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Bostonia: The Alumni Magazine of Boston University

Winter 2009 Table of Contents

Letters To The Editors

Bostonia welcomes readers’ reactions and encourages expressions of opinion,
pro and con. Submit your letter below.

The Costs of PTSD

When Mommy Comes Marching Home” (Fall 2008) was an excellent discussion of the issues surrounding PTSD among women and a nice tribute to the work that Patty Resick has been championing for years. I was gratified to see the statistic that PTSD may affect as many as 300,000 veterans of the current wars. I believe you drew this statistic from a recent RAND study, for which I was the primary author and study director. That figure referred to the total number that were affected by either PTSD or depression at the time of the study. In our work, we found that rates of depression were similar to the rates of PTSD, yet depression is rarely discussed as a mental health consequence of war.

Our study also estimated that if left untreated or undertreated, the two-year cost to society associated with these conditions is $6.2 billion. Ensuring that more clinicians use the type of therapy discussed by Dr. Resick has the potential to lower this figure by $2 billion in just two years.

Terri (Baxter) Tanielian (CAS’90) Bethesda, Maryland

Ministers React

As an Episcopal priest serving a suburban Boston parish, I was glad to see my colleague, the Rev. Kathy McAdams, featured along with several other clergy whose congregations are partners in the STH Sustaining Urban Pastoral Excellence (SUPE) project (“City of God,” Fall 2008). Other clergy featured were identi-fied by denominational affiliation, e.g., Methodist, U.C.C., yet the Rev. McAdams, executive director of Ecclesia Ministries, was not identified as an Episcopal priest. Bostonia readers should be aware of the historic, ongoing connection that Episcopal parishes, clergy, and laypeople share with Ecclesia Ministries.

In describing the congregation of the church on Boston Common, the article used the words “the homeless, the addicted, the mentally ill.” It is sensitive, courteous, and correct to speak of individuals as people first, e.g., those who “are homeless” or “have addictions” or “have mental illness,” rather than to define individuals by their life circumstance or condition.

Judith Freeman Clark (STH’99) Westwood, Massachusetts

The author makes mention of the “Methodist Church.” With respect, there is no such animal. There are Methodist denominations, such as the United Methodist Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Church, but there is no monolithic Methodist Church, although we are all a part of the Wesleyan tradition sparked by John Wesley.

Though Wesley would likely agree that it is part of the mission of our tradition to provide seekers with connections to God and “God’s peace and justice in the world,” Rev. Tiffany Steinwert (STH’01) and her followers’ reaction to her church’s stance calling homosexuality what it is, “incompatible with Christian teaching,” seems to miss the point: that the “normalization” of homosexuality should have no place in the church. In love, peace, and reconciliation, the church should minister to those in need. Rev. Steinwert ought to be commended for ministering to those who feel disenfranchised or excluded from the Christian church, but to purport that sin is OK, I cannot agree with.

Gordon Glenn (STH’97) Kansas City, Kansas

On the Hot Seat

I was the freshman coxswain in 1953 and 1954 under coach Jim Nesworthy, with Kim Bassett as my stroke (“CommonWealth,” Fall 2008). In those days we worked out of the “garage” across the river from our beautiful new boathouse. (Oldtimers will remember it as the MIT boat-house.) The article touched on the days when the coxy used a megaphone strapped to our head, and no stroke meters, just two blocks of wood in our hands to steer. If we wanted to up the stroke count, we would pound on the sides of the boat and yell to up the stroke count, and the stroke would set the pace.

And girls in the coxy seat in the men’s boat? Who knew? Keep up the good work, Bianca.

Sheldon B. Segerman (SMG’57) Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts

Architectural Follies

Either I was unclear in my original letter to the editor, or John Silber (HON.’95) misinterpreted my meaning regarding his book Architecture of the Absurd (“Letters,” Fall 2008).

Please allow me to clarify. What I meant to say is that in the “architectural follies,” all the parties must share the blame for great design that fails. “All the parties” includes the clients, the design architect, the design architect’s associates (engineers, construction architects, their site supervisors, and so on), the general contractor, the GC’s site superintendent, all the subcontractors, and any inspectors (local, state, federal). Did I leave anyone out? Oh, yes: the final “user” of the building.

I have personally witnessed all of these parties standing in a circle pointing a finger at the person next to them in an effort to avoid blame. This kind of circularity can end up in a court, where the poor judge or jury has to navigate the excuses, claims, and counter-claims. Lawyers have a field day and get paid, to boot!

The ultimate victim in all of this is the user of the building — its occupants. In fact, the user is helpless, having played no part in the follies. The user is the one who has to wheedle and complain about leaks and HVAC systems that don’t work.

Mark D. Gottsegen (CFA’74) Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Bostonia's New Look

It is always so wonderful and appreciated when I hear from Boston University, a university which has made all the difference in my life and career. My time in Boston enriched my Midwestern culture in ways I would not have imagined, and my years in graduate school, where I earned an M.A. in musicology, opened my eyes and mind to new and deeper dimensions in the fields of music history and Western history.

Now to the business of Bostonia “Online.” For many of the younger grads, this idiom may be welcome and even appreciated. I am one of the older grads who grew up on publications that we could hold in our hands, and that much too often went into a stack of “must read” materials until the clutter had become so unbearable that we finally had to start throwing out or recycling. Now the messages come through e-mail that publications are on the Internet. Good for the young users, but it becomes wasted space in my e-mail and yes, more clutter. If the publication ever comes only via e-mail, I would object, since already I get too many e-mails.

I am willing to pay a small amount to keep receiving the copies in print. I would not protest you making an e-edition for those would use it in that form.

Thanks for keeping all of us informed about the many accomplishments of the faculty and graduates as the University continues to make great strides forward in the world of research, knowledge, the arts, and culture.

Richard T. Lathom (GRS’63) Everett, Washington

I have received my copy of the new Bostonia. It is a new and exciting publication in many ways. I feel as if I have access to some remarkable sources of information and insight through the various Web sites that are offered. Thanks.

Robert B. Pearson (STH'50) Rowland Heights, California

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