to the Editor
Kudos from the Left Coast...
Congratulations to the Vermont Quarterly staff for putting out
such continually fine work. Superb editorial content is complemented by
clean graphics and great photo selection. As a freelance reporter, I particularly
appreciate the fine craftsmanship.It is always a pleasure to find an issue
of the magazine at my home here in California and be instantly transported
back to Vermont. Though I havent attended any West Coast alumni
events, it is always nice to see that they do happen here on the Left
Coast as well.
Karen Kefauver 91
Santa Cruz, California
... And the Right
The cover photo of the Summer 2002 is gorgeous kudos to the photographer
(Mario Morgado) and the whole issue is a good read. I especially
loved Kit Andersons article on the history of the UVM Green, which
created vivid pictures for me of that lovely campus centerpiece. This
piece is a truly beautiful collaboration: great research, writing, and
For me, the apartheid-divestment shantytowns of the 1980s remain an indelible
memory, but it was fascinating to read about all the other uses the Green
has been put to over the years. Looking forward, it was particularly interesting
to learn of Grounds Manager Dick Streeters efforts to repopulate
the Green after the Dutch Elm epidemic. I will enjoy looking for all the
different tree varieties the next time Im in Burlington.
For a little perspective, I work as art director on a publication at the
University of Maryland, though Im sure Im not the only one
who appreciates the quality of your magazine. Keep up the great work!
Cynthia E. Mitchel 90
College Park, Maryland
Diverse Views Essential
One of the greatest aspects of my education at UVM was the exposure to
diversity and tolerance of different views. This is representative of
the country we live in and increasingly critical in a global environment.
Most of the letters to the editor in the Fall 2002 issue in response to
the interview with Professor Robert Kaufman represent an extreme leftist
slant and, in my opinion, werent fair to the professor.
Professor Kaufman is an educated man with plenty of credentials to support
his views. We cannot, as a people of tolerance, berate him or label him
a war monger simply because his views may be different from
our own. To do so would be academically irresponsible and defy the very
nature of the values the university advocates.
As an educated individual and a student of world politics, I actively
search out differing points of view on the current situation in order
to formulate my own. To add emotion to the equation, I have several close
friends (also UVM grads) who are in the Army, and one, Brian Mangual 99,
just returned from Afghanistan.
War is never an easy option. However, as Americans we are blessed with
opportunities and freedoms some may never know. As a free, democratic
society and a world superpower, we have an obligation to stand up for
those without a voice.
Although I never had the privilege of taking a class with Professor Kaufman,
after reading his article I wish I had. It is imperative that UVM continue
to support its professors despite differing points of view in order to
maintain a balance of dissenting views and create the necessary environment
for students to formulate their own opinions. This is what learning is
Michael Dowd 98
Saratoga Springs, New York
I am encouraged by the few positive letters in response to Professor Kaufmans
interview in the Summer issue. Such letters are hopeful signs in a sea
of political correctness.
I want to focus only on the issue of Palestinian refugees. The small number
of refugees in 1948 (relative to the total Arab population) could easily
have been assimilated by their neighbors. There might well have been significant
multinational support for such a relocation. Could we ever attempt to
examine in a non-emotional way the reasons why this did not happen? Just
for perspective, Jordan once even made war (effectively) on its Palestinian
population. There was once before a political entity known as Palestine
Let me draw a parallel. After WWII, Finland lost one-tenth of its territory,
the home to more than a tenth of its population. That Karelian population
was evacuated and relocated in the rest of the country. There was no animosity
or political protest. The sacrifice, large as it was, was only economic.
Parts of large farms and landholdings were expropriated to house the population
and a tax was levied. After the initial disruption to the lives and the
economy, there were no enduring animosities or negative effects.
After 1948, Israel incorporated their refugees. The Arab countries could
have assimilated their Arab brethren if they had the slightest inclination
to do so. The uncomfortable truth is that they put their trust in the
hoped-for elimination of the Israeli state. The vehement calls for a Palestinian
state from the non-Palestinian neighbors carry within them a realization
of their own partial culpability.
Jon Didrichsen, UVM parent
Right On, Professor
Bravo to Professor Kaufman, a true conservative showing his colors in
a morass of liberal educators. I wasnt going to write, but after
reading the several letters critical of Kaufman in the Fall VQ,
I decided to add my two cents worth of conservative opinion.
Right on, sir! You are probably a minority of one among a sea of liberal
bleeding heart educators.
Steve Moore 62
The Fall issue offered hope with the introduction of President Fogel.
May he reign with wisdom. It also displayed some of the intellectual fuzziness
that I hope he can counter.
First, Professor Spinners 1960s lament fails to even mention 9/11,
and instructs us happy alumni that one persons terrorist is
anothers patriotic hero. Tell that to the victims and families
of the Twin Towers and Bali nightclub attack.
