Calvin’s influence appreciated
Jan Friend ’59 BD ’62
Say ‘no’ to ivy
Diane Sundling Kolak ’95
Kudos to recycling founder
Harvey J. Bratt ’50
No global warming
I would request that you inquire what real observable evidence this professor could present as to the truth of this belief—and belief is what it is. It is not science. It is a new social dogma, dangerously close to a religion. The fact of the matter is that the globe has been cooling for the last decade, and will most likely cool for the next 30 years.
The warming cycle our Earth just concluded was a natural one, like all the warming and cooling periods we have had in history. The idea that man caused or even could cause a change in climate is not only wrong, it is the most dangerous idea I have seen in my lifetime. The economic misery of trying to cure a non-problem will cause untold deaths around the world. I can’t believe that Calvin would support a professor who did not realize that General Circulation model projections are the only “proof” anyone has ever had of AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming), and not a shred of real empirical evidence has ever been presented.
Douglas Danhoff ’68
Steps toward sustainability
As sustainability becomes more woven into the fabric of who Calvin College is, I would suggest that Calvin take two more important steps forward. The first would be to hire a full-time sustainability coordinator. This position is crucial in assuring that all the initiatives on campus are well-coordinated and meet some measurable sustainability standards, much like the LEED certification process. My second suggestion would be to require sustainable development be part of the academic curriculum. This may entail making it a general education requirement much like science, math and English are required of all students. An optional strategy might be to encourage all academic departments to directly address sustainability in some shape or form. We have taken these two steps at the campus where I teach (College of Menominee Nation), and it has elevated environmental sustainability to a whole new level as a decision-making tool. I encourage Calvin to keep up the good work, and I will certainly join the alumni discussion Listserv on sustainability that was started.
William Van Lopik ’75
Celebrate our heritage
First, I would guess that most of us are not privy to the amount of discussion, prayer, heartache and compassionate dialogue that undoubtedly occurred before this decision was made. I believe those entrusted to lead our college have the best intentions and the best interests of our college at heart.
Second, perhaps Dr. Isom’s exception request, however well intentioned and legitimate, if approved would only have prompted dozens more requests, all with equally convincing and worthy causes for the college to consider. Perhaps changing Calvin’s position on this topic would lead to a questioning of other college policies that generate personal inconvenience for some. Perhaps it was something different altogether. Sometimes we need to put personal feelings aside and stand firm on policies in an effort to maintain order and structure for the entire institution. I do it as a parent every day. We make choices. We weigh opinions, outcomes and long-term consequences. Whether or not we agree with a particular policy, we need to realize that many times institutions, governments, corporations, schools, churches and families don’t operate well based on an “it depends” system of management. We can’t just change a policy because we feel badly for the individual involved. That doesn’t usually translate into great leadership qualities or sound public policy.
Of course I hope we can strive to welcome those students and faculty from other faiths and other ethnic backgrounds, but the bottom line is, if you come to Calvin, you are knowingly choosing a distinctively Dutch, Reformed education and environment. And, when you choose to teach here, you are choosing to teach in a Reformed, Dutch community with ALL of its values, requirements and even guidelines regarding church membership. I’m afraid too many of us are trying to make Calvin into something that fits our current needs and neglect to see it as a college with a rich, well-defined heritage holding a unique position in a post-modern society which seems to cater to a morally relativistic worldview. Ideally, people choose Calvin College because they agree with its worldview. There are plenty of state colleges that have no requirements. We are not Baptist. We are not Lutheran. We are not Catholic. We are not publicly funded. We can do our best to make it a welcoming atmosphere for anyone, but let’s not compromise or be embarrassed by who we are.
And finally, many of the conversations I have heard regarding this issue have been related to an ongoing embarrassment with being Dutch and Reformed. I do not see this in other cultures. I have Italian, Hispanic, Cuban, African-American and Asian friends who do not constantly berate their own heritage nor attempt to distance themselves from it. Most are proud and strive to preserve and cherish their heritage—building monuments, hosting festivals, designating city neighborhoods, opening restaurants, starting and maintaining colleges and hospitals with a decidedly ethnic and/or religious slant, and generally standing up for their culture in the public square. Why is it that this new generation of Reformed Dutch is apparently embarrassed with who they are and where they came from? I happen to like our customs, our food, our work ethic, our faith, our churches, our intellectual prowess AND our college.
Amanda Jager Peterman ’94
Sensitivity for fellow Christians
I grew up in the Christian Reformed Church and graduated from Calvin in 1966, having received an excellent education there. However, in 1971 I joined the Presbyterian Church, with my major concern being the limited role of female leadership in the CRC. I have never regretted my decision. I am grateful that the Spirit is gradually working to allow the ordination of women in the CRC, but am deeply saddened by the decision about Professor Isom.
Kathleen DeKorne Mezoff ’66
Diversity, not conformity
Diversity celebrates differences and varieties. When you want Italian food, you go to a place that specializes in Italian food. In previous decades, these restaurants were primarily located in neighborhoods with an Italian identity created because of the number of Italian immigrants and their descendants. One could enjoy the different sounds, sights, flavors, languages and smells of different peoples in a truly diverse society.
Today, society, in its drive for diversity, is actually stamping it out. Gone are the Italian and Polish neighborhoods, all subject to equal housing laws. Gone are the businesses that primarily catered to an ethnic clientele, destroyed by equal employment laws which made the companies hire individuals who did not share the same heritage as their clientele.
True diversity requires gathering together people of a common religion, perspective, heritage, custom or whatever makes the group unique, in a common enterprise. If every institution must no longer be distinctive, there will be conformity and a complete lack of diversity.
For true diversity to exist, Calvin must be particularly dutiful to maintain its mission, which does not encompass general Christianity. Rather, Calvin is distinctly and historically Reformed with its unique tie to the Christian Reformed Church that should be cherished and nurtured. Calvin’s contribution to diversity is the fact that it is Reformed, and the best way to preserve that distinction is to require its faculty members to be members of the CRC. Without this distinctiveness, the Midwest, nation and the world will lose diversity, as Calvin slides into general Christianity and perhaps some other destination in the future.
I assume that most people would agree that in the name of diversity every restaurant should not have the same menu. Similarly, we should not insist that every Christian college have the same requirements. “Diversity” must not lead to conformity.
Jim Davids ’73
Dr. Spoelhof remembered
This faithful Christian verbalized a foreshadowing of what awaited him. Now, like those lights packed away, his earthly flame has dimmed. But our faith reminds us he now sees the Light of Lights and eternally rests in the glow of Christ, His Savior and Lord.
Jack R. Van Ens ’67
NOTE: You may leave a memory of President Spoelhof on his memorial Web site by signing the Guestbook.
Thanks to career development
Kelli Muilenburg ’07
Kip Haggerty, ex’77
Alums and sons read Wednesday Wars
Giving to Calvin
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People at Calvin