Wonderful Murphy

Thank you for the wonderful article on Jim Murphy ’69. Last February, I took my two daughters to see Murphy’s basketball team play Connecticut College. I’ve attended many professional athletic contests and watched far too many on the television. This may have been the most exciting game I’ve ever witnessed. The Bates women staked themselves to a large lead, but their opponents hung tough. With nine seconds remaining, a player from Connecticut was fouled in the act of attempting a three-point shot to tie the game. Stepping to the line, I told my daughters that she would succumb to the pressure of the moment. But she proceeded to bury all three. Bates brought the ball up court and with two seconds on the clock scored on a layup!The intensity of the game, the aggressive play, and the skills demonstrated by the Bates women made me proud to be an alumnus of the school. The game also made an impression on my nine year old. On the way home, she announced that her first choice for college was Bates! We now look at the Bates calendar to see when “our” team has a game in the area. Most recently, we watched the women’s lacrosse team play Connecticut College. During the game we sat at the scorer’s table, flanked by a young man from Connecticut College and a young woman from Bates, who just happened to be a history major. These two young people couldn’t have been more pleasant or personable. The teams we watched and the students with whom we spoke evoked everything that is good in liberal-arts schools and small-college athletics.

David Hannon ’78
Westerly, Rhode Island

I was struck by the story in the spring 1997 issue about Jim Murphy ’69 and the very positive and productive impact that he has had on the Bates women’s basketball operation.

In the past I have written to President Harward about the abysmal state of the
football program, which has suffered a virtual meltdown since Jim Murphy’s playing
days. Perhaps he should be tapped for gridiron duties.

Alan B. Wayne ’60
Marina Del Rey, California

Slings from the Left…

Bates Magazine has actively perpetuated the historical U.S. mistreatment of students in marginalized communities. During my four years at Bates College, I experienced a climate that demonized and silenced those who defended social justice.In my first year, a group of students took over the admissions office. The magazine opted to publish a letter, all by itself on the inside front cover, by the mother of a current Bates student. Her letter glorified Bates’s “egalitarian” principles and insulted those who participated in the takeover of ’94. The opinion was her own. However, in the name of fair journalism, I believe the magazine did not adequately report in the first place why the students had decided to take over the office and what resulted.

The director of multicultural recruitment and director of multicultural affairs, like the Multicultural Center, are positions and facilities that student activism won. The administration would never have provided these resources for the student body without pressure.

Please, people: let’s remember the United Farm Workers and the women’s movements. There is a reason why such movements are called struggles.

To bring us up to date and to my point, the “Race On (the) Line” article in the spring 1997 issue reminded me of the magazine’s bias. The students chosen to be interviewed for this article had their issues to deal with — to say the least. Again, I ask the alumni magazine, where are the students that were active in educating the campus regarding issues of power that resulted from the e-mail? Professor Rand was (and is) aware of the “anger on line” situation; it seemed unprincipled to quote her from a journal when she was available for interviews. Furthermore, the absence of comments from the Multicultural Center, its organizations and director, proved that the magazine is incredibly out of touch with this particular department on campus. If the magazine had done its research, they would have realized that although the administration called the forum, it was the students involved in the Multicultural Center who made the 800 students at the forum think about issues of power.

Finally, the quotation by Melissa Young ’97 that states her concern that the forum would turn into a “shouting match or a riot,” proves that some Bates’s students can walk away with a very narrow world view and “education.” When marginalized communities band together to fight for what is just, it seems that nonmarginalized people feel threatened and conjure up the ghost of the Los Angeles rebellions. Furthermore, that Melissa contemplated not attending the forum, testifies that people at Bates (and in this country) do not care to deal with issues of equity. For all of us who organized to educate about these issues (power and equity) at the forum — some of us who hate confrontation — attending the forum wasnever a question. That’s a privilege, Melissa, we do not have and an indifference that does not plague us.

Myrna E. Morales ’97
Newark, New Jersey

…Arrows from the Right

Kudos to both Charles W. Radcliffe ’50 and Fred Mansfield ’52 for their important and articulate responses to the AIDS compositions found in your fall 1996 issue.Mr. Radcliffe wistfully muses, “Why should politically conservative alumni contribute to an institution that routinely denigrates our views and trashes our values?” The “good answer” is, they should not.

A collective withholding of funds can be a powerful catalyst for change. The hypocrisy of funding an institution devoid of balance and openly hostile to our belief system is both counterproductive and tacit complicity. How has Bates come to be so steeped in the ideology of the radical left and bankrupt of the self-proclaimed and wildly celebrated (political?)
diversity? Michael Dukakis, the Bates political poster boy of yesteryear, had the answer — the fish rots from the head down.

And, by the way, when asked where I went to college, the answer with which I am most comfortable is — a small liberal-arts school in Maine.

Gary C. Coorssen ’78
Bow, New Hampshire

`Mean-Spirited’ Views and Values

Charles Radcliffe’s letter in the spring 1997 Bates Magazine asks: “Why should politically conservative alumni contribute to an institution that routinely denigrates our views and trashes our values?” If he really feels that way, he shouldn’t contribute and instead he should try to impose his views and values (which I find singularly mean-spirited) on some other more receptive institution.If you will let me know if Mr. Radcliffe does decide to discontinue his annual contribution to Bates, I will gladly make up the loss to the Annual Alumni Fund.

Incidentally, I wasn’t very much interested in the AIDS articles and I doubt if I would qualify as a politically correct liberal, but I think
the Bates Magazine is lively and interesting and that the pervading spirit at Bates is just fine and has never been better.

Richard W. Dearborn ’41
Worcester, Massachusetts

Talented Gould

That was a great story in spring 1997 issue about Al Gould ’73 meeting Bill Clinton, and having six lines of talents on his business card. We are not surprised. Al used to play some great blues guitar with Kirk Ives ’73 up in Roger Bill Hall in 1970.It was great to learn that Gerda Neu-Sokol is planning a book about Mrs. Hirshler. I would also like to read an article about what John Tagliabue has been up to lately — he was never known to sit still for very long!

Joanne Stato ’73
Baltimore, Maryland

We are all eagerly awaiting the fall publication, by the National Poetry Foundation, of Professor Tagliabue’s Selected Poems and New. He says the collection will be “a selection of poems from five previously published books plus many poems written between 1942 and 1997 not yet in book form.” — Editor