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Love And Hate Mail

True, but the report says they were unfairly denied tenure

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As a proud and longstanding member of the Meharry Medical College board of trustees, I feel compelled to correct John Spragens' inaccurate portrayal of the college in his July 21 article, "Labor Pains at Meharry." The Meharry depicted by Spragens is unrecognizable to my colleagues on the board or to the vast majority of its dedicated faculty, students and staff.

Mr. Spragens' most glaring inaccuracy is his statement that a report issued by the American Association of University Professors concluded that Meharry had "violated the due process rights of 11 tenured professors." This is simply not true. The AAUP report clearly states that the professors investigated had not attained tenure—a distinction that is critical to the issue of academic due process.

The truth is that, guided by the leadership of Dr. John Maupin and with contributions from the entire Meharry family—staff, faculty, administrators and alumni—Meharry has made tremendous progress during the last decade. As a result, Meharry has attracted world-class faculty who are true pioneers of medical research. For instance, Meharry is receiving national media attention and acclaim for its breakthrough medical trials of promising drugs and for recruiting foremost experts to its faculty.

Meharry is very proud of its employees' contributions to its progress and is equally proud of its recognition of these contributions. Meharry provides highly competitive compensation, benefits and opportunities for advancement to all employees. All employees receive affordable health insurance, long-term disability benefits, dental and vision benefits, and generous paid time off. This year, the college is adding short-term disability benefits at no expense that will cover 100 percent of an employee's salary for at least 90 days of serious illness. These benefits reflect our deep concern for the welfare of each employee and our desire to provide a supportive environment.

In contrast to the improvements that have fueled Meharry's growth and progress, the recently expired collective bargaining agreement proved to be an incoherent and unclear document, resulting in gross inefficiencies to every aspect of college life that it touched. Meharry has negotiated in the utmost good faith with its union partners and with an explicit objective to enter into a clear, coherent contract that provides equality for everyone in the Meharry family. We will continue to negotiate in good faith—with no intent or desire to destroy the union—until the contract reflects a standard of fairness that ensures all employees comparable standards, advantages and incentives. While the union may resist this equality, it will not deter our vision of achieving it.

Meharry has a storied 130-year history as the premier educator of African American dentists and physicians, and its goal today is the same as it was when it opened: to provide access to health care to those who would otherwise have none. The best, however, is yet to come, as we expand our mission to train new generations of medical professionals to treat the poor and underserved throughout our nation and to research health issues that disparately impact that population. This is the true heartbeat of Meharry, and it is unfortunate that Mr. Spragens chose to ignore it.

Aubrey B. Harwell Jr.

Vice-Chairman, Meharry Board of Trustees (Nashville)

Don't re-victimize the survivors

Much has been said about Camp Marymount (Love/Hate Mail, July 14 and July 21), survivors have once again been brought to task, and somehow the blame is shifted to us. It is fruitless to remind those insensitive persons out there that they are only attempting to re-victimize survivors, and we are simply not going to play that game again.

I know Camp Marymount very well. As a youth, I worked in the kitchen there, since my parents couldn't afford to send me as a camper. Unsupervised, we kids had a great time. I do shudder to remember that one seminarian, Paul Haas, occupied one of the ramshackle cabins behind the kitchen that we shared.

I remember Camp Marymount, through the years rumored to be a rendezvous spot for priests to violate their vows of chastity and celibacy. The "priest's cabin" was rather infamous. I have heard of beer busts and group nude swimming for kids organized by priests, and I have heard other stories, even one by a person who claimed that his wife was impregnated by a priest there.

And I know of many happy personal stories. My own two sons camped there in the '70s, and they fondly recall their experiences there. More recently, I remember Camp Marymount as the beloved "home" of my nephew Vincent, who served that place and its staff and campers so well. And I know it now as the place where my closest family members are both staff members and campers. And this is what I wish to address now: I have no doubt that if there had been campers there that day, we would have been stopped immediately, and not allowed to go further. I have no doubt that Camp Marymount is a safe place, staffed by honorable people. I have no doubt that the campers are in every way protected, and in a secure environment, due to the diligence of the staff and the parents of the campers.

When I made my story public, and when David Brown made his story public, we did so for many reasons. But the main reason we did, and the main reason other survivors do, is to make sure this doesn't happen to another child. If all this letter writing makes one person aware of the potential for abuse, if one child is spared, then it has served its purpose.

C. Michael Coode

Middle Tennessee Chapter Leader

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) (Nashville)

Herbert remembered

I was pleased to know Herbert Fox when I worked for the Scene and Nfocus ("Herbert Fox (1928-2005)," July 21). He taught me how to spell "nuptial." What a class act and wonderful character; he could make the lowliest employee feel like a princess. I will remember him fondly.

Wendie (Turner) Mudd (Nashville)

Fooled again

You got me with The Fabricator (" 'Old Nashvilleland' Theme Park to Revive Local Institutions," July 14). I loved it to the last word, especially the last paragraph.

And then...oh, man, it's a fake. Most weeks I either notice it from the beginning, or catch on after a few lines. But you got me.

Props to the liar.

Ruth Greenwood (Nashville)

You got me with The Fabricator (" 'Old Nashvilleland' Theme Park to Revive Local Institutions," July 14). I loved it to the last word, especially the last paragraph.

And then...oh, man, it's a fake. Most weeks I either notice it from the beginning, or catch on after a few lines. But you got me.

Props to the liar.

Ruth Greenwood (Nashville)


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