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Mailbag

Along North 13th Street

The Albright Reporter encourages letters to the editor related to issues discussed in the magazine, issues that relate to college news or policies, or that are of interest to a segment of our readership. Letters can be mailed, faxed or sent via e-mail.

For our Letters to the Editor Policy, please click here.

The Albright Reporter
Albright College
13th & Bern Streets
Reading, PA 19612-5234
Fax: 610-921-7295
E-mail: jstoudt@alb.edu

Dear Albright Reporter,
Kudos to you and your staff for not judging how people choose to live their lives and/or how they choose to worship. The thing that gives me great concern in this world is people like Mr. August. I am an officer in the United States Military as well as a citizen of the world. I have been all over this world in my years since attending Albright. I have seen oppression, terrible poverty, and many, many things that Mr. August would apparently find offensive.

This being said, I have to say that I find his fanatical views both frightening and offensive. It is fanaticism that causes hatred in this world. It is fanaticism that brings people to see others, not as they are, but for what they ‘seem’ to represent in our own judgmental views. I know that I have been guilty of seeing others simply, not for who they are. I have learned to curb my own judgment until I actually get to know people.

The entire world was shown what fanaticism causes on Sept. 11, 2001. The hatred and self-loathing that people feel is only heightened when mixed with fanatical religious zeal. Belief is one thing, attempting to force your own ideas and ideals upon others is another. Freedom of choice, freedom of religion, freedom of speech. I have to ask Mr. August if he has heard of these ideas.

Whether this fanaticism arises from jealousy, self-loathing, unfounded hatred, fear of people who are different, or fear of being shown to be different, I cannot say. I know that my words will fall on deaf ears in regard to Mr. August. I realize that fanatics refuse to listen to reason, this is part and parcel of who and what they are.

I have to simply hope (sorry, I do not pray) that Mr. August can someday see reason once again as he apparently did in the past. I would also like to point out to Mr. August that it is readily apparent to most educated people that The Reporter is simply reporting on important events in the lives of Albright alumni, not necessarily showing support for those events. As I see it, that is the whole reason for the existence of The Reporter.

I attended Albright College from 1986 to 1990. I enjoyed my time at Albright, and I can recall some of the people whom Mr. August now condemns. I called those people my friends. Oddly I am neither homosexual nor a woman, so I don’t even fall into one if his categories.

I do support Mr. August’s right to express his opinions. I have even put my life on the line in order to defend that freedom. Whatever we may think, we are fortunate that we live in a country that allows us to express ourselves freely.
Remember it is a ‘Liberal Arts College’.

James Ridgway ‘90

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Dear Albright Reporter,
So, Mr. August feels that he cannot be part of our community so long as we accept all of us into the community. I find that the saddest of all, since one of my favorite memories of Albright is the fact that we were all there for each other. I remember countless times going to friends in the AASA, ISA and AAC to help promote an event that we were having at Hillel. The answer was always, “of course we will help.” It didn’t matter to them that we weren’t part of their organization because we were part of Albright. So Mr. August, if you feel that you can not be a part of this community, we will miss you, and we will always welcome you back because the spirit at Albright is to accept everyone regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual origin and beliefs.

Harriet Shapiro ’98

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Dear Albright Reporter,
While flipping through what is my favorite section of The Reporter, the Classnotes, I was met with Richard C. August’s letter. He wrote that he is shocked that The Reporter publishes details of the lives of Albright alumni whose lives do not square with his religious beliefs. My shock runs deeper. I am shocked that The Albright Reporter would publish hate mail in its pages. There are some words so harmful and so cruel that they do not deserve a forum. And yet, The Reporter provided one for Mr. August’s hateful messages against women and homosexuals.

Mr. August quoted a Biblical verse that says that, “a woman should learn in silence, completely submitting herself. I don’t allow a woman to teach nor to have authority over a man.” How can an institution dedicated to higher learning allow such hate mail against women to be printed? Albright has over the years had many outstanding female faculty members who have done a superior job in educating the young women and men that have sat in their classrooms. Women have been powerful and inspiring students who have greatly benefited our campus and the world in which they now reside. Albright claims to be a welcoming learning environment and yet it allows half of the population to be insulted and demeaned simply by virtue of their gender.

