The AAAAS and Discrimination

The Administration has rightly disallowed the AAAAS's proposed sliding admission scale for James Baldwin's speech on the grounds that the plan was discriminatory. As recent campaigns against de facto segregation have maintained, the areas that would have received preferential treatment are predominately Negro. The motivation of O. Martin Anochie, president of the AAAAS, can hardly have been to help "persons who can't afford high admission prices" as he claims, since other sections of Boston qualify with Dorchester and Roxbury as depressed areas. What Anochie should have said, but did not, was that he wished to help Negroes.

In seeking to help poorer Negroes hear Baldwin, the AAAAS could have chosen a plan that would not have embroiled the Administration in a misleading dispute over discrimination. To oppose the sliding a admission scale is not to oppose the general idea of aiding people from Roxbury, Dorchester, or any other depressed area to attend the Jan. 18 speech. A flat fifty-cent rate or differently priced seats would have served that purpose just as well.

The Administration is justified in attempting to assure Harvard students an equal opportunity to hear a speech sponsored by a Harvard club in a Harvard building. The AAAAS's charge that the University's position is "just incredible" borders on the incredible itself.