Letters to the Editor

.To the Editors:I want to express my sincerest gratitude to a student who came to my rescue two weeks ago. As I took my first step off the curb at the corner of Lancaster and Ithan Avenues, my foot slipped and down I went, purse and bag flying into the street. Of all the students crossing the street at 5:20 p.m. (male and female) only ONE student rushed to my rescue – one petite FEMALE student! The rest of the students turned, looked, and kept walking. This student asked if I was hurt; she picked up my belongings and assisted me across the street and to my car. While I sustained bruises, sprains and contusions, I was not seriously hurt. I am deeply thankful that this caring individual reached out to assist me. Had she not done so, since I was lying on Lancaster Avenue at dusk in a full-length dark coat, I could very well have been a statistic on the evening news. My heartfelt thanks go out to Kathryn Jacoby. Thank you!Robin HooseMulticultural Affairs

To the Editors:As an alumnus I share everyone’s enthusiasm over Villanova’s victory over Kansas and Notre Dame.  However, I feel compelled to take issue with Mr. Consuegra’s labeling Villanova as “primarily a basketball school.”  As Villanovans we should be aware that our alumni include presidents of universities, major politicians, astronauts, speech writers, lawyers, doctors, and yes, athletes in all major sports.  I hope everyone appreciates the arena of academic excellence afforded to us by Villanova University.  I encourage everyone to continue their unwavering support of the basketball team.  Similarly, I wish to see a similar pride as we, as a Villanova community, reflect on our storied past while boldly engaging the future.Carlos RiosClass of 2001To the Editors:I need to acknowledge that I was the perpetrator of that wicked homily which Matthew Branch assailed in his letter to The Villanovan, Jan. 21. I would not want the reputation of my brother presiders to be impugned by the anonymity of the charge.The centerpiece of that homily was the Gospel for the feast of Christ the King. There Christ is presented by Luke as one crucified between two thieves. The first thief asks to receive the gift of God’s reign, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” The other scoffs and mocks the “man of peace.”I picked up a theme of “theft and kingdom” from that passage, and since it was Hunger Awareness Week, I turned immediately to the masterful quotation of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower in his dire and prophetic warning against the rise of “militarism” in the modern world.”Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. ­This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.” (Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953, before the American Society of Newspaper Editors) I call your attention to President Eisenhower’s use of the word “theft” in this statement. The allusion to the Christ, the “man of peace,” crucified between two thieves should not go unnoticed! Furthermore, the general was not necessarily talking about any war in particular, but rather the prioritization and deployment of resources by every nation of this world for objectives related to war – rather than toward the amelioration of hardships for the poor, the hungry, and the oppressed. These are all biblical issues and relate directly to the teaching of the prophets, the message of Jesus in our Gospels, and the teaching of the church.I’m afraid the political tone of the time – the presidential campaign – presented an atmosphere of political argument, bias and hostility. I was judged to be a critic of this particular war – whereas I was referring to the sinfulness of all war. That’s the preacher’s dilemma, to work to make the words of the Gospel credible for the wisdom of a searching assembly while at the same time confronting the reality that political attitudes may be so fixed among congregants that actual homiletic insight becomes practically indecipherable.My homily was not political. I could have easily gone that way by quoting the judgment of the Pope and bishops as well as other religious leaders across the globe that made it very clear to our president that more peace work needed to be done before a pre-emptive war such as the one that happened could be justified. But my intent was not to win some kind of argument, but rather to lay out basic principles of spirituality as rooted in the Gospel.I ended my homily in a very simple contrast. As Luke in his subtlety puts it, while one thief turns and asks Jesus to “remember him when he comes into his kingdom,” the other thief mocks. The good thief is a model for discipleship, the groundwork of Christian life as well as the mission and identity of the Church. No thief can steal heaven! God’s grace is first offered, and then received with a fervent “Amen.”I did respond to Mr. Branch’s letter with a full explanation of the context of the homily (Hunger Awareness Week) and the attempt to relate the scriptures of the day to the present situation of terrorism (war) in our world. Last week Mr. Branch responded to my letter with a very respectful, thoughtful and challenging invitation for further dialogue and on the issues raised. I now find myself gracefully challenged to consider the insight within his remarks – and I shall do that in time. This reveals the nature of a truly Catholic and Augustinian university where reflection and communal exchanges are encouraged. Let me just say that a certain element of “peace making” has entered into the picture, and that is as it should be.Shawn Tracy, O.S.A.Campus MinistryFr. Tracy’s full response to Matthew Branch’s letter can be found at (www.campusministry.villanova.edu)

To the Editors:I am a 1980 graduate of the College of Commerce & Finance and remember with great fondness my four years at the school.  The education and experience I received during my undergrad years provided me with a strong basis on which to build my family and career.  However, based upon some of the comments I read in an article titled “Liberal Professors in the Majority” (Dec. 3 issue), I have to question the outlook and direction of the student body, as well as faculty.  I found the comments of Eric Biersmith, president of the University College Democrats, outrageous and ridiculous.  Further, if they are indicative of the beliefs in a majority of students and faculty, it’s no wonder we have such a political divide in our country.  Specifically: “College professors are far more educated and intelligent than the average person and as with other educated and intelligent people, are more likely to be liberal.”  Is this what is being taught at the school?  This statement insults millions of people, including tens-of-thousands of graduates.  I must have missed this message about becoming a liberal elitist living outside the real world.  I must be an anomaly. How could I have a Villanova degree and an MBA in finance, as well as other advanced degrees and still be an average, conservative citizen of this country?  Perhaps I need to join the faculty to receive the “correct” message.  Until recently, I never really bought the belief that our colleges were turning out a bunch of liberal elitists who had no concept of the “real” world.  However, these comments and my experience with recent college graduates gives me cause for wonder. Regards from an average, educated, intelligent conservative graduate.John DoughertyCEO, MAVAL Mfg., Inc

To the Editors:Once such a proud part of my life, I am now disheartened by my association with Villanova University in the aftermath of the controversy surrounding the memorial in honor of Mine Ener.Dr. Ener was my professor and my mentor and I will never forget the impact she had on my life. As well, I will never forget the tragic events of last year. Anyone with the compassion and love that the Catholic Church embraces is able to know that the professor who blessed Villanova with her presence is NOT the same woman who suffered so tragically last year.The dedication of the memorial for Mine Ener was a way to honor the contribution an accomplished scholar and dedicated professor made to the university. It was not associated in any way with the events of last year. This is an academic community and it was her academic accomplishments that were to be honored. Controversy and debate are essential to academic life. At Villanova, however, controversy and debate are cause for retraction. Villanova should have stood by its professor– one who made such a positive impact on its students– rather than back down at the slightest sign of struggle. In the words of M. Scott Peck, “There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.” I am sorry this decision was made and I am sorry it reflects on all of us who associate ourselves with the Villanova Community.J. Riley