Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I am a 51-year old retired military officer, now teaching government and economics in an inner-city school, and I have noted with interest the First Amendment “case” developing at Harvard. Kim B. Clark was quoted on CNN, that Harvard is “committed to principles of free expression and inquiry … each of us first and foremost is a member of the Harvard Business School community, and as such, we are expected to treat each other respectfully.”

With all due respect, my 9th grade Government students know better. Free speech and freedom of the press are constitutionally protected rights, but the right to “be treated respectfully” in the press is not even hinted at in the US Constitution. This is political correctness in its classic expression, being used to muzzle press criticism. Certainly, in personal conversation with a person holding superior office, a certain amount of respect is perhaps due, but once one takes on the mantle of the press, that convention falls aside.

My generation marched, fussed, and fought on the college campuses for free speech, and many thousands of my fellow service members have bled and died for this freedom. If the President of the US can be called “Shrub” by certain members of the American press in time of war, then perhaps the administrators “insulted” by Harbus should do a reality check, take a salt pill, and apologize for shredding the First Amendment.

Charles T. Buntin, Major, USAF, Retired
Social Studies Teacher
Paducah Tilghman High School
Paducah, KY
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Dear Editor,

It appears to me that certain members of the HBS staff are a little too sensitive about student newspaper parodies. While I strongly support the incorporation of mutual respect into any organization’s “Community Standards”, I am shocked to learn that such an “environment of … mutual respect” can trump the “free expression and inquiry and a commitment to truth” that the same community standards purport to espouse.

What do I say to my motivated eleven-year-old daughter, who already has visited Stanford and Carleton, and who hopes to visit Harvard, when she next asks me what I think about your institution?

Frederick H. Lewis
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Dear Editor,

I understand Harvard Business School was recently ranked No. 9 by employers in a recent survey. As an employer I can tell you that the administration’s decision to discipline the editor of the Harbus for publishing a satirical cartoon about the career Web site pushes the school even further down the list in my mind.

This was a complete mishandling of the situation that has resulted in far worse publicity for the school and the paper than the original cartoon ever could have. The school looks pathetic by screaming “We are not incompetent morons” and then acting like just that.

Andrew Hindes
Los Angeles, CA
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Dear Editor,

It is my understanding, from the CNN story, that the departing editor explained that the comment made in the cartoon was referring to the computer systems as “incompentent morons”, and not the administrators of said computer systems. I would have to remind the editors that a computer system can be neither incompetent nor a moron, at least the last time I read the dictionary definitions. Those terms refer to persons and not objects. On the other hand, if the carton was referring to the administrators of the said computer systems, then it was a “disrespectful” statement and thus does violate the policies required of both students and administration at your esteemed institution. I was always rather in awe of Harvard and MBA’s, but this incident helps me to understand the mindset of those executives at Enron and the like. I’ll stick with my good basic college education and Southern manners and ethics.

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Dear Editor,

It’s good to see nutrition issues getting attention in the student newspaper (“Got Milk,” November 12), but Dr. Biller has provided some outdated information on milk. While dairy industry advertising would have us believe milk is curing us of osteoporosis, scientific evidence says otherwise. The large Harvard Nurses’ Health Study of more than 75,000 nurses, followed for 12 years, found that, if anything, those who drank the most milk ended up with more broken bones than those who drank the least. In countries where dairy use is rare, people still develop normal skeletons and tend to avoid thinning bones, probably due to a healthier, lower-fat diet overall. It’s easy to consume adequate calcium from fortified orange juice or soymilk, green leafy vegetables, and beans. Keeping it inside the skeleton is what really matters. By getting a little daily sun exposure, exercising, limiting salt and caffeine, quitting smoking, and avoiding fatty meats, cheeses, and, yes, dairy products, bones get the protection they need.

Milk and other dairy products are associated with type 1 diabetes, respiratory problems, migraines, and, most troubling of all, prostate cancer. In fact, more than 16 studies, including two from Harvard University, have linked dairy consumption to prostate cancer risk. It’s time to wipe off the milk mustache for good.

Robbie Ali MD/MPH/MPPM
Research Fellow in Environmental and Occupational Medicine Harvard School of Public Health
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November 18, 2002
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