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THE MAIL

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

To the Editor of the CRIMSON:

I wish to take this opportunity to clarify the position of the Student Union regarding summers work camps for the youth of America. Our campaign against work camps is in no way directed against the Quaker camps of others similar to them already established on a purely voluntary cooperative basis. These camps have done a real service to America by there rehabilitation work. However, at the present time there is grave danger that the original purpose and nature of these camps may be perverted. There is alarming evidence indicating that the campaign for local voluntary different plan for American students; evidence which indicates that the entire work camp movement today is being consciously developed and utilized for purposes which will defeat every ideal of the Quakers and of students deeply interested in actively preserving and extending the rights of the American people by working on community projects themselves. . . .

It will be remembered that the original draft proposal of President Roosevelt included the registration of all Americans above the age of sixteen and a plan of camps for them, because, according to the New York Times. "He was dissatisfied with the infiltration of all on 'Ism' in the minds of youth and felt the need for disciplining them and instilling true American patriotism." This plan however was seen dropped as "too drastic" but has since reappeared.

On September 11, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle quoted the President as follows: "I am determined to cram patriotism down the throats of American youth whether they like it or not . . . ."

The Boston Transcript, on November 23, announced further developments in this plan: "Plans for an entirely new type of government work-service camp, differing substantially from the CC program, were disclosed hero today . . . . The project has been approved by a committee of the National Defense Council . . . it appears reasonably certain that the camp will have the official backing of the government." The chairman of the sponsoring group answered in a reassuring manner a query concerning those who plan to work at the camp: "...It would be better to have them all in one camp where the community can keep an eye on them and go to work to change their ideas...."

The Student Union is unalterably opposed to any plan to institute compulsory government work campus. Such camps, in the light of the present foreign and domestic policy of the federal administration would only be used to break down already inadequate educational standards, to break the will of American youth for peace, and to crush the organized labor movement by the establishment of a source of cheap labor.

The plans for voluntary camps cannot be disassociated from the national campaign for government work campus, because their extension may be used as evidence of support for government army work camps as a solution to the problems of American youth. For this reason, the Student Union cannot, at the present time, endorse or support further proposals for the establishment of these voluntary camps.  David Benett'42,

President Harvard Student Union

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