University News

What Do You Think?
Reader letters and noteworthy posts from online.

April 1st, 2018

Animal Rights

The article about the independent concentration by Christian Suarez ’18 caused me some concern (“Crossing the Human-Animal Divide,” January/February). I would hope that the guiding professors at Brown would make sure that a course of study includes challenges to pre-existing beliefs and not just affirmation of them. Nutritional and Greenhouse Gas Impacts of Removing Animals from U.S. Agriculture, from the National Academy of Sciences, would be one good addition.

Separately, Mr. Suarez’s reference to his “emotional service animal” also caught my attention. I hope he, and other students, understand the decades of struggle that went into the Americans with Disabilities Act. Like handicapped parking, the service animal accommodation is being terribly abused, and backlash is building. This will of course punish those who most need the assistance of trained service animals.

Barbara Smith ’68
West Tisbury, Massachusetts

I, too, love animals, often more than I do humans. I take in rescues on my small farm. But I believe some of the attitudes of Christian Suarez ’18 show how animal obsession has “gone off the rails.”

I was disappointed to see he has a pet he considers an “emotional support animal.” Labeling it a “service” animal subordinates it as the “owner” of its own life. I do agree with Suarez that eating industrially produced meat is participating in massively cruel, unsustainable practices. However, I think there is humanely and sustainably raised meat that one can ethically and in good conscience eat—like the lambs I lovingly raise, and humanely and sanitarily slaughter and butcher.

David Tell ’81
Marshall, N.C.

Diversity: A Perspective

Thanks for highlighting the work of Natasha Warikoo ’95 (“Diversity: Two Approaches,” January/February). Her findings illustrate the stark differences between Harvard and Brown. Brown celebrates our differences. Harvard wants us to assimilate towards Whiteness.

As a young Asian American, hearing “We don’t see your color” meant “We take you as White.” As a Brown student, I learned that the whole point is to notice each other’s color, culture, and histories—that true recognition of diversity can’t occur without understanding the history of racism and the common struggles of people of color in America. Most Brown students understand the value of empowering students of color. By the time seniors graduate, most understand our country’s deep history of negative prejudice and accept discomfort as a consequence of America’s not yet confronting race relations.

As perhaps the Ivy League’s first-ever graduate of Asian American Studies, I’m proud and grateful to have gone to a university that “gets it,” not just one going through superficial motions to check off its diversity training mandates.

Christina Fa Mark ’87, ’97 MD
Chevy Chase, Md.


Progress on the Ice

Congratulations to Hayley Moore ’08 for [your] role in building professional women’s ice hockey (“Big League,” January/February). When I was a freshman, 30-odd years before you, I responded to a flyer inviting anyone to join the first women’s hockey team, “even if you can’t skate.” Look how far we’ve come.

Leslie Pollack ’74
Bethany, Conn.


Please thank Susan Valoff ’92 for sharing her story about James Owens. She is helping so many mothers (“Gone Before First Breath,” January/February).

Danielle Schwartz Craighead ’02
Rye Brook, N.Y.

Bragging Rights

James Develin, Head Coach Phil Estes, and Defensive Line Coach Neil Coach McGrath have put us Brown grads in a place we rarely land—front row with bragging rights. (“Touchdown Through the Infield,” January/February).

Pat McCarthy ’71
Darnestown, Md.

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