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[BKARTS] Clearing the air about Purchase College
- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU
- Subject: [BKARTS] Clearing the air about Purchase College
- From: Philip Zimmermann <pzimmermann@HVC.RR.COM>
- Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 03:13:46 -0500
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I would like to respond to a post from Ed Hutchins yesterday and another
from a week ago. The most recent post seems disingenuous.
I had to laugh at the subject name of his most recent email which was
'clearing the air'. I don't feel that the air is very clear.
In fact I would like a public apology from Ed Hutchins.
It's rather sad statement about Ed Hutchins that he feels that he can, or
has to dump on Purchase College, and insult me on this list, because of a
strange personal grudge that he holds against me and the program.
I am the person whom he calls "the worst person he has met in 54 years," in
the post to this list a week ago. If I am the worst person he has met in 54
years, Ed Hutchins has led an extremely sheltered and innocent life.
Although he doesn't mention me by name, I have gotten a number of emails and
talked to several people who immediately knew he was talking about me. I
suppose that this is because he seems to feel free to slander me whenever
and wherever the opportunity arises. I am getting pretty tired of it.
Since Ed Hutchins feels that he can attack me personally, (I posted the
original announcement note about the MFA program to the list-serve, which is
obviously what got him all riled up, and I administer the Book Arts
component of the MFA program at Purchase), I feel like I should be able to
explain the strange case of Ed Hutchins at Purchase, in order to defend
myself and the reputation of the MFA program.
As Paul Werner correctly notes however, the Family Educational Rights and
Privacy Act (FERPA) does not allow me to discuss any of the particulars
about Ed Hutchins very brief career at Purchase College.
I will just say that Ed Hutchins' vicious personal grudge against me came
out of a very minor grading issue. He quit the MFA program because of it. It
was rather hard for me to fathom such behavior. And for this I seem to have
earned his undying hatred, and years of vitriol against me and, by
extension, Purchase College. Go figure. I don't understand it.
No other person has ever quit the graduate program in 18 years, and I think
that speaks for itself.
The ironic thing is that the case of Ed Hutchins perfectly illustrates the
old axiom of "no good deed goes unpunished". I wish I could go into more
detail but I can't.
His letter to the list was a scary and unsettling reminder of how this
grudge still continues. When will this end? It is so tiresome. I feel I must
write back now because if I don't, it seems likely he will continue to
slander me into perpetuity. The most recent email from him is what decided
me to write as it seems like he is conveniently whitewashing over his
earlier slanderous comments.
I am very tired of hearing his inaccurate and biased comments about the
program. I would urge anyone interested in finding out about the program to
not listen to Ed Hutchins, but to find out on their own about the MFA
program, and form their own un-biased opinions.
Purchase has some recognized problems, but relatively minor problems in the
bigger scheme of things. What graduate program doesn't? Yes, we are a bit
understaffed, yes, we are underfunded (we are a state school with a very low
tuition), and we are the first to admit that. But I defy any grad program in
the country to say that they too, could not use more money and more faculty
and staff. Despite the fact that we could use more funds allocated to the
grad program, (and who couldn't?), I still feel that we have one of the best
programs in the country, with fantastic facilities, great and dedicated
faculty who really care about their students and, not coincidentally
hard-working and happy grad students.
Many of our grads stay an extra year to work on their thesis because they
really enjoy the facilities and nurturing atmosphere here. We have graduated
many very fine artists' book makers, all of whom, by the way, have had
nothing but good things to say about it, with the exception of Ed Hutchins.
Come see the place for yourself, or talk to any of our other graduates --or
undergraduates for that matter. You will get a very different picture. Yes,
we have our shortcomings, every place does, but they are far out weighed by
the good things we have to offer.
When Ed Hutchins and I both went to a book conference two or three years in
Tuscaloosa, at the University of Alabama, I went up to him at the book fair
and tried to say hello and be friendly, but all I got was a complete icy
I do worry that Ed Hutchins goes around to workshops and conferences and
spreads his sad, bitter feelings and personal grudges, and bad-mouths the
school, the MFA program, and of course me. I wish I knew why and what this
vendetta is about. He won't talk to me. C'mon Ed, get over it, whatever IT
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