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Letters to the Editor 

Week of 12-20-06

Old Allegations at New College

Schooling Smith: This article ["Allegation 101," by Matt Smith, Dec. 13] addresses a set of very important issues in education, yet is written as a sensationalized editorial poorly masquerading as news. I find such treatment irresponsible and a sad testament to the quality of reportage of your paper. You are undermining yourself if you expect to be taken seriously, and may be damaging lives in the process.

[Name withheld]

San Francisco

Please knock first: Wow, what's Matt Smith's issue? Pioneering journalistic lows in pursuit of slamming New College? As an alum of New College, it makes me sad to read trumped-up but ultimately meritless attacks on my school. As someone who works at New College, I find it obnoxious that Smith would be so self-righteous as to barge into anyone's office after hours and hold an interrogation. If he had cornered me in my office late in the evening, I don't know that I would have had [Hamilton's] patience. I probably would have called the cops, because that's a downright freaky thing to do — a point I'll return to in a moment. As a writer, and someone who cares about truth in reporting, I find the abysmal lack of facts which Smith used to smear someone's name truly frightening.

But none of that compares to the offense I take, as a woman, at Smith's co-optation of violence against women in order to further whatever grudge he has against New College. Rape is a constant, unceasing threat to women. It erodes our ability to trust friends and even lovers and constrains the most boring of daily decisions — is it safe to walk, here, now? When a woman is raped, it's true that she may not know what to do after the fact, which is the double tragedy in such cases. But for you to capitalize on women's real, daily fear of violence by insinuating that New College administration intentionally ignored or suppressed the allegation — based on a conspicuous absence of facts — is irresponsible, malicious, and, yes, slanderous. And unbelievably offensive. Few things could be less helpful in the struggle against a world in which rape is so pervasive than to confuse the issues for your own ends. How nice it must be for Smith to sit comfortably at his computer and stack up column inches about ethics. Disgusting.

Marisa Egerstrom

San Francisco

Trial by press: If Mr. Smith's article is about New College's mismanagement in dealing with an allegation, how is it newsworthy or appropriate to name the accused? You have convicted a man in the press and it doesn't even aid your story — only convolutes it by distracting from the issue you claim to be reporting about. Good job.

[Name withheld]

San Francisco

Deadly Grudges

It takes a village: The only true victim in this story ["Bad Blood," by A.C. Thompson, Dec. 13] is the innocent 2-year-old child, although most of the others are victims of a sort also. They are victims of a society, not society at large, but their close society of family, friends, and church members. This close society failed to instill morals, character, and self-pride in these individuals as they grew up, leading to involvement in drugs, violence, and despair.

The police, district attorney, etc., cannot win this war. Only a couple of generations of good parenting and teaching good morals, character, and personal responsibility can turn the tide.

We can care best for these people by teaching them the importance of caring for themselves. And in doing so, greatly decrease the carnage on the streets.

[Name withheld]

San Francisco


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