January 24, 2007: Letters
Letter Box Online
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Memories of Goheen
Merrell Noden ’78’s fine piece on Robert Goheen ’40 *48 (cover story, Nov. 8) brought back lots of memories, and reminded me how fortunate I still feel to have been a student at Princeton during his presidency.
During freshman orientation week in the fall of ’65, he spoke to us 800 or so assembled frosh in Alexander Hall, and to bring us down to earth, wryly noted that among our number could be found “some 750 football captains, and 700 valedictorians.”
During my junior year, when I had just assumed the editorship of the Nassau Lit, I took a look at the books and realized that without some sudden outside infusion of cash, the magazine would expire. It must have been the brashness of youth that induced me to call Nassau Hall and ask for an appointment. Amazingly, President Goheen agreed to see me. Even more amazingly, he arranged to have a check made out to what he called “a worthy student cause,” and it kept the Lit alive.
In the spring of that year (1968), when all hell was breaking loose on campuses all over the country, a big noisy crowd of students gathered outside Nassau Hall one afternoon to protest the Vietnam War and to demand that President Goheen come out and speak to us. After a few minutes, he emerged and said he’d be glad to meet in his office with a small delegation to be picked by the demonstrators. That ended the demonstration.
When he spoke at our graduation, he offered us this classic bit of advice: “If, after four years at Princeton, you feel you have both feet firmly planted on solid ground, then the University has failed you.”
For our fifth reunion in 1974, with the Watergate scandal in full flower, we were asked to fill out a questionnaire listing, among other things, the people we most admired. Two of the top three names were prominent figures in the Watergate investigation: Special Prose-cutor Archibald Cox and Judge John J. Sirica. The third was Robert Goheen.
With customary modesty, President Goheen sums up his many contributions to his university and his country by saying, “I did my best.” He sure did, and we’re all the better for it.
ROBERT W. COXE ’69
The wonderful picture of Robert F. Goheen on the cover of the Nov. 8 issue sparked some distant but still vivid memories. Thanks for reminding us about this extraordinary man who touched so many of our lives.
FRESHMAN WEEK, PROSPECT LAWN
President Goheen, in crisp bow tie,
KENNETH F. GRAHAM ’73
It was a pleasure to read Merrell Noden’s piece on President Goheen, whose tenure extended through my time at Princeton. Through all the turbulence of those days, President Goheen demonstrated an integrity of word and action that embraced the past, present, and future of the University. One note on the historical record: Noden writes that “Goheen’s objection to the protesters was that they had no use for the civilized debate he so valued.” This was certainly true of those protesters in Students for a Democratic Society who took up Herbert Marcuse’s call for “repressive intolerance” in drowning out speakers with catcalls and chanting. But I believe President Goheen showed respect for the many students and faculty members who registered their dissent not only in “civilized debate” but in the long-haul political activism that helped end the war in Vietnam.
BEN TOUSLEY ’71
It was with great pleasure that I read Merrell Noden’s tribute to Bob Goheen for his years of service to Princeton. I am only one of the many, many Princetonians who were touched by this great man.
In the fall of 1941 Princeton fielded a varsity soccer team that was a true powerhouse, with essentially 11 star players, among them Ward Chamberlin, Bud Palmer, Phil Paris, Dick LeBlond, Ned Kelly, and others. The freshman team of that year was hopeful of continuing that dynasty. I was trying out for the position of left inside forward on the freshman team because, although right-handed, I had a strong left foot. It was with chagrin that I saw an “older man” who was also a left inside player come to our practice. He was good, and my hopes of making the team seemed in peril.
It wasn’t until the next practice that I learned that it was Bob Goheen, a recent graduate, who had come out on his own to teach and help coach our team. His love of the game shone through. Although he had only a few sessions with us, his effect on me and on the team was pronounced. I remember to this day the desire he had to teach even at that early stage of his career. It is strange that of the many positive experiences I had at Princeton, this one stands out so vividly.
Our freshman team went on to an undefeated season, being tied only once on a stormy afternoon. We had stars of our own: Butch Van Breda Kolff, Doc Roberts, Chan Brewer, and others. We were captained by John Koelsch, who later was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for service in Korea.
NORMAN D. CARTER ’45
A photo caption in the Nov. 8 cover story states that the photo was taken “around 1960,” but it must be from between 1965 and 1969. The fellow in glasses over President Goheen’s left shoulder is Granville Burgess ’69, and the lad in plaid (hands in pockets) is Rob Livesey, also ’69.
About the need to reinstate the draft: As a Vietnam veteran who joined the service right after graduation and served there with at least a dozen classmates, I take exception to Charles Parmele III ’47’s statements (Letters, Nov. 8) that “the Vietnam War was fought by the lower classes.” I served on active and reserve duty through 1994, and know many service men and women who come from successful families (if that’s what “upper class” means).
