Your Turn

Readers write, react, and respond. (March/April 2024)

Peace of Mind
I appreciate very much “Everyday Zen” by Pháp Lưu ’97 [January/February]. At Dartmouth I became a vegetarian and learned Transcendental Meditation from my friend George Hammond ’75. There are more than 450 peer-reviewed studies supporting TM. My friend, the Harvard-trained quantum physicist John Hagelin ’76, promotes TM as a technology of the unified field. A pilot study of physicians in the emergency medicine department at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center—one of the busiest hospitals in the U.S. in the fight against Covid-19—found significant reductions in burnout, insomnia, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress over a three-month period in those practicing TM. 

Lihue, Hawaii


Brave Spaces?
For the most part I have been pleased with Dartmouth’s handling of the divided discourse instigated by the Israeli-Hamas war. But having served as executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts for 32 years and having been involved in a myriad of First Amendment issues both on and off university campuses, I was disappointed to read about the arrest of two students for what I would argue is protected speech [“Students Arrested,” January/February]. President Beilock wrote in defense of her calling the police that “the students threatened to escalate and take further action, including physical action, if their demands are not met.”

As reported, that is protected speech. The students can claim what they want, but unless the “threats” are enacted in immediate response to their words, and with no report of disruption, the students are constitutionally protected. My hope is that Dartmouth will proceed more cautiously at a time when many universities are overreacting to free speech activities by imposing a cloud of censorship.

Cambridge, Massachusetts


It was heartwarming to see the photo and interview of head cheerleading coach Erin Geno [“Look Who’s Talking,” November/December]. As part of the first group of six women Dartmouth cheerleaders in 1969-70, I enjoyed meeting the 2023 squad at Homecoming. There are now six men and 24 women (six women and 10 men in 1969). Their uniform is jogging suits with plastic raincoats. Ours was a short white skirt, Dartmouth letter sweater, and saddle oxfords. In spite of the weather, we couldn’t wear tights. 

For historical perspective, a 1969 Boston Globe article titled “Chicks Cheer for Indians” by Bud Collins began by noting that the “revered tradition” of the Indian was dead, and “another tradition has begun.…Cheerleading chickies, a grand American invention, have at last found their way into the wilderness at Hanover….Although the girls are replacing the Indian, unfortunately they will not appear topless as he did. ‘That will come in time, probably the way things are going,’ said a Dartmouth faculty man.”

I am thrilled that women cheerleaders have now earned their proper respect! 

Highlands Ranch, Colorado 


Il Professore
Just the other day I was contemplating the effect professor John Rassias had on my life nearly 50 years ago. Then to my delighted surprise, I opened the latest DAM to see the paean on the breadth of Rassias’ influence on all those he touched, written by my classmate Joe Gleason ’77 [“Dynamo,” January/February]. As a staunch premed who figured she’d be doing science for the rest of her career, I embraced the liberal arts and majored in French. Somewhere during my years in academic surgery, I realized that every lecture I gave, every small-group seminar I led, and every elementary school class where I taught anatomy (now one of my favorite activities in retirement) is a tribute to the legacy of this man’s teaching style—although I do stay away from the real blood and guts

he occasionally used, knowing that would scare the kids and generate parental bombardment on the schools’ telephone systems.



Hurrah for Robert Reich ’68 [“Continuing Ed,” January/February] and his warning that our top-heavy political/economic system has created a 40-year surge in social inequality. We should recall the similar warning of Adam Smith that when special interests disturb a free market, government must act to redress the damage. Have we forgotten that one of the primary goals of our Constitution is to promote the general welfare?

Foster, Rhode Island


Reich’s support for universal basic income is data-driven because that’s what public policy does. But is it objective or moral? Once information supplants logic and value, catastrophe follows—because fiduciary principles spawn social data, but never vice-versa. America’s social contract has been “Get paid for being useful.” The proposed replacement is “Get paid for being useless.” In other words, “Don’t produce, just consume.” We have no social glue other than our face-to-face material interdependence. Remove that and things might fall apart. Any policy that undermines reciprocity incurs unforeseen consequences. Reich’s “randomized experiments” might become Jurassic Parks. 

Lake Forest Park, Washington


Reich has been a long-standing supporter of integrity in government. Although not everyone agrees with his policy solutions, I have never found his statements to be anything but truthful and rational. He is clear in calling out the lies of those whose only interest is the wealthy top 10 percent. Thank you, Robert Reich, for your thoughtful and honest contributions to the debate on the kind of country we want. 

Tucson, Arizona


Serious Aim
Lovely to hear about a club sport [“The Art of Archery,” January/February]. Rowing started out that way (1833 to 1966-ish before becoming an official sport of the College). Well done. But just checking: Are we to assume archers do not smile?

Conway, Massachusetts


In Remembrance
Memorial Field should be renamed Buddy Teevens Field. No explanation necessary.

Durango, Colorado


Alumni Books
New titles from Dartmouth writers (November/December 2023)
Fresh Takes
Blogger Ray Padgett ’09 covers the covers.
The Secret Life of the Brain

Michael Gazzaniga ’61 divulges the inner workings of the human mind. 

Gail Koziara Boudreaux ’82
A CEO on the state of the nation’s healthcare

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