Public Roles Jon Marcus’s article about the state of Massachusetts’s public college and university system (“Second-Class,” October 31) highlights important contentions about which the state’s citizens should be well aware. Colleges and universities are fundamental to the intellectual foundation of an informed citizenry, to the creation of knowledgeable employees in all workplaces, and to insightful leadership demanded by the cultural, social, and economic challenges that confront us as a society. However, to accomplish those things, institutions need the autonomy and freedom essential to shape unique missions, convictions, and aspirations. This means a healthy degree of competition between and among them will be a reality.
Stephen J. Nelson, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership, Bridgewater State University / Bridgewater
I have taught as an adjunct professor for 15 years at Salem State University. My husband is dean of the Schools of Human Services there. Public higher-education students take longer to graduate for both individual and institutional reasons. What I see in my classroom is a diverse, hard-working group of students who are not asking for handouts but a chance to advance further than their families. They come to school with dreams, many of which they must put on hold at times while they navigate the financial minefield of paying for college. We are becoming a two-tiered public/private system in which only the wealthy will be able to afford four years at a residential college while others eke out the payment for one course at a time at a public institution. Yet we hold each group to the same standard of “four-year graduation rates.” What sense does that make?
Mary Hobbins DeChillo / Swampscott
This was an absolutely terrific article. It presented an issue that is critical to the future welfare of Massachusetts and its citizens. Moreover, it was presented with more depth than one usually sees in either Web or newspaper “news of the day” items. Quite frankly, it made me want to contact Richard Freeland and get a job working with him to reach these goals. I certainly hope he is as successful with this objective as he has been with the other challenges he took on.
Joan F. Dromey / Kingston
Thanks for Staying I understand Kim McLarin’s misgivings about her own migration North (Perspective, October 31), but I’m glad she did settle in the Boston area. I have enjoyed her appearances on Basic Black for years. As a community college professor, I have used some of the issues presented in the show as a catalyst for discussions in my English classes. So thanks to McLarin for remaining in Boston. I’ll bet her students feel the same way.
Marilyn S. Black / Bedford
Tough Love I loved Jaime Budzienski’s column about feelings of contempt between spouses (Coupling, October 31). My husband never reads that page, but when I walked downstairs Sunday morning, he handed me the essay and we had a good discussion about little annoyances. My father also used to say “Familiarity brings contempt,” but the one he taught me was “Where love is thin, faults are thick.” This is so true, and I’ve repeated it many, many times.
Carol Tassel / Sharon
Bad habits should be addressed by a couple either in person or in writing. To ridicule each other in front of another couple is detrimental and destructive to the relationship.
Ellen Gallagher / Milton
Sox, Bring It On In her October 31 letter to the editor, Sherry M. Lewis-da Ponte complains of too many
Bill McDade / Burlington
I, too, am a proud Boston Globe reader. One of my favorite things in the Sunday Globe is Tales From the City. I’ve submitted a couple of Red Sox stories myself (none have been printed yet, but that’s OK). My point is that it’s fun sharing Red Sox games and memories with my kids and grandchildren. Heavens knows, life is stressful enough these days, and anything we can do to have some fun together is important. Maybe the New Yorkers need to get a life!
Sue Fleming / Saugus
Cause for Concern I almost passed out from shock when I read Nancy I. Gould’s October 31 letter decrying Concordians’ efforts to end the use of disposable water bottles. She apparently has decided the fight against dietary-induced diabetes is the one true cause and other people who choose to address what they believe to be important issues are wasting their time. There are so many things wrong in this world that anyone selfless enough to try to do what’s right for their neighbors, their towns, and their world has my gratitude. And this includes Gould working with patients in Dorchester, as well as the folks in Concord who understand that every plastic bottle of water bought for convenience’s sake, when great water is available in their kitchens, is one more small vote for poisoning our planet.
Barbara G. Lewis / Carlisle
Retire the Stigma You seem to choose your letters to the editor carefully, so that varying opinions are represented. However, I was disappointed that you published a letter in the October 24 issue from Elaine Gottlieb, who wrote that Germany is “known for one of the most charismatic politicians in Western civilization – Adolf Hitler,” in her response to Justus Bender’s October 3 Perspective column. While she’s not wrong, I find it offensive and unnecessary to continue to associate Germany and its people with Hitler. I don’t mean to minimize the horrific acts of this man. We must never forget the past, but let’s not allow our minds to automatically associate Germans and Germany with its past identity when the country has since made so much progress.
Serena Steele / Boston