To the Editor of the Crimson:
This letter is a protest against the regulation which forbids inviting the public to discussions and addresses on current affairs held in Harvard University buildings.
It is hard to see what justification there can be for this policy, No one denies that the issues raised at such meetings are controversial, for all political and economic questions in so far as they are not trivial are necessary controversial. But open controversy is not a subtle poison from which the untutored public should be protected. On the contrary, the widest possible dissemination of conflicting viewpoints, together with all available accurate information, is a prerequisite for the growth of enlightened public opinion. Harvard can provide that prerequisite and it is is its duty as a democratic institution to do so.
Furthermore, the desire on the part of members of the University to make their meetings accessible to the public should be encourages, not discouraged, by the authorities; for the sense of community with, and responsibility for, people outside one's won educational or occupational group is nothing less than the spirit of good citizenship.
The fact that practically every conceivable political attitude is represented at Harvard is an adequate guarantee that such publicity would not become vicious propaganda. Also, opening to the public discussions of current affairs sponsored by organizations within the nation's oldest college would be a timely affirmation of the democratic principle that just government must rest upon the verdict of the public conscience after hearing all the evidence.
An analogous question concerns the broadcasting of speeches delivered at Harvard. Inquiry about the possibility of such broadcasts evoked the reply that the Corporation has not yet acted on the matter and will not do so for quite some time. Certainly Harvard need not hesitate to avail itself of the most important present-day method of spreading information and stimulating community thought. And it is needless to say that unnecessary delay on any public matter is, at present, bad business.
I am forced to the conclusion that these matters have not been placed fairly before the Corporation, for it is incredible that the Fellows of Harvard College would wish to discourage contact between the University and the community. Several organizations with widely different political positions, and at least one non-political group, are interested in sponsoring radio addresses by both members of the Harvard staff and by eminent outsiders. I suggest that these organizations make their position clear to the University authorities. I also recommend the matter to the attention of the Student Council, and urge that they take action as soon as possible. Paul C. Hoover, Advisory Council, Harvard Committee Against Military Intervention.