The Black Student Association (BSA) voted last night not to cosponsor a speech which may be given at Harvard by Republican presidential candidate David Duke.
BSA President Art A. Hall '93 said that the representatives from the Institute of Politics (IOP) had asked his organization to sponsor a possible speech by Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who last month lost in his bid for the Louisiana governorship.
But Hall said the BSA declined the offer. "The decision is not to sponsor the event," Hall said. He would not give an explanation for the BSA's decision, saying he wanted to wait and possibly release a group statement
The two-and-a-half-hour meeting was attended by approximately 50 students. But several students, as well as a reporter from The Crimson, were barred from the meeting, which had been advertised across campus.
Hall said that the meeting was closed because the Duke topic was "a controversial issue that we needed to discuss that dealt specifically with our organization."
"If the board gets together and decides it was not a good idea to advertise and [decides] to close the meeting, we are allowed to do that," Hall said.
'An Insidious Thing'
Members of the Spartacus League, a campus socialist club, criticized their exclusion from the meeting.
"It's exclusion based on the color of our skin," said Spartacus League member Tom Daley, who had hoped to argue against sponsorship of the Duke speech. "It's an insidious thing."
"It didn't say you have to be a BSA member or your skin has to be Black or anything," Daley said.