Joan Hinde Stewart, President
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
Dear President Stewart:
I write to express my disapproval of future "Artist in Residence" Susan Rosenberg appointed as a featured speaker and instructor at Hamilton College. It distresses me, as the parent of a Hamilton College student, the relative of several alumni, and a law-enforcement professional since 1975, to think that a convicted terrorist with a violent criminal background will instruct at Hamilton College.
Susan Rosenberg spent sixteen years in prison following conviction on charges relating to the possession of automatic weapons, blasting caps and 640 pounds of explosives. She served less than a third of the minimum in her 58 years to life sentence before release from prison in January of 2001 along with fellow terrorist Linda Evans. Both Susan Rosenberg and Linda Evans belonged to the Weathermen Underground and had close ties with the Black Liberation Army.
The Black Liberation Army was linked to numerous murders of police officers during the 1970's and early 1980's, including several ambush-style executions of both African-American and Caucasian New York City Police Officers. The Weathermen accidentally blew up three of their own members, are suspected of bombing a San Francisco police station in which one officer was killed, and allegedly planted bombs in corporate offices, draft offices, ROTC buildings, the US Capitol building, National Guard headquarters, FBI headquarters, the Long Island Court House, the New York City Police Department headquarters, the Pentagon, the State Department, the National War College, the Navy Yard Computer Center, and the Navy Yard Officers Club. Susan Rosenberg was indicted for the bombing at the U.S. Capitol in 1983.
Raised in privilege, Susan Rosenberg knowingly placed herself in the service of ruthless murderers. She chose to support the Underground as driver of getaway cars, a hauler of weapons, and a securer of safehouses. She let others pull the trigger, but she was always a faithful abettor to those who murdered my professional colleagues. Susan Rosenberg participated in a string of armed robberies and other crimes during the 1970s and early 1980s, leaving death, destruction, mayhem, and fear in the wake of these crimes. Also left behind were grieving widows, children and family members of slain victims.
Susan Rosenberg helped carry out the 1979 prison escape of Black Liberation Army leader Joanne Chesimard (a.k.a. Assata Shakur), who was serving a life sentence for murder, assault, robbery, and weapons convictions. On May 2, 1973, State Troopers James Harper and Werner Foerster stopped Joanne Chesimard and two of her friends on the New Jersey Turnpike. While being questioned, Chesimard and the driver opened fire on the troopers with automatic pistols, hitting both of them. Chesimard then took Foerster's weapon and fired execution-style into the officer's head, killing him. She was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. She escaped in 1979 and fled to Cuba where she was granted political asylum.
Susan Rosenberg was suspected of driving one of the escape vehicles in the infamous October 20, 1981 Brinks armored car robbery at the Nanuet Mall. Brinks Guard Pete Paige was murdered leaving behind a wife and three children, and Guard Joe Trombino was seriously wounded by automatic gunfire during that holdup. Shortly after the robbery, Nyack police officer Waverly Brown and Sgt. Edward O'Grady were murdered in a hail of gunfire from the robbery participants, and Nyack Police Detective Artie Keenan was seriously wounded. Sgt. O'Grady left behind a wife and three small children ages six, two, and six months.
Susan Rosenberg went underground following the Brinks robbery until she was arrested in Cherry Hill, New Jersey in November 1984. She and an accomplice had rented a storage facility under a false name. Police discovered automatic weapons, blasting caps and 640 pounds of explosives. At the time of Susan Rosenberg's arrest, she had also been charged as an accomplice in the Brinks robbery with planning to provide weapons.
Following her arrest in 1984, Susan Rosenberg gave no account of her whereabouts or activity from the time of the 1981 Brinks robbery to her arrest in Cherry Hill, NJ. During her incarceration, the parole commission refused to release her and noted that it was appropriate to consider information about the Brinks robbery even though an indictment for that crime had been dropped. The commission did not find her denial of involvement in the crime credible. In addition, relatives of the murdered officer have publicly asked that she not be released, since she had never expressed any remorse for the murders. U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White wrote to the parole commission, "Even if Susan Rosenberg now professes a change of heart about her pursuit of violence as a means to achieve her political objectives, the wreckage she has left in her wake is too enormous to overlook."
Susan Rosenberg calls herself "political prisoner," when in fact she was arrested, indicted and tried not for her ideas but for her terrorist actions. She and her associates justify the violence they are guilty of on political grounds, and hence do not see their actions as criminal. In December of 2000 Susan Rosenberg told a national television audience on CBS's "60 Minutes" that she had never taken part in the Brinks robbery, completely contradicting the rock-solid evidence against her. Susan Rosenberg went underground immediately after the robbery. Experience tells me this is not the normal action of an innocent person.
The resulting charges against her for the Brinks robbery and murder of three people were dropped by prosecutors as being redundant, since Susan Rosenberg had already been convicted and sentenced to a lengthy and severe sentence in the NJ incident. Prosecutors dropped the charges to save the government and taxpayers the cost and time of a trial for what would most likely be a concurrent sentence. There was plenty of evidence of her involvement.
Susan Rosenberg contends that she was never a violent criminal, only a political activist who "supported the right of oppressed people to armed struggle." Using her logic, can we now justify her part in the 1979 prison escape of Black Liberation Army leader Joanne Chesimard, who had no problem oppressing the right to life of Trooper Werner Foerster? What about the 1981 Brinks robbery where gunmen left two police officers and a guard dead?
History is rife with those who have oppressed their fellow men. They come from all walks of life and include antisocial criminals and people acting under color of law as government entities. I am baffled by the prospect of Susan Rosenberg being granted intellectual status and a platform to influence our collegians, the future of our great nation. Would the police officers from the Rodney King beating or the Amadou Diallo shooting also be welcomed by Hamilton -- or any other college, for that matter -- to share their life experiences and thought with students? I think not.
Please take these facts into consideration. I have attended far too many police officer funerals in my career due to senseless criminal acts like those of Susan Rosenberg and her consorts. I work hard in my profession to protect and serve the community I live in and love, and do so with great pride. My son attended and graduated with honors from Williams College, and my daughter is in her third year at Hamilton. I have no doubts that our third child will follow in her siblings' footsteps. Financially, our one-income family struggled to fund these educations, but we have persevered for their benefit. I am disturbed to think that a portion of the proceeds from my labor may help finance Susan Rosenberg as an "Artist in Residence". I urge Hamilton College and you as College President to please reconsider these plans.
Edward F. Moore
President, FBI National Academy Associates
New York State & Eastern Canada Chapter