Letters to the Editor, Opinions

Letter: Herald coverage of Kanders must improve

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

To the Editor:

As an ex-managing editor of the Brown Daily Herald, it is with great sadness and embarrassment that I read the Sept. 12 op-ed “Warren Kanders still must go” and the validating Editorial Page Board follow-up comment Sept. 23, “University should further clarify its ethical gifts policies,” on the topic of Mr. Warren Kanders. There was a time when opinions of the Editorial Page Board were thoroughly researched and vetted. We have always had alumni who were involved in all sorts of endeavors — I recall that at one time Brown was considered a breeding ground for CIA recruitment. We did not possess the arrogance nor the stridency to opine upon matters that we had not researched, that we knew very little about as students. What I find appalling is the weak line of argument in both pieces that suggests that since Mr. Kanders stepped down from the Whitney that we at Brown must therefore completely expunge the man from all connection to Brown. The extreme political forces and the guerilla tactics employed by the group who attacked Mr. Kanders at the Whitney bullied a morally weak board of trustees into submission. Why would we at Brown assume that the actions of one group were valid and act upon the judgements of people we do not know with motives unknown?

As an ex-journalist of this paper, I find the extreme bias inherent in the op-ed and its validation by the Editorial Page Board a violation of the trust conferred upon journalists by the community.  Not surprisingly, the University recently decided, for the first time ever, not to renew its subscription to The Herald, forcing it into a questionable financial position. Perhaps outreach to alumni, such as myself, who had such an excellent experience at The Herald, could have easily relieved the newspaper of its funding problem. However, the paper has clearly gone awry and is no longer representative of the community at large and has become some sort of mouthpiece for extremist external groups.

The Brown community has always been a place where fair, balanced, thoughtful and researched ideas were welcome, from whatever side. As I recall, intelligence, hard work, fairness and most of all respect were key values of the Brown community. These attacks, which place Mr. Kanders at its center as a symbol, are destructive to and certainly not representative of the community’s core values. Most disturbingly, Mr. Kanders, as a personal friend of almost 20 years, has been dehumanized and forced into the spotlight with no regard by the attackers for the well-being of his family and associates, without regard to the positive endeavors that have marked the 40 years since his graduation. For those of us who have lived this life, we realize that there is a complete picture of a human being that is complex. Before one violently attacks a person of substance in a public forum, one needs to be in possession of the facts. Unfortunately, not knowing the facts has now relegated The Herald to a place of irrelevance.

Dan Tapiero BA ’90, MA ‘91

The Herald’s Associate Managing Editor, 1989

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  1. Kanders’ Safariland products are primarily defensive, e.g. bomb disposal gear. Even his supposed “sinful” product, tear gas, REDUCES police killings. Every hear of Tiananmen square? “Estimates of the death toll vary from several hundred to several thousand” (Wikipedia) because they used bullets!

  2. Brown U parent says:

    As a parent of college-age children, I am shocked by the cost of a year at Brown: $55,466, and rising 3.8% annually (talk about “unsustainable!”) Warren Kanders ’79 deserves a medal for lowering that cost for us all through his generosity!

  3. Intersectional Artist says:

    Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic Jerry Saltz originally shared the opinion of this letter, and was a vocal proponent of censuring Warren Kanders ’79. Then he declared himself to have been horribly wrong, and I encourage others to think a second time as well. He realized that convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s retinue was filled with sexual predators who were also fierce advocates of left-wing notions of morality, as opposed to simply upholding the law. The fact that convicted fugitive rapist Roman Polanski could be celebrated by leftist Hollywood because of his leftism, along with other leftist sexual predators such as Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, Kevin Spacey and Bill Clinton, indicates that the redefinition of “illicit” to include the manufacture of a perfectly legal product, tear gas, is at least partly a smoke screen to protect these politically correct sexual predators. Inflation of the term “unethical” dilutes its impact just as inflation of the currency does in the realm of economics.Jerry Saltz is right: our standard for acceptable donations should be adherence to the law. Epstein was a convicted criminal; Kanders ’79 did absolutely nothing illegal. People who try to blur that line are on the side of the sexual predators.

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