Dustin M. Burke '52, director of Student Employment and general manager of the Harvard Student Agencies, gave assurances last night that student groups which do not wish to use a new HSA agency managing entertainers will still be to obtain jobs from the casual payment office.
Burke confirmed, however, that the HSA entertainment agency, which charges a booking fee for every job it secures, will get job referrals from the University employment office.
In past years, student dance bands, jazz combos, singing groups, and magicians could leave their names with the casual employment office. Outside requests for such performing groups were then turned over to the students free of charge.
The HSA entertainment agency now charges a percentage cut starting at $3 for every job it lines up, but James R. Hopkins, manager of the agency, said last nigh5 that the booking fee will be added on to the cost of the entertainment will not come out of the student's pocket."
Several students are concerned, however, that the new agency will take jobs from the casual employment office that might otherwise have gone directly to students. Some feel that the HSA is expanding into an area where it is not wanted or needed.
Curtis E. von Kann '64, leader of a folk-singing group, said yesterday that "any charge added to his group's present fee will drive away business." He indicated that most groups he knows "have all the business they can handle without any entertainment agency."
Kann said that he and other student performers "will have no objection to an HSA entertainment agency," provided the agency "does not cut into the free opportunities available from the University's casual employment office."
Max W. Byrd '64, a popular student magician, originally signed up with the HSA agency, but withdrew in protest at the booking charge. Byrd said yesterday that he often cuts his charge for people who cannot pay the full price, and that he "could not absorb" a $3 booking fee. Byrd also said that he got "more business than he could handle" through Student Employment.
Hopkins claimed that his HSA agency will be able to expand opportunities for advertising and promotion of student enterprises, and said that an advertising brochure is now being prepared.
The agency manager did reveal that the "Student Employment Office is now referring jobs to us." Hopkins also said that his agency "has done a large amount of booking so far this year."