To the Editor:
I would like to respectfully inquire why the News chose to run Paul Streitz’s letter “Yale, a ‘third rate’ institution, promotes delusional stance on immigrant ‘take-over’ ” (12/3).
I believe for a number of reasons that Streitz’s letter should not have been published.
First, Streitz’s letter constituted hatemongering. His views on immigration and Mexican Americans are so extreme and bizarre that they can not be defended as a contribution to any meaningful debate. Streitz suggests, for example, that Mexican-American members of the Yale community are plotting to kill me and my gringo brethren to facilitate a take-over of the United States. Accusations like this are so beyond the pale that they should be considered libel or even hate speech and dealt with accordingly.
Worse than that, because Streitz’s absurd comments do actually refer to an ongoing debate in American politics they can do real damage if people are asked to take them seriously. Publishing Streitz’s letter does just that — asks Yale students to treat his nonsense as legitimate. This is a grave error. Views like Streitz’s are not worth our time.
Finally, Streitz is not connected with Yale University in any significant way. I can understand publishing a letter from someone with no link to the University if the piece is well-written and contributes to a relevant discussion. Alas, Streitz’s letter is not well-written and contributes only to discussions of whether the News has lost its good judgment.
The first comment posted online in response to Streitz’s piece states hopefully, “This is so obviously a joke letter.” It is reassuring to me that the general Yale population finds Streitz’s letter ridiculous, but it does not seem like he himself or the News thinks so. As one of our finest organizations and the most visible forum for debate on campus, the News should be more careful about what it blesses with the legitimacy of publication and what it tosses aside.
Kochevar is a junior in Pierson College. He is a Staff Columnist for scene.