Two fundamental problems underlie the debate about reinstating the draft: the end-strength of the armed forces, and the distribution of military skill sets across the active and reserve/guard components. The current active Army and Marine Corps are simply too small to carry out their current tasks.
From World War II through Vietnam, when the United States engaged in extended operations, a draft was used to temporarily increase the size of the Army. Iraq and Afghanistan are the first time since 1972 that we have been in combat for more than a few months, and we have reduced the size of our ground forces rather than enlarge them.
In 1975, when the draft was abolished, a conscious decision was made to move certain military skills entirely out of the active forces and into the reserves and National Guard. A rationale was that in a major conflict we should avoid having an “elite professional” military. This has worked all too well — not only are our guard and reserves deployed in combat, their mobilization rates are near the statutory limits. All the services today are rebalancing the skill sets between their active and reserve components to eliminate the requirement to do a reserve call-up for even the smallest conflict.
One thing is certain: Our ground combat forces are grossly overextended. With many soldiers and Marines on their third combat tours, we need to enlarge our forces or cut back on the number of places we are engaged — probably some of both. We can only ask so much of our young men and women.
JAMES J. KUZMICK ’69
As a co-founder in 1972 of the Gay Alliance of Princeton — the University’s first gay student organization — I am gratified that gay and lesbian students at Princeton now have a permanent center of their own (Notebook, Nov. 8), something far more luxurious than the literal closet of an office we were able to wrangle from the school. And how wonderfully ironic that this new facility is housed in the Frist Campus Center, a building named for the family of my classmate, Bill Frist ’74, who, as Senate majority leader, spearheaded efforts to enshrine anti-gay discrimination in our Constitution and otherwise helped carry out the bidding of the anti-gay radical right on Capitol Hill. Frist is now gone from Congress, but the LGBT Center at Princeton will remain.
JUDITH E. SCHAEFFER ’74
I read a recent statement about the opening of the University’s LGBT Center (Notebook, Nov. 8), and I was horrified. Sexuality at Princeton University has always been a matter of personal conscience and private conduct. The expenditure of University funds, and the allocation of facilities and resources in support of the LGBT Center, gives explicit University support and sanction to conduct that is morally wrong.
I entered Princeton University in 1974. At that time I made an effort to learn about its establishment, history, and the key people in its development and growth. While I was raised as a Roman Catholic, I developed tremendous respect for great Presbyterian clergymen such as the Revs. Witherspoon, McCosh, Burr, Dickinson, and Frelinghuysen through the study of their writings. I am absolutely certain that the founding fathers of the University, along with the great laymen who propelled its development, would be revulsed by the overt celebration and support of LGBT conduct and the University’s endorsement thereof.
President Tilghman was quoted as saying, “This is really a milestone for us.” She was correct. It is a sad milestone in Princeton’s accommodation of moral relativism, which is, as Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Ratzinger) so eloquently said in 2001, the greatest threat being posed to Western civilization in this time.
I was once proud to be an alumnus of Princeton University. I competed for the soccer team to the very best of my ability and tried to bring honor to the University. I also felt privileged to be able to learn from great scholars. Now I’m only ashamed to be an alumnus. I am deeply disappointed in President Tilghman and in the conduct of her administration in this matter.
GAETANO P. CIPRIANO ’78
It was with some bemusement that I read the PAW article about Khalid Latif, the University’s first Muslim chaplain (feature, Oct. 25). Rarely have I read an article that managed, in a great many words, so to tiptoe around the 400-pound gorilla in the room.
A quick Google search reveals that Imam Latif is on record as opposing the publication of the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, several of which were composed by Muslim clerics, and which were all printed in an Egyptian paper some months before deadly riots broke out. Princeton’s chaplain, when serving at NYU, came down firmly on the side of censorship and against free speech. Isn’t this something that the PAW should mention?
While we’re at it, it would be a great relief if PAW could clarify Imam Latif’s specific perspective on the biggest issues of our day, since they concern people who call themselves Muslim. Does Princeton’s Muslim chaplain believe in free speech and a free
society? Or does he instead desire Sharia in the United States, which would include second-class citizen status for all non-Muslims? Does Imam Latif agree that the events of Sept. 11 were carried out by George W. Bush and his neocon co-conspirators? Does he consider that those who celebrate the death of themselves, their children, and random civilians in the name of Allah are legitimate practitioners of the Islamic faith?
These questions only start to sound so loopy because a majority of polled Muslims [in a survey by the Pew Research Center last spring] appear to support these most radical positions. Did Princeton hire such a person to advise and counsel students?
I don’t think it is unreasonable to know whether Princeton’s chaplain’s attack on free speech extends to more radical beliefs, or whether he instead embodies the virtues of free inquiry and a free society that make Princeton so great. Please enlighten us!
