O U R R E A D E R S W R I T E
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"What's All the Fuss?" [June], concerning Arnold Lehman's four-year career as director of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, is as disingenuous and hypocritical as Lehman himself is. The museum's disgusting displays of the Virgin Mary covered in elephant dung, and Jesus at the Last Supper portrayed as a naked black woman (in fact, everyone in this painting is black except for Judas, who is white), is nothing more than blatant Catholic bashing.
Would Lehman's defenders be so supportive had he shown the Rev.
Martin Luther King or Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir covered
in elephant dung, or naked? Of course not. These same leftist
elitists, including those at the New York Times, would be
screaming bloody murder, calling for Lehman's head.
Your article about the "illustrious" Arnold Lehman provided some examples of his slick manipulation of the truth, which somehow blame the questioner for Mr. Lehman's misleading answers. Doesn't the Hopkins seal proclaim "The Truth Will Make You Free"?
The real tragedy was not only allocating eight full pages plus
the cover to this "carny promoter," but allowing him to share
your June issue with a giant such as Dr. Caroline Bedell
I am writing to redress a glaring omission from Geoff Brumfiel's otherwise fascinating article "Star Light, Star Bright..." [April]. In the opening paragraph, Mr. Brumfiel cites a number of previous catalogs of the night sky, but I am shocked that his research did not turn up the Guide Star Catalog! The GSC was constructed (and indeed, is still being constructed) at the Space Telescope Science Institute, behind the Homewood campus. The GSC's primary goal, as its name implies, is to provide reference stars for orientation of the Hubble Space Telescope; the GSC is also, however, a resource available to the greater astronomy community.
The source of the GSC is a photographic sky survey mainly from the Palomar telescope in California, and the UK Schmidt Telescope in Australia. In the basement of the STScI, the photographic plates are digitized on special scanners, and objects in the digitized images are detected, classified, and measured with computer software.
GSC-I contained nearly 19 million objects (15 million of which were classified as stars) up to the 15th magnitude. The new version, GSC-II, not only reached deeper into space (extending to the 19th magnitude), but it also measured changes in position, so that extrapolation from GSC-I through GSC-II would greatly extend the useful lifetime of the catalog. Currently, just shy of 1 billion objects have been catalogued; the recently released GSC 2.2 comprises 435,457,355 objects as bright as the 19th magnitude.
Sadly, no commentary of the GSC would be complete without noting
that Dr. Barry Lasker, whose brainchild the Guide Star Catalog
was, passed away in 1999. More information can be found at the
GSC Web pages
I was personally offended by "A Cinderfella Goes to the Ball"
Ruminations]. I do not read pornography, so I can't know for
sure, but that article I imagine would fit well into a porn
magazine. If this is the type of "diverse view" that the
Hopkins Magazine will print, you can cancel my
I read with interest the article about Scott McCallum, the new governor of Wisconsin [June, p. 62], but was surprised when your author wrote, "McCallum becomes only the second Johns Hopkins alum--after Woodrow Wilson, A&S 1886 (PhD)--to become a U.S. governor."
I can think of two Hopkins alumni who served as governors. The
first who came to mind was Albert Cabell Ritchie, Class of 1896,
who served as governor of Maryland in the 1920s and later
narrowly lost the Democratic nomination for president to Franklin
Roosevelt in 1932. The second was Maryland governor Spiro T.
Agnew, Class of 1954, who became vice president under Richard M.
Nixon. I would certainly be interested to read if there are
Thank you for your leadership in publishing Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson's article celebrating the research, career, and life of Professor Katrina Bell McDonald ["Issues of Identity," June].
Professor McDonald's story is another example of the persistence of racism in U.S. universities. When I was an undergraduate there were charged discussions on many campuses about the dearth of minority faculty and the stubborn stand taken by U.S. universities regarding the tenure of the few who existed. It is now 25 years later, and very little has changed. Academic faculty who are members of underrepresented groupings continue to confront inexplicably protracted and dangerously mined paths that often end not in tenure, but in the tragic destruction of brilliant minds and beautiful lives. As a
black assistant professor (and one of the "most experienced" in my institution), I continue to be amazed by the way in which academic administrators and faculty are happy to sit by and watch this pattern of tragic loss play out over and over again.
The first step toward progress in achieving fairness in the university tenure system is to stop doing the things that are not working. The second step is to fully engage the entire faculty in the effort. Typically, racial diversity initiatives originate from the offices of university presidents and deans in the form of monetary and space incentives to department heads. However, the faculty, in general, is under no obligation--at all. The charge must be given to department chairs and faculty, along with education in the tools for success.
Third, service toward increasing racial diversity must become tenure currency for all faculty members. Presently, when service to the university in the form of work to increase racial diversity is counted toward tenure, it is only accorded to underrepresented faculty. So this service has no real tenure value, because white faculty members are not allowed it; and when it is given to underrepresented faculty, it is viewed as an excuse for inadequacy in other areas.
As a final step, intramural tenure committees must begin to take
full responsibility for their decisions regarding
underrepresented faculty. The professed most important criterion
for tenure is the content of outside letters solicited by
committees to further inform their evaluation of the impact of a
faculty member's work in his or her field. Tenure committees
often assign responsibility for decisions against tenure to the
authors of these letters, who are usually unknown to faculty
undergoing tenure review. In a racist society, it is a frank
absurdity to expect that such a system will ever yield fairness
to underrepresented faculty.
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