Letters to the Editor Summer 2015

50 Years Later

Returning to campus for the 50th reunion was joyful and insightful. I didn’t recognize any of those old, gray-haired, deaf people who were inducted into the Order of the Emerald, but I did meet people I never knew in college.

I toured the campus with Katy George, BA ’13, who was also a journalism school grad. She waited outside the library while I ordered a copy of my 1964 journalism thesis, which was bound in the archives of the library. It was typed on a portable Smith Corona typewriter: 40 pages long, not too many mistakes, and fairly readable for a 21-year-old, second-generation Oregonian.

Of course, I had to attend a football game. My friend Carolyn is Hawaiian and I was looking forward to seeing her Hawaiian homeboy, quarterback Marcus Mariotta, BS ’14. When “I’m Going Home to Oregon” rang through Autzen Stadium, I cried. The sunset over Autzen was Oregon as I remembered it, pink and orange with the silhouettes of pine trees in the foreground. What a place of profound memories, hard times, lost love, golden opportunities, and enduring beauty.

Rosemary Eismann, BS ’64
Modesto, California

Confronting Sexual Assault

The article titled “It’s On Us” (Spring 2015) proves far more important and timely a read than anything, at this point in our history. College campuses, the UO included, are under intense scrutiny regarding the safety of their student populations. I find it hard to believe, after my years of attending University of Oregon sociology and women’s studies courses, that this is not front-cover worthy. In fact, the entire publication could be dedicated to this tragic and challenging social issue.

Susan Williamson, BS ’91

What the University of Oregon is dealing with are three societal issues that are not new: lack of moral example taught by parents, alcohol abuse, and immature brains, especially in males from age 18 to 25. I’m not putting all the blame for sexual assault on young men. Getting stupid drunk and thinking that the young stud at the party wants you to go to his room to see his . . . toothpick sculpture . . . is NOT acting responsibly. Alcohol abuse is at the bottom of rape and a myriad of our societal woes. Alcohol doesn’t have to be banned, but people must be educated about the very real consequences of its abuse. It’s really too bad our universities are expected to take up this role. Good luck. I hope all your committees, task forces, and awareness classes have a positive impact.

Annette Hepner, BFA ’00, MFA ’02

On the Right Track?

Well . . . maybe I was wrong. My experience at the UO was a wonderful one, but it wasn’t necessarily an environment that encouraged open dialogue and diversity of opinion, especially when it comes to political views. I cringe whenever I hear about commencement speakers shouted down mid-speech, or not even allowed to speak because of political incorrectness or a political view that’s not obviously liberal or left-leaning. After reading “Red, Right, and New,” (Spring 2015), I have new hope that all points of view can be heard on my campus.

Mark Patterson, BS ’76
Seattle, Washington

I was taken aback by the comment in the latest Oregon Quarterly from Bret Jacobson, BS ’03, who said his work was “pushing back against the most radical of activists,” including animal rights groups, community organizers, and labor unions. What? He calls these “radical”? Wow. I find that shockingly ridiculous. ELF and Greenpeace maybe, even PETA, but not these established, mainstream organizations.  Labor unions, radical? Laughable.

Carole Parkinson, BS ’72
Portland, Oregon

The New Look

I love the new look of Oregon Quarterly and especially the recent issue (Spring 2015). The older version was “so yesterday” and the new version reflects an updated image of the University of Oregon. I also like the updated online version of the Daily Emerald and the university website. What I don’t like is the “IF” campaign, which I think is atrocious and should be dumped.

Michael P. Richards, BA ’66
Los Angeles, California

It’s Time to Give Back

The years 1949–53 had to be the best years to be a student at the UO. It was the time of the new Erb Memorial Union, the Oregon Daily Emerald housed in a Quonset hut, and the Pigger’s Guide, a social protocol for attending football games at Hayward Field. Inspirational professors coupled with stimulating courses highlighted the time, but there was something else: the state of Oregon was strongly committed to higher education and the financial support of students. Upon graduation, many of us gave back to the university, often in the form of scholarships.

A Google trip to the university today reveals a vast array of activities and excellence in academics and athletics, but there is an exception: state support for higher education has reached new lows. Today’s in-state student (2013–14) paid $9,918 in tuition and fees. My annual cost in 1950: $165. Yes, some of the increase is due to inflation, but the main reason for the difference is that the state paid 70 percent of the education costs in the early 1950s. The figure today is about 5 percent.

Another indicator? Forty-nine percent of the 2013 graduates took out loans, with an average indebtedness of $24,540.

This makes a mighty case for the state and the UO to help finance quality education for students. But in the current void we—a whole bunch of us—need to step up and give back.

Clyde Fahlman, BS ’53
Portland, Oregon