From the Readers

Occidental Alumnus, May 1931

Defending the honor of a "Soldier of Science," and magazine memories from 1931

Paging Dr. Fauci

I understand that “From the Readers” is a space for opinions; however, I was more than disappointed by Elaine Aldrich ’66’s submission on Dr. Fauci (“Not a Fan of Anthony,” From the Readers, Fall 2021). One of my best high school friends was in the same medical training class at Cornell with Anthony Fauci. He had written to me that Fauci was the “real deal.”

Watching Fauci from the AIDS pandemic throughout this COVID-19 onslaught with multiple variants, I believe that there is substantial evidence to applaud Fauci for his leadership. Aldrich added no support for her opinion. I feel that we were taught to think critically while at Oxy. Had Aldrich taken the time to study Fauci’s contributions, she might have arrived at a less specious conclusion.

Burt Kanner '61
Salem, Ore.

I really don’t understand why Aldrich’s letter to the magazine warranted printing. Her missive isn't a correction or a valid critique of an article. In printing it, you’ve contributed to the spread of disinformation that keeps us in the grip of a global pandemic. 

What could possibly be the reasoning here? Aren’t you getting enough letters to the editor? Do you have a policy of printing every letter you receive? Are you so in need of space to fill your grid? Heck, if you need to fill space I’d be happy to send you a candid photo of me getting my COVID booster in a few weeks. 

Do better, Occidental.

Jesse Burch ’92
Van Nuys

Aldrich’s letter was nothing more than name-calling, was devoid of facts or intellectual content, and was not what we expect to see in Occidental magazine.

Brent Dalrymple ’59 and Sharon (Tramel) Dalrymple ’59
Corvallis, Ore.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion but “news” publishers have an obligation to point out disinformation, which is ruining our country.

“Not a Fan of Anthony” claimed “Fauci is a fraud—he created this mess.”  Nothing is further from the truth. Many of my close friends here in New Jersey are science executives in pharma. They all have the highest regard for Dr. Fauci, having worked with him for 30 years. Further, they debunk the conspiracy story that blames him for NIH funding Wuhan lab research—which pharma does regularly since Wuhan has the only coronavirus lab in the world.  Recent identification of case No. 1 repoints to the wet market.

I applaud Oxy’s dedication to honing the critical thinking skills of our students and graduates.

Diana Jones ’74
Warren, N.J.

Draft Doctors

Journalist Kate Rope ’95 documents a little-known program during the Vietnam War that produced cutting-edge medical research, nine Nobel laureates, and the nation's best-known immunologist

Those of us who had the privilege of an Oxy education embrace the responsibility to gather information from diverse, credible sources and to consider it thoughtfully. Even more importantly, it is our responsibility to communicate our opinions in a manner that utilizes those Oxy-honed critical thinking and communication skills. That is why, as an alum, I am utterly ashamed to see the baseless bashing of Dr. Anthony Fauci included in the letters section of the Fall 2021 magazine.

Whatever your opinion may be of Dr. Fauci, I guarantee that he is not solely responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m pretty sure that the factors contributing to the current “mess” are quite complex. And I’m pretty sure that a virus is involved. And global travel. And a horrifying failure of our education system to help people understand science and basic biology. And incredibly divisive politics and misinformation campaigns that are based on ignorance, fear and character bashing.  And perhaps even social media algorithms.

If you need a seven-word reader’s comment to fill a small, awkward space in the layout of your next edition, perhaps consider this well-supported one: “We can do better. All of us.”

Lee Carroll Jones ’91
Wilsall, Mont.

The Mother Lode

I have copies of the May 1931 and November 1931 Occidental Alumnus magazines in my possession—my mom [Lois Ellenberger Heath ’30] was an alum.  They are in excellent condition and I hate to just toss them. So, I was wondering if you might want them. I’m happy to mail them to you if provided with an address.
 
Karen Heath Clark
Corona del Mar
 
Editor’s note: Thanks to Karen for sending us the magazines, shown here. "Our main purpose … has been to produce a magazine of general interest to all the alumni of Occidental,” editor and 1919 graduate Dana H. Jones wrote in the May 1931 issue—a pretty solid mission statement, even today.