Council on The Dead


To The Editors of the Crimson:

I believe your editorial "The Grateful Dead Referendum: Refuse to Vote" blurs the basic reasoning behind the Undergraduate Council's decision to hold the referendum.

The Council voted to approved the concept of a concert in Harvard Stadium after the Social Committee prepared a report on the feasibility of the event. The committee's report said that financial backing, the necessary permits, appropriate safety precautions, and the band could will be obtained.

After the feasibility of the concert was established representatives began to receive varying constituent responses back. Some students were in enthusiastic support; others were adamantly opposed. We decided to serve our constituents by conducting a referendum to determine the prevailing sentiment regarding this matter. The logic behind the referendum, then is this: the concert is being planned for Harvard undergraduates; if those undergraduates do not wish us to hold the concert, it would be silly to do so. The fact that Stu Raphael has additional reasons for the referendum should not take away from the Council's basic logic any more than the statements of Professor Bossert should take away from the Faculty's logic in supporting the Core Curriculum.

Perhaps it is unfortunate that we are taking a referendum and not conducting a survey. However, the results of a survey could be more easily distorted than the ever-simple and clear "Resolved, the Council shall sponsor a concert in Harvard stadium with the Grateful Dead. Should this proposition pass?" If the referendum fails. I believe it will be incumbent upon us to try to learn why--a survey, not a referendum, would be appropriate at that time.

Finally, the Crimson assertion that undergraduates "paid ten dollars to fund a body elected to make such decisions for them," ignores the fact that among other things the Council was established "to represent our (the undergraduates' of Harvard-Radcliffe) views" and that the student-ratified Constitutions provides us with a most direct means for discovering those views: referenda (article III, section 5). I fear that the Crimson's argument is a two edged sword: if we attempt to learn Constitution opinion, we are levelling an "insult" as students who have paid for us to "make" decisions for them; yet, if we failed to do so, we would have been lambasted for ignoring the wishes of Harvard-Radcliffe undergraduates--the people whom we serve. Greg Lyss '85, Chairperson   Undergraduate Council