Lawrence E. Fouraker, dean of the Business School, told the Student Association (SA) in a letter Monday that Secret surveillance of student groups is "unwarranted and unacceptable" and assured them that "corrective action" will be taken if such activity has occurred.
Fouraker's statement came in response to claims by the Afro-American Student Union (AASU) two weeks ago that an FBI agent had asked one of its members to serve as an "informer" on AASU activities.
Fouraker said last night that "corrective action" could mean the dismissal of students faculty or staff involved in such surveillance "Any comment I might make on precise action is highly hypothetical. It would depend on the case and evidence, " he said.
Charles Bush and Kelly Jacob, first year M.B.A. students and co-chairman of the AASU, refused to comment on Fouraker's statement last night.
Meeting With Dean
"In all fairness to the dean, we're going to have to privately study his proposal more deeply and clearly, perhaps meeting with him to talk about it." Jacob said. He added that the AASU will release a statement next week.
Fouraker's statement said, in part:
"We have had no violence or interference with the right of students and faculty to speak or move freely about the Harvard Business School Campus. Secret surveillance of student groups under these circumstances is an unwarranted and unacceptable invasion of privacy in my opinion.
"Unauthorized entry and use of files, public or private, is an unacceptable invasion of privacy in my view. I do not know of any such activity at Harvard Business School. If such activity has occurred, and those responsible are brought to my attention. I will see that corrective action is taken."
The AASU, in an April 15 statement, urged Fouraker to take a position similar to that taken last month by Robert D. Cross '47. president of Swarthmore College. After documents stolen from an FBI office in Media, Pa., revealed that Swarthmore's Afro-American Student Society was under FBI surveillance, Cross said, "Any faculty, students or staff who divulge confidential information risk dismissal."
Thomas A. Graves Jr., associate dean of the M.B.A. program. assured the AASU. the SA, and the Harbus News in an April 21 letter that Business School policy "precludes access to student records by any outside person or agency, including the FBI."