I was an Evangelical Christian, a new Christian. But I was really working out my own issues. And one of those issues at Williams I had heard of some anti-Semitism and some housing discrimination but I didn’t pay any mind, “That was long ago.” And then I became embroiled in a struggle on that and right about the time I met Gaudino. I had a group of friends my freshman year who were getting together to form a housing group and they said to me, “We’re looking for another guy.” I said, “Great. let’s ask Bob Rothman, he’s a good guy.” And one of the guys says, “Well that won’t do.” “Why?” “Because of his last name.” And I basically pinned him down that they wanted to form a housing group that wouldn’t allow anyone who was Jewish. I was furious and got up and said, “F-you, I’m going to form my own housing group with Rothman.” I guess I was so naïve. There were four of them—one of them was openly anti-Semitic, one was quietly anti-Semitic and the other two were good friends of mine who didn’t have the balls to stand up to it. And that’s what Gaudino taught me—we need to be civil but we also need to be prophetic, and he taught how to do that in a teasing sort of probing way. He told me I was too nice to be a good Christian. I said, “What do you mean Mr. Gaudino? You’ve always wanted me to be a nice Christian, that’s the whole point of civil discourse.” He said, “Well Jesus wouldn’t approve. Because Jesus called people to account and I don’t see you doing enough of that.”

Jeff Niese '74