April 24, 2002: Letters
PAW welcomes letters. We may edit them for length,
accuracy, clarity, and civility.
The four programs to which Princeton donated $1 million in response to September 11 (Notebook, January 30) are very worthy causes. But I strongly doubt the money Princeton receives was ever intended to go to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice for scholarships, or for the other three programs. If the university wanted to encourage others to make these donations, that would be commendable, but I believe the trustees overstepped their authority and responsibility when they chose to use university funds to go to any source or for any purpose other than for the university itself.
To whom at Princeton do the other needy outreach programs apply for grants? Is there a box one can check for Annual Giving to direct specific amounts to humanitarian projects endorsed by the administration? One might be a cap on tuition, fees, and room and board, since the university fiduciaries of other peoples money have such an excess amount that they can make large charitable donations to meaningful causes in New York City.
Laurence C. Day 55
The extent to which we Princetonians fail to look critically at Donald Rumsfeld 54s actions (cover story, November 21) mirrors our nations historical amnesia and collective denial. Our leaders are contributing to the worlds exploitation and misery by leading with greed and the fist. If this is truly a global village, whats with all the rich chiefs, toiling children, and sharp swords? How much power and material wealth do we need before we say enough?
Tim McKee 92
With respect for the instinct to feature Princetonian newsmakers in PAW, and with understanding that Secretary of Defense (War?) Donald Rumsfeld 54 and FBI Director Robert Mueller 66 have difficult jobs, I still must demur from the accolades your article on them has prompted.
These two give the U.S. a bad name, and by doing so reflect badly on our university. Im glad more people dont know they went to Princeton. Mueller, who as an attorney should know better, has stonewalled counsel for more than a thousand immigrants being held incommunicado and without charge. And Rumsfeld, with his self-righteous manner and his seeming lack of a decent regard to the opinions of mankind to say nothing of the lives of anyone other than Americans projects just the kind of arrogant, imperialist persona that is driving even our allies up the wall.
I think its fair to expect that the Princeton experience can impart a certain urbanity and generosity of spirit, as befits the fortunate recipients of an elite universitys liberal education. Such admirable traits appear to be conspicuously lacking in your storys subjects, however powerful they may be.
Ken Scudder 63
As a member of a class that spent four years serving (and dying for) our country in World War II, I was enraged by Daniel Erdman 73s letter (March 13). For someone who has never served his country to attack Donald Rumsfeld one of Princetons true heroes turns my stomach. Fortunately, more than 90 percent of the American people disagree with him. Fortunately, Princeton will always have true heroes, and, sadly, its Erdmans.
Frank Schaffer 45
It is hard not to be impressed that in the aftermath of 9/11, when so many innocent Americans have suffered and died, some people seem so absorbed with the superficial aspects of the treatment of the Al Qaeda prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Daniel Erdman 73 complains that he is disappointed that Secretary Rumsfeld 54 has labeled these men as unlawful combatants. Aside from the triviality of the semantics involved, no one has alleged that these men are being killed or tortured. The Geneva Convention was written for soldiers. Among other things, treating these terrorists as soldiers would deny the U.S. the ability to interrogate. Such treatment might increase the risk of further attacks and loss of life. Erdman is frightened as well as embarrassed by Rumsfelds actions. Such vitriol would be better reserved for those who seek to murder innocent Americans.
Jeffrey S. Oppenheim 84
I am very disappointed in Daniel Erdmans letter. I knew Don Rumsfeld when I was at Princeton and believe he is an exceptional and fine individual. He always was extremely candid, which I view as a refreshing trait for a secretary of defense.
Erdman might not realize that there are many evil and criminal activities that are not covered by the Geneva Accords. The last I heard, Afghanistan never declared war on the U.S., so I dont understand the concern that Al Qaedas treatment at Guantanamo falls under the Geneva Accords.
Although we all have the right to our own views, I am nonetheless offended that a Princeton graduate would have written such an inane letter.
Larry Seabrook 56
With reference to the letter by Daniel Erdman 73, who seems concerned over the Al Qaeda prisoners, I would like to point out that the Geneva Accords were intended to protect soldiers and sailors captured in the course of doing their duty as members of the armed forces of a nation in time of war. One wonders what sort of twisted reasoning equates an international organization of criminals, fanatics, and murderers to a countrys armed forces.
Don Rumsfeld and the rest of the present administration seem to think more clearly. I thank God that mature adults are once again in charge of the U.S.!
Burnet Fisher 46
As one of many architects whose design doctrine has been form follows function, I was alarmed to read in the December 19 PAW that Mr. Frank Gehry has been named architect for the new science library building.
The city of Bilbao needed a startling structure to attract tourists and put itself on the map. The Guggenheim Museum achieved this goal remarkably well. Consequently, many cities, including Dallas, are beseeching Mr. Gehry to create similar attractions. Princeton has no need for such a symbol to enhance its public image.
