In apparent contradiction to a previous administrative statement, 20 per cent of the lettuce served in Harvard dining halls does not bear the United Farm Workers label..
Relative lettuce prices are responsible for Harvard purchasing policy, Robert S. Mullen, Director of Purchases, said yesterday to members of the ad hoc student group supporting the UFW.
"We look for quality and efficiency in our purchases, and coincidentally, 75-80 per cent of the lettuce we're buying is what you want," he added.
Mullen, and C. Graham Hurlburt Jr., Director of the Food Services Department, agreed to discuss the issue with members of the student group after receiving a petition of nearly 1700 names, asking them to eliminate non-union lettuce from Harvard.
Though impressed by the petition, L.Gard Wiggins, Administrative Vice President, said that any commitment to purchase only UFW lettuce would jeopardize Harvard's neutrality.
Hurlburt said that the University took the same position last year during the grape boycott.
"We never made a decision not to buy grapes. As I remember, the price of grapes was too high and we decided to buy something else," Hurlburt added.
David P. Levin '71, a member of the student negotiating team, said that the University position did not take into account "the extraordinary nature of this issue."
"Twenty per cent of the lettuce served in the dining halls is scab lettuce. Not buying it would be a small thing for the University to do, and it could positively affect the conditions for migrant workers."
The student group will meet tonight to consider future collective action, Levin said.