Letters to the Editor, December 1998

Artificial Social Engineering

I was discouraged reading the excerpts from President McCormick's commencement speech [From the President; September 1998] where the only concession he made to the question of whether affirmative action is right or wrong was to say it is imperfect. Well, discrimination is wrong, regardless of the reasons and if it is "effective," as the President contends, it can only be because one applicant is admitted in place of another due to race and/or gender. Few deny that it is advantageous to our society to have all groups benefiting from higher education, but to achieve this in an artificial way, through social engineering, where an applicant is discriminated against because of race, must stop.

To put this on a more personal level, I tell my son that he must work extra hard to get ahead because his own government, and many private companies at the behest of the government, will downgrade his application to school or work because he is white and because he is male. While some will say this is fair treatment after years of discrimination against minorities and women, I say this only perpetuates the problem. It is time to end discriminatory practices and to find a way to raise the qualifications of applicants unable to gain access to competitive positions.

David L. McLaughlin, '76, '86
Mercer Island

Depriving the Best and the Brightest

I must take issue with the President's idea that affirmative action is required for the needed diversity of the University. Setting "quotas" for admission deprives other, more qualified, students from gaining admission while at the same time tells the chosen minority that they were unable to make it on their own qualifications.

In order to give the students of the 21st century a vibrant and diverse University, we need to maintain the high standards of admission for all, while continuing to reach out to the community for qualified minorities. If we want qualified applicants tomorrow, we need to be in the high schools today, selling the students on the value of a university education, and the necessity for the hard work required to be selected for admission when they graduate from high school.

The President said that he did not want to tell the kids that there is no room at the University for those with "the ability and the drive." I believe that to set aside entrance quotas for those less qualified, deprives the University of the best and the brightest students of the next generation.

Richard W. Beauchamp, '75

Editor's Note: For more information on affirmative action and Initiative 200, see From the President in this issue.

The Wave of History

Just a quick correction to your September edition of Columns. In the Columns Turns 90: A Celebration; article, you listed the birth of "the Wave" and had only some of the facts correct. It was a game against Stanford-Homecoming, in fact. Bill Bissel actually suggested we attempt a "sideways" stand-up cheer when Robb Weller failed at having us recreate the '60s cheer of standing up row-by-row in the stands vertically. Robb said, "It will never work." After several attempts through the purple section, the alumni across the field saw what we were doing and picked it up. Soon the Wave was encircling the stadium.

The excitement was tremendous and the crowd radiated energy. How do I know? Well, I was in the purple section sitting below the band representing the students as the 1981 Homecoming Queen. I went on to graduate in 1983 and obtained a master's degree in applied behavioral science from Bastyr University. I'm now working in the UW psychology department, coordinating a research grant in fraternities and sororities.

Amy Roselli Lydum, '83

Keeping Track of 'Hec'

Clarence S. "Hec" Edmundson in 1954.
I recently received the September Columns and, as usual, read it from cover to cover. Having played basketball for "Hec" Edmundson in '35, '36 and '37, I was especially interested in the article on Bob Bender [Shooting Star]. He is really a tremendous asset to the University in many ways besides being an outstanding coach.

I was somewhat upset when I read the article regarding the renovation of the pavilion ["UW Keeps Edmundson Name as Seafirst Makes Gift"]. In the article you talk about honoring "track coach" Hec Edmundson. Hec was the basketball coach was well as the track coach and the pavilion was where we practiced and played. Track meets with few exceptions were held in the stadium.

Hunt B. Paterson, '37
Santa Rosa, Calif.

Editor's Note: We apologize for omitting Clarence S. "Hec" Edmundson's illustrious career as UW men's basketball coach. Hec served as coach from 1927 to 1947 and had a record of 266-146. He coached track and field between 1919 and 1954.

Too Old to Be a Doctor

I always enjoy reading Columns. In the September issue, I particularly enjoyed reading Town & Country. WWAMI is a good program. I was saddened to read that Dr. Richard Blandau had died. He chaired the admissions committee at the medical school. I applied when I was 40 years old, and he had the job of telling me that I was too old. We had a fairly long talk, which I have never forgotten. I was startled to read that he was 86. (It startles me when I hear that I am 78!)

Don Johnson, '61
Lake Stevens

Another UW Institution Turns 90

Congratulations to the UW Alumni Association on the 90th anniversary of its alumni magazine and on the colorful and informative overview of the past 90 years in this year's June and September issues of Columns. In this two-part anniversary series, young and old, alumni and friends, have been provided with historical glimpses into the ever-changing world of the University-both on campus and in context of national and world culture and events.

Members of the UW Faculty Auxiliary (UWFA) have taken a particular interest in examining the Columns review of 90 years as, it so happens, the UWFA also is celebrating its origin in 1908. Called originally the "Faculty Women's Club" and later the "Faculty Wives Club," our organization was eventually renamed Faculty Auxiliary to include members of both genders.

The auxiliary is an organization for faculty members and administrative officers, their partners and University friends, and provides a variety of opportunities for social and cultural interchange. Serving the greater campus community continues to be an ongoing priority.

In the very early years, the members took it upon themselves to be supportive of the women students on campus by hosting teas for the young ladies and their housemothers. They also, in company of their husbands, chaperoned the social functions of UW students. Other endeavors included providing funds and gifts for a local orphanage and raising funds for the Red Cross during both World Wars.

Events organized for the purpose of generating funds for UW student loans, foreign student aid, for women in continuing education and/or student scholarships have been continual undertakings ever since the very early years. Many a musical or theatrical production, especially for a good number of years (1915-1950s) under the leadership of Mrs. C. Edward Magnusson, provided not only scholarship moneys but also much appreciated entertainment for the campus community.

All these and sales of the cookbook Cooking with All Your Faculties, compiled in 1990, as well as donations from auxiliary members and our Visiting Faculty Housing Service have enabled the auxiliary to fund nearly 90 full-tuition scholarships for UW undergraduates over the last 40 years. Since 1985, the auxiliary has awarded at least three such scholarships annually. We are pleased to note that a 1998 UW graduate and auxiliary scholarship recipient, Elizabeth Marie Zeller, was selected the President's Medalist for 1998.

A number of past presidents of the auxiliary have also a special connection to the UW Alumni Association. Joan Schram, married to the late Lloyd W. Schram, '34, '55, delights in relating tales of UW traditions. One of Joan's favorite stories is that the receptions and other gatherings of the auxiliary were often held in the Men's Faculty Club, an old wooden building located where the Faculty Club now stands. However, only male faculty members were permitted use of the front door of the club; the ladies had to content themselves with entering the building by way of the "side" door only.

The Faculty Auxiliary looks forward to the coming decades of participation and service and to, just around the corner, our twin 100th anniversaries in 2008!

Carol M. Hol
UW Faculty Auxiliary

Letters to the editor are encouraged. Brief letters are more likely to be published; longer letters may be edited due to lack of space. Please include a daytime phone number and send all correspondence to: Editor, Columns Magazine, 1415 N.E. 45th Street, Seattle, WA 98105, send a fax to (206) 685-0611, or follow the link listed below.