BUREAUCRACY IS RARELY a tool for justice. That maxim was proved again Monday afternoon, when the Committee on House and Undergraduate Life (CHUL) took a deep breath and plunged into a swamp of parliamentary detail, emerging not with an affirmation of the rights of campus gay students but instead with a paper solution that will please only administrators embarassed by discussion of the issue.
The Gay Students Association (GSA) several weeks ago asked Archie C. Epps III, dean of students, for permission to enclose a leaflet in registration packets. Though it amply documented the fact that other groups had been given similar permission in the past, Epps decided the time was propitious for a review of the rules. He discovered that all those other groups-controversial outfits like Phillips Brooks House and the Radcliffe Choral Society-had been given permission only because of a mistake. And, he decided, it was high time the mistake was corrected.
The GSA Monday took its case to CHUL, asking for permission to stuff information into February registration packets. But the committee ignored the real issue of bigotry and selective enforcement, and chose instead to quickly devise a new system-a second packet to be handed out at registration and specifically set aside for student groups.
While the second packet solution will allow the GSA to get its message across, it does not address the root of the problem, which is not information flow but blatant discrimination. Harvard will not solve its "gay problem" with the purchase of 6000 additional manila envelopes; instead it must clearly, without the shield of Robert's Rules of Order, indicate its support for the civil rights of gay students and then firmly support those rights at every opportunity. Administrators can begin this process by allowing the GSA to stuff its information in next February's registration packet.