Reports of hate crime tide need more substantiation

To the Editor: Reports of hate crimes against homosexuals at Yale are becoming less and less credible. Your front-page article yesterday ("Ivy walls don't protect against hate crimes") cites a small canon of incidents as evidence of hate crime. But these same few incidents have been used in every article I've read on the subject in Yale papers, and most are now more than two years old!

To contend with the lack of concrete evidence, your article implies that most hate crime goes unreported. Sara Marcus (victim of a threat made two years ago) said she didn't want the attention that reporting the incident would bring. Strange, considering that she and her story come up every time the subject is raised. Chrysanthi Settlage said she doesn't report crimes "because I've lost all faith in the police, and I don't want to give over any more of my life to this."

This type of reasoning is not only irrational but also counter-productive. Why tell the papers, who have no legal influence, but not the authorities, who do have power to investigate and prosecute crime? Disparaging the police is uncalled for.

Not only do they have strict rules and redundant checks to make sure they are doing their job correctly, but also they couldn't make reporting crimes on campus any easier -- police will visit a student wherever and whenever he wants, and will maintain confidentiality if desired. It is irresponsible to claim that crime is going on and not report it.

David Bookstaber '99
November 17, 1998

Published 11/18/98