May 16, 2001:
or athlete, not both
Francisco, Calif.Estate tax repeal
wages at Princeton
Spitzer 81 and gun control
do it: Axe the swoosh
Letter Box online
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than we can fit in the print magazine.
letters. We may edit them for length, accuracy, clarity, and civility.
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or athlete, not both
Concerning the statement
in Brian Casazzas letter (April 4): How many other heavily
involved students have to study on buses under dim light, miss classes
and labs for travel, and start studying when they are exhausted
from four hours of grueling practice or games?, this is an
accurate description of the circumstances that athletes often face,
resulting in poor academic performance. I can certify based on many
years of teaching that the effect of these circumstances is often
For example, during the
past few days I received an e-mail from a student indicating she
could not write a computer program I had assigned to the class.
I replied that I would be in my office the following day and would
be glad to sit down with her and work out the program. She responded
that she could not come because of having to go to physical therapy
after class followed by practice for an upcoming tournament.
What is more important learning to formulate a problem and
write a computer code to analyze it, or attend practice and a tournament?
If the answer is the latter, then I think it is not possible to
learn all that has to be learned in a demanding field such as engineering
under these circumstances. It is not fair to the faculty to continually
be asked to accommodate such disruptions in the teaching schedule
with additional assistance, make-up quizzes, and make-up labs. If
we were asked to do this for the entire class, our courses would
I think student/athletes
have to decide what is more important, academics or athletics, because
generally there isnt time to do both well.
I suggest completion
of the academic program and degree is the better choice. The athletics
can still be included on campus, as time permits, or after completion
of the degree.
W. E. Schiesser *60
Unlike Brian A. Casazza
87 and J. Kenneth Looloian 43, I think Bowen and Shulmans
The Game of Life is on the mark. My four years on the swimming team
was a wonderful experience. But the basic reason I attended Princeton
was to become what Mr. Casazza refers to as a proper-minded
intellectual. Isnt that the rationale for having a distinguished
faculty? Games, parties, sprees, meets, bull sessions, etc. were
welcome diversions, important but secondary; playing fields and
dance floors are always available. Intellectual stimulation is not.
While we should all respect
athletic achievement, we dont need winning teams to be a great
Joe Illick 56
Francisco, Calif.Estate tax repeal
Although I am relieved
to read that Princeton may be shielded from some of the negative
effects of a repeal of the estate tax, I am troubled that your story
downplayed its potentially devastating impact for the rest of the
nation (Notebook, April 4). I am even more troubled by the comments
of a university official, who is quoted as stating that alumni should
celebrate if full repeal is passed and call the university
development office to see how much fun you can have with all
Even if said tongue-in-cheek,
such a statement ignores the terrible toll repeal would take on
all nonprofit institutions. As the story points out, a U.S. Treasury
study estimates that repeal could reduce donations to charitable
institutions by $4 billion a year (other estimates are even higher).
Furthermore, an immediate
repeal of the estate tax would cost the federal government $660
billion over 10 years, according to the latest estimates by the
Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, and also would reduce
state revenues. What is the justification for such drastic cuts?
Proponents portray the estate tax as forcing grieving families to
sell their inherited businesses and farms. In fact, very few inheritances
even qualify, and an April 8 New York Times article was unable to
document a single instance of a farm being sold because of the estate
tax. In Princeton professor Paul Krugmans words, this is a
However, repeal of the
estate tax could result in a situation where very wealthy families
can protect their capital gains from ever being taxed. Rather than
stimulating entrepreneurship, such a situation would only stunt
economic growth. That is why Andrew Carnegie argued for an estate
tax in 1889, writing that, Why should men leave great fortunes
to their children? . . . It is not well for the children that they
should be so burdened. Neither is it well for the state.
Gregory M. Stankiewicz
There may be advantages
to a broad Princeton engineering education (feature, April 4). But
the inference that it usually does not prepare one to actually do
engineering was dismaying to an old engineering alumnus.
