Wick Sloane ’76 wrote the following e-mail to 5 trustees:

Greg and Steve and Clayton and Paul and Bill —

The absence of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans at Williams is disgraceful. I’ve brought this to your attention before, without result. Hammering me, the messenger, is petty. I’m long dead, anyway, but fire away if that makes you feel better. There are now hundreds of thousands of veterans collecting GI Bill benefits. Williams can find a few.

Any and all of you are welcome to visit any class of mine at Bunker Hill Community College. I will give you the entire period to rebut my argument that Williams should have veterans enrolled.

I find no pleasure in this broadcast note. I’ve tried the polite way for more than a year with no luck or even credible replies.

ws

http://www.insidehighered.com/views/sloane/sloane30

From the column —

The Devil’s Workshop Highly Selective Veterans Day Survey

Institution Current Undergraduate Veteran Enrollment
Yale 0
Princeton 0
Williams 0
Harvard 4
Dartmouth 16
Stanford 30
Bunker Hill
Community College
285

(c)Inside Higher Ed

More from Wick’s column:

Cane. Short haircut. Young. Here in a community college, that means “Veteran. Wounded.” I always introduce myself to see what help they need at school. Or perhaps what help I need, because I am so ashamed of what I, the people, have put these veterans through with little result or purpose.

One cane I’ll call Tony I’ve lost altogether. He wasn’t thirty years old. An improvised explosive devise, an IED, in Iraq had caused his wounds, he told me. Brain trauma, which showed in his speech and thinking. The limp was because the IED had broken his neck. In the fog of war, no one had discovered the fracture until he was in a hospital in Germany. Just the effort of walking left him sweating in the lobby. He had his veterans benefits paperwork. A colleague and I made sure he had what he needed and knew the right lines to register. I looked two days later. Tony wasn’t registered. I telephoned. He’d been mugged on the subway. I talked with his father. I offered to drive over and pick Tony up. We couldn’t get Tony back to school. He only wanted to go to community college for job training. Another cane is still in school.

For the sake of these canes, and the coffins, too, how about an assignment for us all this week? Let’s distribute at every meeting and every class we attend this week copies of Wilfred Owen’s World War I poem, “Dulce et Decorum Est.”

The poem begins:

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

My best writing on veteran issues are here, here and here.

Happy Veteran’s Day to Ephs far and wide.

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