Letter to the Editor

Jed Doty ’05 writes in response to Tito Craige’s “Shining Light on Dark Words,” which was published in the Oct. 9 edition of The Student.

As a former editor of The Student, I read Tito Craige’s recent Op-Ed, “Shining Light on Dark Words,” with much embarrassment and disgust. Mr. Craige’s piece is a vicious character attack on Professor Arkes. While Craige is certainly entitled to his opinion — however misguided — I still cannot fathom how that vile opinion was ever allowed onto the pages of my beloved Student. None of Professor Arkes’s supposedly offensive remarks were published in The Student — or even on the broader Amherst College campus as far as I can tell. Nor were these remarks current — the most recent was from March of this year and the two others were from 2005 and 1986, respectively.

Craige’s objective is plain — he seeks to hurt and humiliate Professor Arkes — and unfortunately he found a willing accomplice. Is The Student so desperate for content that it has now taken to publishing libelous screeds in which former students seek to settle scores with old professors? Is this an equal opportunity service? If conservative alums wish to take mean-spirited shots at liberal professors, will we have an open forum at The Student?

I will leave it to others to debate the substance of Professor Arkes’s writings — all of which Craige plainly distorts and mischaracterizes — as I do not believe that this is an appropriate forum for such a discussion. I will close though with one final observation. At the end of his piece, Craige states that Professor Arkes’s “racist” comments should be criticized. Unsurprisingly, none of the material quoted by Craige has anything whatsoever to do with race. Sadly, this is a trick too often used by members of the extreme left: When attacking a conservative, whatever the cause, might as well brand him a racist to boot (this is of course not to suggest that any of Craige’s other repugnant characterizations of Professor Arkes are even remotely plausible either). For someone who professes so much concern that persons on the Amherst campus be shown respect, it would have been nice of Mr. Craige to lead by example.