Reed magazine welcomes letters from readers concerning the contents of the magazine or issues relating to the college. Letters must be signed and may be edited for clarity and space. Our email address is

From Bernice L. Youtz, honorary alumna, '68
Regarding the letter of Mary Willard Roe Bateman (November '97), President Ballantine, president of Reed from 1952 to 1954, went to Istanbul, not Beirut--one of those strange foreign places.

From Grover Sales '50
Mary Rosenblum's good piece on science fiction, "Through Alien Eyes" (November '97), brings to my mind an unforgettable conversation at Reed in 1947 with science whiz Harold Kantner '49, who became a prestigious inventor. A group of us were gabbing about science fiction, which was a campus vogue, when Hal cut in:

"All this writing about interplanetary space travel is child's play. When, not if, we get to the moon and Mars, we have a fairly clear idea of what we'll find. The real adventure worth writing about isn't space travel, but computers. Developments in computers will be unbelievably swift and will revolution- ize society in startling ways that science fiction can't begin to imagine."

And Kantner realized this before transistors were even invented!

From Michael Nyman '90
I found the article "2001: Reed's entering class" (November '97) disappointing. The article misleads people who are not aware that current SAT scores have been purposely inflated. For example, one can now miss several questions and still receive a "perfect" score. I have seen many articles in various newspapers talking about how "SAT scores are up" and they all forget that it's because the people who operate the SAT tests decided to automatically add points to students' scores! I thought Reed would be above the hype and would perhaps report some kind of adjusted score or at the very least mention that they were comparing apples with oranges. It's especially disappointing that this article appears on the same page as the "U.S. News and World Report hat trick" article. Reed does not want to be a part of the rankings because of, among other things, the scoring methodology. Well, how about the scoring methodology where one gets extra points so that it does not look as if scores are going ever downward? Does Reed approve of that kind of scoring methodology?

Nancy Donehower, dean of admission, replies:
Mr. Nyman has a point about the recentered SATs being higher (generally) than the "old" SATs, and we should probably have noted in the article that this is usually so (as we did in the article on the same page about the U.S. News and World Report rankings). However, the statement that this year's average SAT is the highest ever of any entering class still stands. Using the College Board's formula to "unconvert" this year's scores, the 1340 we're discussing equates to a 1280 under the old system. And this is still the highest average SAT ever presented by an entering class--the previous high-water mark being 1272.

From John Goldsmith, M.D.,'42

One of the most disruptive events for California college and university teachers was the requirement that they take a special loyalty oath if they wanted to continue to be employed. As part of the anti-communist hysteria following the end of WWII, such oaths were thought to single out teachers with communist membership or leanings. Inherently offensive was the premise that academic personnel's political views were suspect to the extent that without such a special oath they would be a threat to society.

Similar legislation was introduced into the Oregon legislature. At the time I was practicing family medicine in Salem, and a friend, Professor John Rademaker, was teaching in the sociology department at Willamette University. John was active in the university's chapter of the American Association of University Professors. He described risks of success of such legislation and the efforts of the AAUP to oppose it. Eventually a loosely organized group of us decided to prepare and activate a broad opposition. John got the AAUP at the University of Oregon involved, and the former governor Charles Sprague, editor of the Oregon Statesman, and his colleague, the former editor of the Eugene Register-Guard, joined the effort. I volunteered to get support from Reed, and we met with acting president E.B. MacNaughton. He offered his support, and said, "You know, we Scots are known to be tight-fisted; well, if there is any monetary support you need, let me know and you'll have it." MacNaughton had retired from the First National Bank, so we knew his offer could be relied upon.

The final outcome was that the loyalty oath never got to legislative debate and vote: in effect it was killed.

I regret to announce that as this issue of the magazine went to press, Kaspar Locher, professor emeritus of German and humanities, passed away. The family requests that memorial gifts be in the form of contributions to the Kaspar Locher Creative Scholarship Fund at Reed. An article about Kaspar will appear in the May issue.

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