The Editors Reply:
We offered to run the antiwar letter to which Ms. Levoff and Ms. Sembrowich affixed their names. Not because we were under any obligation to do so, but because we believe the purpose of an opinion page is to provide a forum for diverse ideas.
We offered to run the letter with a few representative names chosen by the signees and a note explaining that 36 others had signed on as well. The signees said this was unacceptable. So we didn't run the letter.
A long list of names attached to a letter does not strengthen the ideas expressed by the letter. An opinion page is not a voting booth--any idea, no matter how widely held, now matter how loudly expressed, can find its way into the newspaper.
We can understand why the signees want all of their names to appear on the letter together, although they obviously didn't all write it together. Politically--but not intellectually--ideas tend to gain credence and "impact" when they are held by many. Thus, we suggest that the signees take out an advertisement expressing their beliefs--and their names. The New York Times, The Boston Globe or The Washington Post would suggest the same thing.
The signees' accusations that The Crimson's policy reflects a "pro-war bias" are simply unfair. This policy cuts across the political spectrum. We would not list the 700 signees of the Students United for Desert Storm petition on the opinion page, either. That would be a boring waste of precious space. And if there's anything an opinion page shouldn't be, it's boring.
As always, we welcome letters and commentary pieces from members of the Harvard community. Michael R. Grunwald Editorial Chair Tara A. Nayak Associate Editorial Chair