Re "Rosemont struggles with call to admit men," May 18:

As a loyal Rosemont College alumna, I am less nostalgic than I am practical. I ask the questions: Can a coed Rosemont compete with Eastern, Cabrini, Immaculata and Chestnut Hill Colleges, not to mention Villanova, St. Joseph's and La Salle Universities? Is the money there to transform the campus into a male-friendly one? Can Rosemont attract the high-caliber student who was once part of its identity?

I am one of many alumnae who feel Rosemont's identity can best be salvaged by being a part of Villanova University. Many women's colleges have affiliated with other schools with which they had enjoyed a long relationship. It appears to me that the board of trustees of Rosemont hasn't explored this option to the fullest before changing course and rushing into a coed world.

Columbia University and Barnard College are a good example, but even more relevant is Westhampton College within the University of Richmond. While I certainly can't speak for my neighbors in the Villanova administration, I suspect that they would be very happy to explore options to work with Rosemont in a mutually beneficial way. In my opinion, Rosemont's board has a fiduciary responsibility to explore all options thoroughly. I hope it makes wise decisions.

Kristin Strid


Transgender tolerance

Thank you for the great story by Joelle Farrell and John Sullivan about the 9-year-old child whose elementary school allowed her to gender transition ("School challenge: Transgender student is age 9," May 3). Despite the disapproval of psychiatrist Paul McHugh, who claims that the problem remains after a sex change, studies have repeatedly demonstrated that most transgender people who change sex are far happier afterward.

As McHugh's words show, the only real problem remaining for transgender people is dealing with the rest of us, whose hearts and minds are often closed to the sufferings of those different from ourselves. What a fabulous way for Chatham Park Elementary School to approach this situation, by teaching all its students to be tolerant of differences. Perhaps it is a lesson that will last a lifetime.

Ben Barres

Professor of neurobiology and neurology

Stanford University School of Medicine

Palo Alto, Calif.

Ease traffic; save gas

With gas prices soaring, we hear a lot these days about what motorists can do to reduce fuel consumption. Yet we never hear about the steps that state and municipal governments might take to help. While carpooling, keeping cars tuned, and minimizing casual driving can soften the sting at the pump, efforts by the city and suburbs to improve traffic management could add considerably to the savings. These efforts include:

Selectively removing "No turn on red" signs at intersections. These signs would be retained only at critical intersections or intersections with constant heavy traffic. Many could be replaced with ones restricting turns only during specific hours. This would apply to many areas of the city, especially Center City.

Setting many traffic lights to blink after certain hours. Again, it's pointless to wait at an intersection for a light to change, particularly late at night when few cars are on the streets.

Installing "smart lights" at intersections. These have been shown to regulate traffic efficiently, particularly in suburban areas.

Drivers can do a lot of little things to help themselves, but fuel conservation in the face of rising gas prices has to be a shared initiative. It's time for city and suburban officials to review traffic patterns and controls in their areas and make practical and sensible changes.

Ralph Swift