(Ed. Note--The Crimson does not necessarily endorse opinions expressed in printed communications. No attention will be paid to anonymous letters and only under special conditions, at the request of the writer, will names be withheld. Only letters under 400 words can be printed because of space limitations.)
To the Editor of the Crimson:
The decision of the Harvard Student Union on Wednesday night to affiliate for another year with the American Student Union was reached after very careful consideration of all the advantages and disadvantages including those emphasized by the Crimson in its editorial Wednesday morning.
Those of us who had studied the history of our affiliation agreed that the Harvard Student Union had been a chapter in little more than name. Affiliation when first agreed upon had been due largely to the fervor of student unity which had led to the formation of the American Student Union and also the amalgamation of the four Harvard political organization into the Harvard Student Union. It must be admitted that in the year and half of affiliation our officers made little effort either to influence the national policy or to inform Harvard what this policy was.
The Student Union on Wednesday decided that a wholehearted affiliation should be tried. This means that the officers will keep the Harvard Student Union fully informed of what the American Student Union is doing elsewhere and that the members of the Harvard organization will work to change any part of the national program which it dislikes. It will be easier for Harvard to work for changes in policy this year as the National Convention will be held this December in Poughkeepsic, near enough for Harvard to send a full delegation.
But aside from the above historical consideration and more fundamentally, the decision to affiliate was based on the belief that the Harvard Student Union was concerned with same problems of international relations, social security, and civil liberties that faced other colleges and other students throughout the country. On the Harvard yard there is another particular reason why this gesture away from localism is well considered. Too long have we bred a spirit of indifference, of a kind of local pride which is not a pride of accomplishments, but a pride of position. Affiliation would serve not only to aid other student unions which have such positive grievances as compulsory miltary training, to profit from their work, and to effect cooperation on national programs, but it would be a step towards reasserting Harvard's responsibility and interest in national and collegiate affairs.
To the argument that the national organization dictates the policy of its chapters, it was pointed out that the constitution of the National Union provides that a chapter has complete autonomy as far as planning its local program is concerned. Truly yours, Louis Sutro '38