Letters to the Editor Autumn 2017

Caution: Physics Ahead

Page 57 of the Summer 2017 issue’s “flashback” about the Pine Mountain Observatory reminded me of the late E. G. “Eb” Ebbighausen, who helped found the Pine Mountain site. A liberal-arts CSPA (community service and public affairs) major, I took his 100-sequence astronomy class my senior year on a lark. Besides a formidable research physicist, he was a wonderful teacher. “Your math in this course will be minimal,” I recall him saying, “but watch out for the physics!” Wonderful fellow with great enthusiasm for the subject!

Greg Carlson, BA ’71

Omaha, Nebraska

Freedom and the Facts

This is in response to the letter in the Summer 2017 issue from D. Rabjohn, BS ’70, MS ’71, titled “Freedom Fighters.” I was at the UO in 1971 and never heard of any “scruffy malcontents” who were bused up from Berkeley and, according to Rabjohn, disrupted a classroom in economics, “shouting obscenities, throwing things, and creating absolute havoc.”

Did the Quarterly do any fact-checking? Who was the professor? When did this incident occur? What did the campus police do after allegedly, according to Rabjohn, taking these malcontents into custody?

Rabjohn suggests that her classroom had “a number of Vietnam War veterans just back from defending our freedom and that of the South Vietnamese population abroad.” Yes, there were many American troops fighting and dying, but they were not fighting for our freedom, or that of the South Vietnamese. For reference, read Stanley Karnow, who spoke at the UO, and wrote Vietnam: A History, published in 1983. In 1971 there was a lot going on in Southeast Asia, but to call our venture “fighting for our freedom” is not revisionist history, or alternate facts. It is quite simply not true.

Richard C. Cohan, JD ’73

Seattle, Washington

Oregon Quarterly regrets that we did not fact-check the letter in question, which prompted several responses similar to the above.

Lessons from "Big Jim"

At the former Thomas A. Edison Grammar School in Bridgeport, Connecticut, my favorite text was a geography book that had a picture of Oregon in it. I can still see the McKenzie lava beds near the Sisters peaks. Imagine my surprise when I visited the beds with my best junior-high buddy and saw they were surrounded by beautiful Douglas fir trees. That sight led me eventually to “Big Jim” Stovall’s geography class at the UO. At the time, the guys who had been in the war in Europe or the Pacific were still enrolled and sat in the front seats of his lecture hall in Condon. We kids sat in the back, absorbed by Jim’s lectures that were largely a dialogue between him and the 25-year-old vets. The experience taught me that education itself was a participation in everyone else’s lives.

Jim Wilson, BS ’52

Fairfield, California


Kudos to the Quarterly

I just want to compliment you on the look of Oregon Quarterly, as it looks amazing and fresh, new. I receive alumni magazines from Berkeley (so boring), Stanford, UCLA, San Francisco State and Oregon. I have always loved the design of UCLA magazines and now I am happy to add Oregon Quarterly to the list. Content, design are fantastic. Keep up the great work.

Michael P. Richards, BA ’66

West Hollywood, California