Mr. August’s letter suggests that women are not fit to teach and in fact are not fit for any role in society except that of a servant of men. This is not just an opinion. It is a very harmful and destructive belief system that plays a significant role in the oppression of women. Women are raised in a world of fear—fear that they will be raped, fear that they will be abused, fear that they will be rejected by society for pursuing their passions and interests (fears not shared by men). The words of Mr. August simply reinforce that fear. Words calling for women’s submission support women’s abuse by men. After all, a woman must “know her place” and when she is not faithful to that place she could rightfully be punished.

Furthermore, Mr. August renounces the lives of homosexual alumni. Once again he quotes the Bible and argues in a flippant play on words that, “homosexual wrongs (not rights)” have no place in our community. Words, such as those of Mr. August, perpetuate the violence omnipresent in the lives of homosexuals. Numerous acts of violence against homosexuals have been committed in the name of God and the Bible. But God and the Bible are really just being used as acceptable fronts for prejudice and hate.

Were one to have written the same hateful words about an ethnic minority (save Muslims who are unfortunately currently seen as acceptable targets), I believe that letter would not have reached The Reporter’s pages. Would The Reporter print a letter from an alumnus expressing the views held by the Klu Klux Klan? My guess is it would not, noting its inappropriate nature. By publishing these hateful words, women and homosexuals have been deemed by Albright as acceptable targets of hateful attack. And quite frankly this angers me beyond what my words could ever hope to express. We already live in a world filled with hate and hateful acts. It is the duty of an institution of higher education to stand up against harmful speech. The fact that the editors included an editor’s note that reads in part, “The magazine respects the rights of all Albrightians to communicate important events in their lives, and therefore does not judge the appropriateness of news based on an individual’s religion, gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation,” does not absolve their culpability in spreading this hatred, prejudice, and intolerance within our community.

As Albert Camus wrote in The Plague, “All I maintain is that on this earth there are pestilences and there are victims, and it is up to us, so far as possible, not to join forces with the pestilences.” Hatred, prejudice and intolerance are three of the most dangerous pestilences of our world. I was saddened to see The Reporter join forces with them and I hope that the editorial staff will think more critically before adding to the already over abundance of hate in the world.

Tricha Shivas ’98

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Dear Albright Reporter,
I was greatly offended by a recent letter from Richard C. August ’87 condemning your printing of a notice of the installation of an alumna as a pastor. He also decried the notice that a 1988 alumna was married to another woman.

Mr. August certainly has a right to his beliefs and opinions, but he does not have the right to force his beliefs on me or others who do not agree with his beliefs. The Apostle Paul was probably the greatest of the early Christians and the most influential person in advancing Christian beliefs in the early Church. However, he was subject to his era and the beliefs of his culture. If all of us believed that the Bible is inerrant we still would believe in slavery, the shunning of lepers as unclean, and the stoning of sinners. Mr. August picks and chooses which Bible verses to which he subscribes, as must all who believe in the inerrant Bible with its many contradictions.

The two women mentioned in the notice as marrying one another are college professors and authors and are good Christians who are looking forward to a lifelong commitment to one another. I realize that it is difficult for many people to accept such major changes in their beliefs, but Christians need to be very careful in judging the behavior of others who also may be seeking God’s way.

“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” Matthew 7: 1-2.

Robert M. Nagle, Ph.D. ’60

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Dear Albright Reporter,
After reading the letter from Richard C. August ‘87 in the spring Reporter, I felt compelled to express my opinion.

I also took note of the two women and their marriage. My first thought was my extreme admiration for the courage it took Albright to print such an event. My second thought was how proud I am to count myself among the thousands of Albright graduates.

It is closed minds and hate that Mr. August speaks of that causes violence. Our differences and the acknowledgement of those differences is the strength that built this country. My only question to Mr. August is, when did hate become a family value?

Keep up the good work. I look forward to many years of reading The Reporter.

Michelle Alt ’98

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reporter contents :: albright college