Readers were touched by the struggle of Kim and Jim Harrison to shield their daughters from the deadly rays of the sun (PEOPLE, May 14). They applauded the Harrisons’ courage and praised them for providing, in the words of one correspondent, “more light in their home than many so-called normal families have.”
JAIME & SHERRY HARRISON
As a mother of two, my heart goes out to the Harrison family, and I commend their efforts to save their children until a course of treatment may be found. However, I disagree with their decision to keep the whole truth about their illness from their daughters. The girls have a right to know, and probably would be more cooperative if they knew, the real reason for their confinement. Also, can’t someone come in and give that poor mom a break once in a while? Her son needs her attention too.
In January 1989 my beautiful 18-month-old nephew, Joseph Aaron Godin, lost his life. Like the Harrison girls, he had XP—xeroderma pigmentosum. He died of complications from the flu, which his doctors blamed on XP. I’m glad this illness is being discussed now, because until two years ago, like most people, our family had never heard of it. People would look at you as if you were crazy if you said the child couldn’t be exposed to sunlight, because he was as happy and perfect-looking as any other. I’d like to wish the Harrison family a long and happy life together.
As a third-year student at American University, I have observed firsthand the great good that Dr. Richard Berendzen has brought to my school during his 10-year tenure. Although the circumstances regarding his resignation were unfortunate and sad, they in no way undermine the positive results of his presidency, and they also in no way reflect upon the faculty or the student body at the university. We as a campus community realize that Dr. Berendzen is a troubled individual in need of help, and we wish him only the best in this time of trauma and recovery.
Chevy Chase, Md.
As a faculty member at American University, I have always respected and admired Dr. Berendzen. Now that he has resigned and is seeking treatment for his problem, is there any reason to add to his and his family’s suffering? The woman who allegedly received calls from Dr. Berendzen has chosen to “tell all” to the media. If her motive in taking the calls and playing along was to catch the caller, then once that objective was achieved, what was the point of describing the graphic details of these calls to all who would listen? Generally my sympathy is reserved for victims; in this case let’s remember that there are at least two.
Nancy A. Bagranoff
How could you publish an article on Twin Peaks without mentioning the haunting musical score by Angelo Badalamenti?
Twin Peaks is so bad, it’s hilarious! By the time we stopped watching, during the third episode, we were even laughing at the music. A fall renewal? Deliver us.
To me, bodybuilders, especially female bodybuilders, are the most grotesque, hideous deformities I have ever seen. To see a woman’s small head on such a sickeningly thick neck and overly muscled body is absolutely repulsive.
San Dimas, Calif.
I was distressed to read about Harvard Law Professor Derrick Bell taking a leave of absence until Harvard Law hires at least one minority woman professor. Professor Bell is advocating outright racism. He is saying that blacks learn only from their own “kind”—and, by extension, can live in harmony only with their own “kind.” What would he say to a group of white students who objected to having a black teacher? Intellectual ability should be the school’s only consideration; race and gender are irrelevant. Harvard Law would do its students a service by not giving in to Professor Bell’s blackmail and by filling not only the professorship in question, but his position as well, with the very best qualified teachers available, regardless of race or gender.
New York City
In your article on Prof. Derrick Bell you failed to mention that he once served as dean of the University of Oregon School of Law. He resigned in protest when the faculty hiring committee failed to adequately consider the application of an Asian-American woman. The convenient rationale for Harvard’s faculty hiring committee is a mirror image of the rationale used by the University of Oregon—something like, “If there were qualified minority women, we would hire them.” This flies in the face of any meaningful affirmative action. Affirmative action requires diversity at every level of power. Affirmative action is not quotas. Affirmative action is not an excuse to lower standards. Affirmative action allows people of diverse backgrounds to mingle in order to create a stronger unit. As a law student, I was lucky to have Derrick Bell, a man of great intellect and conscience, as my dean and constitutional law professor. Oregon’s loss was Harvard’s gain. I hope that Harvard will exercise foresight and fairness where Oregon failed.
James C. Egan