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Winter 2004

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letters

Able but lazy?
Don't melt the ice

 

Able but lazy?

I appreciated the honesty of the “Getting serious” story [fall Scope]. Freedom to be mediocre seems out of sync with a student body that meets high standards for admission. Maybe freedom to mess up, but to not even try?

To help root out grade inflation, why not grade students in freshman and sophomore courses on class participation, and put the word out to admissions counselors? In law school, we had to be prepared in every class in a section of ninety students because, even though we were only called on a few times per semester, we never knew when it was going to be.

If Skidmore is attracting too many students who are academically able but lazy, that says something about the overall rigor of the place or, at least, its reputation. Perhaps it’s a holdover from the women’s-college days: the admissions standards were no lower than at present, maybe even higher; but, compared with the faculty in my later academic experiences, too many of the Skidmore faculty, though able, were “coasting” intellectually and wouldn’t engage with students in class. Some of us thought that the excuse was that our supposed destiny was to become housewives, so a truly rigorous education wasn’t worth the bother. If it’s made clear that the entire Skidmore faculty believes that all students are worth the bother, maybe the lazy ones (both faculty and students) won’t apply.

On the other hand, there are lazy students at every institution. They have to be geniuses to get away with it at rigorous schools. But sooner or later everyone has their number—they haven’t done their homework—and that reputation stays with them and limits their choices later on.

Royanne Chipps Bailey ’59
Washington, D.C.

  

Don't melt the ice
[Editor’s note: The letters below were sent in response to news of a planned elimination of varsity ice hockey; see page 26 in this Scope for a report on hockey’s resurrection and other athletics initiatives.]

I find it disgraceful that the college finds money in abundance for the arts but is letting ice hockey go. Every guy who ever played hockey for Skidmore and every student who ever cheered at a game is totally disgusted by this. I will not be donating money for the purchase of more women’s soccer balls, tennis balls, and yoga lessons!

Morgan Seamark ’95
London, England


I was raised blue-collar and consider myself that today, although I work as a credit analyst. Skidmore constantly preaches about diversity, but it is eliminating an entire section of the student body that is not replicated elsewhere on campus. Hockey players bring to Skidmore a grounded, work-oriented, team-player attitude that will be sorely missed.

My biggest problem with the cancellation of the program is Skidmore’s total failure to involve all affected parties. If the college had taken the time to do its research, it would have seen what the sport meant to the players and other alumni. Cancellation without representation! Appalling.

Steven Mead ’95
Bedford, Mass.


Skidmore not only provided me with an education and a wonderful college experience, but it also played a role in introducing me to my husband, Todd Lady ’97. Back in the day, there were a handful of girlfriends who were referred to as “hockey wives”—and now we really are.
We can all attest that the Skidmore hockey players from 1993 to 1998 see themselves as family, even five-plus years after graduation. Every year they gather in Saratoga for their hockey alumni weekend; every month they book tickets to Boston, D.C., and New York City so they can get together with each other. I have close friends myself from Skidmore, but I have never met anyone as close as the hockey players.

What made Skidmore such a great place was its commitment to liberal arts, as well as sports, which fostered school spirit and pride. I feel sad for the men and women of the current student body, as they will not have the pleasure of watching and learning about hockey and fostering friendships like those made by my husband and his teammates.

If Skidmore melts the ice, consider our bond with the college dissolved.

Rebecca Israel Lady ’98
Alexandria, Va.


While I did not attend Skidmore, I have close ties to Saratoga and have been an avid fan of the hockey team. I have referred numerous prospective applicants to Skidmore for many reasons, but one was the sense of camaraderie and commitment that Skidmore sports engender.

When an attempt was made to eliminate swimming at Dartmouth, where I am on the faculty, it was soon reversed by a thoughtful president. Adding new sports may or may not be wise. But the elimination of established sports that are followed, and that contribute to the sense of community and the national recognition that builds so many opportunities for a small liberal-arts school, seems ill-advised under all but truly dire circumstances, when other solutions might still be sought.

Mark Isreal P'98
Hanover, N.H.

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.

 


© 2004 Skidmore College