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Letters

Picture Perfect
I don't often see in your Letters column praise for the art that accompanies your lead stories, in this case Steve Jackson's "Rough Waters," in the June 13 issue.

Tony Ortega's cover really amounts to fine art; it's much more than illustration.

Steve Jackson's article in itself is extraordinary. Since this is a heated controversy, there will be dozens of letters about the facts and Jackson's interpretation of them.

This is just what should be taking place in a public forum like Westword's Letters column, of course. You have an important role to play in shaping public opinion. I'd say you're worthy of the responsibility.

Jane Carpenter
Denver

Wonderful work by Steve Jackson on the Animas-La Plata project. The article read like a novel. I just hope that the Utes are able to get a happy ending. After what we did to this land's native peoples, they deserve that.

Maree Ross
Lakewood

Stick It
Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "Walk Softly and Carry a Big Hockey Stick," in the June 13 issue:

What is Calhoun complaining about now? Once again, she cannot leave well enough alone and simply celebrate the Avalanche win. No, she must drag the Broncos into it and use the Stanley Cup victory as an excuse to beat up Pat Bowlen and John Elway.

As a Bronco fan long before the Avalanche came to town--and I would be willing to bet even before Westword was around--I am tired of people picking on our football team. The Broncos have given Denver great moments and great memories, and they will do so again.

This is no time to turn our backs on a thirty-year tradition.
Ice melts. But true Bronco fans will never disappear.
John Snyder
Adams Country

Puck you, Patricia Calhoun. The Avs rule!
Name withheld on request

There Auto Be a Law
Regarding the June 13 Off Limits:
It is nice to know that in between casting votes against a woman's right to be protected from physical and verbal harassment at family-planning clinics and casting votes for every extremist anti-environmental bill that comes down the pike, my congressman, Dan Schaefer, has lots of time for cars.

It is also a measure of how far the party of Charlie Duke has lurched to the right that the local papers continue to refer to Representative Schaefer as a "moderate Republican."

Robert A. Ellis
Aurora

Teacher's Fret
As a professor newly retired from the faculty at the University of Colorado-Boulder, I found it painful to see the headlines and artwork accompanying the recent article dealing with sexual-harassment cases on the campus. I was afraid that old wounds were being reopened for the delight of those who want to be titillated by juicy gossip and who want once again the chance to have their poor opinion of the Boulder campus confirmed. However, the article itself proved to be a rather sober account of two cases that have been settled and three that are ongoing. Grievants in these cases have turned to litigation and reports to the press because they perceive that they cannot find prompt and just resolution of their complaints within the university and also so that the climate for women will improve.

As co-chair of the Boulder Faculty Assembly Committee on Women for the past two years, I have been horrified by these and a number of other cases, as grievants have come to me and other members of the committee seeking advice on procedures and comfort for their distress. I have discovered many colleagues on campus who are concerned both on behalf of the grievant and for the reputation of the university.

What can be done to assure that grievant and respondent are treated equitably and that proven perpetrators are held accountable? The answer has been to create committees to investigate and report, to develop new and hopefully better policies. Here are some of the steps that have been taken in order to alleviate the problem on the Boulder campus:

-A new sexual-harassment policy has been put in place (October 1995). Under this policy, a new sexual-harassment committee has been created, headed for the first time by women faculty and staff co-chairs.

-Chancellor Roderic Park has initiated training in handling sexual-harassment cases for all chairs and administrators.

-A Chancellor's Standing Committee on Women has been created to inform and advise the chancellor about women's issues.

Beyond the Boulder campus, at the university-system level, steps have also been taken. President John Buechner has stated that sexual harassment and discrimination are among the most serious problems at the university and that solutions must be found. Regent Susan Kirk, the only woman on the board, has declared the resolution of women's issues to be her top priority. She has strongly encouraged the Faculty Council Committee on Women in its work.

Each of these steps, plus the positive responses of the central university administration and the stand of Regent Kirk, have given me hope that progress can be and is being made. I have felt that each of the committees on women has, by speaking out, helped in bringing about these changes in university policies and procedures, which in turn will help in resolving the problems they were intended to address. As I leave my active position on the university faculty, I like to feel that I have been able to contribute to making the university a better place for women to work.

However, when I wake in the early dawn, nagging doubts enter my mind. The real solution to these problems is change in deeply entrenched attitudes in the campus culture. All the high-minded rules and policies, all the insightful reports, will be ineffective unless the university community unites in its commitment to stamp out sexual harassment and discrimination. So far, the rules and policies have often been ignored or subverted.

At the same time, there appears to be widespread tolerance by the university community of unfair treatment of women. I am still hopeful for change, but many experiences in the past two years make me skeptical. Will I live long enough to see significant changes in attitudes toward women? Will the Boulder campus community become one that has zero tolerance for mistreatment of women? I fear we are in for more disappointments before this problem disappears.

Mary A. Bonneville
University of Colorado, Boulder

Judged and Found Wanting
Regarding Michelle Dally Johnston's "The Senator's Son Was Indiscreet," in the May 30 issue:

While I have been an avid fan of Westword for years, I feel compelled to point out the inaccuracies contained in the article concerning the nomination by Senator Hank Brown of Walker Miller to fill a vacancy on the federal bench. First of all, Walker has probably been a close friend of Hank Brown's for several decades. Accordingly, the case in which I represented Mr. Breitzman against Hank's son had absolutely nothing to do with the reasons for Walker's nomination to the federal bench. Why your reporter chose to emphasize this seemingly insignificant matter is completely beyond me.

Also, I do not believe that I was fairly quoted in my criticism of the decisions of two or three of the current sitting federal judges. It's not that these judges are "disgraceful," but many of their decisions are terrible in terms of their impact upon persons who appear before the Court, particularly in discrimination cases. From this standpoint, Walker Miller is clearly a superior choice for the federal bench vis-à-vis the Reagan-Bush appointees now there.

And, while it would also have been nice to have Judge Maes on the federal bench, the choice of Walker Miller is far superior to any member of the landed gentry that Bob Dole would nominate.

Richard K. Blundell
Greeley

After reading Walker Miller's letter in the June 13 issue, it strikes me that the opposition to his appointment is right. If he doesn't think his courtroom appearances on behalf of a senator's son are "pertinent" to his nomination, then I question what judgment he would use on the federal bench.

J.T. Vigil
Denver

Rasta Point of No Return
In response to Kathryn Harris's "Reggae to Riches" in the June 13 issue:
Your letter bemoaning the lack of reggae coverage in Westword confirmed my suspicion that the only people who read my articles are me, Michael Roberts and my grandmother. While reggae coverage is generally hard to find in Colorado, Westword certainly isn't to blame. In the last six months I've written feature articles on every big act to pass through Boulder and Denver (The Itals, Culture, Eek-A-Mouse, Michael Rose, etc.) and reviewed CDs as obscure as Alpha & Omega and Andrew Bees. So in response to your question "Is it racism, favoritism or just plain old-fashioned ignorance?," I'm going to go with old-fashioned ignorance: yours.

Joshua Green
Denver

Letters policy: Westword wants to hear from you, whether you have a complaint or compliment about what we write from week to week. Letters should be no more than 200 words; we reserve the right to edit for libel, length and clarity. Although we'll occasionally withhold an author's name on request, all letters must include your name, address and telephone number.

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