Letters to the Editor

September 2001

Cover of June 2001 Columns

Cover of June 2001 Columns

Go Weasels?

The June 2001 issue of Columns offered me a first look at the redesigned Husky ("On & Off the Ave"). Even though I graduated from Washington back in '70 and '71 and should be loyal to the old dawg, I can see that it is time to update the mascot. However, I question the extent to which the new design truly "captures the essences of a Husky." Frankly, the new dawg looks more like a weasel or fox with some kind of weird blow-dry hair styling in back. "Go Weasels?" At least our favorite canine is still purple. Did anybody consider auditioning Dogbert? Talk about capturing the essences of a Husky!

Gaylord Reagan, '70, '71
Omaha, Neb.

Poodle on Steroids

I generally look forward to reading the Columns magazine for alumni. Living near Portland, Ore., we receive little news from the UW, except when the tuition goes up, or during the fall football season, and Columns informs and reminds us of what is going on at UW.

The June issue arrived this week. In it, there was a small article about the new Husky emblem, along with drawings of the familiar, "happy" Husky we all know. I had heard rumors about the new emblem, but I never expected the new emblem to look so much like a blow-dried, hair-jelled, terrier as it does. It's awful!

Aside from the fact that it looks like it took about 10 minutes for an art student to draw, Nike designed it, taking 15 months to develop. Perhaps you all don't realize this, as Seattle is a long way from Portland, but Nike is in Oregon State Beaver and Oregon Duck territory! Please dump this Nike Beaver-Duck emblem and go back to a real dog, not some wind blown-poodle on steroids.

Jim David, '79
Vancouver, Wash.

Working for the Nike Dollar

So far I have not talked to one alumnus who approves of the new Husky "Nike" logo that was shown in the June issue of Columns. The consensus is that it looks like a cross between a fox and a ferret. How Nike could have spent 15 months to come up with that is beyond me.

To steal a line from an old Andrews Sisters song, it looks like the UW is now "working for the Nike dollar." Let's go back to the real Husky.

R.G. Chamberlain, '49

Pay Me to Wear It

I was horrified to see our new athletic department "stylized graphic" in the latest Columns Magazine. When I looked at it, I remarked to a friend, also a UW grad, that it looks like the Nike swoosh with ears. Reading further, I was loathe, but not surprised, to discover that it was indeed designed by Nike. At best it looks like a fox or a weasel of some sort, certainly not a Husky. I am a recent graduate but longtime resident (and taxpayer) of this community and find this embarrassing. What's next, the new mascot is going to be an Air Jordan bouncing around stadiums at games? Perhaps we could auction off the name of the stadium like the city does. I can almost hear Keith Jackson now on national TV, "Live from Nike Stadium on the shores of Lake Washington in Seattle it's the ..." The article states the redesign took 15 months—at what cost to the University I wonder? I have certainly purchased my last sweatshirt unless Nike agrees to pay me to wear it! Who makes these decisions anyway? If a redesign was really necessary, which I don't believe it was, why not have a contest for art students? I know that at other prestigious institutions that is how these types of things are resolved.

Robert Pacht, '99

Quake Coincidence

As a staff member in the UW Office of Development and Alumni Relations, I receive Columns magazine. I was particularly interested in the cover story about the Nisqually Quake ("What Lies Beneath", June 2001), and struck by the irony of your photo choice on page 20. That was my house! I'm sure you had no idea when choosing the photo that the building had a UW connection other than as a subject of academic research. It was an artist's live/work space that I occupied for more than nine years.

Within hours of the quake, swarms of researchers from institutions all around the country converged on Pioneer Square. The residents and commercial tenants were at once queasy at having their spaces poked and prodded, overwhelmed by the destruction, and ever so grateful that no one was injured. Everyone was equally curious about how details of this quake will fill in the knowledge gaps about seismic activities.

I am also grateful for the UW seismology lab and its close working relationship with the local media. During previous, smaller quakes we had been well educated via the press reports. The researcher's mantra—"Yeah, but you haven't seen anything yet. We're still waiting for The Big One"—was in my head. Though the Nisqually event was a housing disaster for me, I was prepared for it and able to minimize the shock and make a speedy transition to a new location.

Keep up the good work. In-depth reporting such as this not only showcases the important research going on here at UW, I am quite certain that the accessibility of the information to the general public saved lives.

Llyle Morgan

Visibility and Worth

Alumni magazines, by their very nature, tend to be overly self-congratulatory. One couldn't expect anything else. Columns is no exception.

Nevertheless it is disconcerting when the President of the University is reduced to being an academic cheerleader ("The Envelope, Please?" From the President, June 2001).

Presumably supporting the usual clichés about "teaching, research and service" is the predictable listing of honors and awards. So, for example, I am not sure what "enterprise-wide instructional systems" really are, but it sounds like another case where the University boasts about serving the needs of business, acquiescing to the questionable assumption that the corporate interest and the national interest are synonymous.

Honors and awards may be a measure of the University's visibility, but visibility and worth are not the same, and it is unfortunate when the University blurs the distinction.

Professor Sol Saporta, retired
UW Department of Linguistics

Undervalued Lectures

Dean Fred Campbell's bias against the traditional lecture is obvious in his comment ("Then and Now," June 2001) that the days of one-way education are over, now that students have access to more information than they used to have. I'm not against "active learning" in theory—in fact, my classroom fits that description some of the time—but I'm convinced that we have lost sight of the value of a brilliant lecture. Both my husband and I remember most vividly among our undergraduate experiences at the UW a professor (Thomas Hankins, in his case; Alan Fisher, in mine) whose lectures we listened to spellbound, because of the breadth of background and quality of mind that animated them. The finest professors provide not only information, but inspiration. To assume that the quality of a lecture is merely a function of the information it dispenses, as so many do today, is blind, not only to the value of listening to a fine mind at work, but also to the danger of lapsing into the laziness of running classrooms exclusively as centers of "active learning," a euphemism, too often, for meaningless group work and pointless, undirected individual projects.

Deborah Kinerk, '75, '87

Apples, Oranges, Airplanes

Comparing the production runs of the B-747 with the DC-10/MD-11 is not an apples-to-apples comparison ("Sky King," June 2001). True, they both have twin aisles, and their engines are in the same thrust class. But the DC-10/MD-11 is a trijet and the B-747 has four engines. The DC-10 carries about 250 passengers in a three-class layout, the MD-11 carries about 285, and the original B-747 carries about 350. The direct competitor of the DC-10 is the Lockheed L-1011, of which slightly more than 200 were built.

Ryan Pierson, '85
Long Beach, Calif.


The article on the Nisqually earthquake, "What Lies Beneath," June 2001, was in error when it stated no one died as a result of the Feb. 28 tremor. A Seattle-area woman died of a heart attack directly related to the quake.

Also, Columns erred when giving the identity of the Husky fan on page 34 of the March 2001 issue. He is Von Taylor, who frequently dressed as "Captain Dawg" during games in the '70s and '80s and came out of "retirement" for the 2001 Rose Bowl.

Letters to the editor are encouraged. Brief letters are more likely to be published; longer letters may be edited. Please include a daytime phone number.

Editor, Columns Magazine, 1415 N.E. 45th Street, Seattle, WA 98105
fax to (206) 685-0611

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