As students of Branford College, we are disturbed by Master Schottenfeld and Professor Rostain’s article “Taking a tea to task” (Oct. 5). The purpose of our letter is not to rehash the discussion about Westegaard and free speech that we’ve now seen many times over. Rather, it is to express shock at the complete lack of professionalism on the part of the authors.
The article was not particularly novel or courageous; it simply added (in quantity) to a growing corpus of pieces published by the News about Westegaard and the tea. Yet, Schottenfeld and Rostain’s piece is remarkable because it criticized how Professor Smith performs his duties as Branford Master. In this vein, their article is no more appropriate than an article by Master Smith condemning Schottenfeld for a hypothetical lack of diversity among Davenport’s world fellows.
It is possible that the letter was written with good intentions, but the underlying message is that Schottenfeld would never host such a tea in Davenport. If he feels strongly about an issue, he can talk to Master Smith directly or bring up the issue at the next council of masters meeting, but he should refrain from publishing in a student newspaper. In short, Schottenfeld and Rostain should apologize to Smith, not for their opinions but for their professional discourtesy.
The writers are seniors in Branford College