Crimson Mischaracterizes the Nature of the Signet

To the editors:

The Fifteen Minutes article “Pretension? Moi?” (May 5) left me very frustrated and disillusioned. It abounds with inaccuracies and fallacies about the Signet.

First of all, as I make it clear to anyone who asks me about the Signet, the Signet is not a social club. As its name clearly indicates, it is a Society of Arts and Letters. Second, the article implies that the broad diversity of the Signet’s members is a fruit of my valiant leadership and is characteristic of the past year. This was not at all “my work.” To my memory, the Signet has always gathered a very interesting and diverse group of people. Third, the implied current sexism of the Society is utterly outrageous. We are proud to have among our members a few of the best artists and intellectuals on this campus, and their sex is surely not a factor in the richness that they bring to our Society. Finally, I have not “involved” nor even came close to interacting with any of Stockard Channing, Tommy Lee Jones, John Lithgow, and as much as I respect her a lot, I never personally met Helen Vendler.

The Signet is a great Harvard institution that doesn’t need me, nor any other individual, to have a diverse membership whose achievements have strongly influenced the arts and letters scene at Harvard for decades. I could try to be flattered by the fact that the article tries to shed a nice, charming light on me; however, this has been done at the expense of journalistic integrity, which is ultimately disrespectful to me, to the institution that I had the honor to represent in the past year, and most importantly, to the readers of the article.


May 5, 2005

The writer is President of the Signet Society.