To the Editors of The Crimson:
The Globe recently co-sponsored with the Graduate School of Design at Harvard a two day conference "The Professions and the Built Environment." The only panel billed as dealing with the third world (or two thirds of the world) in this international meeting consisted of a keynote speaker from South Africa (white male of course), and three respondents (white male) who admitted never having even been in the third world and knew nothing whatever on the subject. A young professor from a University in Toronto--where he was a guest teacher and returning to his native Kenya challenged this incredible situation.
The rest of the meetings consisted of a re-hash of all the platitudes of the past delivered mainly by the same kind of people (in some instances the same individuals) who have made the Urban Design Conferences of the past such a failure and bore. The new title and graphics did not fool anyone. While the previous Conferences were free, now the Dean at the Graduate School of Design was charging $100 per person--the only thing that was new.
To circumvent any charges of discrimination and racism (so blatantly displayed in the third world panel) there were two black women panelists (out of almost 50 speakers) and one black ex-Undersecretary of HUD. But not a single white woman speaker could be found--although the GSD has educated women for 30 years--mostly white. The GSD has been investigated by the Civil Rights Office of HEW with resulting recommendations to make massive changes in its prevailing discriminatory practices. Recently the National Organization for Women has filed another complaint against the whole University where the endlessly delayed Affirmative Action Program has only been "conditionally" accepted last fall.
As an alumna of the GSD of more than 20 years ago I am greatly perturbed about the failing quality of the GSD under its present administration (for the first time by a non-architect) and demonstrated once more in the appallingly poorly organized and vacuous display of ignorance described above.
The Globe would be well advised to look more carefully into what is co-sponsors in future. By the way, how much did it make from the $100 per person registration and what was paid to each panelist? I thought academic meetings held in tax-exempt buildings among people who get annual salaries, as professors, have to be free? Or is the male white academic buddy system beginning to pay each other quite openly? Fran P. Hosken