Open Letter by Landers Regarding Emory Trek

From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Open Letter
Title: Open Letter by Landers Regarding Emory Trek is the title used here on Fanlore, as the original letter had no title
From: Randall Landers
Addressed To: Star Trek fans
Date(s): 1981
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Open Letter by Landers Regarding Emory Trek is a 1981 open letter by Randall Landers.

The topic was the convention, Emory Trek.

This letter was printed in Universal Translator #8 in March/April 1981.

After this letter was printed, ASTRA, a splinter group of ASTS, was formed.

Some Topics Discussed

  • Star Trek conventions
  • over-reach, prestige, different views of the future, getting too big for one's britches
  • sharing of power and visibility
  • jockeying for position
  • the purpose and audience for cons

The Letter

I am a student at Emory University and a fan of the television series 'Star Trek.' Last May [1980], the Atlanta Star Trek Society (ASTS) held a small convention on Emory's campus. Advertised as "Emory-Trek", the event was free to Emory students and open to the public for a price. The University Center Board (UCB) 's Special Events committee sponsored the convention, and it was given notice by the Atlanta Journal/Constitution's entertainment section. The convention was decidedly a success as a fair portion of the student body at tended the event, including myself. While there, I entered a trivia contest and won a free membership with the ASTS.

As time went along, I became more and more involved with the society. In October, the president of the club, Owen Ogletree Jr., contacted me. He wanted me to refer UCB member Steve Koval to him. I did so.

Later in the year, in December [1980], I received a phone call from Mr. Ogletree. He informed me that another "Emory-Trek" convention would be held in May of this year for two days. He also stated that Kerry O'Quinn, the publisher of STARLOG, a major science fiction-oriented magazine, was a confirmed guest. A notice to this effect also appeared in the ASTS newsletter. Mr. Ogletree also related to me that there was a fifty-fifty chance Jesco von Puttkamer, who served as a science consultant for 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture', would be attending, and that there was a ten percent chance that 'Star Trek' make up artist Fred Phillips would attend as well.

I was enthralled at the prospect of meeting these men, but my joy turned to disdain when Mr. Ogletree told me not to tell anyone as he did not want a lot of "Emory folk" showing up. I expressed my disapproval at the the thought of limiting student attendance then as I do now.

Nevertheless, on January 17 of this year [1981], I attended "Star Trek Atlanta", a small convention held at the Tucker Hilton [1]. There I discovered that the ASTS was distributing flyers. These flyers advertised "Emory-Trek II" and that the event was being sponsored by Emory UCB's Special Events Committee and the ASTS.

I took one and inquired about them. Rebecca Landers, an ASTS board member of no relation to myself, informed me that the flyers had been distributed a week earlier at another convention. On some of these, there was a handwritten announcement that Kerry O'Quinn was a confirmed guest. Later in the same day, Mr. Ogletree told me in private that David Gerrold, a noted science fiction author and columnist for STARLOG, was also attending.

I was delighted until Mr. Ogletree again instructed me to keep this knowledge to myself as he did not want a lot of "non-Star Trek fans" (presumably students) attending.

When I returned to campus, I related the events of the day to my roommate, who apparently related it to the chairman of the UCB Special Events committee, Babette Balian. The next day, Ms. Balian contacted me. She and her committee had indeed approved of the "Emory-Trek" held in May of 1980, but neither she nor the members of her committee had approved of "Emory-Trek II". Nor did the Special Events committee know that the flyers with their name had been printed.

After several hours of question and answer periods with Owen Ogletree, Tom Pratt Jr. (the ASTS vice-president) , Steve Koval and myself, Ms. Balian cancelled the event, especially in the light of the fact that Mr. Ogletree and Mr. Pratt gave conflicting stories to Ms. Balian and Mr. Koval, and that the ASTS had planned to limit student attendance by keeping the student guest list to themselves. This is a fact that Mr. Ogletree will admit to.

I subsequently resigned from the ASTS because of this debacle, because of the attitude of the ASTS members involved, and because I later learned that either Mr. Ogletree or Mr. Pratt had slandered my name, saying that I was "trying to ruin things for everyone."

And now, having been barred forevermore from Emory's campus, the ASTS is seeking a new location for their convention. I would hope that none of the Atlanta hotels, the public libraries, nor any other facility will lease them the space needed for this convention as they tried to deprive Emory students of the convention with their underhanded tactics.

There was no logical, sane reason behind their decision to limit student attendance as the University was giving them rooms without charge. The only reason is an elitist attitude on behalf of the executives. Article II, Section 1 of the ASTS constitution states that one of the objects and purposes of the society is to "encourage and promote popular interest in

'Star Trek', its philosophies, and fandom." Well, the ASTS has violated their own constitution with this elitist attitude. The primary philosophy of 'Star Trek is that "the beauty of creation is in its infinite diversity." In my opinion, elitism is utterly contemptuous of that philosophy as well as our modern society's. And I hope that one day, the ASTS will realize this and change their attitude.


  1. ^ This is NOT the same as Star Trek Atlanta, the con in the series by Al Schuster.