Dartmouth and Wellesley
To the Editor:
Allow me to correct an erroneous statement in a letter in your August issue. The error occurred in the interesting exchange inspired by Louise Blecher Rose’s excellent article about quotas at Sarah Lawrence [“The Secret Life of Sarah Lawrence,” May]. As is so often the case, the defenses were more damning than the original criticism.
However, one of your writers attributed to John S. Dickey a remark about quotas at Dartmouth. The writer had the right college but the wrong president. It was Dickey’s predecessor—E.M. Hopkins—who made the infamous admission, which at least made him more candid than his colleagues.
What is more important is that Dickey, in fact, was one of the first Ivy League presidents to move away from the quota system. Thus in my day, Dartmouth . . . was a haven of opportunity for victims of the quota system of its more cosmopolitan rivals. It is a shame that the reformer should be blamed for the distasteful policies of . . . his predecessor.
Richard L. Gordon
State College, Pennsylvania
To the Editor:
As Wellesley College trustees and active members of the Jewish community, we were dismayed by Jerold S. Auerbach’s letter in the August issue commenting on the article on Sarah Lawrence. In his letter Mr. Auerbach, who is a professor at Wellesley, accused the college of a “persistent pattern of discriminatory admissions that still keeps the proportion of Jewish students shockingly low.” We were dismayed for many reasons, but principally because of the implication that Wellesley as an institution, in 1983, practices conscious discrimination.
Wellesley College has always sought and continues to seek a diversified student body. Wellesley is a vital community of serious students teaching and supporting one another and learning from one another, a place where education focuses on the personal and intellectual development of women. This deep-rooted tradition has been accompanied by a commitment to the continuous process of self-scrutiny, an openness to new ideas, and a readiness to change and grow as needs demand. In recent years, Wellesley has reached out even more aggressively to attract the ethnic and minority student and to insure an environment that broadens experience and knowledge while reinforcing each person’s sense of uniqueness.
Today Jewish students at Wellesley find a rabbi on the chaplaincy staff, a kosher kitchen, an active Hillel, and opportunities to celebrate major holidays on campus. At the moment this letter is being written, a succah stands prominently alongside the student center. Today, as Mr. Auerbach well knows, Wellesley College has a president who has reached out to the Jewish students on campus and to the larger Jewish community as well. To quote a recent letter from the president to the executive director of the Anti-Defamation League in Boston: “We appreciate your help in reaching more Jewish students. We hope we can make our case for Wellesley as strong as possible.”
We fail to understand the rationale behind Mr. Auerbach’s letter, and would like to express our own dedication to Wellesley College, a school we know to be committed to excellence and to excellent women of all races, colors, and religions. In our view, Wellesley today, as did Wellesley in the past, offers each of its students special strengths and special rewards.
Harriet Segal Cohn
Luella Gross Goldberg
Anne Cohen Heller
Estelle Newman Tanner
Peggy Westheimer Tishman
New York City