Setting MLK Day right

A primary mission of University Properties is to stimulate a vibrant economic environment in our city. One of the ways we do this is to support local retail businesses through active marketing and promotion.

But there is an appropriate time and place for such promotion, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not one of them (“The dream co-opted,” Jan.  21). In their enthusiasm for championing local business, one of our associates unfortunately conflated one objective with an objective of a much higher order, and that was inappropriate. It will not be repeated.

Lauren Zucker

Jan. 21

The author is Associate Vice President and Director of New Haven Affairs for Yale.

A progressive SOM

I join the leaders of SOM’s Women in Management Club and 58 of our female classmates from the classes of 2014 and 2015 in responding to last Wednesday’s article (“At SOM, women face murky landscape,” Jan. 15). As female students, we believe the piece, which defines the School of Management as an “antagonistic climate for female faculty and students,” significantly misrepresents SOM’s atmosphere.

First, we must clarify that we agree with and strongly support the members of our community who are advocating for better female representation among tenured faculty and we applaud our Dean for his plans to rectify the gender imbalance in the years to come.

Rather, we take issue with the portrait of the SOM student experience painted by the article. The SOM we have experienced is a progressive environment in which the vast majority of men and women work and study together productively and build lasting relationships based on respect and admiration.

In fact, though the student body mirrors our peer institutions in being only 37 percent female, 50 percent of SOM’s student leaders are female. For the sum of our time at the school, a woman has led our student government. Women are among the leaders of a vast majority of our professional clubs, including, the Consulting, Energy, Operations and General Management, Private Equity and Venture Capital and Technology Clubs. Indeed, the women of SOM are preparing to be leaders in a wide variety of industries, many of which have long been dominated by men.

We are keenly aware that some of the historical gender imbalances in the business world are actually the result of the kinds of assumptions the article perpetuates regarding gender roles and interests. As female business students, we play sports because we are genuinely interested in those activities. We speak up in class and participate in recruiting events as interested and engaged business students, not simply as women.

Frances Symes

Jan. 22

The author is a second-year student at the School of Management.

 What about Palestinians?

On Dec. 20, University President Peter Salovey issued a statement criticizing a resolution adopted by the American Studies Association that supported a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. He wrote, “Any attempt to close off discussion or dialogue among scholars is antithetical to the fundamental values of scholarship and academic freedom.”

Of course, he is talking about the academic freedom of the institutions of the ruling ethnicity in Palestine and Israel: the Israeli Jews. But what about the academic freedom and simple right to education of Palestinians? In Israel, all Palestinian teachers are vetted by the Israeli police and forbidden to talk about the most significant areas of their history or culture. In the late 1980s, the Israelis shut down every educational institution in the West Bank and Gaza for several years and put people in jail for informally gathering in homes and teaching children to read. The Islamic University in Gaza was bombed in 2008. The American International School in Gaza was destroyed in 2009 and never rebuilt. Currently, Israeli soldiers at West Bank checkpoints arbitrarily refuse academics and students passage on their way to classes.

Mazin Qumsiyeh, a former associate professor at Yale who is now on the faculty of Bethlehem University in the West Bank sent this to me: “Dozens of military rules try to make education impossible including preventing import of basic educational material. Gaza is even worse as its universities are under siege. A Bethlehem University student was snatched at a checkpoint and sent to Gaza few months before her graduation.

In contrast to President Salovey, I commend the resolution of the American Studies Association and those in the Association at Yale who voted for it.

Stanley Heller

Jan. 13

The author is a 1969 graduate of Branford College.