Eleven years ago, when Cerebus ended, Dave Sim decided to answer all of his back mail. A month or so later, he had his "Jeff Seiler Day" in which he answered multiple letters I had written over the previous year. After I received that letter, I decided to keep writing, and he kept his promise to answer every letter he received. And now, I have a foot-high stack of letters written and received over 10 years or so. I'll be running interesting excerpts from those letters every Saturday.
This week, we're returning to Dave's interesting (to say the least) correspondence with Mr. Douglas A. Jeffery, of Hillsdale College, in Hillsdale, MI, here is Mr. Jeffery's response to Dave's original letter, dated September 21, 2004:
Dear Mr. Sim,
...and Dave Sim's reply to Mr. Jeffery, dated 2 October, 2004:I am responding belatedly to yours of July 19. What I mean by saying that there is no affirmative action involved in our admissions process -- despite my ignorance about facts such as the percentage of males and females in our applicant pool -- is this: We accept students based on merit and character. We do not have different standards based on race or gender.
Thank you again for writing, and I hope you continue to enjoy Imprimis.
Douglas A. Jeffery
Vice President for External Affairs
Dear Mr. Jeffery:
Thank you for your response of September 21. I'm sure that for a busy man in your situation "belatedly" is a relative term. Having completed my 27-year Cerebus project late last year, I'm in the fortunate situation of answering my mail as the primary core of my livelihood and am pleased to get a response of any kind from "high places".Permit me to approach our subject from another direction: if you were to examine the ratio of male-to-female enrolments from 1970 and chart that ratio, year-over-year, from then until the most recent calendar year, presumably the female enrolments would rise from whatever they were in 1970 to their present level of 49% of the student body and male enrolments [Canadian spelling, folks--Ed.] would decline from whatever they were in 1970 to their present level of 51% of the student body. Are you maintaining that that rise and decline were naturally-occurring and based solely on merit and character? Put another way, do you really believe that female merit and character has risen that dramatically and regularly, year-over-year, and that male merit and character has declined that dramatically and regularly, year-over-year since 1970?I have, indeed, continued to enjoy Imprimis, particularly George Gilder's remarks in your August number and the November, 1977, Ludwig von Mises Lecture Series speech by Ronald Reagan (may God rest his soul) at your college. Remarkable clarity of thought.