Letter to the Editor: A response to your critique of campus doors

Dear Editor,

In a recent issue of the Athenian, your esteemed editor, Paul Palumbo, wrote about doors. In this atrocious opinion piece, he argued that “all the doors on campus [are] so ridiculous”.

This is frankly a completely unforgivable position, one that had no place being published in your magazine.

I have always held a special place in my heart for doors, especially those well endowed gateways found on the Case Western Reserve University campus, inviting you to a world of fun beyond their handles. Here at CWRU, we do have a surplus of doors, and they are some of the finest, most titillating doors in the nation.

Leutner, for example: When you come in contact with those massive doors, they open slowly to reveal the delicious world within. Or the doors to our beloved Tinkham Veale University Center, they just open right up for you to enter as you approach. While I’ve only spent a few years in Cleveland, I’ve been around these blocks enough to know that they are by far the easiest doors to get inside of. And every time I enter the Allen Memorial Medical Library, I still think back to the time I ran into a shy, hidden door in the basement of the stacks, holding in some steamy secret.

You think that the Peter B. Lewis Building (PBL) has a superfluous amount of vertically oriented door handles? I postulate that the only thing improperly screwed on is your head. While PBL lacks right angles across all of its major architectural surfaces, there is one place you will find such simple and perfect angles. The doors. Is there anything as uncontrived as the simplistic beauty that the portal into such a “funhouse” is the last locus of familiar 90 degree angles?

And those Rockefeller Building doors you called the worst on campus? Easily some of the best doors made since 1905. To this day, they still fulfill the vision set out by William R. Watterson. Those 7.38 tons of pure African Blackwood (southern variety) are the largest existing slabs of this rare hardwood, representing 15 percent of the CWRU endowment. Maybe think of that before you try to open it “Midwest Style” like you’re Josey Wales entering a saloon. Next time you’re facing one of these doors – instead of watching your life flash before your eyes – try appreciating some of the intricate carving that Samuel Austin meticulously pulled from the grains. He spent 12 years embodying the beauty of a changing world, representative of our science departments, into the sturdy face of these massive doors.

I hope that I have not been to harsh. Truly, you have a wonderful newspaper that I do sincerely enjoy perusing, but I felt that I could not remain silent on an issue as personal as this. Please reconsider the stance your publication takes on doors. I hope that with time all of your wonderful writers can come to appreciate doors as a threshold to another world the way I have and that you take a closer look at the doors around you.

If I may leave one parting recommendation to finish up this letter, I would like to recommend a few doors on campus. For your readers, I would recommend the Veale Convocation, Recreation and Athletic Center doors; they are the first doors they will cross after receiving their diploma. And for the Athenian staff, may I recommend the Media Board Office doors—after such an atrocious article, I think it’s time the organization sees itself out.

Harald Gormsson

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