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Letters for Winter 2023

Letters for Winter 2023

Lauren Brown portrait


Sometimes I’ll be standing in a swarm of people, like in line at the Stamp Food Court, and wonder about all the stories they could tell. What terrible obstacles have they hurdled, or what unique joys did they experience in the hours, days or years before grabbing their slice of veggie pizza and plopping down in a seat?

Few Terps, I imagine, have overcome as much as Fatema Hosseini.

Whether gliding across campus on her bike or peering at her computer screen in Knight Hall’s News Bubble, the graduate student in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism blends in anonymously, deliberately. But that is extraordinary, following a life shaped by ethnic and religious persecution, casually cruel misogyny and, most recently, a harrowing escape from her native Afghanistan during the chaos of Kabul’s fall to the Taliban.

Every day, Hosseini carries an ache for her family, who fled as refugees to Canada, and anguish for her friends and former colleagues at home whose lives remain at risk. And every day, she quietly attends classes and meetings at UMD as she adjusts to American life, whether learning to drive a car or discovering that she no longer has to fear being arrested, or worse, for doing her job.

Senior writer Chris Carroll drew on his experience as a journalist covering the war in Afghanistan to share Hosseini’s journey of grit and grief for this issue’s cover story.

You’ll find a very different perspective about belonging in this country in Liam Farrell’s feature about World War II internment camps. In it, he chronicles the efforts of a College of Information Studies researcher to digitize long-archived
records detailing how people of Japanese descent detained in them were mistreated, including the moving experience of helping a camp survivor’s son understand his late father’s ordeal.

Flip through the magazine to enjoy other stories that recognize and celebrate diversity on campus and beyond, like one about a podcast from the new dean of the College of Arts and Humanities that compares covers of pop songs by artists of color, or another announcing a huge new initiative to expand access to a UMD education: a $20 million annual investment to cover tuition and fees for low-income students from Maryland. Imagine the doors that will open for so many would-be Terps.

Wishing a few fabulous doors open for you in 2023.

Lauren Brown
University Editor

A Bucketload of Terp Traditions

Your article about the M Book brought back many memories. I donated my personal copy, received in 1965, to the Archives some years ago, but I remember quite vividly the page that included the important songs that dedicated students typically committed to memory: the Alma Mater, the Victory Song, the Fight Song and the Drinking Song.

My personal mission to bring back the Drinking Song has encountered strong opposition from respected members of the university community on the grounds that it would encourage student drinking. I disagree. Rather than encourage drinking, it simply provides a wholesome activity in which the students can engage WHILE they are drinking—singing.

Alan Kazdoy ’69, Dallas

The Modern Battle for Maryland’s Oysters

I grew up on the Potomac River in Colonial Beach, Va. During the winter months in the ’60s, the town’s docks were filled with oyster boats from Tangier. The men would work the river and sleep on the boats or at Curley’s Oyster House, which had some living quarters, and then go home on weekends. Never thought about it, but I suppose they were working the Potomac because it still had an abundance of oysters.

My family was friends with Berkley Muse, the last man killed on a boat during the oyster wars, shot by the patrols mentioned in this article. And our friends, the Curleys, had a boat built with an aircraft engine for propulsion to outrun the fuzz. Another family friend currently plants on oyster grounds his family has held leases on since the 1930s. Those were heady times.

Doug Cooper ’79, Fredericksburg, Va.

Coal Veins

Liam Farrell’s story about his family’s roots in the coal mining industry, what has transpired since and Professor Paul Shackel’s work was just wonderful. What a remarkable confluence of personal and the big picture. Thank you.

Ellen Ternes ’68, Fayetteville, Pa.

Memories in the Pages

I had to respond to the latest issue of Terp. So many articles brought back wonderful memories.

“Home on the Range” reminded me of the time a group of fraternity guys put a cow on the elevator in one of the dorms and sent her to the top floor, where she emerged and wandered through the hallways.

The new dining hall (“A New Recipe for Success”) sounds amazing, but I spent four years eating at the dining halls, and the only thing I had trouble with was the “mystery meat.”

I saw my first lacrosse game (“Talk About an Impressive Season”) at UMD, participated in the card section at football games and was privileged to be in the student section at every basketball game during Lefty’s first year. We even beat his alma mater, Duke, and he celebrated by lying on his back in the middle of the basketball court at Cole Field House and throwing what looked like a temper tantrum. We loved it.

The article about Ukraine (“Big Data ‘Early Alarm’ for Ukraine Abuses”) brought back memories of the Vietnam War, the protests and the National Guard stationed all over campus.

Enough nostalgia for the time. Looking forward to the next Terp.

Bertha Jean Brown Parker ’70, Springdale, Ark.