Thank you for "Oceans on the Edge" in the summer issue.
I found "From Sea Soup to Casco Bay" particularly inspiring.
It once again points out how important individual actions are in
preserving our wonderful natural heritage. We need to be constantly
reminded that we have an obligation to act in an environmentally
responsible way, especially here in the United States, where we
consume so much more than is necessary to sustain health and happiness.
Two People Well-Remembered
I was delighted to find two people whom I remember well from my
distant past prominently featured in the recent issue--Ed Schluntz
and Jan Pechenik. I remember Edward Schluntz from my four years
at Brookline High School (Class of '68). "Coach Schluntz"
was a role model. He was a physically imposing but soft-spoken guy
who led by example, and everyone at BHS liked and respected him.
Jan Pechenik was a classmate and dormmate of mine during my undergraduate
years at Duke University (Class of '72). Jan was an incredibly nice
and absolutely brilliant guy who took to biology as naturally as
the rest of us breathe air. He also had a wonderfully dry sense
of humor. We all knew he was going to become one of the bright lights
in biology (don't know how I happened to miss all four editions
of Biology of Invertebrates!) and it's great to learn that he still
has the same enthusiasm as he had 25 years ago, still doesn't wear
a tie and still has the same winning smile. Tufts University has
two really good guys in Ed Schluntz and Jan Pechenik--thanks for
Dr. Mark J. Brenner, M81
Greek Revival Well Preserved
Someone shared with me the summer issue with its fine piece about
the Paul Curtis House in Medford ("Backpage") and I want
to share a couple of recollections. A few years ago, as members
of the Medford Historical Commission, my colleagues and I were invited
by the Galvins to a holiday reception to see some of the restoration
work they had done on the house. Between the century and a half
of memories that the house evoked and the Galvins' warmth and hospitality
(we overheard the general telling ABC News that he couldn't give
them an interview that night early in the Bosnia crisis because
he was entertaining the Medford Historical Commission), I shall
carry always a special fondness for that home.
Two years ago I led a Boston by Foot tour of Medford and my 40
guests agreed that that house is one of the finest examples of Greek
Revival architecture in the Boston area. Being able to include a
property like this in the tour was indeed a source of pleasure and
pride. I thank Tufts for its leadership in preserving this home
and for its continuing efforts to maintain it.
Eavesdrop on the Owl
Unless Archie (the owl on page 7 of the summer issue) possesses
the unlikely gift of quoting Shakespeare, he is a "barred"
owl (not bard). Their hoot is typically described as "Who cooks
for you? Who cooks for you-all?" Readers who want to eavesdrop
on them can visit: www.owlcam.com/soundlib/ sound_lib.html.
Pat Nelson, J65
In the article about the Israel trip in the spring issue, I take
offense with the statement: "return of the Golan." Obviously,
whoever wrote the article knows nothing of history of the region.
The Golan has been historically part of Israel for the last 3,500
years. It was settled during the first and second temple periods.
It was taken from Israel during the Roman conquest of 67 A.D. One
of the more famous war massacres was fought in Gamla similar to
the Massada massacre. More recently, it was partitioned to modern-day
Syria by the British and the French, who also transferred into Israel
most of the so-called Palestinians to be a buffer to the returning
Jews. It was most recently liberated in 1967, exactly 1,900 years
after it fell. The Golan today is part of the State of Israel. Any
transfer of land would be an undeserving "present," not
Neil Goldberg, E84
Spirit of Debate
The fall 1999 Tuftonia included a thoughtful retrospective on Tufts
and the Vietnam War. However, subsequent issues of Tuftonia have
contained a series of letters upholding the war in Vietnam and condemning
the University for its decision to remove ROTC. We find these letters
disturbing. Let us be very clear about who we are.
We attended Tufts in the late 1960s and early 1970s and were activists
in the struggle to end the war in Vietnam. We are very proud of
our past efforts. It was a moral commitment to social justice that
informed our activism then and that same spirit informs our work
today--Gordy Schiff as a doctor in a major urban municipal hospital
and Marty Blatt as a practitioner of public history. Many of the
letter writers are wrong about the Vietnam War. We write to set
the record straight.
It was a terrible war, one that cannot be defended in any way.
Even some who were central prosecutors of the war, like Robert McNamara,
now condemn it. We know now that the U.S. government continuously
lied to the American people about the war. The United States did
not defend democracy in Vietnam; rather, the regime we defended
was utterly corrupt, unpopular and undemocratic. Our government
prosecuted a brutal war filled with atrocities: executions, torture,
the use of napalm, and crop defoliation with cancer-causing Agent
Within this context, it made very good sense to initiate a debate
about the presence of ROTC on the Tufts campus. It was one effective
way for students to organize against the war. We posed a challenge
to the claim of the Tufts administration that Tufts was remaining
neutral in this undeclared war, shattering, figuratively, the campus
calm and seeming distance of the war from our lives at Tufts. Of
course, we never blamed the war on ROTC individual participants.
