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Columbia College Today September 2005
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Judd Gregg ’69

Judd Gregg ’69
Judd Gregg ’69

I read with interest your highly flattering article on my classmate, Judd Gregg, who you featured on the cover and portrayed as a great public servant with a “core set of principles” that guide him to do the right thing. Unfortunately, you omitted a few facts that would have balanced the portrayal.

As a congressman, Gregg voted against establishing a Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday and also opposed it for his home state, New Hampshire. Recently, he joined a handful of senators who refused to sign a resolution apologizing for the failure across many decades to enact federal anti-lynching legislation. In addition, Gregg was praised by the Rev. Jerry Falwell in a 2003 column for the senator’s vicious attack on Democrats as religious bigots, asserting they have a “litmus test” that would oppose any judicial nominee “who subscribes to the Catholic faith.”

Mark S. Brodin ’69
Newton, Mass.

The July cover of Columbia College Today is the last step in the march to the extreme right of an institution I have loved my life long. When I had the privilege of attending Columbia in the postwar years, it was a liberal-left — but firmly anti-Stalinist — bulwark. As much as I disagreed with the New Left’s domination of the campus in the ’60s and ’70s, it was a muscular demonstration of intellectual challenge and excellence of a university in the forefront of social change.

But the advent of Lee C. Bollinger to the head of the University has brought with it a dramatic shift in social and political focus. Columbia has reverted to its tradition of 19th-century anti-Semitism. It has failed to understand that academic freedom stops at Auschwitz, that the Holocaust no longer allows the luxury of prejudice in freedom’s clothing.

Putting Senator Judd Gregg [’69] on the cover ices the cake. As chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Homeland Security, Gregg helped assign a disproportionate amount of money to Wyoming and a measly five bucks to New York, a city he claims to love. Pro-life and pro-Bush, he clearly is a champion of those leading the United States into the fascism of the 21st century.

Where are we locating Columbia under such leadership, in the red state of Kansas?

Thomas Weyr ’48
Bronxville, N.Y.

Gideon Oppenheimer ’47

Regarding Rick Mixon ’69’s touching article on his ministry (May 2005), he mentions Gideon Oppenheimer ’47, who apparently was an extraordinary College recruiter in Boise, Idaho.

I met Gideon when he returned after WWII from Europe, where he was an intelligence officer. We had a reduced wartime staff on Spectator, which during the war was reduced to a weekly. Gideon came back as a new managing board was taking over. I became editor and he became managing editor and helped get the paper out twice weekly. The following year it returned to a daily.

I was amused to see Gideon called “legendary,” and if he were still with us he would find that embarrassing. But he certainly was a valued journalist who became a good friend.

Ed Gold ’47, ’48J
New York City

Summer Reading

Your article “Summer Reading” (July 2005) is provocative, and it brings me a tad of sadness. It is the anniversary year of Don Quixote (1605), and none of the distinguished readers is reading or rereading it. This is a text that I had the privilege to share with Columbia students for many, many years.

Karl-Ludwig Selig, professor emeritus
New York City

Professor William C. Casey

An oft-retold Caseyism in my time was about the Long Island commuter who arose at the same time to the same breakfast and took the same trains to and from the same job for 25 years. Asked one day if he would vote for Roosevelt, he snapped, “Certainly not! I will not be regimented by that man!”

Professor Casey’s stagey style was entertaining, and today he seems remembered mostly with amused condescension. But his “course” was an admonition. Casey’s message was not just that we are all unwittingly victim to ubiquitous absurdity but that slogans and buzzwords are substitutes for thought. Devised by the clever for the mass unwary and endlessly repeated, they can be used as weapons of mass destruction.

I was urged to take “Casey’s course”; I’d never forget it. I never did.

Carl d’Angio ’41
Mount Vernon, N.Y.


Columbia’s Senate has denied the ROTC a recruitment facility on campus, using a side issue as justification. The turndown reflects the basic beliefs of Columbia’s faculty majority, namely, anti-military, pacifist, peace at any price resulting in head in the sand.

Christians, Jews, atheists — all are on Islamic terrorists’ death list. The moral depravity of these terrorists has been amply shown. The threat to our future generations is real. Wake up!

Omar Legant ’35, ’39 P&S

I have been a quiet alumnus since 1953 and for at least 30 years an annual financial supporter of the College, and my son, Glenn, is an ’85. It is with great sadness that I confess to feeling increasingly alienated from the mindset that now seems dominant at Columbia. The immediate trigger for this letter is President Lee C. Bollinger’s May 17 Wall Street Journal commentary on the issue of ROTC on campus. However, the same might be said for the campus handling of Israeli-Palestinian issues.

What I most treasure from my Columbia years and what has had a lifelong effect on me is the grounding I received in critical thinking, civility and respect for others’ ideas. These qualities provided the intellectual glue that made participation in the Core such a powerful connective force among generations of Columbians.

I am appalled by the stridency, self-righteousness, narrow focus and manipulative politics that emanate from campus. I cannot imagine such a climate is conducive to imparting the values I learned at Columbia. It isn’t clear to me whether Bollinger is a leader or a prisoner of this new form of anti-intellectual tradition, which comes across as arrogant and closed-minded.

I find it unworthy for a great university to proclaim (as Bollinger has done for Columbia in his letter) that support for the U.S. military in the form of allowing ROTC on campus must await moving beyond the current “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the armed services. Whatever the merits of the argument, the stance smacks more of clever posturing than principle. National defense is too important to be held hostage to either word-games or single-issue blackmail.

Philip R. Alper ’53
Burlingame, Calif.





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