Santa Clara University

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Letters


SCM Spring 2007
SCM Spring 2007 issue
Mission: Sustainable

I edit Genesis V, the alumni magazine at St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco. I just got your last issue and wanted to tell you what a great job you're doing. I thought the theme was phenomenal. I teach English here at SI as well, including a class called Nature Nexus, a combination of nature poetry and ecology and spirituality. The [Summer 2007 SCM] was just a phenomenal issue: layout, stories, content—everything. I'm pleased that you're doing such a great job…and that my daughter will be a freshman there this fall.

Paul Totah
Pacifica


We are very pleased to see the recognition given the bamboo I-beams project in "Carry that weight" in the last issue. I'd like to expand on the significance of the original, foundational work done by Mark Folgner '05 in his senior design project. This work developed the idea of bamboo I-beams as a sustainable structural building material and laid the ground work for the use of bamboo I-beams in the Solar Decathlon house. Mark is now putting his engineering skills, honed at SCU, to work as a project manager for Devcon Construction.

Mark Aschheim
Associate Professor
Department of Civil Engineering



Historic hoops

On Page 8 of the [Summer 2007 SCM] issue, in the article on "A century of Bronco basketball," there is a picture of the 1911-12 Santa Clara basketball team. My grandfather is the very last one on the right! I was very surprised to see him there; I knew that he attended Santa Clara and that he played in many, many sports, but I'd never seen that picture. I appreciate you publishing this postcard from the past.

Amelia Holland M.A. '81
Hollister


I really enjoyed "A century of Bronco basketball." However, I was disappointed that my dad, Judge "Big Ed" Nelson, was not mentioned as one of the Magicians of the Maplewood. He was, before he passed away, inducted into the Hall of Fame at Santa Clara.

He was offered a career in both basketball and baseball while playing at Santa Clara, but with the war breaking out, he ended up serving in the Army, secret service division, and did not pursue either career professionally. Instead, he entered the law school, becoming a judge for 35 years, here in San Jose.

He was 6 feet, 7 inches tall and for that time, the 1930s, he was considered a large man—hence his nickname. He continued his interest in SCU and the Bronco Bench Foundation until his passing.

My son Christopher Addison '02 and my niece, Nicole Resz '03 both graduated from SCU; and my son David Addison will be coming in as a transfer student this fall.

Melodie Nelson and Family
Saratoga



Mental disorders in the new millennium

Thank you for publishing Thomas Plante's article on mental disorders and mental illness [Spring 2007 SCM]. Having worked with people with mental illness for over 20 years, I grew to understand the burden they, their family members, and our communities carry. These people have souls and hearts similar to those without mental illness. It is sad that we do not always treat them as such. To Plante's "Seven Principles of Prevention," I would add two more: creating healthy and loving communities; and advocacy for mental-health insurance coverage.

A caring and loving community of friends and family can lessen the impact of a mental illness for the sufferer and family members alike. Full mental-health insurance coverage, on a par with physical health coverage, allows people suffering from mental illness to access treatment and alleviate the illness before it increases to a point of hospitalization, self-destruction, or harming others.

Again, thank you for your article on this important issue.

Jeanne C. Labozetta '72, M.A. '76, MBA '93
San Jose


Your magazine was in the gym where I am a member and I picked it up—because I was surprised to see your cover article on mental health [in the Spring issue], especially because you are a Catholic university. I am not affiliated with your school but am a practicing Catholic with a child in a Catholic elementary school and one in Catholic high school. As we all know, we can never have perfection in any school environment. But one way Catholic schools can address the depression and anxiety many of their students face is to educate their administrators and instructors on differences. You might want to state this as your eighth principle of prevention.

Medical research continues to prove that all brains are wired differently and children learn through different methods. Unfortunately, Catholic schools in the past and the vast majority now continue to use the one size fits all theory. This lack of progressiveness has been detrimental to many students trying to succeed in a Catholic environment. The thought process has been: If you do not learn in the box, then use the public school system. Imagine how it makes a student feel to leave their secure environment when they already feel as though they are different from others. Depression and anxiety are typically genetically predisposed, but there are always triggers that make this illness difficult to overcome.

I applaud your school for addressing such a common but unaccepted medical issue. I hope in time your school will partner with Catholic high schools in the Bay Area and teach them to be accepting and understanding to students who learn differently. Santa Clara's forthcoming and embracing attitude is the Catholic way and should be the only way. God bless your school.