Then Lee Griffin entertains us with her trip to Cuba. The article conveniently
fails to use the word freedom or dictatorship,
which is at the core of Cubas travails, not U.S. policies.
I am delighted, if not relieved, that I attended UVM so long ago. My only
regret is that I missed Professor Kaufmans wisdom and courage, in
league with the wonderful faculty that I was exposed to.
Rudolph M. Keimowitz MD 58, 61
Professor Spinners statement in the Fall 2002 issue of VQ (Old
Speeches, New Questions) that Terror, terrorist and terrorism
are difficult words to define only underscores the myopic view that
so many possess with respect to national security. While Professor Spinner
makes many valid points, he has the luxury of a retrospective view. This
is obviously the essence of being a history professor, you have the luxury
of justifying your position with history. Unfortunately, those
charged with the responsibility of protecting our citizens do not have
the luxury of acting retrospectively.
Professor, for your enlightenment the definition of terror, terrorist
and terrorism are: Terror is being on a rail car going to Dachau in 1942,
knowing the outcome. Terror is being on the 90th floor of the World Trade
Center on September 11, 2001. Terror is living in Iraq and having lost
several of your children to poison gas, wondering when it will happen
again. Terror is having a gun held to your head on a hijacked plane in
A terrorist is a person who perpetrates such acts, Professor! Terrorism
is the act of or practice of creating terror. These terms are hardly difficult
to define, particularly to those who have experienced terror.
As Professor Spinner points out, Napoleon had twenty years of luck. That
luck lies in the fact that he was essentially unchallenged
by an equally proficient or superior army on the battlefield. Professor
Spinners Napoleon analogy undermines the arguments he makes in his
article. He further undermines his position by referring to Napoleons
slaughter of millions of people as a great adventure. I think
it could best be called terrorism.
Brian J. Grenon 70
What a surprise to see this flash from the past in the Fall VQ (page 47).
The picture was taken, my guess, in the fall of 1973 or 1974. Dr. Milton
Potash, Uncle Milty as we called him, was teaching a course in stream
ecology which included several field trips to collect and identify stream
insects. Interestingly enough, we were collecting from Potash Brook, off
I graduated from the Zoology Department in 1976 with a masters degree,
and most of my graduate work was involved with water quality issues relating
to streams and lakes. Im still involved with water quality issues
but in quite a different field, semiconductor manufacturing. In the VQ
shot, were looking for macro-invertebrates, while in the semiconductor
industry we look for micro-contamination worlds apart.
The knowledge I gained from Professor Potash still comes in handy when
fly fishing, and when I volunteer to lead a lesson on stream insects at
the school where my wife teaches. Thanks for printing this photo. It brings
back lots of great memories.
Tom Gutowski G76
Trip too Quick to Judge
I cant recall ever being as appalled as I was while reading about
the UVM students Alternative Summer Break tour of the Civil
Rights Trail. Alabamians arent zoo animals that you can observe
through the bars on a whirlwind tour of the Deep South. Our history and
our culture are too complex to absorb in a week and pretend to understand
well enough to teach to others. Im sure there must be plenty of
poor people around New England who would appreciate a nice bowl of soup
fed to them by teary-eyed co-eds.
The march across the bridge at Selma was most certainly a defining moment
in our modern history, but it was only a moment in time. The struggle
in our society for fairness and inclusiveness is one that takes place
daily in the big arenas of city commission meetings and courtrooms and
in the intimacy of workplaces, neighborhoods, and homes. Our culture is
a living, breathing entity that defines itself almost daily.
The visiting students from UVM didnt earn the tears they shed over
our history. They didnt stay here long enough to understand how
our history fits into the whole fabric of our culture. Why are they snuffling
over the vicissitudes of race and privilege? These days, being in a position
to attend a college at all is a great privilege. Unless youre Michael
Jackson, youre going to have to live in your own skin. Quit feeling
so guilty about being white and about having money and a good education.
There will be plenty of trials in your life without borrowing other peoples.
If you want to understand Alabama, transfer to a school here and immerse
yourself in the culture, in just the way I transferred to UVM from the
University of Southern Mississippi in 1972. Stepping off the plane in
Burlington on a cold, January day with a thin little corduroy coat and
no socks was one of the defining moments of my life. I was tough enough
to stay. I was tough enough to reply to all the ignorant questions about
whether I played the banjo, or drank mint juleps, or sat on a veranda
in a long skirt. Are any of you tough enough to transfer to a school down
here and put your money where your mouth is? If you are, youll receive
a warm and genuine welcome. If youre not, youre just a tourist,
in which case we really dont care how you do things up there!
Beth Wheeler Hall 74