Louis L. Seivard 41
I am no particular admirer
of Ralph Nader, but surely one would hope that disagreement with
his position could be expressed without the level of hysteria in
the letters in your March 21 issue. Talk of Republican thugs,
right-wing extremists (members of the Great Right-Wing
Conspiracy, no doubt), Bushs minions bloodying minority rights
advocates, etc. does little to contribute to rational debate, and
only demonstrates what the writers must at least believe to be the
extreme weakness of their positions on the merits to make such invective
William J. Jones 57
New York, N.Y.
The topic should have
become rigid long ago, but it remains surprisingly alive. Why did
Ralph Nader not see the light, and withdraw, so that we could have
the beneficent (or at least benign) Gore, rather than the evil Bush?
What crushing ego! What irresponsibility!
No, what arrogance on
the part of those who say such things! Why is it that those of us
who voted for Nader should be deprived of our right to vote for
a candidate to our liking, so that a candidate not to our liking
should win the election? Are we less worthy of democracy than other
voters? Egotistical because we feel that neither Bore nor Gush represent
our interests? Even if we are wrong, why do we have less of a right
to vote than those in the opposite party (as if there
could only be one)? Could it be because the opposite party
is, in fact, not so very different, and thus much less of a threat
than we? How Orwellian!
An idea: In a democracy,
one should be allowed to freely vote. And candidates should be allowed
to run for office, and to collect votes from people who believe
as they do.
Nicolas Clifford 82
When I was an undergraduate,
Mr. Nader was proudly acknowledged as a Princetonian for his work,
among other things, with consumer protection. Unfortunately, his
political legacy will be a quite different one. He will be remembered
every time the new Supreme Court hands down an opinion
and each time a new environmental policy is promulgated.
He is already being remembered as the latest faith-based initiatives
threaten the traditional and cherished separation of church and
Can Mr. Nader really believe that the Green Party will be any more
successful than the Reform Party? In the interview (February 7)
Mr. Nader stated that it was not a campaign to defeat Al Gore.
It might not have been, but that was the net effect. Far from being
anything new in American politics, Ralph Nader and his followers
remind me more of the passionate followers of Eugene
McCarthy in 1968. They preferred to exult in their own smug self-righteousness
and sat on their hands while Richard Nixon narrowly defeated Hubert
Preston M. Wolin 73
Two years ago on the
TigerNet discussion group Princeton-Matters, we kicked around the
practice of sending trustee ballots to alumni. I argued that the
printing, mailing, and tabulating are a colossal waste of time and
money. The Alumni Council Executive Committee appoints a nominating
committee, the nominating committee winnows hundreds of nominees
down to a handful of sterling finalists, any of whom would make
fine trustees. Then the university sends short bios
to us alums and we cast our votes based on coin flip, shes
cute, hes a classmate, I knew him, I like doctors/corporate
execs/do-gooders/whatever, or some other nonsubstantive factor.
The ballots tell us essentially nothing to distinguish the candidates
intended or probable effect on Princeton.
This year, the Alumni
Council took out a full page ad on the back cover of PAW telling
us how important our vote is, even though 80 percent of us dont
If you care about
issues like increasing the student body, the state of the residential
colleges, financial aid policy or the current alcohol initiative,
then you should vote for your alumni trustees.
Why should I vote just
because I care about these matters? Are some of the candidates opposed
to the increase, satisfied with the state of the colleges, amused
at the silliness of the alcohol initiative? Even if some are, how
would I know? There is nothing in those bios that tells me anything
about the candidates beliefs on issues of concern to me.
These elections are a
complete waste of Princetons resources. If we arent
going to be given a substantive basis for selecting one candidate
over another, then drop the charade. At least stop aggravating the
charade by taking out ads telling us its not a charade.
