We received an unusual number of letters in response to the "Alumni Couples" cover package in our last issue. They were overwhelmingly positive; writers were almost universally delighted with one story in particular, "Breaking Tradition," on the recent wedding of Corey Rothermel '96 and Doug Neff '96. Although our editor received two phone calls from readers decrying the inclusion of a story on the marriage of a gay couple, the callers chose not to follow up on the editor's invitation to write letters for publication in the ICQ. We also received several letters on the essay by economics professor Frank Musgrave in the "Last Look" section.
On additional pages are letters that did not make it in time for our print version. Thank you to all who wrote in.
I enjoyed the articles on "Alumni Couples" in the 2004/1 issue of the ICQ. I imagine there are many South Hill-East Hill couples as well.
That pile of ivy across the way isn't as insular as one might think. Students from both schools love Ithaca and its environs, and there are plenty of places to meet.
I met my husband, Ian Friedland (Cornell '77), when I was going out with another student living in his dorm (whom I met through an IC friend). Ian and I became good friends before we ever went out. I had a stormy relationship with the previous boyfriend, and eventually it dawned on me that I was dating the wrong guy.
This year, we are planning to celebrate our 25th anniversary with a trip to the Galapagos Islands.
Jan Fisher '75
I'm moved to write in support of the ICQ's inclusion of a gay couple in its 2004/1 cover package on "Alumni Couples" ("Breaking Tradition" by Maura Stephens, page 24). To those who will inevitably write to complain about this decision and to chastise the writer, the editor, the publication, the College, and probably a bunch of social trends to boot, I say this: my four years at Ithaca College introduced me to new people and to new ideas, and taught me how I could value difference and fundamentally enjoy complexity. Now that's an education.
Thanks to Ithaca College, my sense of the world -- good, ill, and everything in between -- was expanded immeasurably. I'm grateful to -- and moved by this article to say that I'm very proud to be a part of -- the College.
Brian Wallace '83
I just read the article on Corey Rothermel '96 and Doug Neff '96. Thank you so much for your thoughtful coverage of this very important story. It's wonderful to see a broad range of topics and alumni covered in the ICQ. Thank you.
Melissa Pollack '83
The ICQ is to be commended for the article "Breaking Tradition" about the recent marriage of Corey Rothermel and Doug Neff in San Francisco. In a little more than 30 years, same-sex couples have gone from near-invisibility to being on the verge of winning full equality.
I am delighted to claim Ithaca College as my alma mater precisely because it encourages, supports, and nurtures the equal rights of marginalized groups. Many alumni like me cut our teeth on social justice activism while we were students at the College. Whether Rothermel and Neff expected it or not, they have joined a proud tradition of Ithaca-inspired activists.
While marriage equality is an important issue, let us also not forget the many other everyday rights and responsibilities for which people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer have no protections. According to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, only 13 states in the union had civil rights protections based on sexual orientation on the books as of August 2003. Of those 13, only four states also protect citizens based on their gender identity. These laws ensure basic rights to employment, education, housing, and credit. This means that in the other 37 states individuals can be fired from their jobs, denied housing or credit, or even be harassed out of school simply for not identifying as heterosexual. These are issues that affect every single person in this country, on a more consistent and direct basis than the marriage issue.
Marriage equality is important, and I am pleased that Ithaca College is on the side of equal opportunity and fairness. At the same time, let us not forget that we are far from justice and equality for all. I will continue to support the College in every way I can in part because of the dedication of this publication and its editor to achieving effective and lasting social justice. Thank you, and please continue the excellent work.
Michael Mandel '00
I was heartened to see the feature article about Corey Rothermel and Doug Neff, two fellow Ithaca College alumni, in the last ICQ. I am now living in San Francisco, where we hear joyous and uplifting stories daily about same-sex marriages that were performed in our City Hall -- which I hope will become only some of many performed after the upcoming state court decision.
It made me even more excited to see one of these moving stories in the quarterly magazine of my alma mater. It is so important that stories continue to be written in ICQ that highlight the lives of all types of alumni, with all sorts of backgrounds and life experiences. This sort of sensitive and inclusive publication is exactly the type of thing that makes me proud to say I went to Ithaca College.
Keep up the good work!
Shelley Facente '02
I just had to comment on the beautiful article that Maura Stephens wrote for the ICQ. Same-sex marriage is at the forefront of our news today, and it's wonderful to see how it involves the Ithaca alumni community.
Some of my best times at Ithaca College were spent with BiGayLA and the LGBT community on campus, and this article made me feel a bit closer to home. And as a straight ally, I can say that my heart warms to see such a happy couple, especially two former Ithaca students. Again, thank you.
Meredith Stone '03
When one thinks of a couple, traditionally a man and woman come to mind. However, today, gender has become irrelevant and true love knows no boundaries. Today a couple can also be defined as two men or two women.
I would like to congratulate the ICQ on the article "Breaking Tradition." Legalizing gay marriage has been an ongoing struggle in the current news. Many people believe that the special rights given to married couples are to be reserved for heterosexual couples only. Many others believe that all United States citizens have equal rights regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
In response to the controversy, many classes and discussion groups on campus focused and talked about these issues and other problems that the LGBT community faces on a day-to-day basis. In addition, the LGBT resource center, a branch of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, provided several speakers and services, along with plenty of resources on these topics. As a recent graduate, I greatly appreciate the classes, discussions, and programs I took advantage of. I feel that experiences like this have enriched the learning environment and social atmosphere.
The Ithaca College community has taken many steps towards a more diverse campus that promotes respect, unity, and tolerance. It is important to let the parents and alumni, the people who read the Ithaca College Quarterly, know what is happening at this school.
Thank you for including LGBT issues in this publication. I look forward to similar articles in future issues.
Jarred Eddy '04
Thank you so much for including a story on a gay marriage in your latest edition. It is so important that we recognize and appreciate diversity in all areas, including sexual orientation, which is often forgotten. Particularly with the new and overdue legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts, it is crucial to recognize that this affects all of us, even if we don't identify as gay, bi, or trans. Queer rights are human rights!
Again, thank you for valuing diversity and pleasantly surprising me in the past editions of the ICQ.
Natasha Keller '04
I would like to express my gratitude to the Ithaca College Quarterly editor for the sensitive, compassionate portrayals of each of the couples in your cover feature "Alumni Couples." Reading Corey Rothermel and Doug Neff's story particularly touched my heart. Their role in the struggle for marriage equality makes me proud and joyous for them.
As a Unitarian Universalist and a resident of Massachusetts, I have met and heard from many same-sex couples whose dedication, honesty, and strength have had a tremendous impact on making our communities truly welcoming. Their testimonies have helped me and many others realize that loving, committed, healthy relationships are not reserved for heterosexual couples. While the future of civil marriage is yet to be decided, I commend Corey and Doug for standing tall, despite the adversity and intolerance they must face.
One of the things I appreciate most about Ithaca College is the support so many staff, faculty, students, and alumni have given to the needs and challenges of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals. It is refreshing and hope-inspiring to know that the ICQ demonstrates a similar commitment to addressing issues that affect all alumni.
Thank you, and keep up this great and important work!
Betty Jeanne Rueters-Ward '04