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Today's letter from "The Harvard Square Deal Association," ostensibly an organization founded to right the wrongs of the scrubwomen dismissed from Widener last December, argues that Harvard has violated its code. The stand of the CRIMSON on the now-infamous Scrubwomen case is not, as the letter seems to indicate, an indiscriminate defence of the University's actions. From the first, it has protested against the stinginess and high-handed attitude of the authorities, and has in no way attempted to excuse it. Nor is it necessary to emphasize once more the evident mismanagement of the press relationships which resulted in a nation-wide and odious prominence for Harvard.
The CRIMSON's "swing to the right," first at the appearance of the protest signed by 51 alumni, and now, with the formulation of the "Harvard Square Deal Association," has quite possibly been misinterpreted. Obviously, to accept the University's miserliness and technical evasions would be an abrupt about-face from its previous attitude. Editorially, the CRIMSON has declared itself out of sympathy with the attempt, first of the Alumni and, secondly, of the student group, mainly because of the attendant publicity and a resultant inquisitiveness of the world into a private matter which should be solved primarily by Harvard if she is to maintain, in any sense of the word, her "specific code" of "enlightenedness, generous and fine sportsmanship, and pioneering in social progress," as the letter phrases it. The stigma is Harvard's; and it should be scrubbed out in private.
Although the CRIMSON has no desire to engage in a lengthy, discussion of systematic moralities with "The Harvard Square Deal Association", it desires to clarify its statement that the Scrubwomen case is a moral issue. Harvard University was within its legal rights in its peremptory dismissal of its employees; morally the action and its later ramifications are indefensible. There is little doubt in the minds of the University at large that the wages of its employees, while legally sufficient, are certainly below any altruistic or even humanitarian scale. The issue in the mind of the CRIMSON is whether there is any moral good in selecting one particular instance from the entire fabric of the wage question, and magnifying it to a position of paramount importance; whether the questionable publicity given to this particular part, dwarfing the whole out of all proportion, has, in an ultimate analysis, done any good. It is impossible to minimize the harm.
The question of University employment cannot be settled by abstractions or catch-words. The problem has as yet reached no conclusion, nor is it desirable, that it should be disposed of summarily. If demands a comprehensive and exhaustive survey in connection with this, it might be well for both the alumni and the "Harvard Square Deal Association" to recall the statement issued the eighteenth of March last, by the College authorities that "the general subject of salaries and wages is a matter of concern and is receiving consideration."
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