Published: June 1, 2012 By

climate crusaderClimate crusade I read your article on Chris Davenport (Hist’93), who likes to ski the globe to fight climate change, with interest [March Coloradan, “Climate crusade” pages 6-9]. I agree that climate change is a very real and serious threat. However, your story does a good job — albeit unspoken, and I think, unintended — of highlighting the ways human activity can contribute to climate change through excessive consumption of fossil fuel and concomitant production of pollutants.

Although I have no quantitative data, the carbon footprint of the ski industry, which mainly serves the pleasure of the upper economic tiers of society, cannot be modest. Chairlifts, snowmaking, and in particular, transportation to and from ski areas — to quote your article, to “expeditions everywhere from Portillo, Chile, to Chamonix, France” — all reflect a level of energy consumption that should not be ignored even when not preaching about climate change.

As a kid who grew up in Boulder, I understand how much fun skiing can be. But honestly, as pastimes go, the ski industry is no more of a bystander to global warming than is NASCAR.

Doug Barrick (MCDBio’86), Biophysics professor, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.

Funding and education

I just received the latest issue of the Coloradan and, as usual, there were many things of interest to read. Yesterday, while I was online, I read a provocative article in National Review by Vance H. Fried and Reihan Salam titled “The College Cartel.” It might be of interest to you, as well, in light of today’s skyrocketing tuition costs and for a viewpoint outside of the academic fishbowl. I graduated in 1971 without any debt, thanks to the G.I. Bill and working as an R.A. in Williams Village.

The pie chart on page 14 [March Coloradan] is interesting, but keep in mind that the entire $359 million first comes out of the pockets of the strapped taxpayer before it is allocated to various federal departments and then showered on CU like manna from heaven.

Richard Peterson (Anth’71)
Crook, Colo.

CU President Bruce Benson’s (Geol’64, HonDocSci’04) defense of the administrative raises [in the Boulder Camera] coming in the wake of tuition increases reveals again that while his dedication to the university is real, one has to question his commitment to students and faculty — essentially those on the bottom of the food chain — and to the people of Colorado.

At the heart of the problem of education funding is we seem to be losing the concept of education being a societal as much as an individual value. Public education has been under attack for political gain here for decades to the point that support for public funding seems less each election cycle. For Benson’s administration and the Regents not to enthusiastically support Rollie Heath’s Prop 103 and then propose a 15 percent instate tuition increase shows that their vision of CU being an “elite” university is one dependent upon corporate and private endowment and high tuition rates largely exclusive of the hoi polloi of Colorado. This is a highly questionable vision.

Robert Porath (A&S’69)

[Office of the President responds: President Benson agrees with Mr. Porath that higher education benefits the individual and society. He disagrees that CU aims to be “elite” in its dependence on corporations and high tuition. The 15 percent tuition increase Mr. Porath cites changed several times after its initial introduction in January. In April, the regents approved a 5 percent increase. Colorado ranks 48th nationally in state funding per resident student.

Two decades ago, the state paid two-thirds of the cost of public higher education. Today the state pays one-third. Colorado needs to change that equation and invest in public higher education. The university did not take a position on Proposition 103 because the elected Board of Regents had divided views on the legislation.]

Why lacrosse?

Athletic director Mike Bohn continues to insist [December 2011 Coloradan, page 49] that alumni are eager to add women’s lacrosse as the next sport, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Scores of alumni may have played lacrosse, and a few hundred may have even seen a match, but untold thousands have played or watched softball.

Bohn is pushing lacrosse because it’s cheap whereas softball will cost a lot more but pay much greater dividends in terms of alumni support. Given that the biggest high school softball tournament in the country is played within a few miles of campus, it would make recruiting a snap, not to mention that softball-rich California would be a rich recruiting field that would almost immediately make a CU softball team competitive.

Tom Schantz (Hist’66)
Lyons, Colo.

Football follies

Paul Danish’s (Hist’65) article “Head-banging at old CU” [March Coloradan, page 15] once again reminded me of the incredible event I witnessed “up close and personal” more than 50 years ago.

I was a member of the CU baseball team at the time, and on that particular day we were working out inside the Balch Fieldhouse. I don’t recall any previous announcement concerning the event, but when we realized what was about to take place, most of us wandered over to witness it at close range.

joe romig

Quarterback Gale Weidner (Hist’62, MA’64), left, hands off as Joe Romig (Phys’63, PhDAstro’75) prepares to lead a right-end sweep in CU’s 7-0 win against Nebraska in 1962.

I was astonished at the time — and remain so today — that the coaches would risk serious injury to the two athletes.Joe Romig (Phys’63, PhDAstro’75), a two-time All-American, was certainly one of the best players on the team, if not the best, and Larry Cundall (A&S’62) was a very good player as well. The following year they would help CU to the conference championship and an Orange Bowl berth.

A couple of years ago former players, Chuck McBride (PE’63) and Milt Rogers (PolSci’61), stopped by at our Sedona, Ariz., home for a visit and the head-banging incident came up early in our CU story swapping that day. We all agreed it made no sense, and had Romig’s career ended that day, Coach Sonny Grandelius’ career would have ended right there with it.

Lynn I. Terry (Jour’62)
Sedona, Ariz.

Go, Coloradan

Just a quick note to genuinely express gratitude for the Coloradan.

In a world of junk mail and nonsense newsletters, I’m always floored at the relevance the magazine never fails to provide. The frequency of mailings is exactly appropriate, and the content truly and consistently interest-piquing.

Keep up the good work, and thanks.

Jeremy Gruber (Film’05)

I was so impressed with the March issue of the Coloradan that I am sending it to the governing board of Colorado State University. I wish to personally congratulate you on the layout and the articles that are so informative. In my letter to the governing board, I say CSU is based on the land-grant concept, and it looks like CU has taken that over.

I taught psychology [at CSU] for 27 years, but I graduated from CU-Boulder with a doctorate in education. My favorite professor was Clifford Houston (Edu’27, MEdu’28, PhD’33), one of the finest gentlemen I have ever met. He was highly regarded by all who knew him.

C. Dean Miller (EdD’63)
Fort Collins, Colo.

Just a note to say how much I enjoy your magazine. The article about cancer research [March Coloradan, “Flying in the face of cancer,” pages 36-39] was really exceptional.

Here’s a thank you for terrific work. Always a joy to read Clay Evans, too [“Reaping the wind” pages 46-47]!

Ginger Perry (DistSt’73, MEngl’80)