Terry Wintroub 69
wages at Princeton
I would like to be proud
of my alma mater. I have left Princeton to devote my life to promoting
philanthropy and engagement among the affluent. I am dismayed that
the Princeton administration cannot act more on the behalf of the
poorly paid staff. If Princeton has not been ready to step forward
as a role model to make wise use of its human resources as well
as its great affluence, then all of the Princeton community must
not stand idly by, but must speak up and ask that something be done.
I ask that Princeton
workers get good pay and good benefits, and I plan to spread the
word to other alumni I know until this issue is fully addressed.
Christopher Mogil 78
As a progressive Princeton
alumnus, I would like to seriously reconsider supporting the university
financially until the workers benefits and wages are improved.
There is no excuse for a wealthy university like Princeton to underpay
its valuable employees.
Gene Bruskin 68
Silver Spring, Md.
PAW should be applauded
for printing both letters (one critical and one laudatory) relating
to the Florida election activities of James Baker 52. The
letter by Mr. Schaffer 45 that was published March 7 seems
to suggest that comments about Mr. Baker can only be laudatory.
Exclusion by PAW of critical letters on Mr. Baker would be just
as wrong as PAW excluding Mr. Schaffers complimentary letter.
Reflecting diverse points of view in PAW is healthy for all of us.
Henry J. Oechler, Jr.
New York, N.Y.
I was unaware that PAW
stood for Princeton Alumni Whining. Your letters section
seems to have become an open forum for soapbox tirades, social criticism,
and self-indulgence. While I realize that reader feedback is
and should be an essential component of your publication,
I would ask that you please refrain from publishing letters that
clearly belong somewhere else.
Reid Armbruster 97
Having read recent letters
to the editor under the heading Nader doesnt learn,
doesnt care, I am struck by the highly emotional, close-minded,
and overly simplistic political opinions expressed by some of my
fellow alumni. Such diatribe has no place in PAW.
In 2001, Princeton University should consider adding political diversity
to the list of values it supports. Fellow alumnus James
Madison started this democratic tradition, and it could use a little
reinforcement within your pages.
It is time for PAWs editorial staff to raise its standards
on letters to the editor. My suggestion is: Put political diatribe
into the garbage where it belongs.
A. J. Moser 85
As one of the letter
writers criticized by Sumaiya Hamdani in the March 21 issue of PAW,
I am outraged by Hamdanis attempt to label criticism of Palestinian
battle tactics racist. No one alleged that the Palestinians
have an itch for violence, but it is fair to say that
their leaders have selected morally reprehensible means for attaining
It is no coincidence
that youth constitute a disproportionate number of Palestinian casualties.
This is the direct result of a conscious decision by Palestinian
leadership to move children to the front line as sacrifices in a
public relations campaign for international support. Similar disregard
for the value of human life is shown in the use by Palestinian forces
of the homes of unarmed Palestinians to shell Israeli personnel
and property. The New York Times recently reported on the hardship
this human shield approach has caused the innocent occupants
of these buildings.
Dror Futter 86
Editors note: A
longer version of Mr. Futters letter as well as more letters
on this topic appear in Letter Box on our Web site.
Contrary to the implication
of your On the Campus writer Emily Johnson 01 (March 7), students
in ROTC or on an FBI scholarship are probably not pressured to do
so because of the universitys former loan program.
In the past the university
believed in Princeton in the nations service,
and more than one-third of its graduating class served in the armed
forces. As a former ROTC cadet and Army officer and as the father
of a career Army officer and aviator, I find it sad that this is
no longer the case.
Robert H. E. Hein 56
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Thanks for your continued
outstanding coverage of alumni. Should I be embarrassed, as a feminist,
to admit that I gave my husband (Class of 1990) a subscription to
Maxim for his last birthday? I think not to each his own.
I personally find Keith Blanchards magazine hilarious.
Carolyn Havens Niemann
Judging from the negative
responses to the Keith Blanchard cover story, you would think the
headline of that issue had read Keith Blanchard 88 Strikes
Gold in the Glamorous World of Snuff Films! That wasnt
the headline, was it? If so, then I, too, am morally outraged. Very,
very morally outraged!
