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Spring 2003

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Centennial spotlight

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letters

College is no rehab center
Valuing the liberal arts
Lucky to have had Levine

College is no rehab center

     On the question of readmitting Gardner Cummings ’02 after his drug conviction, I wish to offer a rejoinder to the letters [winter ’03 Scope] defending the decision and excoriating my objections to it.
     There are persuasive arguments for rehabilitation over punishment—and, additionally, many good civil-libertarian and common-sense reasons for drug legalization. But such arguments cannot defend Cummings’s readmission, because when he violated the honor code’s unambiguous bar against drug dealing, he breached a private contract that all Skidmore students enter into voluntarily when they accept an offer of admission. His breach does not raise the question of what’s good for him—however much one may empathize and wish to see him rehabilitated—but rather what’s good for the college. The college should not be turned into an expensive rehabilitation center. The honor code is there to protect the best interests of the students who abide by it, not of those who wantonly violate it.
Paul W. Benton ’93
Denver, Colo.

  

Valuing the liberal arts

     The president’s message [winter Scope] about the liberal arts being the best possible education was right on target.
     My liberal arts education was a solid foundation not only for my career but also for the many new opportunities that presented themselves later in life. With the skills cited by President Studley, I was able to undertake many new challenges in many different venues—supervisor in probation and parole, planner and researcher in corrections, acting state director of probation, deputy state comptroller, deputy commissioner of public safety, commissioner of finance, and mayor of Saratoga Springs. In addition, I’ve been an adjunct professor, newspaper columnist, and host of a radio show.
     President Studley was right: “What can you do with a liberal arts education? Anything and everything.”
J. Michael O’Connell
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Lucky to have had Levine

     I was saddened to read about the passing of Erwin Levine. He had a gift for teaching—he inspired, challenged, and supported all his students—combined with a quick dry wit that made his class hours fly by. He was one of a few professors at Skidmore who had a profound influence on my decision to pursue a career in the public sector [currently in financial management at NASA].
     I would place Professors David Marcell, Mary C. Lynn, and Henry Galant with Prof. Levine as my most influential Skidmore teachers. My American studies courses were some of my favorites, because they wove the social and cultural aspects of American history together with the events and gave me a multidimensional view of critical points in our country’s development. I was so lucky to be challenged by such wonderful teachers.
Julie Mayne Baker ’76
Columbia, Md.

 


© 2003 Skidmore College