The most distasteful task Harvard imposes upon its alumni is that of defending it against all-too-reasonable criticism. This afternoon an incident was brought to me that defiles defense.
A friend of mine here at the Business School phoned the H.A.A. to complain about being forced to pay for a locker at Weld Boathouse and not being permitted to share one with a friend for the afternoon. He phoned because he had had small regulations inconvenience him so often that he wanted to call the situation to the attention of the H.A.A.
The reaction of Bill Bingham, who took the call himself, can be characterized only as extremely rude. He lost his temper, and shouted into the phone so loudly that everyone in the room at the other end could hear him. He closed by telling the student, who paid for a participation ticket: "You don't have to use our boats. We don't keep them for people like you who complain." He then hung up on the student.
Whatever the issues involved, there is no excuse for such patent rudeness on the part of a minor offical of the University. That is not the kind of treatment an alumnus is proud to defend. And the alumnus is all to often called upon to defend such actions to his graduate friends from other universities. Name Withheld by request.