Letter to the Editor: Parent Defends The Local Noodle

By KATHY LEINHARDT

As a parent of a Middlebury student watching the Noodle kerfuffle from the outside, I am appalled. It doesn’t take college-level reading comprehension to grasp that what The Noodle was doing was not trivializing the Holocaust, but mocking a professor who did so. The piece also brought to light an incident that had been kept quiet by the administration; this is of course the very essence of good journalism. I have to wonder whether the CBRT’s criticism of The Noodle wasn’t written in the hope of diverting some attention away from their handling of the original issue.

I read the Noodle article and found it pointedly funny (and yes, if it matters, I am Jewish). I understand that others may not find the article humorous, or may think that it is in bad taste; that is an occupational risk of satire. What I do not understand is how some readers inferred that the author was somehow exhibiting anti-Jewish bias.

The reaction of the Student Senate appalls me more than anything else, including the chemistry test question. To suggest revoking The Noodle’s funding over this article illustrates the tendency on today’s college campuses for students to want to silence speech that they dislike, rather than to refute it. Having spent time in a country where freedom of expression was not allowed, I can assure you that the idea of shutting down speech (hate speech excepted) is FAR more dangerous than exposing students to ideas that they disagree with, and that has never been more true than in our current era. Our president would like nothing more than to have the ability to shut down speech that he disagrees with, and the result of that would be the end of any vestige of democracy in this country. Please do let me know if The Noodle’s funding is revoked. I would be happy to donate to the publication, and to help it secure other donations so that it is no longer reliant on Middlebury for funding.

The other suggestion that the Student Senate made, that the Noodle’s staff needs to be singled out for anti-bias training is patently absurd. Train the whole student body, if you think it will help. But please, train the faculty first!

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