Letters to the Editor

Third Degree

"Catch Me If You Can? They Could and They Did" in the Winter 2005 issue of UNH Magazine reminded me of my own small exposure to the aftermath of the Marvin Hewitt masquerade. Fifty-one years ago, I had just returned from a Fulbright year in France where I completed my dissertation in Russian history and was on my way back to the University of Michigan. In the days of rampant McCarthyism, jobs in Russian history were scarce, so I seized eagerly upon an invitation to interview for a position at UNH.

My meetings with future colleagues and administrators went well until I entered the office of the associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts. He showed no interest in my work or my teaching plans and only interrogated me about the entrances and exits of the football stadium of the University of Michigan. Fortunately, in those days I was a Wolverine fan and was able to answer these foolish questions. I left the meeting wholly perplexed and wondered about the nature of the institution to which I had applied.

That night, I boarded a Pullman car in Worcester to return to Michigan by train. My then future in-laws, who lived in Worcester, supplied me with a stack of Life magazines of the previous few weeks. One of the issues featured a fascinating article about an impostor physics professor who taught at a number of schools. Not until UNH was mentioned as the last of his conquests did I suddenly awaken to the fact that my interrogation about the Michigan stadium was, in fact, a rather crude attempt to ascertain my legitimacy right after the Marvin Hewitt fiasco. I received an offer, happily accepted, and am still here, if only now as emeritus.

Take That, Time

The magazine is absolutely wonderful. The profiles of faculty and staff, the book reviews and the general articles all serve to make it a magazine of great interest and a reminder of the issues UNH continually faces. The article on Doug Bencks and the Master Plan provided excellent insight into future plans for UNH and also serves to inform townspeople of the impact it may have on the town. If you had sent me 100 extra copies, I could easily get $5.95 per issue on the street corner—that's what Time gets for a similar magazine! Keep up the great work.

I'm a speech/language pathologist working in a public middle school, and among my many other duties, I help students with language and communication issues to improve their writing. I thought the article on Donald Graves was fabulous and very useful! As an alumna and a parent of an 11th-grader interested in attending UNH when she graduates from high school, I loved your article on long-range campus planning. And Richard Lederer's "Confessions of a Verbivore" was a delightful addition. I don't have a lot of time to read many magazines cover to cover, but I did want to thank you all for creating one that was worth reading. I look forward to future issues.


Regarding the story about Pettee Medal winner Dean Kamen (Winter 2005), I have to say the iBOT is an incredible machine; what freedom, what mobility! Except that you can't buy one, no matter how much money you have. With enough money you could buy a Hummer and drive, legally, at 75 miles per hour down the highway from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, N.M. You can buy the Segway, an incredibly complex piece of machinery and electronics, on the Internet and they will even allow monthly payments, but you can't buy the iBOT.

You cannot buy an iBOT because our government, in all its paternalistic wisdom, has determined that disabled people do not have the intelligence or wisdom to make reasonable decisions. Buying an iBOT requires a prescription, not from your local physician, but from a physician in one of only five clinics in the United States. A disabled person can buy a Segway or a Hummer without a prescription but not an iBOT.

"Hey, you might hurt someone! That iBOT is a complicated piece of machinery!" So is the Segway, but you can buy it on Amazon.com. I would like to see the iBOT on Amazon.com. Wouldn't that be great?

Every day people in wheelchairs are spoken to in the same condescending tone of voice that people usually reserve for children. Did you know that "standing people" never look "wheelchair people" in the face? Dean Kamen has invented a fabulous piece of equipment that is more than a mobility system. It is wonderful—it can provide freedom and dignity to people with disabilities. Now if only they will be allowed to purchase the iBOT without being humiliated in the process.