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To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
A CRIMSON article states that Allston Burr of the Class of 1889 has left an unrestricted gift of $1,500,000 to the University. If converted into dollar bills and laid end to end, this sum would stretch from Cambridge to somewhere south of Hartford on the Wilbur Cross Highway. If used more intelligently, the income would pay all the expenses for the Harvard education of 15 men a year. Otherwise, the sum might by put into the running endowment to lower the tuition or the room and board bills, or to renew such institutions as the training table. It could be put toward an auditorium and theatre, or toward a hockey rink, or some building containing both. There is, in fact, a long list of improvements vigorously propounded by the student body, and noticeable for its absence is the suggestion of a new Varsity Club building.
The problem at Harvard goes deeper than the amount of money invested in its clubs or its athletic facilities. Much of student diffidence is caused by the Corporation's entire attitude towards its undergraduate body. The individual responsible College officials, Dean Bender for example, could not be more understanding of the student's point of view, but the attitude of the Corporation as a whole is oblivious of student or alumni desires. For example, there is the new marble monument to the World War II dead now being constructed for Memorial Church. This is undoubtedly a fine sentiment, but a useless expression of it. The student body, the CRIMSON, and an overwhelming majority of those members of the Associated Harvard Clubs who were polled were against it.
The same has been the case with the Allston Burr request. There has been no crying need for a new Varsity Club. We are willing to grant that the building needs some renovating, but since the cancellation of the training table, the chief needs seems to be a renewal of the functions which make a varsity club operate, not a new clubhouse. There is, however, need for a hockey rink and an auditorium with facilities for theatrical productions. The new student activities center building is sadly outdated. Provided with money which might answer some if not all of these needs, needs which have been discussed frequently in the CRIMSON and elsewhere about the College, the College has chosen to build a varsity club for which there is not real need.
We charge that the University in this and other matters is not living up to its responsibilities to its students, and that the student body is repaying this with indifference. This will cost the University in a practical fashion. The University is not, as an organization, oriented toward its students.
Moreover, pregraduation loyalty is apt to be translated into dollar bills after graduation. While the individuals contribution might not exceed five dollars, fivers do mount up and we can assure the Corporation that if discussions in the dining room are any criterion, many undergraduates will not allow their money to be misdirected by an already wealthy organization. This new Varsity Club furnishes an excellent example of what we mean. In the face of an immediate need for the renewal of training table, an adequate activities center, a hockey rink, a well equipped auditorium and theatre, the College has decided to build a varsity club for which there has been no immediate need indicated. The College is not acting in a responsible manner toward its students. J. Russell Hunter '50 Horatio Rogers, Jr. '50
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