Keith Blanchard was one
of the funniest writers that ever worked on Tiger. I believe he
has put his considerable talents to good use in running Maxim. Yes,
Maxim is sophomoric. At its best, it is also clever, witty, and
hilarious. Hell, some of Shakespeares greatest work was sophomoric.
If I had paid more attention in class, I would be able to recite
the applicable passages now.
Greg Erb 91
Los Angeles, Calif.
Spitzer 81 and gun control
Eliot Spitzer 81
is probably well-meaning in his . . . use of law for public
objectives (Class Notes feature, March 7). The only problem
is that he is part of the executive branch sworn to enforce laws
passed by the legislature. His duty is not to ask a judge or two
to create law that circumvents the legislatures duty to define
the publics objectives.
Mr. Spitzer needs to go to Albany as a legislator if he wants to
curb gun purchases. Or he can remain as attorney general and vigorously
enforce the laws against the misuse of guns by criminals.
Kerry H. Brown 74
Given a recent letter
in PAW (February 7) that was most critical of the Princeton U-Store
for, it was said, neglecting books and emphasizing clothes and sporting
goods, I entered the store with some concern.
What I found was that
books had been given a very attractive location on the upper floor.
Indeed, the area seemed to be perfect for browsing and for allowing
readers to study possible purchases while enjoying comfortable chairs.
While I had hardly counted
the number of titles available before the books were moved upstairs,
and, therefore, could not make a precise comparison, I did find
a large array of worthwhile books. As a librarian at Rutgers, I
have had some experience in making judgments about books, by the
In my opinion, the U-Store
is better than ever.
Benjamin R. Beede *62
North Brunswick, N.J.
do it: Axe the swoosh
I hope I am overreacting
in my disappointment in seeing the threshold that seems to have
been crossed on the back cover of the March 21 issue (a U-Store
ad for Princeton hats, sweats, and T-shirts featuring the Nike swoosh).
We are used to, but often repulsed by, the pervasive branding and
advertising that permeates the interstices of our lives, but surely
Princetons name is not so readily for sale.
Max Morrow 65
The Princeton name and
the Nike logo should not appear together on officially sanctioned
clothing. Cant the university receive, solicit, or beg the
athletic money from elsewhere? Does Princeton need to share profits
from work houses in Asia? This Princeton alumnus is not pleased.
Arthur S. Keyes 68
k39 p94 p02
Just how fat is the endowment
lately, given the Wall Street swoon?
And whats the deal
between the U-Store and Nike? The ad on the back of the latest PAW
features sweatshirts and T-shirts and hats, etc., with nifty little
swooshes alongside Princeton logos. Are they selling out or what?
Can we look forward to the new football field sporting a megaswoosh?
Edward Walworth 66
In an article in our
January 24 issue, we omitted the name of one of the students who
submitted a report on graduate student concerns to the Council of
the Princeton University Community. That person was Mary Wheeler
In a March 7 sports story,
we misspelled the name of a lacrosse player. He is Jason Doneger
01, not Jason Donegar.
In our memorial to Adolph
Schmidt 26 in the March 21 issue, there were a number of errors.
Schmidt served in World War II, not World War I; it was President
Nixon, not Eisenhower, who appointed him ambassador to Canada; and
his son Thomas is a member of the Class of 1962.
Also in March 21, the
editors letter stated that Janet Dickerson is the universitys
first female African-American vice president. That is incorrect;
Dickerson is the second. The first was Audrey Smith, former vice
president of human resources.
In our April 4 story
about Susan Taylor, director of the Art Museum, we misspelled the
name of her husband. He is Paolo Meozzi. In the same story, an editing
error caused it to seem that students in Professor Michael Cooks
class had access to Han figurines in the museums collection.
They did not.
PAW regrets the errors.