Reed welcomes letters from readers about the contents of the magazine or about the college. Letters must be signed and may be edited for clarity and space. Our email addressis email@example.com.
More Dorithy Jo Tales
From Neal Johnson '75
Somehow the May issue of Reed, in which Dorothy Johansen's ['33] passing was announced, escaped me-thus I only picked up the news through the August letters column. I had a work study position with Dorothy Jo throughout my years as a student (1971-75) and occasionally kept an eye on her house when she and her partner were traveling. What a character she was, smoking her cigars while endlessly rewriting the history of the college that you gently mentioned in the piece, tooling around campus and off to her beloved coast in her Mustang. Did anything ever come of her drafts, and do they survive her?
[The drafts of Dorothy Jo's history survive, and the college has been looking at them with interest lately in the light of the college's upcoming centennial in 2011. Ed.]
Revisiting South America
From Christopher Phelps '88
Does Donald K. Steinberg's commencement address ("Subterranean homesick musings, revisited," Reed, August 2000) mark a centimeter of institutional progress, or does it just foster Reed's longstanding complacent hypocrisy regarding South Africa? Steinberg himself, it would appear from his remarks, has a record of integrity. In pursuing a career in the diplomatic corps, Steinberg found it "impossible to justify" the Reagan-era policy of "constructive engagement" in South Africa, instead favored sanctions, and waited until apartheid fell before he would accept a consular position in South Africa. What Steinberg may not have known is that Reed never divested itself of its stock tied to South Africa. Not one penny. In 1985, as an elected editor of the Quest, I wrote an investigative piece on Reed's investments tied to South Africa. From that point on, there were persistent calls for Reed to divest: petitions signed by a majority of students, resolutions by successive student governments, endorsements by successive Quest editors, and even a faculty call. There were presentations and protests before the trustees. There were sit-ins and occupations. Indeed, Reed kept apartheid-tied stock holdings up until Congressional sanctions were imposed. By that time, hundreds of educational institutions had displayed more enlightened policies. Reedies heard only sanctimonious talk about "fiduciary responsibility" and-yes-"constructive engagement" from trustees and administration. Knowing this, it is impossible to agree with Steinberg that with sanctions "the American people moved foursquare onto the right side of history." Not if it implies that Reedies should feel morally contented. If Reed wants to don the mantle of righteousness about South Africa, it will have to go beyond convenient liberal verbal associations. Commencement addresses that strike a high moral tone in regard to South Africa will seem to many of us to reflect institutional shamelessness rather than real progress.
Remembering Daniel Becker '69
From Pat O'Malley '71
I read with sadness the news of Daniel Becker's death posted in the August issue of Reed. The notice overlooked one central fact of Daniel's days at Reed. He was simply the Best Hambo Dancer There Was. Competition for that elevated post was tough: contemporaries like Jim Adams '71 and Glenn Nielsen '71 were certainly joyful and elegant masters of the step. Oh, but to dance the hambo with Daniel Becker-that was to experience centrifugal force as pure, ecstatic lightness of being, confounding even the most poeticof Jean Delord's laws of physics. Farewell, Daniel, may you spin the dance to the delight of heaven.