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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

HCUA Praises Work of HSA, Asks Slight Structural Changes

By Joseph M. Russin

The majority of the Executive Committee of the HUCA has found the Harvard Student Agencies "very deserving of a warm and sympathetic response," but recommends several changes in HSA politics and techniques.

Most sweeping of the HCUA's proposed changes is a recommendation that the posts of Director of Student Employment and General Manager of the HSA be given to separate individuals. At present both jobs are filled by Dustin M. Burke '52. Another recommendation calls for a concerted effort by the HSA to inform the community of its activities.

The findings of the Executive Committee, which were based on answers given to a long questionnaire last spring, were presented to the HCUA last night in a lengthy, mildly-written report. However, one member of the committee, Michael J. M. Galazka '63-4, HCUA Secretary, said he was "not satisfied with the report." Galazka called the document "incomplete and inconclusive" and said the HCUA was "handicapped by the arrogant and secretive attitude of the HSA."

Managers' salaries, one of the item requested by the HCUA group, were not permitted to appear in the report. At one point in the report, however, the committee hinted that managers' salaries sometimes exceed $2000. The report recommends an upper limit of $1500 on managers' salaries, the amount currently paid the HSA president.

Although the committee found that Burke has given "invaluable" service to the community and said his performance has been "remarkable," it recommended separating his jobs to resolve the ambiguity that many students feel exists and thus enable the HSA "to regain respect in the community."

Specifically, the report asks that the HSA general manager be selected by the University with the consent of the HSA Board of Directors, and that the Director of Student Employment be chairman of the HSA Board. The committee rejected the idea of separating the HSA itself from the University asserting that Harvard should retain in active interest in HSA affairs.

The committee described a recent decision by the HSA Board to pay part of Burke's university salary and the previous HSA grant of a supplement to Burke's salary as "in bad taste," but claimed the "extra money was well-deserved to say the least."

In general, the committee found no significant conflict-of-interest cases under Burke's handling of the two jobs, and thought the separation was primarily necessary for public relations reasons.

Spending a good deal of time on the HSA's public image, the committee said the "HSA has nothing to hide from this, community" but creates an impression of evil-doing from its secretive policies. The committee also blamed "unjustified rumors and accusations" for the HSA's current alledgedly low prestige.

The committee urged the HSA to realize it is not an ordinary business and cannot take the usual business attitude towards discussing its policies. "The HSA has one of the most special and favorable relationships to its customer community that exists for any business in the entire world." the committee claimed.

The committee reports the HSA as feeling "its prime purpose" is to provide jobs "for needy students." but it presents no thorough evaluation of the HSA's success in meeting this goal. At one point in the report the committee states "there in a slight tendency to pick the best man for the (managerial) job, regardless of financial need." No figures are given on either managers' salaries or financial needs of HSA employees, however, to substantiate the point.

While urging the HSA "not to overemphasize" ability over need in managerial candidates, the committee grants that the HSA has a proper interest in nsuring competence in managerial positions. A "program of education," by the HSA would, in the committee's opinion, help bring HSA opportunities to the attention of more needy students and help resolve the current difficulties.

The committee commended the current system of choosing managers, which involves open discussion and decision by the HSA Board. According to the report, "under no circumstances did Burke overrule" the general sentiment on choice of a manager.

On the whole, the committee praised the HSA for the opportunities it provides for students, noting that more than $100,000 in wages are now paid. It defended "certain favors granted by the University" to give HSA something of a monopoly position in certain areas as "most appropriate" in light of the HSA's service to the community.

The report, long-delayed by a misunderstanding with the HSA Board over how much information could be released, will be voted on text Tuesday by the HCUA

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