Leslie Chahin
Alamo


Reading the article "Are people getting crazier?" [in the Spring 2007 issue], I was astonished by the description of how a disorder makes it into The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: "Various committees of psychiatrists along with a small number of other mental health professionals discuss and vote on the diagnostic criteria." Thomas Plante writes of the process as if there is nothing unusual about this, even stating "the manual is not really informed by empirically based science."

If I feel my mental health needs to be addressed, is the fact that there is no empirically based science behind the label a psychiatrist will undoubtedly give me supposed to appeal to my common sense? It certainly doesn't appeal to mine.

Amy Sullivan
Sunnyvale


I wish Thomas G. Plante had written "Are people getting crazier?" years ago. It is an excellent, thought-provoking and compassionate article.

Name withheld upon Request



A teachable moment

As an SCU MBA graduate and a Mexican immigrant, I was appalled and saddened by the SCU students' behavior and portrayal of Latino immigrant people and culture at their Mexican-American party in January this year. It only proved one thing…ignorance, detachment, and insensitivity to the social issues and people around them.

On the other hand, I was very happy with the discontent that this event provoked within the rest of the SCU and Latin community. Events like these are great opportunities to confront and educate. I want to congratulate President Paul Locatelli, S.J., for the way he addressed SCU's community with this issue.

Guadalupe Inzunza MBA '01
Los Gatos



For the voiceless, but not for Pelosi

Dismayed and disappointed only go so far in explaining how I felt when I read the phrase "voice of the voiceless" describing the new speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi [Mission Matters, Spring 2007 SCM]. How is it that a university that is built on Catholic ethical values can publicly show admiration for a woman who refuses to be a voice for the most helpless of the voiceless, the unborn millions of aborted infants? Surely not all of the SCU community can fail to see the contradiction between Pelosi's actions and the Christian values that cherish life in all its forms.

Linda Mayer Meeder '68
Los Altos

Father Stephen Privett's and SCU's effort to create banners with images of suffering children for Rep. Nancy Pelosi's swearing in ceremony stunned me. Pelosi is a Roman Catholic who has repeatedly voted to uphold partial-birth abortion, who has voted against parental notification when minor children seek abortion, and who has shown no concern for the rights of the innocent unborn. Yet SCU [faculty member Jerald Enos] lauds her as "the new voice of the voiceless"? These banners were propaganda for a leader who cares more about indulging the desires of our increasingly amoral society than the innocent unborn, and Privett's support for such a leader is profoundly disturbing.

John Sobraske '81
Clarence, NY



Reconstructing Jesus' Death

I would like to make two corrections about inacuracies in [Cynthia Baker's] article ["Reconstructing Jesus' Death: A Historical Perspective," in the online edition of the Fall 2005 SCM]. The first is that the district or subprovincial prefect known as a procurator of Judea in the province of Syria did not have the power to appoint the Jewish high priests or depose them. The governor of the province did, as a close reading of Josephus' histories will reveal. Thus Pilate's authority was basically equal to Caiaphas' excrpt that it encompassed the political sphere of life. And Josephus did not compose his histories in the Roman archive or tabularium situated on the Capitoline Hill in Rome - but naturally he did have recourse to it if necessary. Despite that, he only mentions two Roman documents pertaining to Jewish history (though he quotes others generically) and they are the two commentaries of the Jewish rebellion by the generals Vespasian and Titus, which no longer exist. These are his supporting testimony he claims for the culminating events of his accounts.

Richard Demuth
Lone Tree, Colo.

Cynthia Baker responds:

I appreciate Mr. Demuth’s careful reading of my article and of the ancient sources to which it refers. Regarding where Josephus sat as he wrote his narratives: Of course neither Mr. Demuth nor I could know his undisclosed location. My formulation “from the archives” was not meant to imply a precise location on the Capitoline Hill, but merely, as Mr. Demuth concurs, to indicate Josephus’s access to Roman records housed there. Mr. Demuth’s more substantive claim of equivalence between the level of authority wielded by Caiaphas and Pilate provides a fine example of the range of claims different readers might make on the basis of the same ancient evidence. The question of whether a particular governor of Syria took a personal interest in particular local politics or merely “rubber-stamped” the choices approved by his local representative in a given region is one upon which readers of the sources can reasonably disagree. The same might be said regarding the likelihood that a Roman governor would recognize the authority of his local Roman representative as merely equivalent to that of the ranking priestly representative of a subject, native populace. Given the great weight of evidence regarding the tenor of Roman rule in Judaea, my money is still on the Roman’s authority trumping that of the native. In any case, if Mr. Demuth’s comments send any readers back to revisit that informative collection of online articles from Fall 2005 (as they did me), then I am delighted to provide the occasion.

Cynthia M. Baker
Associate Professor of Religious Studies at SCU

 
 
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