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Don't limit off-campus living
Regarding the new student apartments [spring Scope], I am concerned about the motive for keeping students on campus. There are plenty of irresponsible, immature students for whom living off campus implies games of beer pong and a lowered incentive to make it to class—this I realize. But maybe these students could be screened out in the admissions process, instead of being catered to with luxury wooded condos. By limiting opportunities for its students to live off campus, Skidmore continues its depressing trend of catering to its lowest common denominator.

While the tight-knit community and comfortable accommodations were aspects of Skidmore that I enjoyed in my first few years, my off-campus living experience was as instructive and enriching as any on-campus activity. I cherished the independence, camaraderie with housemates, and opportunity to join the Saratoga community. I learned to deal with (difficult) landlords, house repairs, gardening, and the creation of a unique, fulfilling living environment in a town that is a model of a progressive, small city. Without a car I was able to walk to the farmer’s market, grocery, and hardware store, and interact with people over the age of twenty-two.

Rather than spending limited resources on vacation-style condos, why not strengthen academics to attract more students who are mature enough to learn from off-campus living? I’d rather see Skidmore populated with independent, creative students than with those who gush over the “‘metropolitan loft’ feel of the accommodations.”

Daniel Byers ’03
Philadelphia, Pa.

On clubs and membership
As the parent of an African American alumnus, I am moved to comment about the [spring Scope’s] photo essay “Clubbing.” Where are the ALANA students? With the exception of three Asian students, the only students shown in any of the six groups are white.

Is this a true portrayal of Skidmore today? Is the percentage of African American, Hispanic, and Native American students currently at Skidmore so low that they have become invisible? Or do ALANA students just not participate in campus organizations?

I hope that the college will increase efforts to expand the number of minority students on campus, and that future issues of Scope will better portray campus and alumni diversity. I hope that in two years, when my daughter considers applying to Skidmore, the number of students of color will have increased on campus and that their presence will be more evident in college publications.

Carol L. Clarke, parent ’02
Hempstead, N.Y.

I was excited to see the picture of the Skidmore Outing Club. I was very active when I was in college. Skidmore had a cabin somewhere that we used, but mainly I remember a canoe trip to Lake George and also Intercollegiate Outing Club Association trips to Dartmouth’s Ravine Camp, with all the college clubs attending. It was so much fun—skiing, singing, square dancing (we didn’t go spelunking). Is that still going on? Even after college I went on Outing Club trips with alumni friends.

I wish the Skidmore Outing Club members many happy trips and many memories of that part of their college years. As a matter of fact, jokingly I’ve often said that if I learned nothing else at Skidmore, I learned to ski—which I did for fifty years.

Susan Rabinowitz Malloy ’45
Westport, Conn.

Loss of a gentle soul
Thank you for your thoughtful obituary of Prof. Richard Speers [spring Scope]. I was saddened to learn of his passing, and it reminded me once again of the reasons that I so enjoyed my educational experience at Skidmore.

To put it mildly, I would never be mistaken for an astute mathematician, and the calculus class required by my biology major loomed as a formidable obstacle to my degree. I put off taking Calculus 101 as long as possible, until I finally had to run the numbers gauntlet during my junior year. I was lucky enough to have Dr. Speers as a professor, and managed to make it through
a semester of Mathematica and derivatives relatively unscathed. More important to me was how I managed to do this—Professor Speers was unfailingly kind in allaying my math-phobia, patient enough to endure my maddeningly slow grasp of the subject, and adept enough at multitasking to offer me extra tutoring as we played side by side in the orchestra pit for a Cabaret Troupe production.

I miss such interactions, and Skidmore will miss a polymath and a gentle soul.

David Joyal ’97
Hoboken, N.J.