Letters to the Editor, Sept. 29, 2010

Dear Editor,

Hi, my name is Jaron Lewin-Berlin and I’d like to warn people about something that could get them in trouble. I had been assigned court ordered community service hours to complete by May 13th. I finished them at the Northampton Trial Court Community Service Program on time and they informed me they were faxing them in to my courthouse.

I went along with my daily life until one day in the visitors’ lot I got pulled over, handcuffed and told I had a warrant out for my arrest. I spent three hours in the University of Massachusetts police station and was booked, shipped out to Northampton and told I hadn’t completed my community service.

The community service program had forgotten to fax my information in to court.

Due to this accident, I had to deal with being arrested on campus, going back home to court to give them papers that proved I had completed my community service on time and having my name in the police log for being arrested for having an active warrant. I’ve been imprisoned, inconvenienced and embarrassed because of a mistake made by an official trial court community service program.

I learned a lesson, however. Simply because something is official and they say they are going to handle your case doesn’t mean that everything is going to go through as planned. I learned I have to take responsibility to make sure everything is taken care of properly because sometimes paperwork falls through the cracks. The clerks at the courthouse told me that this kind of thing “happens sometimes.” It is not an isolated incident. Anyone who has community service to do for any reason should double check and be 100 percent sure all their information goes to the right place. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Jaron Lewin-Berlin
UMass Student


Dear Editor,

At the 1989 Commencement, I was one of the Faculty Marshalls directing seating on the field in the stadium. My role was to help seat the faculty, with the Distinguished Teaching Awardees to occupy the front row of that section. They were to stand and be honored when called on by the chancellor later in the ceremony.

Who is this young looking guy in cap and gown about to take a seat there? I asked myself. He is obviously in the wrong place. Probably a graduating senior, I decided. He looked so young. I addressed him. “These seats,” I said, as authoritatively as I could, “are reserved for Distinguished Teaching Recipients.”

He replied, somewhat sheepishly I thought, “I’m one of them.”

It was George N. Parks, all of 36 years old at the time and even more surprising, only 24 years of age when he took over the Band in 1977. 24-years-old. I apologized for my error. He looked so young, and in my memory of him, still does. He looked so young.

Vincent Cleary,
Professor Emeritus,