ISAIAH COX ’94
Editor’s note: Khalid Latif is the Univer-sity’s part-time Muslim chaplain. Princeton continues to have a dean of religious life and two associate deans. Following is a reply from Latif:
One of the first people I met at Princeton University was a unique undergraduate. His uniqueness, from my perspective, did not lie in his educational endeavors or his various extracurricular activities. Although these were truly remarkable, and something that I have come to find are generally characteristic of most of the students here, there was something deeper that made him stand out. When we met, he identified himself as being not only a member of the University’s pro-Zionist and Jewish communities, but also, more importantly, sincerely happy that I was at the University, and he hoped that I would stay here for some time to come. Throughout the conversation, each word reassured me more and more that he meant it.
Since that time I have had the opportunity to correspond with numerous students, alumni, administrators, and faculty members, each one making me feel more welcome regardless of whether we shared the same beliefs in faith or not. Additionally, that openness and cooperative attitude has allowed me to gain insight as to how I can be most resourceful to the University at large. The cultural, educational, and spiritual diversity that exists at Princeton is something that is indeed rare to find. It is my hope that my being here as the University’s first Muslim chaplain will help the community at large further appreciate that diversity. The welcoming attitude that I have been met with has shown me that not only do I have people to go to should the need arise, but also that I am surrounded by people who are most definitely open to understanding, learning, and appreciating what I have to offer, and I fully intend to give everything I can.
It’s really great that Princo has managed to earn a hefty 15.6 percent annual return on Princeton’s huge endowment over the past decade (Notebook, Nov. 22). I cannot help but wish that my own somewhat more modest holdings had been placed in Princo’s able hands. This invites the following question: As a Princeton alumnus, why can’t I let Princo manage my money, too? Just mix it in with the endowment and turn on the computers.
How will this help Princeton? Surely, those who have been privileged to benefit from Princo’s wise management of their assets will be all the more inclined to remember the University at Annual Giving time and in their wills. I’d be willing to make a pledge in advance.
Letting Princo manage money on behalf of the entire Princeton family seems to be an idea whose time has come. Or am I missing something? (I must be, otherwise someone much smarter than I would have thought of this a long time ago.)
C. THOMAS CORWIN ’62
The article on Prospect Club (Notebook, Nov. 22) gave a good picture of important features of the Princeton Prospect Cooperative Club and issues of significance then and now. The members of Prospect Club and I are very grateful.
I would add two items. First, one of Prospect’s proudest aspects was that it made a home for minorities and was the first club to do so for African-Americans. African-Americans came |to Princeton originally as a result of the Navy’s V-12 program. Princeton itself admitted its first with “Pete” Moss, a classmate of mine (feature, June 7). He was followed by others, including Bob Rivers ’53, who became a trustee of the University. Those to whom I was able to speak felt that Prospect was a genuine haven from the discrimination that most of them encountered in other places on andoff the campus.
In addition, there is a most minor correction to make. The club officers discouraged, rather than made, efforts to legislate the menus for meals. Those efforts came in the form of motions from the floor by members at club meetings to outlaw such items as scrapple or spinach. The officers felt that this was the domain of the steward and sought to protect him from excesses of club spirit. Pete Moss was the steward when we were seniors, and we were eager to preserve his jurisdiction over meals.
EDWARD A. WOOLLEY ’51
Editor’s note: Woolley is the author of Princeton Prospect Cooperative Club: A Great Social Experiment.
Hilary Parker ’01’s fine article on Prospect Club omitted two bits of information readers might like to have: The Prospect history is available from Sheepfold Press, 32 Autopscot Circle, Nantucket, MA 02554, via Ed Woolley (email@example.com), and there is a plaque commemorating Prospect on the site where it last existed, now the Center for Jewish Life, on Washington Road.
HARVEY GLICKMAN ’52 (Prospect ’50–’52)
Two articles in the Nov. 22 issue, “Recalling Prospect Club’s ‘great social experiment’” and “Faith in the Center,” brought back mixed emotions about my Bicker experiences in 1958. Someone should set the record straight as to what really happened.
The concept of 100 percent Bicker was obviously very important to the University, since no alternative dining arrangements were provided. By late evening of the last day of Bicker, a significant number of sophomores had not received a bid to join an eating club. The Bicker chairman, Steven Rockefeller ’58, requested that they meet in the basement of Ivy Club. Having decided to turn down my only bid, I attended the meeting out of curiosity. At that time he announced that Prospect Club had decided to offer “bids” to all the remaining sophomores (despite the fact that they could have joined the club without bids, because of its open-admissions policy), thereby assuring a successful 100 percent Bicker.
