To the Editor:
The University administration’s response to the recent troubling incidents has been woefully inadequate. After learning of the incident, President Levin or another member of the administration should have immediately (i.e., two weeks ago) sent an e-mail to the entire Yale community, informing us that a violent crime had been committed against a Yale student and identifying precautionary safety measures. By choosing not to do so, the administration put the security of Muslim students and all of us who express our political beliefs at risk. Whatever concerns the administration had about publicizing the attack do not justify compromising our physical safety.
The Yale Daily News is not the proper forum for such an announcement, and Betty Trachtenberg’s two-sentence statement was insufficient. This is not a story to be scooped but an important event that we as a community should have been made aware of. Even the News’ article on Wednesday, where most students first learned of the attack, did not convey its gravity, making the incident seem more like an immature prank.
When an event of this magnitude takes place, students expect the administration to show leadership and unite the Yale community, to explain what happened — in this case condemning it — and to be vocal in supporting those who have been victimized. Dean Brodhead’s message yesterday was not only tardy but misleading in its inadequacy. In vague terms he refers to “anonymous menacing messages,” harassment, and intimidation. It should be openly stated that this series of incidents has been, first and foremost, violent. The destruction of property and forced entry while brandishing a weapon are violent acts. These acts don’t just represent an affront to free speech at Yale but a threat to the physical safety of specific students and student groups.
One of the purposes of hate crimes and political violence is to silence others through physical coercion. And the University, perhaps for fear of “bad press,” has been conspicuously silent.
Shagran Hassan ’04
Daniel Goff ’04
April 10, 2003
Hassan is a political action co-chairperson of the South Asian Society.