Up, not down

August 5, 2005

Hamilton College, which was recently involved in controversy after inviting Ward Churchill to speak on campus, has suffered no decline in applications, contrary to what your article said ("Ideals get the chop", July 29).

Not one applicant to Hamilton withdrew his or her application, while this year's intake is the highest quality class ever enrolled as measured by SAT scores and class standings.

Although some donors withdrew financial support, Hamilton remains in the top 1 per cent of US colleges in terms of alumni-giving participation rates.

The college increased its overall donation record last year, raising more than $18 million (£10 million), while more than 53 per cent of donors increased the size of their donations.

Finally, although "Limits of dissent" was the ultimate title chosen for Churchill's presentation, the original topic was "Native American rights."

Once we uncovered Churchill's remarks about 9/11, unnoticed by the dozens of colleges who had hosted him on their campuses post-9/11, our president changed the title of his presentation. A panel was created to allow for a discussion of his 9/11 remarks as part of the programme.

None of this was possible, however, because the number and seriousness of the threats against Churchill, Hamilton's president and the community, including death threats, resulted in the event having to be cancelled.

Vige Barrie, director of media relations, Hamilton College, Clinton, New York

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