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Letters

It’s a small world after all

I was especially pleased to see Alex Gross’ photograph of Aix-en-Provence in the summer 2010 issue of the University of Denver Magazine [“Whole Wide World”]. This was a view I saw every day during the 1961–62 school year on my way to attend classes at the Institute for American Universities and the Foreign Institute. I, too, spent my junior year in Aix while I was a student at DU. The experience, which included living with a French family, led to study at the Sorbonne, a graduate degree in French literature from New York University, a career as a French teacher and a lifelong love affair with France. Perhaps my enthusiasm influenced my children, who benefited from spending their own junior years in France and Japan. When I learned of the program in Aix, Dean James Perdue approved the plan, and I was even interviewed for an article in the Clarion; however, when I returned, other students had absolutely no interest in what had happened during my marvelous year in France. Along with another student who had lived abroad, and with the encouragement of French Professor Sigwalt Palleske, I helped start the Cosmopolitan Club in an attempt to encourage DU students to consider learning about other cultures and pursuing foreign study opportunities. It was a pleasure to read about today’s changed attitude on campus toward study abroad.

Judith Samuel Fleming (BA ’62)
Boston

 

Condi controversy continues

It surprises me none that the University of Denver Magazine was late in coming to a feature on DU alumna Condoleezza Rice [“Facing Forward, Looking Back,” summer 2010]. Nor am I surprised that the article had to maintain its left-leaning bona fides by framing this former secretary of state under George W. Bush as a figure beset by controversy. Further, I am hardly shocked by the squawks of protest about Ms. Rice from my fellow DU alumni in the letters section of the subsequent issue of your magazine. What does surprise this reader, however, is the high-minded tone and amnesia of such ill-deserved treatment of Ms. Rice. After all, wasn’t it the daughter of the namesake of the Korbel School, the beloved Madeleine Albright, who served first as U.N. ambassador then as secretary of state for President Clinton during the various stages of bloodshed in the Balkans? Yet more to the point, wasn’t Albright one of the loudest spokespersons for the sanctions leveled against Iraq, which did nothing to Saddam Hussein yet caused enormous suffering for his people? Let us remember that when reminded by Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes” that “half a million children have died [as a result of the sanctions against Iraq],” Ms. Albright responded, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.” Down the liberal memory hole have fallen all the public statements uttered by Ms. Albright, as well as nearly every other prominent Democrat, about the dangers posed by Saddam Hussein to Iraqis, the region, and the world, sentiments held long before Rice and Bush appeared on a stage set by others. George Bush’s decision to invade Iraq was merely a logical conclusion of the events furthered along by Democrats before him, many of whom turned 180 degrees from their original resolve against Hussein only when such appeasement became the political weapon of choice against a Republican White House.

Ken Morris (MA ’93)
Golden, Colo.

 

I read with interest the letters [fall 2010] taking issue with Condoleezza Rice and her receiving the Korbel alumni award. Whether you are critical of her and her viewpoint or not, she is being honored for her achievements within her field of work and for her accomplishments, which have been many. According to some, she should only be honored if she has represented the “right” point of view — or in this instance the left. The letters attacked her integrity and basically called her a liar, someone who couldn’t think for herself, a lapdog for the Bush presidency with no sphere of influence or power. I believe she was a very capable, honest, hardworking and trustworthy secretary of state. Her political party affiliation or presidential head should not bear any weight on her achievements. Feel free to have disagreements and your own thoughts, but I find it offensive to attack her based on your politics. Personally I have always felt honored that Ms. Rice was a fellow graduate.

Nathan Hatcher (BSBA ’83)
Arvada, Colo.

 

In contrast to the University of Denver Magazine, I would never allot Condoleezza Rice six hagiographic pages. I’m not interested in facing forward; instead, I’m in favor of maintaining a blunt look back at her role in the most devastating administration this country has had to endure. Had Rice had a competent boss, she would have been fired from her position as national security adviser after 9/11. As she didn’t, she was then able to — as your article’s gullible author put it — warn “about the dangers of smoking guns and mushroom clouds,” lies that Rice knew were lies when she spewed them to grease the way into war.

Cathy Cloepfil (MA ’75)
Denver

 

The two letters that appeared in the fall 2010 University of Denver Magazine concerning Condoleezza Rice were very insulting to her and should never have been published in the magazine. Both authors presented a very one-sided view of her, her abilities and her accomplishments. Many in our country totally disagree with those writers. The DU magazine is absolutely not the place for such one-sided, extremely biased vitriolic opinions. I, and many of my friends, think that Rice performed an outstanding job for our country as secretary of state, and that she served us all very well in her activities. Many of us are very proud of her. The purpose of the magazine should be to keep a good connection between our many distinguished alumni and the past and ongoing activities at our wonderful university. As an alumnus, I would hope that there would be more oversight of the publication. I sincerely hope that your magazine never again chooses to publish such a biased and one-sided criticism of one of our truly outstanding alumni. Offending financially supportive alumni is not good business for the University.

James Dikeou (BA ’58)
Golden, Colo.

 

I always am happy to open my mailbox to discover the DU alumni magazine waiting for  me. I marvel over how professional the publication is. A week ago I sat down to read the fall 2010 edition and was saddened, upset, revolted and eventually angry enough to respond to the two young letter writers who had the audacity and temerity to condemn a very distinguished and far superiorly accomplished (to them) University of Denver graduate who was honored by the University. As I was growing up my sainted mother used to tell me that if I had nothing nice to say that I needed to keep my mouth shut and my opinions to myself. It is apparent that those two young letter writers either did not listen to their mothers’ advice or they chose to show their ignorance to the rest of the alumni world anyway. By the date of their class year, it is apparent that they were not alive for the less-than-stellar presidency of Jimmy “Peanuts” Carter. If these two young people had a little bit better grasp of American history, they might realize that the most current past administration, while it may have had its flaws, was not “the worst in history.” That tidbit aside, Condoleezza Rice is a highly educated, talented and wonderful role model that most Americans could aspire to emulate in their own lives.

John Wear (BSBA ’71)
New Hope, Pa.

 

Editor’s response: We strive to balance perspectives in our letters section. However, we were deluged by negative mail in response to our summer 2010 interview with Condoleezza Rice, and there were no letters in her favor. The fall 2010 edition carried a representative sample of the letters received. The University, and its magazine, encourages discourse. Feel free to share your opinions with us any time, either by writing us a letter or by commenting on our stories online.

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