To the Editors of The Crimson:
As a student of Dunster House, I am deeply offended by non-resident tutor Noel Ignatiev's letter to the Manager of Dunster House Dining Hall, Gerald Ardolino, objecting to the use of dining hall funds to purchase a toaster oven needed to warm kosher food from the new kosher table. Some of Ignatiev's statements about the toaster oven strike me as inappropriate in the context of his role as a tutor in Dunster House.
Ignatiev's claim that the "purchase of a toaster oven, reserved exclusively for kosher use, is an example of improper partiality toward one group" suggests that the use of the toaster oven is some how exclusive to those who observe kosher laws, thus resulting in "partiality." Such a claim is false, as it ignores many individuals who partake of the food from the kosher table and use the oven as Muslims, Jews, vegetarians and those who just want to have a kosher bagel for the cultural experience. I cannot begin to imagine which "one group" Ignatiev is referring to, when so many people of diverse backgrounds enjoy the benefits of the kosher table for a variety of reasons.
In his letter, Ignatiev compares the placement of non-kosher food in the toaster oven rendering it non-kosher to the prohibition of non-religious functions "in Memorial Church, on the grounds that they would desecrate it." I am horrified that a tutor of my house, whose purpose is to foster harmony and tolerance among students, has reduced my religious principles and my motives for observing them to preventative measures against desecration committed.
This is certainly NOT how I view my observance of kosher dietary laws. His letter reflects a blatant disrespect for the principles of keeping kosher, and imposes his own value judgment and interpretation on the spirit and reasons behind such practices.
As far as the use of public funds for "sectarian" purposes, yet another of Ignatiev's concerns, I would ask him to apply those concerns to question the support of a tutor such as himself who does not hesitate to publically espouse his own "sectarian" views about kosher observance under the signature of "non-residential tutor."
With respect for Ignatiev's right to express his views on whatever subject he may wish, I cannot feel comfortable as a kosher-observant student of Dunster House talking to or seeking academic advice from a tutor who has reacted with insensitivity and intolerance toward my special dietary needs, religiously grounded or otherwise.
Therefore, I call upon Masters Karel and Hetty Liem, Senior Tutor Henriette L. Power, the House Committee, resident and non-resident tutors and fellow students to support me in saying that Ignatiev's display of intolerance and insensitivity toward members of Dunster House is inappropriate in his capacity as non-resident tutor. Chana H. Gable '92