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(Ed. Note--The Crimson does not necessarily endorse opinions expressed in printed communications. No attention will be paid to anonymous letters and only under special conditions at the request of the writer will names be with-held.)
To the Editor of the CRIMSON:
It seems to me that the discussion of the scrubwomen situation has been predominated by a lack of understanding on the part of the University forces, as is shown by the following three points:
The first is the editorial attitude of the CRIMSON itself in crying, "Hush, hush," and trying to silence widespread dissatisfaction by regretting a "public discussion of affairs not directly the affairs of the public" and calling "the issues too grave for sensational discussion by open letters." This policy falls to realize that public opinion is the most effective weapon to obtain results in a situation like this where the employer follows a close-fisted policy of silence. Public opinion guides our leaders in matters ranging from international disarmament to the wearing of pajamas in city streets. It was by public discussion that night-work for women was banned, that the 12-hour day was abolished, and that child labor was barred. It was by exposing dirty linen that public opinion arose and forced, the dictatorial coal companies of Pennsylvania to lighten their tyrannical oppression over the coal miners, and caused labor unions to be recognized everywhere. Public discussion has been the moving cause of nearly every great reform and should be used here to help the University catch up with the world and humanize its employment policy.
My second example is the University's defense in their last letter that "they are not aware of any complaint ever having been received from the women regarding their wages." Of course, they have not complained and no one connected with labor problems expected them to. To complain usually means dismissal, and there is nothing a laboring man or woman fears so much as being fired. The specter of unemployment with rising bills and empty stomachs has made working people do far worse things than submit silently to an unjust wage. The University's giving this as an answer shows their utter failure even to understand the situation.
Then finally, those of us who in college became interested in seeing the status of laborers rise and the policy of employers become more human are disgusted with the University's futile attempts to justify its miserly wages. Even if they are technically above the minimum level, still it was weeks after the lay-off, and after the announcements of the Wage Commission's decree and then of the reorganization at Widener that some bright person thought of this defense. But more important than the lateness of the excuse is the fact that it is simply not convincing. We expected to find many employers in this cold world mistreating and underpaying their help. We expected to see medieval niggardliness and harshness in many backward places, but we did not expect to find miserliness advocated by Harvard. It is like discovering Einstein to be thousands of years out of date, or our best friend to be a despicable thief. The disillusion hurts. Tilford E. Dudley 2L.
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