In “Princeton Faculty Find Their Role in Campus Protests” (June issue), Nancy Coffin notes “the basic role of faculty is to support the students.” I was under the impression that the role of faculty was to “educate” students. Moreover, faculty occupying buildings would appear to conflict with that responsibility to educate. The events transpiring in the Middle East are tragic for all, with the obvious exception of the Hamas terrorists. Princeton, in the nation’s service, should, in my opinion, ensure that its faculty is educating emotional (and, at times, manipulated) students on the complex history of this region — and that its faculty is itself educated on the complex history. Princeton plays a critical role in educating future leaders. In a nation increasingly characterized by echo chambers, I also believe we should expect that Princeton’s faculty represent the full spectrum of thought on complex topics, of which the Middle East is only one. Free speech on any topic doesn’t contribute to societal improvement if it’s one-sided free speech. And in an age of increasing incivility, I further believe that Princeton should re-teach students the critical role that civility and listening play in public discourse and reaching consensus.

Princeton, it’s time to step up in a world that is at war. Let’s have a clear set of rules that allows for the important exchange of ideas and learning from all perspectives, an expectation of civility, and accountability for following community’s rules, which is, after all, a part of growing up. This is a tragic and complex issue, and I’m extraordinarily disappointed to see the role that certain employees of the University are playing to fuel the fire.

Martin Felsenthal ’91
San Francisco, Calif.