Regarding "NES dept. faces warring factions," Dec. 8:
You quote "several" anonymous professors in the History Department as saying some rather peculiar things. These professors lay down a "litmus test" for future cooperation between their department and NES: the University has to deny tenure to a specific junior faculty member in NES, Michael Doran.
Two of the anonymous professors say that if he is given tenure, relations between the two departments will be severely damaged. One senior professor says "We don't want him."
All these professors are speaking from behind the cover of anonymity; one of them is described as tenured, and there is reason to believe that all of them are.
I would respectfully refer my anonymous colleagues to the section in the 2004 edition of Rights, Rules, Responsibilities headed "Respect for others."
The section begins: "Respect for the rights, privileges, and sensibilities of each other is essential in preserving the spirit of community at Princeton. Actions which make the atmosphere intimidating, threatening, or hostile to individuals are therefore regarded as serious offenses. Abusive or harassing behavior, verbal or physical, which demeans, intimidates, threatens, or injures another because of his or her personal characteristics or beliefs is subject to University disciplinary sanctions." In the next paragraph it is stated that our University "attaches great value to freedom of expression and vigorous debate, but it also attaches great importance to mutual respect, and it deplores expressions of hatred directed against any individual or group."
"Rights" does not explicitly address the problem of persons who evade disciplinary sanctions through anonymity, but in the section "Distribution of written materials by members of the University community" it is made clear that anonymity is not held in high regard on this campus. Attribution, by contrast, "promotes and facilitates civility as well as vigorous academic debate."
The conduct of these anonymous professors might perhaps be described as ignorant, but as every first-year law student learns, ignorance is no excuse. Each member of the Princeton faculty has received a copy of "Rights."