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Winter 2012 Letters

Cover of Barnard Magazine Fall 2011Merci, Monsieur

I was pleased to read the article on Professor Gavronsky in the Fall 2011 issue of Barnard. It was exciting to read about his accomplishments and dedication to the Barnard community throughout the years. I do remember him fondly from a course that I was privileged to attend. His illustrious career and multifaceted talents make all of us proud.

Congratulations, Professor Gavronsky, on your retirement. All of us wish you the very best and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
—Yolanda Irizarry ’73
San Juan, PR

Giving Due

It is wonderful that the Barnard Center for Research on Women is still going strong after 40 years [“The Next Forty Years,” Fall 2011]. The conference this September made very clear that the Women’s Center (which is what we called it when it was founded in 1971) continues to promote feminist scholarship and activism.

We were saddened, then, to find no mention or photograph of Jane S. Gould in the article about the Center’s 40th anniversary. Jane, the first permanent director of the Women’s Center, was appointed in 1972 and served in that capacity until 1983. It was largely her vision that shaped the unique role and identity of the Women’s Center at Barnard.

As just one example, Jane organized and nurtured the first 10 celebrated Scholar & Feminist Conferences, where academics and activists could meet and exchange ideas on the center’s common ground.

Although Jane died in 2009, she inspired us to celebrate her legacy and spirit at the 40th anniversary conference.
—Janet Axelrod ’73
Cambridge, Mass.
—Fanette Pollack ’74
Brooklyn, NY

Editors’ Note: No slight was intended to the late Jane Gould, who did so much to shape what has become known as the Barnard Center for Research on Women. In historian and professor Rosalind Rosenberg’s 2004 book, Changing the Subject, she writes about the women of Columbia University and how they developed and fought for the ideas of modern feminism. She devotes many pages to a highly readable and vivid account of the founding and subsequent growth of the center and the women who contributed to it. Fittingly, the Columbia University Press is the book’s publisher.

A Second Opinion

The fall issue’s celebratory and self-congratulatory tone about the Barnard community’s engagement in feminist issues seems to me to be quite unmerited. Shouldn’t women at Barnard be pushing beyond the familiar clichés? What exactly is meant for example by “gender equality”? When the majority of students in college, law and medical schools are women, does it matter that the staff of the New Yorker is all male? If the percentage of women in politics remains steady at 17 or 18 percent is “sexism” an explanation or a way of avoiding an explanation?

It is shameful to be congratulating yourselves about unionizing domestic workers or protesting tuition increases when no mention is made of the need to free the hundreds of women who are the slave-prostitutes of human traffickers....
—Carol Crystle ’62
Chicago, Ill.

Questions and Answers

Regarding the Fall 2011 President’s Page, I also get those same two questions (“What is the relationship between Barnard and Columbia?” and “Why does anyone still needa women’s college?”). I have pulled out the pages and can now send them to anyone who asks. Barnard was enormously helpful in recognizing my special gifts and talents, taking me seriously, and nurturing me in a non-competitive-with-males environment. I am now a leader, teacher, performing artist, minister, wife, great-grandmother, and entrepreneur thanks to the unique four years at Barnard. Vive la différence!
—Seana Anderson ’69
Brooklyn, NY
Executive Director
American Trust for the British Library

Commentary

I recently attended an “event” that took place at the “Event Oval” in The Diana Center.

The Diana Center was constructed on the site of the McIntosh Center. I was shocked that President McIntosh’s name was not preserved for the new building.

A “terrace” was given the name of President McIntosh. I saw no sign locating that “terrace.” In the least, the no-named Event Oval—the auditorium—should be named for President MacIntosh. That is the least tribute that the Barnard College of today may do to honor her name.
—Vivian R. Gruder ’57
New York, NY

Editors’ Note: The Summer 2011 issue features a photo of the McIntosh family on campus celebrating the dedication of the terrace at Reunion 2011.

CORRECTIONS

We misspelled the name of Larissa McDonogh-Wong ’15 on page 28 of the Fall 2011 issue. We also incorrectly identified Sharon Fingerer-Goldman ’93 on page 30. We regret the errors.