The Ohio State University Alumni Association

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Letters to the editor

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We welcome your letters, which we ask be limited to 250 words or less. Please send them to Letters selected for publication typically address topics raised in Ohio State Alumni Magazine, although the editor reserves the right to make exceptions. All published letters appear online, and a selection appears in our print edition. We edit letters for space, clarity, accuracy and civility. When readers’ published views prompt others to write, the latter submissions are the last published on a particular topic. All letters represent the opinions of the letter writers, not those of the magazine team, alumni association or university.

The Lantern lit their way

What? Lantern newspaper editors are paid these days? Deservedly, they are, as noted in your fine article on the school’s great student newspaper.

When I was Lantern editor-in-chief in 1962, all I got was a passel of parking tickets on my car after I left it parked on a campus street until 1 a.m. while we got the paper out. I refused to pay them.

Glad to see students still working so hard to provide a vital service. After my stint, I became the first Ohio State journalism student ever hired by The Wall Street Journal, where I worked for 38 years, mostly in Washington. When I started in Chicago, my boss came to me and told me that Ohio State wouldn’t release my school transcript — not until I paid those parking tickets.

Ron Shafer ’62
Williamsburg, Virginia

I was the business manager of The Lantern from ’62 to ’64. It gave me an opportunity to acquire my master of arts degree and to teach my first course. As a result, I became a professor and dean emeritus with a career covering some 40 years. Lantern experience was an important start!

Daniel Costello ’62, ’64 MA
Tampa, Florida

The article about The Lantern in your Spring 2020 issue took me back to my time as a graduate student in journalism (1973–74) at Ohio State. I worked for The Lantern, first as a reporter covering the university president’s office beat, then as managing editor during my last quarter.

While the technology has changed (what did the department do with all those obsolete typewriters?), the process of publishing the newspaper remains the same: a team of dedicated student journalists working day and night — often to the detriment of their other classwork — to provide the university community with up-to-date information about Ohio State and the world beyond.

We covered stories of great import (campus race relations, the resignation of President Nixon) and great amusement (the spring outbreak of “streaking,” a campus visit by Playboy playmate Barbie Benton).

At that time, what with Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein unearthing the Watergate cover-up with the help of their secret source, Deep Throat, journalism was a hot career choice. Now, as newspapers across the country struggle to hold on to readers, it’s heartening to see young men and women still willing to dedicate their time and talent to this noble profession. An informed public, armed with the truth, is the foundation of our democracy. Journalists — print, broadcast, online — help make that possible.

William Rados ’74 MA
Glenwood, Maryland

Thanks so much for the tribute to The Lantern. I designate my alumni association membership to The Lantern in gratitude for my good education and help in getting my first job.

Candace S. Hughes ’75
Apache Junction, Arizona
Assistant city editor, fall 1975

Just wanted to say thanks for a great spring edition of the alumni magazine.

I read it from cover to cover.

I had the opportunity to meet cover story subject Julie Branco Bombacino at an Association of Corporate Growth event several years ago in Chicago and was impressed with her commitment to helping people. It was wonderful to read that her company is successful and growing. And my hat is off to President Michael V. Drake and his quiet, competent leadership. He will be missed. And the work of Dr. Quinn Capers — it is helpful to read about these leaps of progress at Ohio State. I probably would not have been aware of the medical school’s growing diversity had it not been for your article.

But the thing I found most interesting was the article about The Lantern, especially the picture titled “The Staff of ’92.” I looked at the picture before I read the explanation and thought it was of current students dressed in period clothing. Talk about a moment preserved in time by an expert photographer’s picture of an august group of overachievers!

Thanks for the excellent work. The magazine gets better with every issue.

John B. Weber ’86 MBA
Naperville, Illinois

Readers thank mom with heart for business, service

As a mother who ran out of options prior to discovering Real Food Blends, I am extremely grateful for the Bombacino family. I had no idea that Julie was an Ohio State alumna, but she is a hero in my eyes — someone who not only changed her son’s life, but helped so many others in the process. After months of daily vomiting, my daughter responded so well to Real Food Blends that she eventually started eating on her own. We are incredibly grateful that someone was there for us, even when our doctor wasn’t.

