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Welcome to the real world, Chicago.

Another alumni critic
You may want to add Jason Zinoman, AB’97, to your list of critics (“Everybody’s a Critic,” February/04). He has written on theater for Slate, Time Out New York, and is now on staff at the New York Times.

Ken Zuckerman, AB’84
San Francisco

Doing it all
As a recent Biological Sciences Division graduate, I enjoy reading profiles of other women in science to learn how their careers developed. However, I became quite outraged while reading “Full Speed Ahead” (February/04) about Dr. Lynn Margulis, AB’57. Dr. Margulis is quoted as saying, “It’s not humanly possible to be a good wife, a good mother, and a first-class scientist. No one can do it—something has to go.” This type of thinking from a woman who has reached a position of power in academic biology is irresponsible and appalling.
[ more ]

Suicide theory
While she may bemoan the sagging readership of Critical Inquiry (“Theory: Still on the Table,” February/04), Megan Lisagor doesn’t have a clue why this journal is headed for oblivion. She thinks 9/11 encouraged people to lose interest. On the contrary, theory has recently become a victim of rust-belt academia as it desperately tries to find the theory du jour to keep it relevant and shiny.
[ more ]

Upset by story’s scene-setting
While members of the Woman’s National Democratic Club were greatly impressed with William Schulz’s presentation on his book, Tainted Legacy: 9/11 and the Ruin of Human Rights, most members would be surprised at being described by Amy Braverman (“Moral Imperative,” February/04) as “white-haired ladies in pastel ensembles, sitting on the mansion’s gold-lacquered chairs.” While not wanting to read insults where none are intended, I found that description of the vibrant group of senior and middle-aged women demeaning.
[ more ]

Affirmative action?
Congratulations to Maureen Mahoney, JD’78 (“C. vitae,” February/04), on her victory for the University of Michigan. My son, one of the top 100 mathematics students in Massachusetts, a New England Conservatory–trained violinist, and a three-season sports captain, with an SAT score in the 1500s and enough advanced-placement and college credits to begin an electrical-engineering program as a sophomore, was denied admission to Michigan.
[ more ]

Wishful geopolitical thinking
In “Acting globally, thinking locally” (“Investigations,” February/04), a reference is made to activities by Robert Mugabe: “Until his recent ousting… .” When last I checked this morning, Mr. Mugabe is still wreaking havoc at full tilt in Harare, even though the Commonwealth and the European Union have frozen his assets and restricted his travel.

Tsk, tsk.

J. R. Mitchell, AM’68
Berwyn, Pennsylvania

Getting out the student vote
I read President Randel’s February/04 piece, “Being human is having an opinion—and acting on it,” with particular interest as the University magazine arrived along with my AARP magazine. It occurs to me that there is one very good reason why politicians of both parties promise never to cut Medicare and Social Security but rarely promise the same for higher education: old people vote at more than twice the rate of college-age citizens.
[ more ]

Competitive spirit
I read with some amusement the February/04 “Chicago Journal” article “Lab limbo.” Since when does the University not embrace the concept of competition? Apparently when it is the University that has to compete. The article bemoans the “government-wide agenda by the Bush administration to require high-stakes competitions for many contracts and services.” Isn’t this simply sound economic practice? Does Chicago not require building contractors and service providers to compete for its business? Requiring the University to compete, however, is portrayed as a nefarious government scheme.

Welcome to the real world, Chicago.

Douglas P. Hoffmeyer, MBA’84
Wheaton, Illinois

Slow change on bathroom front
The description of gender-neutral bathrooms as a possibility in Regenstein Library and Cobb Hall (“Birdwatching,” February/04) made me realize how glacial change is.
[ more ]

Methods and martinis
In an issue headlining the “critical” minds of Chicago alumni, I was amused to see Bruce Cumings attacked for a talk he gave as reported by Soo Ji Min (“Letters,” February/04). The reader of the article (“Zone of Contention,” December/03) has paraphrase and a few quotes but hardly a context to judge Professor Cumings.
[ more ]

Cumings on Korea critics
All four letters (February/04) are knee-jerk responses by people who combine attacks on my integrity as an historian with routine anticommunist views that have been around since the war started in 1950, but have no relation to what scholars know from years of archival research in formerly secret documents.
[ more ]

Thumbing through the February/04 issue, I came upon this opening of a letter to the editor: “At times, when after a martini I feel too content with life as it is, I pick up a copy of the University of Chicago Magazine. Its constant air of self-congratulation provides a never-failing antidote.”
[ more ]

Alumni can go home again
As an alumnus, class of 1947—one of the “Hutchins Babes,” the underage matriculators of that era—I recognized in Jessica Abel’s excellent drawing the new home of the Alumni Association (“Chicagophile,” December/03) as the Phi Psi House where we were placed in 1944 when we enrolled at age 16. We were moved into Burton-Judson Hall after the summer term, but I do so remember the Phi Psi House—where we will now be received again when we visit campus some 60 years on.

Victor Lownes, AB’47

The truth about the trophy
Whenever University publications mention Jay Berwanger’s Heisman trophy (“Body Building,” December/03) they imply that the U of C possesses the original statue. However, a Chicago Tribune article (“First to Strike the Pose” by Don Pierson, June 28, 2002) asserts, “According to his son John...his father donated the original trophy to his high school in Dubuque.
[ more ]

Calling all women athletes
For 100 years the Women’s Athletic Association (WAA) has dedicated itself to the development of outstanding women through athletic endeavors and fellowship. The WAA is as active as ever—as are the alumnae who support it through the Graduate Women’s Athletic Association. Please join us during Alumni Weekend, June 5–6, as the country’s oldest Women’s Athletic Association commemorates its first century. Festivities start on Saturday, June 5, with a celebratory dinner and will be followed by fun and games on Sunday, June 6. For a list of those attending and more information visit GWAA’s Web site:

Beth Woods, AB’91; Virginia Groark, AB’91; Jana Smith, AB’92; Julie Ward, AB’03

Dekes Celebrates Anniversary
A dinner celebrating the 15th anniversary of the refounding of Chicago’s Delta Kappa Epsilon chapter will be held at La Strada Restaurant (Randolph and Michigan) on Friday, June 4, at 8 p.m. The chapter extends a special invitation to brothers who were members prior to 1951 for this event and a Saturday pre-Sing dinner on campus. Traditional pre-Sing meeting and practice will be at 8 p.m. Saturday at the C-Bench, with the Sing beginning at 8:30 p.m. in Hutch Commons. Please contact Michael Peters, DD’90, at 212/315-7285 or

Michael Peters, AB’90
New York

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