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UC Davis Magazine

Volume 28 · Number 1 · Fall 2010


Selfish Minority

After viewing the cover and photos and reading the “Rebels With a Cause” article in the summer [2010] issue, it saddens me to say that I found very little about that group and its behavior that made me proud to be an Aggie.

You say a group of about 300 students participated out of a student population of about 32,000. That is slightly less than 1 percent. My guess is that this group is mostly composed of that segment of society that complains about everything always. They are the self-centered “it’s-all-about-me” crowd. They really believe that their needs are more important than everyone else’s. Consummate takers! Their signs seem to me to be especially ignorant or out of place: “Education is a Right”. . . huh? “Queers Bash Back” . . . so budget cuts have some relevance to one’s sexual behavior? And “This is Our Education” . . . as if everyone else has a responsibility to pay for her to own something.

I am sorry for the rate hikes and budget cuts and wish [the situation] wasn’t so, but the bleak fact is the state of California is bankrupt. Bless the 99 percent who understand that and are willing to shoulder more of the responsibility.

Sprigg Dix Davis ’57

Myopic Vision

“Rebels without a clue” would be a more apt description.

During my time at Davis in the early ’90s, a floundering state economy tripled my tuition in just two years. Was I upset? Of course, but my student lackey job, along with limited assistance from my parents, covered my costs. I lived humbly, graduated in 1993 and moved back home while working on my M.B.A. I know pain, hardship and sacrifice. I appreciate wisdom, which comes with age and living in the real world, not the theoretical confines of a college campus or a government bureaucracy.

What I deem “clueless” is [protesters’] selfish, elitist and myopic viewpoint — selfish in assuming that a free education is a right instead of a privilege, elitist in thinking that highly educated individuals are more qualified to lead society and myopic in seeing the world only through the lens of a university.

Education has three purposes: to provide upward mobility for those who have talent and ambition; provide a skilled labor pool to promote economic activity; and establish an environment where knowledge, truth and ideas are shared. The university system has lost all three . . . The students, faculty and the administration are all to blame for fostering a system that places economic vitality and stability as the least important element of society. They universally fail to recognize that a vibrant, growing economy, tempered by fairness, moves our society forward, which in turn provides the resources necessary to help the less fortunate, protect our environment, expand infrastructure and allow future generations to flourish.

John Sheldon ’93


Before I opened the [Summer 2010 issue] I thought: “OMG! They’ve finally Berkeleyfied my Davis.” The inside content didn’t change my feeling.

I realize I attended a long time ago, when the campus was a lot smaller, the honor system was important (almost sacrosanct), and the student body was fairly apolitical. But one question comes to me — when does any serious student find time to block Interstate 80 or the train tracks? These kids seem to be spoiled offspring of my generation who want the good life, but don’t have any interest in working for it. Do they think they will change anything by simply being a nuisance? Our “best and brightest”? They obviously don’t have enough to do.

Robert Wright ’64
Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Double Major

Your article on the fee hike student protests, along with the photos of the protest signs, was excellent. The best sign was the one pictured on page 21 that said, “Not Gay as in Happy, Queer as in F. . . Y. . . ,” just beating out others like, “Queers support ethnic studies,” etc. If I had it do do over again I think I’d double major in women’s studies and queer studies.

Michael Hilber ’82
Santa Rosa

UC at Risk

Your article misses an important point. The UC system is just one of the victims of the state of California’s abdication of its responsibilities. Unless the electorate insists that taxes be raised to meet the needs of all the people of the state, the gutting of the UC system will be just one of the smaller effects of the so-called “austerity.”

Dean Cliver
professor emeritus
Department of Population Health and Reproduction
School of Veterinary Medicine

Personal Attack?

I question the decision by UC Davis Magazine to publish David Miller’s ’74 vicious personal attack on Sen.Darrell Steinberg. Miller’s comments had no redeeming value of any kind. While I believe the magazine should provide a forum for different perspectives, it should not be a platform for ugly personal attacks without any meaningful substance. Furthermore, Miller’s anti-tax furor is particularly hypocritical given that he obtained his Ph.D. at a public university supported by tax dollars. Apparently, Miller had no problem with taxes when those taxes directly benefited him.

J. Felix De La Torre, J.D. ’99

Editor’s note: Other readers objected to Mr. Miller’s letter as well. In general, we do not print letters that target individuals for criticism. But Mr. Steinberg, as an elected official, is held to a higher level of public scrutiny. In addition, Mr. Miller directed his most critical words at the magazine. Read more about our letters policy.

‘Hella’ Way Off

I don’t know if the prefix “hella” [“End Notes”, summer 2010] should be used to mean 10 to the 27th, or octillion, but I do know that 10 to the 24th is a septillion and not a quadrillion, which is 10 to the 15th and has the prefix peta. However, in the British system, a quadrillion is 10 to the 24th, and 10 to the 27th is a thousand quadrillion. I’d like to save hella for something really big, like the number of oil molecules in the gulf oil spill.

Frank Summerfield, Ph.D. ’83
St. Paul, Minn.

Fred Lorenz

Your “In Memoriam” piece [summer 2010] about Professor Emeritus Fred Lorenz failed to mention that he started his UC Davis career as a professor of poultry husbandry. In addition to the accomplishments you listed, Professor Lorenz is internationally known as a pioneer in the artificial insemination of turkeys. He was the major professor of my major professor, Frank X. Ogasawara. These two poultry scientists helped save the California turkey industry when it became impossible for the broad-breasted turkeys to mate naturally.

Francine Bradley ’76, M.S., ’78, Ph.D. ’82
Extension poultry specialist Department of Animal Science


An article in the summer 2010 issue about UC Davis alumni in the Vintners Hall of Fame misspelled the name of the late viticulture and enology professor Maynard Amerine í35.