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Thumbs Up for Student Activism

I enjoyed the article on student activism (“An Active Year”) in the July-August issue.

It is great to see young people who were brought up to believe “greed is good” taking an interest in social and economic justice for all.

I could not imagine such an article being published during my days at UR. Activism was not popular among students in the mid-’70s. The leader of the University, W. Allen Wallis, believed in freedom but not dissent. In 1974, the hospital workers organized, won recognition for their union, and negotiated their first contract.

Things did not go as smoothly on the River Campus. In the fall of 1975 the workers went on strike. In between classes, I joined the workers on the picket line with other sympathetic students. A rally was called on the steps of Rush Rhees Library attended by students, faculty, and workers. The University’s response was to turn on the lawn sprinklers in an attempt to break up the rally.

At that point the union knew that it had won. Rather than break up the rally we sang “We Shall Not Be Moved” and then joined workers on the picket line.

Now, whenever I am in Strong Memorial Hospital, I tell my story to union members. Also, I recite the words I learned on the picket line many years ago: “1-1-9-9, We Care All the Time.”

John Testa ’76


Thumbs Down for Political Bias

I have always looked forward to receiving my University magazine to find out what is happening on campus, whether it is new developments in science, music, literature, or from my favorite business school, the Simon School. This was true until I saw the cover of the latest issue (July-August). My initial fear was confirmed after reading your lead story.

All too often, universities have become instruments to promote biased views on politics, social issues, or global warming, and an accurate dialogue will take a back seat to promoting a particular agenda.

I always believed that Rochester was an institution that was not like the majority of schools whose agendas are more important than the truth. Your article, “From Ferguson to Rochester,” did little to promote the best that our school has to offer.

The Ferguson incident took place over six months ago and what was initially reported as another case of police brutality turned out not to be true. The initial reporting that Michael Brown was shot in the back with his hands up was a total fabrication. The police officer was cleared of all charges even though the Department of Justice acted as if they were hoping for an indictment rather than hoping for the truth to come out.

The young lady in your story was crying when she found out that the police officer was not indicted. Would she have felt better if he had been indicted but the truth turned out to be that the indictment was unwarranted? Unfortunately, I believe the answer is yes. Today truth and real justice, regardless of race and ethnicity, take a back seat to what is politically convenient. Occasionally I ask myself, what are our universities teaching today? I’m afraid I know.

In my opinion, your magazine had ample time to, at the very least, print another story, to accurately portray what took place that day in Ferguson. You had the opportunity but decided not to. Instead, for those who don’t follow the news, your magazine did little to inform the reader of what really took place.

Do you not have some responsibility to inform the reader of the truth? Apparently not.

Harvey Jacobson ’82S (MBA)

Manhattan Beach, California

I am an alumnus of the Simon School and a proud one at that. I still wear my Rochester gear with pride.

That said, I felt compelled to call into question your judgment. Your misguided efforts regarding “An Active Year” from the July-August edition were a disappointment at best.

The body of the discussion reads like a celebration of liberalism. Contrary to liberal belief, there is nothing noble about the ignorant and ill-informed parading around like fools.

To put a blatantly wrong “protester” of the Michael Brown mayhem on the very cover of this typically wonderful periodical is beyond disappointing. Your story had so many inaccuracies and half-truths that it’s pointless to even begin to list them.

Apologize for insulting the intelligence of your alumni and park your political bias at the curb. You’re supposed to be journalists reflecting the views of one of the nation’s greatest institutions of higher learning, not a pack of Democrat shills.

John Gatsios ’92S (MBA)

Medina, Ohio

Celebrating Saxophones

Loved your great article, “Saxophone Heaven” (July-August)—very nicely written and terrific pictures.

I play the clarinet and the sax. While living in Buffalo, in the late 1950s, I took private lessons from Marvin Kamm ’36E, a great teacher, musician, and nice man. He truly inspired me and was also among the first students to go to the Eastman School of Music. (To read about him on the Internet, search for “Lenoir Sax.”)

Nowadays I mostly play jazz, swing, and blues music, especially the songs of the ’30s through the ’60s (the good old standards). I love to play for dances and occasionally for church services.

Terrific article. Keep up the good work!

Jim Harrick

Hornell, New York

Remembering a Mentor

It was with great sadness that I read of the passing of Professor Jesse T. Moore in the July-August issue.

As a history major, I was fortunate to take many of Professor Moore’s classes and have him as a faculty advisor. To those of us lucky enough to know him, he was a great teacher, but so much more: an advisor, a confidant, and a friend.

I’ll always remember two things about my years at school—his big bear hug at my department graduation and his wonderful story about his own doctoral thesis. Those being the days before Xerox machines, he told us he was afraid that his one and only copy of his thesis would be lost if his house caught fire. So he stored it in the only fireproof place he could think of—his refrigerator.

I’ll always share that story with fond memories of this wonderful and inspirational man.

Andrew Silverman ’81

Weston, Florida

Yes on Né

As a gay man in a same-sex marriage I was delighted to read in the July-August 2015 issue of the marriage of Jason Buitrago ’14W (MS), and I wish all the best for him and his husband (Class Notes).

The notice refers to Jason’s husband as “Chris Buitrago (née Stroud).” The use of “née” in this instance is in error, since “née” is the feminine form of the French word for “born.” The masculine form of that adjective, “né,” should rather be used in this instance. With the recent Supreme Court decision making same-sex marriage legal throughout the U.S., I expect that this use of “né,” which up until now may have been quite rare, may become a bit more common.

John Sheridan ’98E (DMA)

South Orange, New Jersey

A Fellowship of Friends

I was interested in the thoughts of Nina Gaby ’86N, ’90N (MS) about friendships that end, sometimes suddenly and without explanation (Master Class, May-June). Yes, that can involve “women unfriending other women” painfully. But often, I believe, there is no falling out, just a moving on.

I read an idea attributed to Lillian Rubin: “friends of the heart and friends of the road.” I had thought all good friends were of the “heart” variety—lifelong, deeply sharing thoughts and experiences. Rubin said friendships of the road can be just as deep, but are dependent on sharing one particular time of your life, and fade when those circumstances change. I thought, “Yes!”

In 1978 I arrived at the School of Nursing as a “nontraditional student,” having been in the workplace using my first BS degree. I expected to be isolated between 20-year-old students and professors not much older than myself. Who knew there would be a whole handful of us in that class? Each with a different first career, from art to psychology to chemistry?

We quickly found each other and became fast friends. Now, 35 years after graduation, I am in touch with one of them. But I remember all of those friends warmly and thankfully.

I feel the same way today about friends with whom I navigate the caregiving of our elderly parents. Most of us will move on some day, healthier for having been friends of the road.

Leanne Jackson ’80N

Fishers, Indiana

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