took issue with this statement from President Gee's letter of introduction to alumni: "It is my sincere hope that in the coming years Brown will not be seen as a distant place isolated on a hill, surrounded by an academic Berlin Wall." Sarno advised the president to gain an insider's perspective shaped by the University's philosophy and practice: "I sincerely hope he comes to understand Brown better."

As a graduate of Brown's M.A.T. program, a five-year University employee, and a ten-year resident of Providence and Pawtucket, Rhode Island, I think it's at least equally important to understand how Brown is perceived by others in the wider community. It's too easy for Brown to get stuck on what it gives to the community without seriously considering what it gets and how its actions are viewed.

Why not invite representatives from community groups and local public schools to provide an external review of the University? In the process, the reviewers would learn more about the University, and Brown would learn about and from members of the surrounding community. And it would begin to address a crucial question: Does Brown belong first and foremost to the higher-education community at large, or to the community in which it physically resides?

David Allen '88 M.A.T.
Pawtucket, R.I.

Technological Peephole

I read with interest the column by Jocelyn Hale '85 ("Wrong Number," Finally, January/February), in which she describes some of the ethical and practical dilemmas she has faced since obtaining Caller ID. At the end of the article, she asks, "Have we lost something with all this advance warning?"

I don't think so. Because we grew up with telephones that did not give us advance warning, we believed it was "right" to not know the identity of the caller before picking up the phone. Why should the phone be any different from my front door?

Caller ID is my technological peephole. It has been an effective device for identifying calls from telemarketers, most of whose phone numbers show up as "unavailable" on my little box.

Irvin Lustig '83
Princeton, N.J.

Vanity Unfair

I recently read an article titled "School for Glamour" in the February issue of Vanity Fair magazine. Writer Jennet Conant portrays a Brown University that receives more than 15,000 applications a year because it is a trendy club for the children of the wealthy and a "four-year vacation school" for the rest of its students, rather than a school with high academic standards.

I never read Vanity Fair and ordinarily would not have known about the article. But a friend called me to say that Brown had been filled with "Euro-Trash." I attributed her comment to jealousy, since no one in her family had ever been admitted to Brown.

Upon reading the article, I wondered if Vanity Fair is published by the same people who publish the National Enquirer or the Star. The writing is just as sensational and unprofessional.

Recognizing that there will always be detractors from Brown's popularity and excellence, I hope President E. Gordon Gee will bring us a more positive image in the media.

David Kramer '53
New York City

Wrestling With Title IX

I don't disagree with Marcia Goetz ("All in Favor, Say Neigh," Mail, January/February) concerning Title IX's benefits to female athletes. The benefits have been dramatic and long overdue. My objection is to the Department of Education's "proportionality rule," which is not found in Title IX and is a euphemism for a gender quota.

Instead of adding opportunities for women, colleges are cutting men's sports and capping their rosters to achieve "proportionality." The NCAA's 1997 gender-equity study, for instance, shows that for every athletic opportunity added for women between 1992 and 1997, NCAA colleges, on average, eliminated 3.4 opportunities for men. Division III schools (which don't offer athletic scholarships) eliminated 9,000 roster positions (12 percent of the total) for men while adding only 178 positions for women.

Ms. Goetz is rightfully pleased with the improved caliber of women's hockey since she played for Brown. I wrestled for Brown around the same time, and like Ms. Goetz I am also proud of what my team has achieved since then. Unlike women's hockey, though, which is growing and which no administrator in the country would dare cut, my sport is described by Sports Illustrated as "dying" and "in a Title IX free-fall." It's not dying from lack of funds, since wrestling is one of the least expensive sports. Nor is it suffering from lack of interest; wrestling is the sixth-most-popular high school sport.

Men's sports are being cut to satisfy quotas, and wrestling in particular is in danger of being destroyed. This scorched-earth policy advances a political agenda, but it has little to do with ending discrimination and even less to do with fairness for athletes.

Bob Christin '69
Washington Grove, Md.

Sizer's Kids

I read the editor's column announcing Professor of Education Ted Sizer's retirement ("Sizer's Vision," Here & Now, November/December) with much sadness. I first learned of Sizer and his Nine Common Principles in the March 1986 BAM. I knew my sons would flourish in a school demonstrating those principles, and I suspected most other students would, too.

As a member of the Livermore, California, school board, I heard Ted Sizer speak once, early in my first term, and it was easy to know why he commanded such attention. As he speaks of the children in our schools, he radiates respect for them, all of them. Most education professionals avoid using the k-word when they speak of students. I've heard educators and others speak of "children," "students," "youth," "charges," and "youngsters." They know they can't say "kids" and make it come out right. From their mouths, "kids" sounds casual or offhand, somehow diminishing students' status.

When Sizer says "kids," however - as in "Kids just don't come in neat packages of thirty" - the respect in his voice elevates the problem to one worthy of attention. His tone also imparts honor and stature to those trying to resolve the many problems in American education today.

