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Greg Wyatt '71


Columbia Goes Digital

The computer as a learning tool.

Congratulations on a fabulous issue of Columbia College Today (December 2000). I have already copied all of the URLs onto my Favorite Sites.

Columbia College is really on the "cutting edge" of wireless technology, as you very well pointed out in your lead article. I am wondering if such digital technology is in the near future at the medical school. I would love to "sit in" on selected lectures given to the medical students. It seems to be the fastest way of staying abreast on the latest advances in the medical field.

Dr. Stanley Edelman '49, '53 P&S

Editor's note: In this issue we examine and other approaches Columbia is taking, or considering taking, to online learning.

Don't Lose the Personal Touch

The feature articles about the digital revolution at the College were intriguing and fascinating, celebrating a new and exciting teaching tool. However, it would be a great loss if the sweeping computerization of the campus were allowed to alter the basic nature of instruction at Columbia College.

For me and my classmates, the hallmark of the Columbia experience was the personal relationship that developed between most of us and many of our instructors. The unique experience of conversation and dialogue with my classmates and such luminaries, seminal thinkers and innovators as Professors Mark Van Doren, Boris Stanfield, Charles Dawson, Lionel Trilling, Samuel Eilenberg, Moses Hadas, Ernest Nagel, Dana Mitchell, Henry Dupee, George Collins, Shirley Quimby, Douglas Moore, Jacob Avshalomoff, Willard Rhodes, James Malfetti, Vladimir Ussachevsky, and others, as well as my stints on WKCR and Spectator, are what I treasure most from my College years.

It would be a great loss if the digitalization of Columbia were to expand to the point where personal contact and interaction between faculty members and students becomes a secondary part of the learning experience. Indeed, I cannot understand how the realization of the three elements of Dean Quigley's vision for the College (intellectual mobility, social mobility and career mobility) can be achieved in contemporary society if the level of student- faculty interaction becomes diluted as a result of over zealous computerization of instruction at Columbia. Computers must remain a tool rather than the primary means of teaching if the unique and incomparable Columbia College experience is to flourish in the digital age.

Dr. Amiel Z. Rudavsky '54

Hang In There!

John Gearan gave us a sensitive, gripping account (December 2000) of Mike and Kathleen Sardo's struggle to overcome Mike's lymphocytic leukemia and its consequences. Fate has wreaked havoc in the lives of these two young people. Their devotion, courage, determination and sense of humor in the face of adversity are exemplary.

Mike and Kathleen are Columbia's best; tested true blue in life's crucible.

They need to know that the alumni family is shoulder to shoulder with them all the way.

We can demonstrate this by giving generously to the Mike Sardo Fund and by including them in our prayers. Hang in there, kids, you'll make it!

Edward C. Kalaidjian '42, '45L

Editor's note: Contributions to help defray Mike Sardo's medical expenses may be sent to: The Mike Sardo Fund, c/o Wally Halas, Institute for International Sport, P.O. Box 104, 3045 Kingstown Road, Kingston, RI 02881-0104.


Columbia University is justifiably proud of its commitment to diversity. However, a news item in Columbia College Today (December 2000) causes me to wonder if indeed the University is truly dedicated to the principles of diversity. This is the item on the results of a pre-election Spectator poll of 246 randomly selected undergraduates, which showed 71% favored Al Gore for President,16% for Ralph Nader and 7% for George W. Bush, with 2% other and 4% undecided.

Since the actual results were about 48% each for Gore and Bush and 4% for Nader, might one conclude that our applicant pool, admissions policies, or teaching program lacks diversity?

Gene F. Straube '49, '50E

Professor Steeves Remembered

Professor H.R. Steeves (Letters, February and May 2000) was my first humanities teacher and gave me a great start toward opening my mind.

Many thanks for your fine magazine.

Dr. Irving Paul Ackerman '46

Glee Clubbers, Not Kingmen

I've been intending to write this note ever since the September issue of CCT arrived, and finally got around to it. It was a kick to see my face staring at me in the "singing duel" photo in the centerfold's reunion feature-a kick in the positive and negative meanings of that word.

We had a ball-that was positive. But the '55 group involved was most emphatically NOT Kingsmen, but rather Glee Clubbers. Aaron Preiser, Marv Winell and I were all in the Glee Club, and there was always a degree of competition between the two organizations. To be called a Kingsmen alumnus at this late date is something of an unwelcome kick in a portion of the anatomy.

But we did indeed have a great time at the reunion, and look forward eagerly to the 50th in 2005.

Dr. Stuart M. Kaback '55

Editor's Note: No kick intended. Columbia College Today regrets the error and apologizes to Glee Clubbers near and far.

Re-Defining Due Process?

"Big Brother" advances at Columbia. In the December 2000 issue of Columbia College Today, an article stated that the OSMPE, the Office for Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Education, had opened on campus.

In addition to being another step forward in political correctness, the article fails to mention that by opening this office, Columbia has redefined "due process" for University students, exempting Law School students. It is apparent that Columbia deems the United States Constitution insufficient for the University to abide by.

For example, under the new policy, defendants will be denied having a lawyer present during the hearing. Further, students who are not qualified to be judges will judge. As in totalitarian governments, hearings will be secretive. The accused cannot confront his accuser, and may not be present when the accuser testifies nor during the testimony of witnesses. The defendant will not be allowed to cross-examine any witnesses.

Columbia should be a leader in defending liberty rather than an institution led by tyrants opposed to justice.

William Tanenbaum '60

Giving Credit

In your story on Columbia actors (September 2000), you mention Cara Buono '95's upcoming project with Brad Anderson, When the Cat's Away. What the article fails to mention is that the project is in fact a rewrite of an excellent French film of the same title by Cedric Klapisch released in 1996, or thereabouts. Credit where credit is due.

Rebecca Prime '96

Golden Age of Fencing

Thank you for printing Alfred P. Rubin '52's letter in your September 2000 issue. Al is right, of course, about the remarkable fencing renaissance that began during the 1949-52 period and seeded Columbia's "Golden Age of Fencing" for decades to follow. To round out Rubin's account of those heady days, two other groups of unsung heroes deserve the highest mention.

First, the varsity fencing team's members of the Classes of '49 and '50, then seniors and juniors, who sacrificed their traditional right to represent the Light Blue in intercollegiate competition in order to help me coach the '51 and '52 sophomores and freshmen, who needed the additional competitive experience that later proved so effective.

Second, my supervisors and colleagues at Columbia College, in the department of physical education, and in the athletic and alumni associations, who took me in as "family" and gave me unstinting support and encouragement. To mention a few is to do an injustice to those my aging memory forgets, but it's fair to say that Deans McKnight and Chamberlain, the Fureys (Ralph and George), Dr. Harold Lowe, the great basketball coach Gordon Ridings (my campus culture mentor) and fellow coaches Irv DeKoff (fencing), Dick Waite (wrestling) and Dick Mason (track & field) were there for us when the team and I needed them.

Servando Jose Velarde


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