To the Editor:

Yale’s student body should be disappointed by several Morse freshman counselors’ decision Tuesday to remove a banner that read, “Kill ’em all, let God sort ’em out” (“Hate Sign Removed from Durfee Hall,” 10/30). By sanctioning the censorship of student expression, Yale has once again gone the extra mile to show that it is not a forum within which students and faculty may freely debate.

Is freedom of expression Yale’s first casualty of war? Would that it were so, but sadly Yale’s refusal to tolerate dissent predates Sept. 11. In fact, the removal of the banner from Durfee wasn’t even the first time self-important freshman counselors took it upon themselves to protect their naive and innocent charges from subversive ideology. In fall 1999, Ezra Stiles freshman counselors removed conservative magazines from Lawrance Hall mailboxes because they mentioned the uselessness of “Camp Yale’s” orientation programs and downplayed the crucial requirement that freshmen attend.

Whether the banner was meant as a joke or a serious comment is irrelevant; this does nothing to justify Yale’s actions. Ignorant, even painful, comments must be met with intelligent, reasoned criticism, not heavy-handed repression. That a world-class institution of higher learning has no way of dealing with idiotic posters except to tear them down is a pathetic comment on the climate of debate on campus.

Seth Schlessinger ’03

October 31, 2001