Ocean Ecosystem

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.

Sandy Tosi
Abington, CT

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 profiling them.

Dr. Mark J. Brenner, M81
Baltimore, MD


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.

Hannah Diozzi
Medford, MA


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
Francestown, NH


Golan Statement

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 a return.

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 Orange.

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 at Tufts.

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
Cambridge, MA


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
Melbourne, FL


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 faux pas.

Bob Methelis, A66
Montville, NJ







© 2001 Trustees of Tufts University, all rights reserved.