Letters to the Editor Winter 2013

Profile in Courage

"The Stand She Took" [Autumn 2013] pulled me into a proud moment in Ducks history and showed me the emotions and details so clearly, I felt as if I were a friend listening to Annette Buchanan talk, or perhaps I was someone who stumbled upon her diary. I appreciate the stand Annette took to pave the way for future journalists. She was a brave woman, and I can only hope in this new era of journalism we can all stay as steadfast to our beliefs and standards as Buchanan did.

Melissa Haskin, MS '12 
Grants Pass

The remarkable piece about Annette Buchanan opened a floodgate of memories. I knew almost everybody in the story. I got my MA in journalism in 1966. At the time of the case, I was news editor at KEZI-TV. Professor Price was one of my favorites. I especially liked his Law of the Press course, along with the fact that he had memorized all the railroad schedules west of the Mississippi. I covered [district attorney] Bill Frye all the time and dated one of his secretaries. [Frye's political rival] Charlie Porter loved to be interviewed on camera. Thanks to everyone for bringing back this wonderful story.

Bruce Handler, MA '66
Niterói, Brazil

Reading of Annette Buchanan's death was a stunner for me. Annette, rest in peace. The essence of your battle to honor your commitment to protect information sources lives on to this day. Debate over a national shield law for print and broadcast journalists is raging to this day and is vital. Unfortunately, you were the victim of William Frye's quest for self-aggrandizement, nothing else.

Elisabeth Kramer's story contained considerable new information [including that] the one-time associate news director of KATU-TV in Portland quoted in the article had changed the spelling of his name to "Curt Osterman."

Kurt Austermann

Editor: We regret the error. By way of explanation, Elisabeth Kramer notes that during her research, she found the name spelled various ways across various outlets. She opted to go with the spelling that appeared in the Oregon Daily Emerald as it was consistently correct in the spellings of other names of people tied to the trial.

Curious Encounter

I "encountered" Opal Whiteley ["Curiouser and Curiouser," Autumn 2013] in the 1970s, when I was in graduate school. I was working for Martin Schmitt, who was an important early curator of Special Collections at the UO Library. I remember him as a large guy with a big shock of white hair who smoked a pipe in his office (around all those important documents). One day, Schmitt showed me the boxes with materials about Opal Whiteley and told me her story. He also told me that he visited Opal in England when she was in the mental hospital. She seemed quite aware of the world around her but every now and then she would say to him, "When I was the Queen of England." You see, if she had been the daughter of French royalty as she envisioned herself, she would have been a logical choice to marry the King of England.

Nicolette Bromberg, MA '74, MFA'76 
Seattle, Washington

Robert Heilman responds: Opal believed that she'd been betrothed to the Prince of Wales as a child—hence the reference to her having been queen.

Building Inequality?

I guess that Phil and Penny Knight can spend their money any way they want. But I think that the new football center ["Form beyond Function," Autumn 2013] is a big expenditure for very few athletes. Only a tiny percentage of students can make it into the ranks of star athletes. How are the rest of the students served? I think there should be much more emphasis on intramural sports and physical activities for every student. When star athletes get to have facilities like the new center and a number of other privileges, they get to thinking that they are very special, and above the rules that govern the rest of us.

Christopher P. S. Williams '53, MD '58 

College is for the interplay of ideas and not for semipro athletic teams.

Chuck Desler '68
Folsom, California

Pro Civility

Thanks for the excellent Editor's Note, "Civil Discourse" [Autumn 2013]. Nice job defending what shouldn't need defending: the inclusion of thoughtful stories that go beyond Duckworld and "connect the University of Oregon to the wider world" of which we are all citizens.

Jeff Harrison, MA '89, PhD '95 

I much appreciate your essay on civil discourse. We live amidst amazing cleavage these days, where facts are not always respected on the other side. But we need to know how others think, as we usually read only our side. It may take more effort and paper to do what you do in the Autumn issue, but keep doing it!

Jessie Attri '45, MA '56 
Seattle, Washington

Defective Policies?

I found the excerpts from Oregon State Hospital: A History of Tragedy and Triumph of particular interest. The pejorative language used to describe the mentally defective and ill by Richard B. Dillehunt, dean of the University of Oregon Medical School more than 70 years ago, shocks the contemporary reader, particularly since it comes from the pen of perhaps the most distinguished physician in the state at the time. "Idiots, imbeciles, and morons" are words that do not go down well today, and thank heaven. That anyone was sterilized because of his or her mental status or capacity is beyond belief and the public apology of Governor Kitzhaber was certainly merited. But I wonder if some future governor will be moved to apologize for the treatment of our mentally ill and defective over the last 40 years of "enlightened disregard" toward them. Indeed, politicians have been inspired for decades by the mental health professionals' mantra of "least restrictive environment" when funding programs to treat and care for those whose illness or defect require it.

James A. Kronenberg '66 
Lake Oswego

I read with interest the article about the Oregon State Hospital ["Dark Response to Our 'Fecund Mental Derelicts'"]. It is amazing to see how we've changed our approaches to treating the mentally ill but also how we still struggle (I work in downtown Portland and see them in many states of dysfunction). I was mostly disturbed, however, by the political reference to the Oregonian but not the elected leaders. I am not quite sure why the author thought it necessary to call out that the Oregonian was controlled by Republicans but not that Governor Martin and Senator/Governor Kitzhaber were/are Democrats. Last time I checked, the effective and humane treatment of mental illness is not a partisan issue.

Tom Simpson '84 
Lake Oswego

Diane L. Goeres-Gardner responds: Anytime a short passage is lifted from a 336-page book it may appear slanted. Hopefully, as you read the entire book, you will find I have treated everyone fairly.

Medicinal Mollusk

I grew up in Nehalem from 1939 to 1952. The Rinehart clinic ["Family Practice," Autumn 2013] came into being during those years and was most famous for the treatment of arthritis. People frequently came to the Nehalem Hotel to stay for the six-week treatments. The formula for the treatments was alleged to have never been approved by proper authority and was eventually discontinued, but during the time they were being administered, the local hotels and motels in the vicinity were often filled to capacity. The locals claimed that the serum was not approved because it was clam juice.

Allen Douglas '56 
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

Bias, Hoax, and Kudos

It's unfortunate that global warming is perceived by some through a political bias. Steven Angvick, in his letter ["Activism Today," Letters, Autumn 2013], sees a far-left hoax and faults Oregon Quarterly for your bias in running Mary DeMocker's piece ["Sidewalk or Street," Summer 2013]. Kudos to Oregon Quarterly for presenting articles about real issues and concerns.

Betty Merten, MA '62, MS '84, PhD '88 
Seattle, Washington