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Stereotypes and Free Speech

When I saw the article on video games (“Play Nation,” January-February), I immediately turned to it. Imagine how disappointed I was when I read the phrase “if you’re over 40.” That’s a sweeping generalization to make about the people who play video games. As a Rochester grad from 1987, I turned 50 last year. Some of my best friends play video games, and they are older than I am.

Yes, it’s probably right to say a lot of teenage boys play the games, but there is a wide demographic out there that isn’t 15 and male. One of the games I play is Second Life, and many of the players are adults.

Elizabeth Granda ’87

Poughkeepsie, New York

I was shocked and offended by your article “Play Nation.” You quoted Kedar Shashidhar ’15, ’16 (KEY) as describing [an idea for] a character who is “a typical kind of disgruntled, middle-aged, white male protagonist.” Would you have quoted him if he had described “a typical kind of disgruntled, 20-something, (fill in any other ethnicity) female protagonist?”

I am amazed that you would allow such a comment in an issue that has an excellent article about bringing racial harmony to campus (”Commission Assesses Race and Diversity”). Racism and ethnic isolation are wrong regardless of the color of the victims’ skin. For the first time in 30 years, I am embarrassed to say I am a UR graduate.

Dante D’Amato ’85

Bedford, New Hampshire

I’d like to ask President Seligman and his commission (“Commission Assesses Race and Diversity”) to use caution when trying to curb hate speech at the University, lest they restrict free speech as well.

Two years ago, Brandeis University offered an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a women’s rights activist and critic of Islam, and then rescinded it. This fall, a University of Missouri journalism professor demanded that a journalist covering a race-related protest be removed from the scene. Recently, a survey noted that 40 percent of millennials would restrict free speech in order to censure offensive comments.

As the president’s commission considers blocking the social media application Yik Yak from the University’s wifi network—and as I read the story on Martin Luther King weekend—I dare to opine that if Reverend King had to choose between curbing hate speech and honoring free speech, he’d choose the latter.

David Skonieczki ’71

Hampton, New Hampshire

Editor’s note: In a response to the commission’s interim report, President and CEO Joel Seligman rejected calls to make Yik Yak inaccessible through the University’s wifi network. Condemning statements that threaten violence as having “no place on our campus,” he charged University leaders with taking steps to change the tone of the anonymous posts “to move toward the elimination or virtual elimination of any further hateful and threatening messages communicated through Yik Yak.” He also asked that the University work with the app’s developers and the county district attorney’s office to monitor, identify, and respond to posts that rise to the level of criminal conduct. The commission is expected to finalize a report later this spring.

The item on the renovated Interfaith Chapel (“Place of Many Faiths,” November-December) concluded with the sentence “A hearing loop was also installed to improve sound quality for the hearing impaired.”

The term “hearing impaired” is a negative euphemism. The proper term is “deaf and hard-of-hearing,” a less judgmental, more neutral term. We would like to see “hearing-impaired” deleted from all official publications, communications, and media.

Matthew Moore


The author is the president of the organization We the Deaf People.

Liberal Arts Inspiration

Thank you so much for the insightful comments of Dr. [Yvonne] Hsaio-Fan Sada ’01, ’05M (MD) (“Importance of Being a Well-Read Physician,” Master Class, January-February). I brought a copy to the family medicine residency where I precept, hoping to inspire other physicians to do the same. She captured the essence and value of a liberal arts education beautifully, in addition to highlighting the importance of being a fully engaged person in order to be an excellent physician.

Karen Beckman ’89M (MD)

Fayetteville, New York

In the Deep End

In the article “Do We Have to Swim?” (Ask the Archivist, January-February), the archivist surmises that “the swim test seems to have ended in 1971.” Actually, it was before that. As a Gilbert Hall freshman in 1965, I had to report twice per week, at 8 a.m. no less, to that cold, intimidating expanse of water for lessons with Coach Bloom.

We were told that we would be required to float, tread water in the deep end for an ungodly period of time, and then swim the length of the pool if we were to graduate. As I clung to the side of the pool, I knew it was hopeless.

“Raise your hips,” they said. “I am,” I replied, as I sank like a stone. “Breathe,” they said. “I can’t,” I burbled, as I sank like a stone.

I never would have graduated if not for the campus unrest of 1968. We took over the Ad Building, demanding changes in curricula and other such. The swimming requirement was gone by 1969. I graduated, stayed on for a MA, and went into teaching. Whew!

Ysidore (Ray) Perez ’71, ’74 (MA)


The Horizon Widens

letters‘WOLF TRAP’: Internationally regarded for his work to analyze extraterrestrial environments, biology professor Wolf Vishniac also participated in a program to interest area high schoolers in college. (Photo: University Libraries/Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation)

The article on the Wide Horizons program (Ask the Archivist, November-December 2015) omitted the fact that Wayne County schools of Marion, Sodus, Wayne, and Williamson also participated from the 1958–59 to the 1968–69 school years.

Like Ms. [Nancy] Salzer ’73 (MA) (who posed the original question) I too attended Wide Horizons in the early ’60s. Six students from each of the four schools (I from Marion) met at Williamson High School for eight sessions from October to May. The meetings began with a lecture from a Rochester professor followed by a dinner and then a round circle for discussion. We each wore a name badge in our school colors with the requirement not to sit next to anyone from our school.

I particularly remember Dr. [Wolf] Vishniac’s lecture concerning the search for life on other planets as well as that of Dr. Francis Horler on “Education in the Shrinking World.” With regard to the “shrinking” or small world, Dr. Horler became one of my professors when I returned to UR for a master’s degree in science education. This degree led to a career in high school chemistry teaching as well a 34-year (and continuing) stint as instructor for Chemistry 100: Preparation for College Chemistry during the summer sessions at Rochester.

In this small world, you never know where early connections may lead.

Thank you for the high quality of Rochester Review, particularly the articles that take a look back to the University as we saw it several decades ago.

David Crane ’69W (MA)

Penfield, New York

The Yells of Yesteryear

The letter in the January-February issue on the 1962 class yell triggered a memory of the 1962 class song:

(To the tune of “Anchors Aweigh”)

One-nine-six-two to you
Loyal will be
Throughout our college days
Beside the Genesee-ee-ee-ee,
Our class will lead them all
At the U of R!
Pep, drive, and friendliness
Will show the rest that we’re the best by far!

Pretty bad, isn’t it?

During Freshman Week all the girls were loaded into buses and taken to a camp for a few nights. There, we got to know each other, put on skits and played games, and wrote this song. We returned to campus to find that the boys had written the class yell in our absence.

At the time I had no idea where this camp was located. But in 1982, I was back in Rochester with a husband and two children. Our younger son’s best friend was going to a 4-H camp for a week and we signed our son up, too. I drove him to Camp Wyomoco (for WYOming and MOnroe COunties) and there it was—the same little cabins in the woods, the same bunk beds, the same dining hall. Memories flooded in. Did other classes experience this camp, too?

Joanne Worosz Mitchell ’62


Review welcomes letters and will print them as space permits. Letters may be edited for brevity and clarity. Unsigned letters cannot be used. Send letters to Rochester Review, 22 Wallis Hall, P.O. Box 270044, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627-0044;