Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 08, 2003

Besmirching the honor of City principal

I wish to echo Michael Olesker's column "Showdown at City lacks basis, point -- and 2 critics" (Dec. 2). City College High School Principal Joseph M. Wilson deserves better than the anonymous, false allegations that are circulating.

As a student, I had my battles with Mr. Wilson. They were petty battles, the kind a 17-year-old has with his principal because he is in authority, not because he is abusing it.

The current disturbance is not a healthy disagreement. It is the creature of a generation of alumni who are using Mr. Wilson's race as their litmus test and rallying cry, leaving his accomplishments as principal on the cutting-room floor.

But a City College education continues to be a passport to better things in life. In this economy, in which my generation is scraping for whatever work we can find, I have more educational and career opportunities than I could have hoped for.

And at City College, my peers and I learned to understand cross-racial relationships, and form friendships based around academic interests, extracurricular pursuits and, most important, mutual respect.

I am white, and in my senior year at City College, when my skin color differed from that of about 88 percent of the student body, I served as Student Government Association president. That seems exceptional or extraordinary to some. Believe me: It says absolutely nothing about me and everything about a student body that lives by the motto "Palmam qui meruit ferat," or "Honor to one who earns it."

The campaign against Mr. Wilson is ugly. It evokes the worst in all of us; it is insulting to me as a recent graduate.

More important, it is predicated on falsehoods, politically motivated and besmirches the honor of a man who has very clearly earned it.

Jonny Akchin

Baltimore

The writer is a graduate of City College (1999) and Stanford University.

Olesker overlooks important issues

We have long admired Michael Olesker's writing, which is characterized by charm, wit and passionate commitment to the public institutions of Baltimore. We were dismayed, then, to read "Showdown at City lacks basis, point -- and 2 critics" (Dec. 2), which cavalierly dismisses two serious issues at his alma mater.

First, the issue of gender balance in the student population is worthy of a better examination than the flippant comment that "Beating Poly in football" is its crux.

Many of us believe that the value of a student body equitably balanced between males and females can be seen in the way young men and women interact, bring different perspectives to art and history and literature and learn to appreciate each other's distinctive qualities.

Mr. Olesker would have been wiser to assess whether the widening disparity between the numbers of male and female students is weakening City's mission as a magnet school of the humanities.

Second, Mr. Olesker terms the idea that teacher recruitment favors white females "another odd allegation."

We would simply invite Mr. Olesker to the next English Department meeting, where he could observe that the department has no minority faculty members.

Jim Schreier Bill Walker Baltimore

The writers teach English and geography, respectively, at City College.

Many alumni support Principal Wilson

The headline "Alumni object to new makeup of City College" (Dec. 3) is, as it stands, patently untrue.

The second paragraph gets it right: "Some alumni are worried ... " Some.

I'll make you a bet: In numbers far exceeding those who (with the best intentions) feel otherwise, alumni by the thousands believe City College High School is functioning at a level of excellence beyond expectations; that Principal Joseph M. Wilson has led the school into the highest ranks of urban schools in America; that City College is lucky to have him and that Baltimore is lucky to have City College.

Gilbert Sandler

Baltimore

The writer is a member of City College Class of 1941.

I'm one City College alumnus who stands strongly behind Principal Joseph M. Wilson and the remarkable work he has done at City. City is quite fortunate to have him.

It's time for all alumni and students to unite behind Mr. Wilson and let City be City.

Charles D. Fox

Baltimore

Fees help defray the costs of growth

It was interesting to read that Harford County is considering a menu of options, including impact fees, to pay for the costs of growth ("Study favors impact fee in Harford," Nov. 28).

As the article noted, impact fees could subsidize as much as 22 percent of the county's capital budget.

As a Baltimore County resident in a high-growth area, I wish my local leaders would show the same initiative in proposing new ways to pay for schools, roads and open space.

Had a modest impact fee been levied in Perry Hall in 1990, the county would right now have a substantial amount of money to buy the land needed for a new high school.

Instead, county leaders expect the state to shoulder the bulk of the costs.

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