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Fall 2003

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Centennial spotlight

On campus

Faculty focus

Arts on view



Class notes



Feel sorry for victims, not criminals
Criminal justice does need rethinking
Choose objectivity
Photo ID

Feel sorry for victims,
not criminals

     I read with great interest “Matters of life and death” in the summer Scope. It made me wish—for a brief moment, granted—that I was still on campus to attend the death-penalty forum described in the article.
     [Regarding the case of guest speaker Bill Babbitt’s mentally ill brother,] “Manny” (as his supporters affectionately called him) was executed for murdering Leah Schendel, a seventy-eight-year-old grandmother who died of a heart attack after being beaten bloody in her Sacramento apartment during a 1980 robbery and attempted rape. After leaving Schendel to die and covering her with a mattress, Manny robbed, attacked, and attempted to rape another Sacramento woman in her driveway. His rap sheet included the burglary of twenty-seven summer cottages in 1972, armed robbery of two gas stations in 1973, the regular beating of his common-law wife, and let’s not forget the charge of assaulting and sodomizing his family’s thirteen-year-old babysitter in 1979.
     Manny’s supporters argued that he suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of serving in Vietnam. It would seem they are arguing that people who are murdered and raped by Vietnam veterans are less deserving of justice than other people.
     John Rizzotti, a great-grandson of Mr. Babbitt’s victim, called the execution a justifiable death that was “the only way to end my family’s eighteen-year nightmare.” Instead of wasting our time feeling sorry for people like Manny, let’s spend our time remembering the victims they leave in their paths.
     Let me conclude by quoting California Governor Gray Davis when he turned down Manny’s clemency request: “Countless people have suffered the ravages of war, persecution, starvation, natural disasters, personal calamities and the like, but such experiences cannot justify or mitigate the savage beating and killing of defenseless, law-abiding citizens.”
Wendell C. Arnold ’96
Newark, Calif.


Criminal justice does need rethinking

     Kudos for “The Failure of Prison Punishment” by Prof. David Karp [summer Scope]. Our prison population and its costs—economic, social, and moral—are generally overlooked. As the essay says, there are many measures that could reduce prison costs and reduce recidivism. Prisoners are human beings. Yes, they made mistakes, but they want to be a contributing part of society. We owe it to ourselves and to them to help them learn to read, learn a skill, develop self-esteem.
     Kudos to Karp also for arranging the forum “Voices for a New Justice” to expose the Skidmore community to Americans who have been affected by the death penalty. These feelings need expression, and there is no better audience than the intelligent, caring Skidmore community.
Peter Hanson, parent ’93
New Canaan, Conn.


 Choose objectivity

     I found the article on Navy intelligence officer Art Richardson ’77 [spring Scope] very interesting, although I didn’t know him as a student. But I think Scope had a lot of nerve including the bit about the article’s author having a “Choose Peace” poster on her office door. Who in the world cares? She’s not saying she agrees with anything this man has to say just by writing an article about him! I don’t think the editors should have let that happen.
Suzanne Schmidt Harvie ’77
Humacao, Puerto Rico

Photo ID

     [In the summer Scope’s centennial story “Do’s and don’ts,” the photograph of students studying in the dorm room was misidentified as a 1950s shot.] I have to take issue with you because I know who these people are. I’m the one sitting at the desk, that’s Patty Bowen Perry ’49 sitting in the chair at the window, and Ann Crooks Seitzer ’48 and Phyllis Magill Levy ’48 are on the bed.
Sarah Cheney Buell ’48
Latham, N.Y.

Do the write thing
Scope welcomes letters to the editor. Send your viewpoint by e-mail to srosenbe@skidmore.edu, fax 518-580-5748, or write to Scope, Skidmore College, 815 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.

Class of 2007 arrives in force

Applications: 5,900 (a record number)

Enrollment: 646

Admitted thru Early Decision: 35%

Receiving Skidmore financial aid: 36%

Men: 41%

Women: 59%

Students of color: 12%

Median SAT scores: 1260 (a record high)

From public schools: 61%

From private/parochial schools: 39%

Geography: 33 states, D.C., 9 foreign countries

With family ties to Skidmore: 9%

Porter Scholars (science/math): 7

Filene Scholars (music): 5


© 2003 Skidmore College