Social Studies to Host Discussion About Peretz Fund

Faculty leaders from the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies will host a discussion with members of the Social Studies community on Dec. 7 about the grants that will be available next semester from the Marty Peretz Fund, which will largely sponsor senior thesis research and partly cover other undergraduate research-related expenses.

The $650,000 fund, which was established by friends of Martin H. “Marty” Peretz in honor of the former Social Studies head tutor, was the center of a large debate after Peretz’s controversial blogpost in which he claimed that “Muslim life is cheap.” The dialogue culminated in the Social Studies Standing Committee’s decision to accept the gift just before the committee’s fiftieth anniversary celebration in late September­.

Committee Chair Richard Tuck and Director of Studies Anya Bernstein will lead the presentation on the allocation of the fund, which will conclude in an open floor for questions and comments, according to an e-mail Bernstein sent yesterday.

Undergraduate concentrators expressed curiosity upon receiving Bernstein’s e-mail.

“The controversy has been a very loaded topic,” said Social Studies concentrator Kristine E. Beckerle ’11, who plans to attend the event. “I’d want to see what the resolution is and what Social Studies’ reasoning is for taking the money.”

Adan Acevedo ’13, who was one of the organizers of a 40-student walk-out protesting the fund during a Social Studies 10 lecture in early October, said that he plans to attend the presentation.

“I think we made our position clear [in the walk-out],” Acevedo said. “And it’s great that we finally have this chance to talk about it.”

Bernstein declined to comment for this article.

—Staff writer Gautam S. Kumar can be reached at gkumar@college.harvard.edu.

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