Because Bilbaos Guggenheim has received such acclaim, few of the minority who have dared criticize the project have been heard. The interior space behind those dramatic titanium shapes is a disaster. It is dominated by a jumbled mass of ugly struts and spars and is useless as an area for exhibiting art. Visitors are totally confused by the plans lack of direction and chaotic circulation.
The combined force of major funding and Mr. Gehry may be hard to resist, but I hope the university does not succumb to the enticement of yet another heap of distorted metallic forms at one of its prime portals.
Vance W. Torbert 42
I was very concerned when I read about the $60-million gift of Peter R. Lewis 55 for a new science library to be designed by architect Frank Gehry and located just north of Fine Hall. I am not concerned with the gift, which is wonderful, and the library, which is needed. But I am very concerned about what the library will look like and its relation to the other buildings on the campus. The beauty and harmony of the campus was one of the many factors that led me to choose Princeton for my college career. And even though Princeton has expanded greatly over the years, the campus has always looked wonderful to me.
Frank Gehry is indeed an internationally praised architect. He is also a very controversial architect. I know he has the expertise to design a building that will be both beautiful in most peoples eyes and will meet the utilitarian needs of a great library. But will he?
His acclaimed (by many) Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, is now attracting hordes of visitors to an otherwise unattractive industrial city. His model for a Guggenheim downtown branch museum on the East River in Manhattan is also an eye-catching, almost free-form building, and if built will probably attract more visitors than the museums exhibits will. But a library like either of the above examples would lend a jarring note to Princetons campus. If the new library attracts crowds like Bilbao, it could have an adverse effect on users of the library.
Since Gehry is designing the library, I challenge him to provide something of which most Princetonians can be proud.
Clifford Bradley OHara 39
Regarding your story on polo (From the Editor, February 13): My usually reliable husband told this story many times. In the spring of 1927 Arthur Borden 29 came to Princeton to play polo, among other things. He soon organized a match against Army, then a powerhouse. There had to be mascots. John R. Bennet 30 and C. Clay Crawford were drafted: Bennet wore the Tiger suit, Crawford the Army Mule. The score of the match has long been lost in memory and some of the details may not add up, but that it occurred is beyond question.
Silvia S. Bennet w30
The From the Archives (March 13) picture was taken in about 1946 in our Holder Hall room and shows the early formation of the Tiger Tot Tenders. The founders were Peter Walmsley, Morse Dial, Arthur Brinkley, and Charles Biddle, all of the Class of 1947. In the picture Brinkley is holding the diaper, and Dial is standing next to him. We got an unexpected bonus of being picked up by the national press and then we were off. As I remember, it was hard work and not overly lucrative at 35 cents an hour, particularly when the clients would pool kids at one house so that we ended up with five or six kids to watch, feed, change diapers, etc. Nevertheless, it was good training. If you could survive that madhouse, later life stresses seemed minor in comparison.
Charles Biddle 47
Unfortunately, I cannot help you with the names of your Tiger Tot Tenders, but I can assure you someone dared hire them. During the early 1960s, my parents often engaged Princeton undergraduates to babysit my brother and me. They were uniformly wonderful.
The same economics major who taught me to add and subtract fractions taught me to play poker and blackjack. After patiently listening while I practiced Bach and Beethoven, another sitter helped me to pick out the melodies to the Beatles latest hits while he played his guitar. They never made us go to bed on time or touch a green leafy vegetable, unlike the girls from Westminster Choir College, who charged $.50 rather than $.75 per hour. When threatened with a permanent switch, my brother and I pooled our allowances to make up the difference. My parents opted for family happiness and simply absorbed the loss.
Margaret B. Ruttenberg 76
It was nostalgic and amusing to see the From the Archives picture in the March 13 PAW. My late husband, Peter Walmsley, started the agency in the 40s. They were a sought-after group.
Thanks to you for providing a smile and a special glimpse into the past.
Amelie Walmsley Wathen
We used this baby-sitting service in 1946. Occasionally four TTT would turn up, for the price of one, in order to have a bridge game. I loved the idea of four strapping young men watching over my baby daughter.
Ann Rose Reed w42
Editors note: PAW also heard from Arthur Brinkley, III 80 and Rub Cuniberti 47.
In From left to right (feature, January 30), we incorrectly identified Vicente Foxs political party. It is the National Action Party. On the contents page of the same issue, we gave Frederick Crews *58 an incorrect class year.
In From lab to license (feature, February 27), we incorrectly stated that Professor Stephen Forrest founded the company Epitaxx. Professor Forrest writes: While I was a participant nearly from its founding, the company was in fact founded by Drs. Gregory Olsen and Vladimir Ban. My contribution as a professor was to engage in research on photodiodes that were eventually commercialized by that company.
Finally, in her eagerness to assign control of the world to Princetonians, the editor mistakenly made Bill Ford 79s uncle, Henry Ford II, an alumnus (cover story, March 27). The real Henry Ford II 56, we understand, is not at all blunt, no-nonsense, or arrogant.
PAW regrets the errors.