Class of 1957 Hold Panelon Social Activism
While Harvard alumni reunions are traditionally marked by outings, handiest and fundraising soirees, this year annual whirl of events has also focused on some of the moral and political questions of our day. On Monday, as part of the official commencement week schedule. Harvard Alumni officials presented symposium to educate graduates on the perils of nuclear war which more than 400 people attended.
Robert J. lifton, a Yale Medical School professor, in a somber speech in the Science Center to stir awareness of the dangers of the arms buildup, asked alumni. "Are you more secure now than you were in 1957."
And independent from these official activities an informal group of alumni from the Class of '57 yesterday held a series of panel discussion and workshops on U.S. foreign policy and political activities for their classmates of the "Silent Generation."
In addition, about 16 percent of the Class of '57 have signed a letter calling for a halt to the nuclear arms race. Lucin S. Hatch '57, an organizer of the drive, said recently.
The letter, signed by 206 of the 1350 members of the class and drafted by the American Friends Service Committee-urges the United States and the Soviet Union to "adopt a mutual freeze on the testing, production and deployment of nuclear weapons."
The timing of this public announcement in support of a nuclear freeze during Commencement week coincides with antinuclear activity sweeping across the country, which will culminate this Saturday in a demonstration expected to draw more than a half million marchers to a United Nations Special Session on Nuclear Disarmament.
Although an alumni survey of men in the Class of '57 recently showed that they are a successful group whose lives are marked more by cherishing traditional values than by political activism. Hatch contended that the alumni class was "quiet, not conservative." She also suggested that the signing of the letter demonstrates the concern alumni feel about "how close our leaders are forcing us to the brink of nuclear disaster."
Supporters of the statement have been distributing literature and buttons inscribed with the words "Harvard Radcliffe '57 for Nuclear Arms Freeze" this week, but they have not planned any further public action. Hatch only said, "I hope something will catch fire to last past reunion week."
Besides the signature drive-billed by Chester W. Hartman '57 an the "most collective action we've taken on a class regarding a social issue"-the day-long workshop, sponsored by the Class of '57 and several undergraduate political groups was designed to "arouse our class's interest" on issues such as the arms race, investment policy in South Africa and the draft.
Speaking at a teaching on political activism, Michael D. Tanzer '57, an avowed leftist, yesterday told about 40 people that involvement in political causes has always been "an ongoing Harvard tradition." He noted that while he was a student, the "concerns were McCarthysim, civil rights legislation, a hands-off Cuba movement and even antinuclear sentiment."
Tanzer also warned against "the elitism that some Harvard students contract in every bone while they're here and then which radiates out when they leave." But he admitted that "devoting one's lite to politics, in the face of rising inflation, and unemployment coupled with dwindling federal support, is becoming increasingly more difficult" for this generation of graduates as compared to his.
Reflecting on the un-likelihood of Harvard students becoming politically radical, Liane G. Rozzell '82, a member of the William J Seymour Society, a Black Christian campus group, said. "A typical Black Student at Harvard comes from an educated middle class background and is not inclined toward such activism and challenging of the institution.