Many thanks to Ted Sizer for his care, attention, and obvious respect for our children.

Anne E. White '65
Livermore, Calif.

Trombone Memories

Reading the BAM is something I always look forward to. You never know what you will find, and it's great reading.

The January/February issue provided a nice surprise. On pages 58 and 59, I found a picture with my father, Myron S. Hackett '30, looking out at me across the years. The photo of the Brown Orchestra was courtesy of Warren "Rabbit" Leonard, my father's high school and college classmate, his college roommate, his Boy Scout buddy, and his fellow musician. They were both from Brockton, Massachusetts. My father is in the back of the photograph on the left, holding a trombone.

Thanks, Warren.

Doug Hackett '61
Potomac, Md.

Writing John McIntyre

In October, my brother, John K. McIntyre '39, the recently retired assistant to six Brown presidents, suffered a stroke. After more than fifty years of living in the Providence area, John has moved to a nursing home in Illinois to be closer to mem-bers of his family.

His many friends may wish to write John at his present address: Park Strathmoor, Room A-3, 5668 Strathmoor Dr., Rockford, Ill. 61107.

Robert E. McIntyre
Hilton Head, S.C.

Those Old Rivalries

May I offer a few observations on Brown's archrivals, or lack thereof, as discussed in "Rivals: An Informal Survey" (Sports, January/February)?

My father graduated from Brown in 1905, and as a kid rummaging around in his yearbook and other Brown memorabilia, I got the impression that our big football rival was Dartmouth. But if that was the case, the steam went out of that rivalry long ago, because Dartmouth simply won too often. Furthermore, in the years before the formal establishment of the Ivy League, we played Dartmouth only every few years.

Our natural geographic rival might be Harvard, but they've got Yale as well as the rivalry long stirred up by the Boston media - namely, that with Dartmouth. When I was at Brown, we had mass rallies before the Yale football game, which was always the first game in November. After the rallies, we would swarm down the Hill and give the team a sendoff at the railroad station. In my sophomore year, there were 50,000 people at the Yale Bowl. When will you ever see a crowd like that again at an Ivy League game?

As far as I'm concerned, every team we play with any semblance of regularity, particularly from the Northeast, is a traditional rival. Let's beat 'em all.

Allan Nanes '41
Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Tackling Tough Questions

The departure of Head Coach Mark Whipple '79 was a disappointment, of course, and raises questions about the future of Brown football. When he came here four years ago as one of the most promising young coaches in the country, my impression was that Mark anticipated a long relationship with Brown, both professional and personal. If Harvard and Yale could enjoy long-term associations with Joe Restic and Carm Cozza, Brown could do it with Mark Whipple.

I've been advised by our administration that this was not the understanding or expectation of either party and that Mark's objective is to coach big-time football. Understandably, remaining at Brown for a long period would not further that cause. It's still unclear to me, though, how moving to the University of Massachusetts better positions Mark to achieve his long-term goal. Good-bye, Mark, I wish you the best. Hello, Phil Estes, I wish you the best. But we shouldn't stop at that. Where is Brown football going? Are there some things we need to do differently?

A lot of us alumni are not looking for an Ivy championship every year. We wish for a competitive, interesting team, averaging .500 or a little better, winning the title every eight to ten years. Those seem like reasonable expectations, given that Brown and its competition operate under the same standards. In order to achieve such a record, we can't keep turning over our head coach every four years. We can't have our recruits saying or thinking, "Coach, I like you, but will you still be there when I'm a sophomore?"

Let's contact our new president, Gordon Gee, who is obviously from good football country, and Dave Roach, our athletic director, and offer our ideas, assistance, and support. We should insist on consistently competitive teams, aided by reasonable continuity within the coaching staff.

George Rollinson '57
Bristol, R.I.

Armenian Genocide

I was happy to read Barbara Bejoian's review of my memoir Black Dog of Fate ("The Melting Pot," Books, January/February), but I am concerned that the word genocide was not once used in the review. Since the word is essential to my memoir and I use it dozens of times in the book, I find this omission odd and unsettling.

Genocide is the sociologically accurate term for the annihilation of the Armenians by the Turkish government in 1915. Raphael Lempkin, who coined the term in 1944, saw the 1915 massacre as a seminal example of genocide. At its annual meeting in June 1997, the Association of Genocide Scholars unanimously passed a resolution affirming that the extermination of the Armenians is a case of genocide, one that complies with the definitions articulated in the 1947 United Nations genocide convention.

Given the long, corrupt history of the Turkish government's denial of the Armenian genocide, a failure to use this term strikes a particularly painful nerve among Armenian Americans. Just as the Jewish community would take exception to such a treatment of the Holocaust, so does the Armenian community - and all people who value the importance of truthful history and commemoration.

Peter Balakian '80 Ph.D.
Hamilton, N.Y.


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May / June 1998