Letter to the Editor—The Luther West I knew

Dorothy Vanerka

This is sent with profound sadness and concern over NMU’s hasty decision to erase all traces of Dr. Luther West from its campus. As a relative by marriage, I testify to the character of the man I knew for 36 years. 

My sister, Lois, married West’s son, William when I was eleven years old. In the ensuing years, West’s dignity of character became evident to me through close family relations. Our two families shared life and enjoyed countless happy occasions. I hold in highest regard his kindness, generosity, purity of speech and uplifting conversation. My brother-in-law, Bill, was a reflection of his father in these same traits.  

To hurriedly defame his name and legacy without thorough investigation or character reference from those who knew him best and on allegations due to courses he was required to teach by the university profoundly discredits Northern Michigan University. 

—Dorothy (Splinter) Vanerka, community member