Liberty and Justice for All

I believe in fairness. I believe in equal opportunity. I believe in working hard and making the grade. I do not believe in coddling, quotas, and ‘rewarding’ mediocre performance. Among the first wave of professional women in business, I experienced the chauvinism and prejudice that accompanied my appointment as Eastman Kodak Company’s first female photofinishing technical sales representative. I dealt with the “unfair” treatment associated with the delay in assigning me my own territory because the division manager didn’t believe women should be in this manly-man field. So what did I do? I worked. I worked hard. I worked harder than I had to because I was intent on proving myself, letting my performance speak for itself. And it did, and I finally got a territory of my own: the San Francisco Bay area.

What’s the relevance of my story? I came upon this NY Times article about the changing demographics at CUNY and I was pleased on the one hand, discouraged on the other. Let’s do the bad news first: Several years ago, CUNY raised its entrance requirements, and after several years, the Asian and white student populations have increased while the black and Hispanics have decreased.  Likewise, the average SAT scores of entering freshman are now at an average of 1200, and the overall quality of students has increased.

Is this indeed bad? There are those who think so. They think that the gains made to create diverse student populations are falling away to the detriment of the schools, ethnicities, and society as a whole. True, a “purposed” lack of diversity is an essentially evil thing. But in the CUNY case, (and now for the good side), we’re talking about students being aptly rewarded for work and performance, and subsequently, a student body rich in challenge and intellectual diversity. We’re talking about a quality education at a reasonable ($ 5430 for instate-students) price. We are talking about rewards for work and performance with an end result that is beneficial to students, institutions, and society.

Alaska Quote

End of the semester is a crazy time, but this year, things are surprisingly under control. Only a few stray assignments to read, followed by the grand finale — the 12 — 15 page papers — 30 to be exact — that will be coming in next Tuesday. In the meantime, I have taken on a new gig with tons of work and it’s all good — it’s just timing, you know?In spite of the “load,” I went riding today. It was one of those sparkly, perfectly-cool, infinite blue-sky days and it was simply not going to pass without this ass getting into the seat of saddle secured on the back of a horse — mine! We didn’t do much because Buzzy was a bit gimpy last week, and today his mistress was a bit lazy, so a few turns around the ring, and that was it.

I’ve been meaning to post this quote for weeks, so now that I’ve finished the book and it gets buried amid my ten million piles of books, today is the day. It came from James Michener’s Alaska, a 1000 + pager about which I can say I honestly enjoyed every single page.  I shall otherwise remain mum regarding details. So, here goes:

So … Life comes at you in a thousand different forms, and you better be prepared to accept it when it comes along. Because if you miss it, the years stretch out forever, bleak and lonely and meaningless.

Now I can take the sticky-marker off the page, stick the book on the shelf with all the others, and  maybe dust it at some future time to come.

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