Emily Lammers ’10 DDS, ’13 MS
Beavercreek, Ohio

Your story on Julie Branco Bombacino was truly inspiring. I can see the love it takes to raise a child with these setbacks early in life.

I am the father of a 10-year-old boy whose journey began the day of his birth with an emergency colostomy, esophageal atresia, tethered spine cord release, autism spectrum disorder, feeding tube for the first year and a half of life, and now a chait tube implanted in his abdomen.

He is now successfully navigating the challenges of public schooling.

My son did not have the developmental disabilities that A.J. copes with, but the home visits by nurses, physical therapy specialists, seemingly constant corrective surgeries and hospital stays have resulted in a truly stable life for him. It causes you to re-evaluate your view of others who care for their own disabled children with compassion. It is difficult, but so very rewarding. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Merrill Tripp ’96, ’98 MA
Sunbury, Ohio

View through a different lens

The spring Ohio State Alumni Magazine digital edition featured images from the Office of International Affairs’ annual photography competition. As an immigrant from Japan, I was particularly interested in the works of Steven Hirsch ’83, ’87 MD. His unique talent of capturing very delicate nuances of Japanese life and culture is admirable. However, one of his photos, of a kimono-clad woman’s reflection on a pond, had the problematic title of “Reflection of a Geisha.”

One should not assume any Japanese woman wearing a kimono is a geisha. The term is translated (and implied) as a “(female) entertainer (for hire).” The identification of an ordinary Japanese woman as a geisha is an unintended insult to her. Japanese women should not be looked at with the prejudicial exoticism the term geisha implies.

Ohio State is a globally recognized, top-notch academic and research institution. As such, its alumni publication and Office of International Affairs should aspire to the highest standards of decency and common sense at the international level. I loathe to think that the alumni and students of Ohio State feel it is OK to call a Japanese woman a geisha simply because she is wearing a kimono.

I urge Dr. Hirsch to change the title of his very artistic photo. “Reflection of a Lady in Kimono” would be an appropriate and acceptable alternative.

Shiro Tanaka ’63 MS
Hayward, California

Editor’s note: We shared Shiro Tanaka’s thoughts on the title of the photograph with Steven Hirsch. He said his travel guides in Japan conveyed that geisha are revered in Japanese society and that any implication to the contrary was incorrect. However, not wanting to unintentionally offend those who have a different connotation of the term, Hirsch has renamed his photograph “Reflection of a Japanese Woman.” The new title appears in the alumni magazine’s digital edition story and the Office of International Affairs’ announcement about the 2019 Photography Competition and Exhibition.

History keeps giving

While preparing to move my spring semester classes online, I caught up on reading the spring issue. I was surprised to learn a bit of history about W8LT, the Ohio State Amateur Radio Club, in “The Object: A Peacekeeper Reflects.” I have served as the faculty advisor to the club since the mid-1990s and recently worked on updating its history. We have evidence that amateur radio operators, aka hams, were on campus in 1913 when they collaborated with hams at the University of Michigan to help save lives during the great Midwestern flood.

The club and its name, W8LT, date back to at least 1926 (the “w” was added in 1928) and have a rich history and hundreds of alumni. Still, I had not heard of Bob Dixon’s service in the Green Ribbon Commission and his use of his hand-held radio to communicate with club members in the southwest tower of the Ohio Stadium during the unrest of spring 1970. Sadly, the club was moved from the stadium when it was expanded, but we still maintain a short-wave radio station in Bevis Hall and a UHF repeater on Lincoln Tower.

In this sesquicentennial year, it would be good to hear from other alumni with connections to W8LT so that we can add more anecdotes to the history of ham radio at Ohio State.

Larry Feth ’63
Professor of speech and hearing
Faculty Advisor
Ohio State W8LT Amateur
Radio and Radio Frequency Club

Concerning my activities in the Green Ribbon Commission, it is important to recognize the role of my friend Paul Hurm, the undergrad student who operated the OSU Radio Club station. He warned me several times to get out of the tense area near High Street, but I did not. Then he recalls that my radio suddenly went silent, which was the moment I was attacked. Paul and I remain friends to this day.

I will be forever grateful to the student who helped me recover from the attack and then played the role of a rioter to retrieve my radio.

Robert Dixon ’68 PhD
Delaware, Ohio