I left that meeting with a sense of disgust with Mr. Rockefeller and his cohorts at the sham that they perpetrated, at the University, and at Prospect Club itself for facilitating this sham. Prospect placed its financial well-being above the need to reform the Bicker process. With trepidation but also with pride, I became the first independent in my class. The Bicker experience helped me understand both my deficiencies and my strengths. In form, the 1958 Bicker was 100 percent, but in substance it was a sham and demeaning to everyone gathered that night in the basement of Ivy Club.
PAUL G. ROCHMIS ’60
Phyllis Lee Levin contends (Letters, Nov. 8) that Edith Wilson should have “permitted the vice president, Thomas R. Marshall, to supplant her incapacitated husband in the White House” in 1919. Putting aside the fact that the first lady did not have authority to do this, it was Marshall himself who repeatedly rejected any notion of serving as acting president. Nobody knew better than the vice president that Wilson, operating at a fraction of his faculties, would have been preferable to himself at full powers. On hearing a false report that Wilson had died, he fainted.
The president, impaired physically as he was, retained his mental equipment through the end of his term, and it is likely that neither he, well or ill, nor Marshall would have made concessions to Sen. Lodge and the irreconcilable opponents to the League. Wilson stated his position clearly: “Better a thousand times to go down fighting than to dip your colors to dishonorable compromise.”
Ms. Levin also implies incorrectly that Edith Wilson took it upon herself to make policy decisions. Official matters were referred to Secretary Tumulty and departmental heads. “I am not interested in the president of the United States,” she said, “I am interested in my husband and his health.” For a time she stood guard at the door to the sickroom, but a few people got in, notably the Prince of Wales and a committee of senators sent to assess the president’s condition.
When the oily Albert Fall, leader of this committee, leaned over the bed and said, “We have all been praying for you, Mr. President,” Wilson shot back, “Which way, Senator?” The committee reported reluctantly that the president was not unfit to function in office.
ROBERT R. CULLINANE ’70
Editor’s note: Cullinane is a member of the board of directors of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library.
“The streak is broken” article (Sports, Nov. 8) properly focuses on Bob Holly ’82, Scott Oostdyk ’82, and Derek Graham ’85 for the victory over Yale that is still celebrated, but reports of my being “lost to injury” caught me by surprise. A quick check of the Princeton athletics Web site shows 1,387 yards of total offense in 1981 for the short kid from Oregon. Beat up, yes, but I was on the field that day and was the first one to pull Bob up from the end zone after his legendary dive.
LAWRENCE VAN PELT ’82
In the 1956 photo of the old Palmer Stadium press box (From the Archives, Nov. 8) I can identify two of the members of the University Press Club because I am one of them, standing facing in the general direction of the camera. Standing in front of me with his back to the camera is Alf Law ’57, who was president of the club that year and correspondent for The New York Times.
I was the Associated Press correspondent and succeeded Alf the next year as club president and Times stringer. Alf always wore a hat of the sort that reporters had on in the movies, and he did enter a career in journalism after graduating (I went on to a Ph.D. in German literature from Yale, taught two years at Harvard as instructor, and then 35 as a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). The fellow standing sideways to the camera at the extreme left may well be Mayer Lightdale ’57.
That the archive photo appeared in the issue honoring President Goheen is especially sweet for me. As the AP correspondent when his selection was announced, I was probably the first to get the report out to the media. The New Jersey AP office in Newark arranged for me to call in the story from my dorm room as soon as the news was released. They had me dictate the story extemporaneously over the phone, and they sent it out paragraph by paragraph.
JAMES M. McGLATHERY ’58
In the From the Archives photo of Nov. 8, the then-young man seated at left has got to be David F. Dean ’60.
JOHN E. KOLOFOLIAS ’60
In all of the press coverage of the Rutgers-Louisville football game, I couldn’t help but notice the extensive media use of the new Rutgers athletics logo. Like Princeton, Rutgers recently updated its dated and confused logo collection with a single, modern moniker. Unlike Princeton, it skipped the cartoons and fads and chose a classic collegiate “R”. Although the new logo kit developed in 2004 by Princeton included some time-honored “P”s, shields, and other appropriate symbols of Princeton history, the athletics department has chosen to disregard tradition by solely using a bizarre tiger-striped “P” that has no graphical precedent on campus. Rutgers won that first collegiate football game in 1869, and maybe it can still teach us a thing or two about how to celebrate that proud history in an appropriate athletic logo.
DAVID THOM ’96
The Dec. 13 memorial for C. Frederick Mosteller *46 incorrectly identified him as Frederick C. Mosteller and his late wife as Gale. His wife was Virginia Gilroy Mosteller, and their children are Gale and William.
Two alumni should be added to the list of Princetonians who are college presidents (feature, Sept. 27): the Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx ’69, S.J., president of Fairfield (Conn.) University since 2004; and Ricardo R. Fernández *70, president of Lehman College in New York since 1990.