Forum, May 18: Warner Bentley’s unsung contributions to the Hop

Published: 5/19/2022 1:16:34 PM
Modified: 5/19/2022 1:14:49 PM
Warner Bentley’s unsung contributions to the Hop

I agree with Frank Barrett (“Recalling early days of the Hopkins Center,” May 13) that the Valley News article on the Hopkins Center (“Connecting campus to community,” May 2) was well done, but both of these writers failed to mention, even in passing, the name and contribution of Warner Bentley. It was almost all about bricks and mortar.

Warner Bentley was the first director of the Hop and spent his entire adult life from 1928 until his retirement in 1969 as a Dartmouth professor and administrator, and yet, there was nothing to acknowledge his contribution to the performing arts at the college.

When Warner Bentley graduated from the Yale Drama School in 1928 (94 years ago), he was encouraged to come to Dartmouth by President Ernest Martin Hopkins, who promised to build a theater and support theater art. He got his theater — 34 years later — just seven years before his retirement. Warner remained in Norwich almost until his passing in 1987, so he was able to see and enjoy the continuing success of the Hopkins Center.

There is a bust of Warner at the Hop, and students passing by rub his nose for good luck. He was a legend at Dartmouth and he is still with us. There is another story there.

William J. Montgomery

Hanover

Gov. Sununu disappoints on abortion rights

Right now, abortion rights are federally protected in all 50 states, but the recent Supreme Court leak indicates that it is likely to change — soon. While abortion would remain legal in New Hampshire before 24 weeks, it will take work to preserve those rights into the future given the state’s current legislative makeup.

Gov. Sununu might say he’s the reason that abortion is, and will remain, legal in New Hampshire. He might say he’s a “pro-choice” governor. He might boast that he’s proud to sign a bipartisan bill that “expands abortion access” in the coming weeks.

But his actions speak louder than words. He is not a pro-choice governor.

In 2018, Sununu put his full support behind Justice Kavanaugh, whose appointment by former President Trump helped seal the fate of Roe.

In 2020, Sununu vetoed the Reproductive Health Parity Act, which would have removed financial barriers for people seeking access to abortion.

And in 2021, Sununu signed New Hampshire’s first modern abortion ban into law.

This year, bipartisan legislation has been adopted to address some of the harm caused by Sununu’s abortion ban, and he’s trying to take credit now for “expanding” access to abortion.

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, we’ll need elected officials that will protect and expand abortion access in New Hampshire. But the bottom line is, Gov. Sununu doesn’t trust Granite Staters, and we can’t trust him to protect our reproductive rights.

Fiona Greenough

Meriden

Abortion and the Constitution

Our Declaration of Independence is foundational to what Americans believe and the basis for the U.S. Constitution. It says that all men (meaning human beings) are created equal and have rights that can’t be changed: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It says that government powers come from “the consent of the governed” — the people — that’s US! The May 12 commentary in the Valley News, “Leak casts doubt on issues beyond abortion,” mentions constitutional amendments and Supreme Court cases but is incomplete.

The Third Amendment forbids quartering soldiers in homes “without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.” Forcing homeowners to do this was certainly an invasion of privacy.

The Fourth Amendment begins “The right of the people to be secure in their persons ...” What does this mean? In a 1965 case, the Supreme Court found that a state law outlawing birth control was unconstitutional — an invasion of privacy, as people were not secure in their persons from the government’s interference.

When did We the People give the government the right to limit abortion?

Limitations on rights are needed when other people or society are affected. In abortion, the woman and perhaps the male are involved. Some argue, as Executive Councilor Joseph Kenney wrote to me, the unborn has a “right to be born.” Where did this right come from? Some churches may teach that this exists, given by “their Creator,” but is this fair for everyone? If it is not fair for everyone, then abortion should not be forbidden.

And if the government makes laws based on the teachings of some religions, isn’t that violating the First Amendment’s forbidding a law “respecting an establishment of religion”?

Howard Shaffer

Enfield




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