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.
RAJA G. HADDAD ’05
May 5, 2005
The writer is President of the Signet Society.