To the Editor:

We write concerning the invitation to Amiri Baraka, poet laureate of the state of New Jersey, to make a presentation here at Yale. Some of what Mr. Baraka has written seems to us and many others to promote racism, bigotry and intolerance directed especially at Jews and gays.

We do not challenge his right to speak at Yale, and we do not believe that those who invited Mr. Baraka to Yale’s campus necessarily endorse his views. We are, however, aware that many members of the Yale community are deeply concerned and disturbed that this invitation does imply an endorsement of his views, views which fundamentally contradict the spirit of diversity and acceptance which the Yale community has worked hard to achieve.

We, as religious leaders at Yale, urge and invite conversations that support efforts to enhance religious, cultural, racial and ethnic pluralism at Yale. And we are committed to working to deepen the richness and complexity of our community.

Frederick J. Streets and James Ponet GRD ’05

February 20, 2003

Streets is the University Chaplain and Ponet is the Howard H. Holtzmann Jewish Chaplain at Yale.