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Reasoned discourse

Letter to the Editor | Friday, September 15, 2006

I find myself agreeing with the sentiments of the final paragraph of Ryan Davidson’s recent letter (“Stop printing toxic letters,” Sept. 14), exhorting you to refrain from publishing race-baiting and ad hominem attacks that do “nothing but unnecessarily inflame discussion with unrelated issues and [that have] no place in serious academic discourse.” I must wonder, then, why you chose to publish his letter, as every other paragraph contains at least one instance of precisely this sort of undesirable, inflammatory rhetoric.

Davidson seems to have listened to those who criticized his earlier letters – a sadly uncommon achievement, even in academia – and echoes our point that the usage of the racial label “Arab” is often quite sloppy. Yet we have generally refrained from making this point using hyperbolic hand-wringing about “the moral fabric of the student body” and “intractably paranoid anti-Semitism.” I would suggest Davidson pay more attention to his own principles of reasonable discourse in his future letters.

Dan Hicks

grad student


Sept. 14