A Different Kind of Diversity
My special congratulations to Jenn Wilcox and Hal Jakle (“Debating the Great Debate”) for their efforts to bring diverse thought to
Pomona College. As a graduate of the class of ’67 this is the first time I’ve been really proud of being an alum. It’s refreshing to see that
occasionally others are tired of the aggressive, monolithic thought police that have ruled such elite institutions for many decades.
Perhaps this bodes well for the new generation that they see the many shades of grey in the complex issues that face us today. In addition
to broadening the understanding of the student body perhaps there will be a growth of respect for thoughtful people of opposing
opinions. One can only hope!
I continue to be concerned about the superficial thinking of the “politically correct” folks when I read that Professor Summers
Sandoval is concerned about Pomona’s “mission.” If the College’s mission is to indoctrinate young minds toward the liberal agenda,
and reading the survey results showing that only 5 percent of the students “identify themselves as conservative or slightly conservative,”
then I don’t think he needs to worry. Thanks for the fine issue.
—Dr. Jean Hawkins Adam ’67
Marina del Rey, Calif.
It was disappointing to read about the controversy
over legal immigrants and illegal
aliens (Spring 2008). Even though the
Minuteman Project with Jim Gilchrist has
always been on the side of peaceful legal
immigrants, it was portrayed primarily in a
negative manner. The credentials of the advocates
for illegal aliens were not even examined.
It was also unbelievable that some persons
thought there should not even be a
debate on the subject at Pomona. Pomona
should be dedicated to open debate on the
merits as an academic ideal.
—Carl Olson ’66
Woodland Hills, Calif.
Page 12 of the Spring 2008 issue caught my eye. According to Professor Grigsby’s survey, 62 percent of Pomona students identify themselves
as “liberal or extremely liberal,” while only 5 percent self-identify as “conservative or slightly conservative.” This begs the question—
where is the diversity? We pride ourselves on a diverse community of shapes, sizes, colors, and sexual orientations, yet our students
seem to have complete homogeneity in viewpoints. Differing opinions are the most
valuable part of diversity, raising awareness
and stimulating discussion. Is “diversity” simply
a group of people who all look differently
but think the same? Does Pomona plan to
address this glaring imbalance?
—John F. Brown ’86
St. Louis, Mo.
The Story’s Not Over
I am not usually one to write to the editor,
but I feel compelled to because I just read
your article on
Julian Nava and the East L.A.
blowouts of 1968. I’m an alumna of James A.
Garfield High School, one of the schools
involved, and am currently a history teacher
there. I think it’s wonderful that you profiled
Mr. Nava and the work that he did. What
happened in 1968 still serves as an inspiration
for both the students and educators on the
Eastside. However, the demands that those
students made in 1968, including better teachers,
more compassionate administrators, more
access to a college prep curriculum and better
facilities, are still far from a reality. Our schools
have a dropout rate above 60 percent, poor
facilities, overcrowded classrooms and overworked
teachers. I understand that the article
was about Mr. Nava, not about the schools
themselves. However, the purpose of his being
on the school board and of those kids walking
out was to improve education in these schools.
While some things have improved, 40 years
later, the job is far from complete. br>
—Griselda Solis ’02
James A. Garfield High School
Social Studies Teacher
East Los Angeles, Calif
Nixon Still Divides
Many thanks for Mark Kendall’s entertaining
story on Nixon. I was a young Republican in Southern California at the
times described and greatly enjoyed the thumping given to Jerry Voorhis and Helen Gahagan Douglas. The losers were such crybabies
that some gloating was acceptable.
—John L. Liddle ’48
I am outraged that there is a picture of NIXON, of all people, on the cover of our Spring PCM. “Tricky Dick” was a Whittier
graduate and has nothing to do with Pomona. Story or no story, his ugly mug has no business ness on the cover of the periodical that represents
our campus. For the first time in my life, I am embarrassed to be a P.C. alum. If the editors continue to exercise such poor judgment,
I may have to request I no longer get the magazine.
—Ainsley Skye Waters
(Susan Andress-Bontrager ’65)
A Place for Everyone
I would like to reflect on my reading of the recent article regarding
the design of new residence
halls. My son, Edward ’92, who uses a wheelchair, went through some harrowing experiences, even in the “new” and “renovated”
buildings. His frustrations were the result of extremely poor planning and inadequate and negligent attention paid to the needs of the disabled community. I witnessed many of the exclusions he experienced firsthand; we
lived only three blocks from the college and I was often called upon to “rescue” him or scout out certain things before he could utilize a site. There were only three classrooms
on the entire campus that he could enter.
I would hope that history has taught some lessons regarding these issues, and that the disabled community is sufficiently consulted
and included in your planning process. The halls must be not only totally barrier-free, but include some rooms in which disabled students
can live. This includes fully accessible bathrooms with roll-in showers, an adjoining small room for an attendant if necessary,
etc. These accommodations are easy and a tiny percentage of the overall budget — if addressed in the initial planning stages.
—Cathy Tessier ’63
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Letters may be edited for length, style and clarity.