Members of the Food Services sub-committee of the Committee on House and Undergraduate Life (CHUL) have adopted new guidelines governing student fasts in an effort to stop what many CHUL members feel is hypocrisy on the part of those who agree to fast.
In response to criticism, the sub-committee has revised its guidelines for the ways in which fasts should be conducted. The new guidelines stress the need to provide some activity, such as a movie during the meal time, to raise people's consciousness about world hunger, Graham Gardner '79, a subcommittee member, said yesterday.
The guidelines also provide for the establishment of a program in which students would donate money to organizations instead of fasting, Gardner added.
Typically, students who agree to a fast donate the price of their meal to a sponsoring organization, which transfers the money to hunger relief programs overseas. Such fasts require CHUL approval.
Objections have been raised because some students who agree to fast then buy food outside Harvard dining halls. In doing so, the students fail to realize the significance of the fast, Carol Thorne, a spokesman for CHUL, said yesterday.
"The question most people are asking is whether it is worthwhile to hold fasts when people sign up for them and go out to Elsie's to eat," Thorne said.
The question of fasts was brought up by an upcoming Oxfam fast set for November 16. The organizers of the Oxfam movement at Harvard agree that not enough education has been made available to students in the past, hampering the success of previous fasts.
James R. Cervantes '79, a member of the Harvard Hunger Action Project, said yesterday, "This year we will be offering a number of programs to help educate people about the fast." Such programs will include a forum with the professors the day before the fast, explaining how individuals can help to alleviate the world's food problems. Robert Rubin '79, a member of CHUL, said yesterday part of the problem is that "students want to help out but they don't want to fast. "Although we don't feel we can legislate morality, we do need to raise consciousness" about the fasting issue, he added.
Gardner said that fasts will continue at Harvard under the new guidelines, which contain a clause creating a cash donation program as an alternative to fasting.