Community member defends Record letters

To the Editor:

What could be sadder than a complaint from the Dean of Faculty at a prestigious liberal arts college over publication of a letter to the editor with which the dean disagrees.

No, the Record was not irresponsible in publishing Jeremy Faust’s letter on November 9. But Dean David L. Smith was irresponsible in his attempt to determine what should or should not be published in a student newspaper.

Coincidentally, Dean Smith’s November 16 letter appeared the week after I, a retired New York Times copy editor, spoke to the Williamstown Rotary Club about the gutless Berkshire County newspapers that try hard not to print anything that will offend anyone and about a public that approves of such a policy.

One of the things I said in my Rotary talk was that the newspapers had been delinquent in not publishing anything about the apparent link among the announced retirements or resignations of “a diving coach, very popular and very successful swimming coach, a very unpopular athletic director and a very controversial college president.”

I don’t know the full story about the resignations and retirements but I know that Carl Samuelson and Robert Peck did not get along and that I had heard similar versions of everything Faust said in his letter. And I surely know that there is animosity toward Peck over the situation.

It would be better if the Record or any paper published full accounting of what happened. But, full accounting or not, it is shameful for a college dean to attempt to censor a college newspaper.

Ray Warner