To the editor: As a 1976 graduate of Scripps College, I can only imagine what the founder, Ellen Browning Scripps, would have to say about the current commencement controversy over having former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright speak to the graduates. ("War criminal or role model? Madeleine Albright as Scripps College commencement speaker hits a nerve," May 9)
Scripps loathed discrimination and privilege. She believed in free speech and she was an advocate of women's suffrage as well as world peace. Ironically, Albright possesses the qualities that Scripps passionately wanted to instill in the women of Scripps College.
In Scripps' own words, "The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently and the ability to live confidently, courageously and hopefully."
The Scripps that I attended fostered and encouraged intelligent discourse. I can only hope that the college can return to the vision upon which it was established.
Linda Lebenbaum Sanoff, Los Angeles
To the editor: When Albright was queried about the deaths of countless Iraqi children due to U.S. sanctions in a 1996 interview, her response was that is was "worth it." These sanctions were imposed upon Iraq in part for that country's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction.
The students and faculty at Scripps College who are opposing Albright as the commencement speaker are to be commended for their moral stand.
Bob Lentz, Sylmar
To the editor: As yet another college protests yet another highly qualified speaker at commencement, one wonders whether the tide of political correctness and suppression of different voices has yet reached its peak.
The fact that one student (a "media studies" major) vehemently voiced her preference for a lifestyle blogger as commencement speaker over a former secretary of state is very telling about her cohort, and not in a good way. To insist upon hearing only from those whose opinions and values mirror your own seems like the antithesis of education.
Why go to a college at all? Groupthink is the death of critical thought and intellectual development.
Nina Belfor, Westlake Village