The latest Tufts Magazine (spring 2006) was a great read, so the redesign has worked, at least for me. I particularly enjoyed the photo essay ("Depth of Field") featuring the work of students, which continues to remind us of what’s not right in the world. And we need that.
Civil rights on Greek Row
I would like you to pass on my compliments on the article about the departure/removal/pulling of the Sigma Kappa and Alpha Xi Delta sororities ("Opening Doors," spring 2006), which occurred about the time I was an entering freshman. I have never seen any coverage in Tufts publications about that event, which at the time made quite a splash. I well remember Thalia, the local sorority that replaced Sigma Kappa, and Alethea, which replaced Alpha Xi Delta. I have since inquired as to what happened to them. Has anyone written a history of sororities at Tufts?
Thank you very much for publishing the article about Terry Williams Schachter by Phil Primack. I remember her with pleasure for her verve and enthusiasm, as I was a drama major who graduated in 1957 and went on to become a professional actress. We were already well aware of inequities for blacks while we were at Tufts. I did not, however, know about Terry’s sorority experience, since I steered clear of the sorority scene the minute I came to the campus. Artists sometimes instinctively shun exclusivity because of their own innate drive for freedom, not just freedom to be creative but to be able to move freely among their species.
I am not in the least surprised, however, to learn of Gemma Cifarelli’s role in supporting Terry’s application to a sorority to test their code of ethics. Gemma, whose name was misspelled throughout the article as "Cisarelli," was a firecracker for justice. She and I shared a creative-writing class and had some terrific discussions. It is touching to see a tribute to her these many years later.
I enjoyed reading the article about sororities in 1956. I came to Tufts in the fall of 1956, and knew both Terry and Eleanor. I joined another sorority, Alethea, formed at the same time as Thalia. It came about for the same reason. I was sorry to see that this was omitted from the article.
It was with great interest that I read "Opening Doors." My interest stemmed from a similar situation while I was a student at Tufts from 1953 to 1957. I came to Tufts while active in the Order of DeMolay and became interested in forming a chapter on campus.
A member of our group happened to be black. Upon attempting to get him initiated into the chapter, we were informed by the national office that he would not be permitted to join the organization or the chapter. At this point I "disassociated myself" from the Order of DeMolay. I never looked back.
I confess that I enjoy the humor of Ken Fisher (a.k.a. Ruben Bolling), the creator of the comic strip Tom the Dancing Bug, even though I pretty much disagree with him on all things political, social, and cultural. His voice is fresh, brash, and entertaining. But there’s one area in which he is crudely offensive, and your article ("The World According to Ruben Bolling," spring 2006) mentioned not one word of it: his recurrent character "God-Man, the Superhero with Omnipotent Powers." This is a clumsy mockery of Christianity. So much for the diversity of values your journal purports to respect. Mr. Fisher, unlike Danish cartoonists of late, can do what he wants—but your readers should know that he is denigrating a major world religion.
Reading your spring 2006 issue, I was surprised by the fact that you did not spend more time on Professor Daniel Dennett’s new and important book, Breaking The Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. It’s not every day that such a controversial book gets reviewed in both the New York Times and The New Yorker. I was one of the lucky students able to provide feedback for the book in its early stages for a fascinating class by the same name taught by Dennett, so I’m confident that a more in-depth profile article would have piqued the interest of other alumni.
Editor’s note: Daniel Dennett was the subject of a feature article and appeared on the cover of the fall 2004 issue of Tufts Magazine.
Tufts has had a wonderful history in sports, and Mr. Carzo’s book, Jumbo Footprints: A History of Tufts Athletics, 1852–1999, is a welcome addition to Light on the Hill and other Tufts histories ("Elephant Walk," spring 2006).
It is continually disturbing to those of us on the 1950 College World Series baseball team that our unique achievement is overlooked, not only in this book, but in many articles by the Athletics Department. There may be other teams that competed at the national level, but that 1950 team achieved success unparalleled in Tufts sports history. My disappointment is shared by all members who enjoyed that fantastic experience.
Thanks for the memories
The obituary of Bill Hersey ("Remembering Mr. Memory," spring 2006) brought back a vivid memory. Around my junior year (1962), Hersey stopped by the ATO house.
He talked to us about memory association, which we all thought was a big hoot. But it took only a few minutes to realize that he knew who each of
us was, including our hometowns. It seems he had a brief opportunity to look at our fraternity composite hanging on the chapter-room wall, and at
a rush brochure that had our hometowns listed, and was able to ID us all, even though none of us, some 60-plus guys, had even met him before. It was quite something.
They also serve
Congratulations on your article "Everyday Heroes" (winter 2006), highlighting the work of Tufts alumni in the humanitarian arena. The article would have gained in depth, however, if there had been more said about the difficulties and dangers faced by Tufts graduates in the relief and development field, especially overseas.
To cite one example, I worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala during the genocide and civil war of the early 1980s. I also worked for the CARE-Haiti emergency food-assistance program that was launched following the coup d’état that toppled President Aristide in 1991.
Thank you for your superb magazine, which gives us a chance to recall fond memories and be brought up to date. I am sure everyone will agree that your section on classes is well read and of great interest.
In your winter 2006 magazine you discussed the Tufts Cannon ("Express Yourself"). I had the dubious pleasure of being president of the senior class of 1957 and with several others made the decision that our class gift to the university would be the concrete pad and plaque on which the cannon rests. We were short of money and searched for something that could be of long-term value to the school.
Obviously the cannon and pad have found a significant place in the campus tradition and it is comforting to know we were a small part of it. It is my recollection that the cannon was a reproduction of one from the USS Constitution, and you can well imagine that finding an appropriate place in 1957 for the cannon given to
us in 1956 was something on which a number of restless seniors could focus.
Thank you for your article. It is certainly interesting to see how the tradition has evolved over nearly 50 years.