Letters to the Editor

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Sweet Woodruff

Re the history column "Evergreen" in the Spring 2011 issue, I moved into what was then called the "Environmental Mini-Dorm" in fall 1975. The building had just been finished and the smell of fresh paint was still in the air. Some of the furniture had not arrived and students were basically given a bed and desk. Months later, the missing furniture turned up in a tractor trailer shipping container that had been sitting elsewhere on campus the whole time. After the solar greenhouse was built, I put in Kalwall tubes (from a Manchester, N.H., company), sealed on one end, and filled them with water and tilapia. The idea was to encourage algae to grow in these aquariums for the fish to eat, and for us to eat the fish. The tanks also served as heat sinks, taking in heat from the sun during the day and releasing it at night. In my junior year I served as the dorm's head resident. The mini-dorm experience was amazing--the friendships I made there and things I learned from my fellow environmentalists are still part of my life to this day.

I lived in Woodruff House from 1985-1989. It was a unique place to live, especially when one of the guys, an art major, painted a scene of a nude woman on one of his room's walls in glow-in-the-dark-paint. After he graduated, the wall wasn't painted over and a freshman moved in the next fall. We all waited until he went to bed and turned off the lights and heard his gasp. It was very funny. Another good memory was the "Woodruff Beach" that came into being each spring once the weather turned even slightly warm enough for us to be out catching rays in shorts.

Honoring Scott Milley '09

I noticed the letter from 1st Lt. Jason Moody '09 concerning the Winter 2011 "Mountain Men" story and the death of 1st Lt. Scott F. Milley '09 in Afghanistan. I am the quartermaster for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Sudbury, Mass., Milley's hometown.

After his funeral, with the approval of his family, our post applied to change our name to the Lt. Scott Milley VFW Post 8771. This was approved by the VFW national headquarters, and the name change took place on May 18, 2011, with Scott's family in attendance, including his father, Steven, mother, Janice, brother, Steven and sister, Ashley '08.

A Very Special Photo

Thank you for the wonderful article "Mountain Men" and also the great picture of the two alumni recuperating after World War II. It was very special because Malcolm Meserve '47 was my dad, who passed away many years ago after a battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Gay Students Story Reverberates

I was stunned to see the "Out Front" gay history article in the Spring 2011 issue, out of the blue, no anniversary, no agenda, just a terrific article accurately portraying a historic national milestone at UNH in such clear detail; it brought back all my memories of that period.

Given the extreme state "sanctions" at Berkeley and Kent State by 1970, one had to wonder how UNH would react to the constant ultraconservative activism by Gov. Thomson. There seemed to be a new shoe dropping every day from Concord onto the Durham campus landscape, and that was just over antiwar and environmental activity. This was something brand new, a gay organization! What was the New Hampshire government capable of doing over this? How would it all end?

In those days, if you were "different," and didn't subscribe to what was the considered "campus normal" culture, you could be subject to harassment, bigotry, vandalism, date rape, etc.; or at the very least, ostracism by your peers. In other words, if you were gay, your campus anxiety level was palpable.

Those of us in the minority admired Wayne April '74 for his candor and above all his courage, for much more was at stake than the reader might have assumed from the article. Although the Vietnam War was winding down, draft deferments were still in place. A grade point average of at least a B kept an overseas stint at bay. However, mandatory expulsion (if the court had ruled against the Gay Students Organization) would have meant immediate conscription. Already avowed homosexuals, the men would have automatically been classified Section 8 and discharged as mentally defective, marked for life as unsuitable for employment. For April and the others it was a huge risk; the consequences enormous. Clearly kudos go to all those who led that historic charge for equality! One hopes and/or believes we are a better, diverse society because of them.

The harassment I endured those last years at UNH caused me to abandon the possibility of graduate school and boycott graduation. I am now a specialist in the department of molecular biology at Princeton. Psychic scars last long, and like Ann Philbin '76 in the article, I also stayed angry at UNH—until Jane Harrigan's article. If anything then, you may consider this response to ancient history as my homecoming. May all those from UNH inevitably find their way home.

Thank you for telling the "Out Front" story. As a gay man, it was amazing to read how courageous these people were. As an alum, it made me even prouder to be a grad of UNH!

I was amazed at the gay rights organization that went on shortly after my graduation. It was a difficult time with Loeb and Thomson on many issues, but the depth of arrogance these two displayed in the article was beyond what we encountered for normal events and funding for UNH.

I've never seen any articles about gay life at UNH, and "Out Front" was the first. As a gay alumnae (who didn't come out until eight years after graduation, but had a very positive experience while on campus with gay mentors and role models—both students and staff), I was excited to hear about the rich gay history that exists at UNH, and how the Gay Students Organization helped pave the way to a gay culture at UNH during this period. I feel proud to know that this civil rights movement is now part of the history books, including those studied in law schools! It was a captivating article, and I really enjoyed reading about where those students are today. Thanks for bringing this important issue to the attention of your readers.

I'd enjoy seeing more "diversity" in upcoming magazines. The article about the African-American professor was right in line with that diversity piece I've always been looking for, but never found. UNH was always known as such a homogenous school: all white, all middle class, all Christian, all heterosexual. So any articles, pictures or stories that you can share that break that mold will really help show that diversity does exist at UNH and will help those outside the "majority" feel included even more.

Another great issue! I really liked the article about the Gay Students Organization. It made me proud—and crave pancakes!

Thank you for telling the story of an amazing group of students who bravely fought to be treated equally on our campus and beyond. The article made me very proud of my alma mater. My only comment is that it would be great to do a follow-up article on how the gay community is currently involved on campus. When I was at UNH, I proudly participated in the UNH Safe Zones program as an educator and ally. Maybe another story could focus on the current leaders of the Safe Zones program and/or other programs that encourage equal rights for all students.

Editor's note: A longer version of Jane Harrigan's story appeared online, due to lack of space in the print edition. It gives details about the "vastly changed climate for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in the state and on campus." Visit http://unhmagazine.unh.edu/sp11 to read it.

A Tour for Goffstown High

In the 1952 photo in the Spring 2011 issue advertising "Free Guided Bus Tours" of the UNH campus are students from Goffstown High School. I am standing outside the bus, the second student from the right, with blonde hair and wearing a black sweater and white sneakers. Directly behind me is Sylvia Jennings, later the wife of Frederick Jennings '54 of AGR fraternity.

Correction: In the photo on Page 10 of the Spring 2011 issue, the female student aboard the sailboat was Rebecca Rothman '13, not Brittany Healy '11.

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