It was the institutional relationship which made Tufts complicit
with the war effort that we questioned. There were many campuses
where bringing the war home meant violent confrontations. Not so
Tufts should be proud of the fact that there was a spirit of debate
and inquiry on the matter of ROTC. The decision by the administration
was grounded in the best tradition of democracy. It was a good policy
decision arrived at via civil discourse. In the end, it was not
just us antiwar protesters who believed that ROTC should be removed,
but the administration and board of trustees who, convinced by the
arguments in this democratic debate, voted in support of the move.
It's a shame that no one from the administration or the trustees
at that time has stepped forward with a letter to articulate this
viewpoint. The campaign against ROTC at Tufts was a small but significant
part of the great movement to end the war in Vietnam and helped
prevent the United States from pursuing other such foreign policy
undertakings. The ROTC episode at Tufts is nothing to condemn or
feel embarrassed about; it is something to learn from and to celebrate.
Gordy Schiff, A72, Chicago Marty Blatt, A72
A Key Connection
I'm so grateful to Tufts for my engineering education and degree,
but even more appreciative of my AFROTC courses that led me to a
USAF 2nd Lt. commission at the same time. After graduation, the
USAF sent me to MIT graduate school, where I got two master's degrees:
one in meteorology and another in aeronautics and astronautics (1965).
I also got another MS--multiple sclerosis--but wouldn't be diagnosed
for ten years. I went to Vietnam in '66 for a one-year tour as a
special projects officer (captain), where I had two USAF officers
and ten USAF enlisted non-commissioned officer technicians working
with me with meteorological spacecraft-receiving equipment. We tracked
and acquired imagery from the polar orbiting weather satellites
of the DOD (highly classified Defense Meteorological Satellite Program),
NASA and NOAA.
Then we gridded, analyzed and disseminated the annotated and analyzed
photos to the military decision makers. The interpretation of meteorological
spacecraft photos was the only way the military could observe the
"weather" that was, of course, vital for all phases of
the air and ground war in and over Vietnam, including some secret
missions such as cloud seeding and SOG (Studies and Operations Group).
It was the best job I ever had and one I work at to this day in
my wheelchair at home near the Kennedy Space Center, where I had
my last official job as a satellite meteorologist. Looking back
on my life, ironically, the key connection that I credit the most
was my USAF commission at Tufts and my Vietnam tour of duty. Too
bad the ROTC programs were dropped at Tufts years ago!
Hank Brandli, E59
A Visceral Chord
The article on Vietnam struck a visceral chord. I was a member
of the wartime NROTC at Tufts and received my undergraduate degrees
and Navy commission after attending Tufts. Most of my classmates
were from the lower or middle income economic classes and were ordered
to Tufts by the U.S. Navy. Most of us would never have attended
such a prestigious school and it was only due to the programs set
up by the Navy. We participated in all types of activities at the
school from sports to the three "Ps," and we were proud
of our school.
After we were mustered out of the Navy, many of us continued in
various endeavors to associate ourselves with Tufts. We had and
still have great emotional ties to this wonderful institution, but
we were and are also mindful of our backgrounds and how we came
to Tufts. Not only are we proud of the educational background and
training given to us by this giant of academia, but we felt blessed
that our school was providing a different kind of leadership for
our Armed Forces. Imagine our chagrin when, because of student pressures,
the administration abolished the NROTC. Some of us were opposed
to our country's involvement in Vietnam, but we felt that the NROTC
was a credit to the school. We felt at the time that the school's
administration did not stand up for principles and as a result we
lost the participation of many graduates and the respect of others.
I am happy that time has healed many wounds and that we once again
have a unit of the NROTC on the campus. We are still loyal Tuftonians
and support our school.
Robert James Friedman, A46
White Plains, NY
Tufts' Colors: Two, Right?
I was planning a party for my classmates from 1966 and adjoining
years. My wife and I thought using the school colors for dinnerware
might be a fun idea. "What shade of blue?" she asked.
"Well, it's kind of a light blue," said I. "Check
Tufts.edu." "Are you sure it's brown and blue? It looks
like it's periwinkle and gold," she questioned.
"Bah, I know the dear brown and blue! Let me at the web and
I will show you!" Well, no brown and blue, and only a pale,
washed-out version of the shield could be found. Then I checked
out the alumni site. Nope, no brown and blue. Aha! Merchandise!
Well, the bookstore site has a color version of the shield, but
it's a shade of blue that had to be popular only in the glory days
of the '60s, in Peter Max drawings or on TV screens when the VCR
is broken. Aha! A banner is for sale. The banner description speaks
for itself: "Traditional wool felt pennant. Blue with contrasting
print." Dammit! It's brown! Not a contrasting print!
I fully realize the glory of websites in most web designers' minds
resides in graphics and pleasing color schemes rather than content.
But you should have some brown and blue somewhere on the site, even
if you really couldn't stand seeing it on the home page. A legible
version of the school shield also wouldn't be that much of a design
Bob Methelis, A66