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JUNE 2003
Volume 95, Issue 5

GRAPHIC:  Also in every issueLetters

It might sound ridiculous, but “potty parity” is an issue…



I-House praise
I am very excited to learn from the May UCHICAGO.EDU e-bulletin that the U of C trustees have approved a $21 million I-House renovation (see “Chicago Journal”). I briefly stayed in I-House in 1991 as a first-year Ph.D. student in molecular genetics and attended many meetings and activities there during my five years at Chicago. I-House made me and many international students very proud of Chicago’s role in international academic exchange. I sincerely hope the University leadership will pay more attention to the importance of I-House in student life and let it play an even bigger role in attracting international students and promoting international exchanges.

Guoping Shu, PhD’96
Johnstown, Iowa

Life begins @ 26
Re: the May UCHICAGO.EDU e-bulletin link to a survey on the age at which Americans believe people are officially grown up (see "Citations"). A friend of mine has held that view for many years. Invariably persons who approach him to speak about major changes in their life-direction turn out to be precisely 26. This even happened when someone recognized him while they were swimming in the Connecticut River. Maybe it helps that this friend is a clergyman of some public visibility.

John Gueguen, PhD’70
Urbana, Illinois

A rush to panic?
Regarding the May UCHICAGO.EDU link to the story on the Oriental Institute scholars’ response to the looting of the Baghdad museums (see “Chicago Journal”), it would be interesting to know how many of these persons—if any—supported the Bush “war” against Iraq that precipitated the looting.

Butler Shaffer, JD’61
Burbank, California

The University is NOT well served by panicky, emotion-filled fantasy stories about events in Iraq. The Magazine should be ashamed of itself for failing to confirm the facts of this “looting” before rushing into print with this hysterical story. It didn’t require the skills of a sophisticated investigative reporter to find that the vast majority of these “looted” items were removed to be securely hidden and stored by museum employees.

Richard L. Ptak, MBA’78
Amherst, New Hampshire

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Brief beef
The letters are too long.

Larry Lowenthal, AB’64
Cooper City, Florida

Tangent fans and pans
Unexpected Expertise” strongly evoked memories of what my graduate training in geography in the late 1950s and early 1960s under the tutelage of Gilbert White [SB’32, SM’34, PhD’44], Chauncy Harris [PhD’40], Norton Ginsburg [AB’41, AM’47, PhD’49], and others was all about.
[ more ]

Survival tactics
The article “Survival of the Richest” by John Easton (April/03) makes some interesting points, both with respect to the interaction of medical technology with personal behavior as well as the influence of social status and education on health.
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Unclouding the issues
Gerald Graff (“Clouding the Issues,” April/03) is a beacon of light regarding the problems in higher education. I wish someone could be as lucid and perceptive describing the problems in and solutions for primary education
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Patent profit?
In the article “An answer to the stem-cell debate?” (“Investigations,” April/03), the last paragraph states that “the research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and Huberman and his crew have applied to patent the new technology.”

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Color-blind policy
Regarding President Randel’s column “Greater Than Zero Is What Justice Demands” (February/03), I urge Chicago to judge students as whole people. The demographic categories that 17-year-old applicants fit into are significant and help you learn about them, but not as much as their essay, interview, and the rest of their application.

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Cockroach note breeds another
Re: The letter from Neil Fiertel, SB’64, on “Cockroaches as heavy breathers” (April/03): In 1945, as WW II was coming to an end, the section of the University of Chicago Toxicity Laboratory I worked in as a “research assistant in anatomy” was switched from evaluating potential poison gases, protective ointments and clothing to doing some early research on insecticides such as DDT. The work on poison gases and insecticides was funded by and operated for the Chemical Warfare Service.
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Condoms and AIDS
Robert Doane (“Letters,” April/03) asserts that “dependence on the condom may be a principal factor in the spread of AIDS.” Condoms are a principal factor in the reduction of the spread of AIDS. According to the World Health Organization ( the latest research has shown two things to be in evidence.

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High cost of athletic support?
After reading Carrie Golus’s “College Report” in the February/2003 issue, I was so angry that I put the magazine down, waited a week, and then re-read the piece again just to make sure I had read it correctly. The mere notion that academic standards at the University of Chicago are not relaxed for some prospective athletes is just silly.

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Quinquennial arithmetic
As a member of the Class of 1948, I write to tell you that our reunion this June 5–8, 2003 will be our 55th—not the 60th, as listed (“Alumni News,” April/03). Please know that as a former proofreader, your little typo made my day!

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Fighting words
I was amused to read Larry Lee’s letter, “Nostalgic Details” (February/03), wherein he applied the appellation “pugnacious” to me and, by implication, to the members of Phi Gamma Delta while recounting his escapades with Mitchell Tower. It was probably transference since it more appropriately should apply to Psi Upsilon. After all, they were known as the “jock” fraternity as we sadly discovered after each intramural encounter with them. We did earn some vindication when, under the leadership of the late Solon Cousins, AM’51, the Phi Gams ran away with successive Quality Cups at the Inter-Fraternity Sings.

Nicholas J. Melas, PhB’46, BS’48, MBA’50

More on Suicide Terrorism
How I should have liked to attend Professor Robert Pape’s workshop last October when he presented his working paper on suicide terrorism’s rise (“Investigations,” December/02). The article states that “the terrorist groups’ goals were to gain control of their perceived national homeland and to eject foreign military forces from that territory.”
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Defining democracy
Contrary to the statement in the letter of Burton M. Leiser (February/03), it is not true that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. “Democracy” is a concept that implies, among other things, separation of religion and state. Israel does not have separation of religion and state. How long would the United States have lasted if the Episcopal Church had become the church of the land? Not very long, with Congregationalists in New England, Catholics in Maryland, Quakers in Pennsylvania, and so on.

Until members of all religious groups are granted equal rights, it is hard to see how Israel can ever exist in peace.

Mark Borinsky, PhD’72

Calling Alums of Asian Descent
The College Programming Office is proud to announce that the University of Chicago now has a mentorship program for undergraduate students of Asian descent.
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The University of Chicago Magazine welcomes letters on its contents or on topics related to the University. Letters for publication must be signed and may be edited for space and clarity. To ensure a range of views and voices, we implore readers to keep correspondence to 300 words or less. Write:

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