Letters to the Editor

Autumn 2020

13 Men

The magazine arrived today. I was intrigued by the expressions and attire of the workers as depicted in the photograph on the first two pages. I then counted the number of men!

Steve Kulla ’85

Hard work, but solid mustache game.

Nick Kokonas ’90

Liberal Arts Lesson

Thanks for sharing Austin Murphy’s [Class of ’83] “Deliverance: A Laid-Off Sportswriter’s Roundabout Route to Reinvention.” His story is like mine and probably many others. Who knows where one’s “liberal arts education” is going to lead? Wish I had known, myself, when I graduated with an AB in English literature and no plan whatsoever in 1976. An MS in business and almost 45 years later, the only career-related writing I did was résumés, emails, and memos. But the adventure included selling data and concepts, managing businesses, selling insurance, and building insurance agencies — and along the way, meeting a lot of wonderful people and clients. I wish I had Austin’s sense of humor and attitude during those frightful days after being laid off, with a family to feed. Thank you, and him, for sharing the story, the attitude, and the ride.

Jeffrey Plaut ’76

Austin Murphy’s article about his time as a laid-off sportswriter should be placed in the handbook of how to be an adult in America. Deriving “contentment,” “structure, purpose, and dignity” from a menial job is invaluable advice. Here’s to nominating Murphy for the position of liberal arts poster boy. An incredibly uplifting story by a very talented writer.

Kenneth C. Tietgen Jr. ’64

Thanks for sharing, Austin. If capitalism is about creative destruction at a macro level, you’ve given us a way to think about it in a very personal way that can be inspiring. I can see you being a successful TED talker, career coach, and motivational speaker too. #gogate

David Braunstein ’89

Thanks to Professor Sindima

On “Get to Know: Harvey Sindima”: African Traditional Religions as taught by Professor Sindima was a grounding and positive force during a difficult semester. I learned a great deal from Professor Sindima’s brilliance and grace.

Kim Wolf Price ’92

Above Par

As a Colgate golfer, I read with interest about the record of Ryan Skae ’20 that is noteworthy. However, let’s not forget some of Colgate’s golfers of yesteryear! Donald C. Allen [’60] was a member of the 1965 and 1967 Walker Cup teams. Bob McCall ’51 lost in the final of the U.S. intercollegiate in 1951 to Fred Wampler of Purdue. Not a shabby couple of golfers indeed.

William Edwards ’52

USA: Take Note

[Reading “Sick in Singapore,”] I am amazed at the care and availability of testing [Sophia Coulter ’20] received. Those of us “left in Hamilton” did not have that kind of care available to us unless we were in serious condition. So happy to know [she was] well taken care of. The USA has lots to learn!

JoDee Kogut

On BLM for MLK Commemoration

As an alumnus who has worked for this University for more than 20 years as a member of the Presidents’ Club, the Annual Fund, and the Alumni Admission Program, I was shocked and troubled to read the spring 2020 article titled “Unity, Reflection, and a Call to Action,” which describes Black Lives Matter (BLM) cofounder Opal Tometi featured as a keynote speaker in the Chapel as part of the University’s commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. This objection has nothing to do with promoting social justice or racial equality — values that we all believe in — and everything to do with questioning the legitimacy of an organization that espouses violence to effect change.

Surely, speakers are properly vetted before they are afforded the privilege of this venue. And yet, even a cursory look at BLM reveals a troubling window into an organization whose goals go far beyond what most people think. BLM, by their own admission, is a Marxist movement whose members have been known to chant “pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon” and “what do we want, dead cops, when do we want them, now.” Does this truly do justice to the “light and vision of MLK” and strive for a “beloved community” and “to love each other to the best of our ability” as stated in this article? In fact, it represents the antithesis of everything that MLK stood for, his legacy of nonviolent protest and peaceful dissent to effect change. The presence of BLM on campus did nothing to honor his memory or legacy.

The fact is, “black lives matter” is a matter of common decency entirely separate from the activist, ideological, left-wing agenda of the BLM group. Its goals include, without apology, the upending of American society while suppressing, even intimidating, the free speech of others in the process. It embraces Angela Davis, a member of the Black Panther Party, and Joanne Chesimard and Susan Rosenberg, convicted terrorists, as key mentors. It is therefore important that the public and the Colgate community, much of which thinks that by supporting BLM, they are backing obviously decent and humane reforms, know enough to make the distinction between the idea and the ideologues hijacking it.

An academic institution of higher learning should rightfully permit diversity of opinion. I question whether such diversity should include those individuals and tenets delineated above. Clearly, the organizers of this event and those University officials who sanctioned it have much to learn about both BLM and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Jonathan H. Sherwyn ’78