The president of the Business School's Student Association has asked the local and national press to be wary of the "accuracy and veracity" of the anti-Vietnam petition which 508 Business school students signed.
Carl G. Hokanson, a second year MBA student and president of the S.A.. said last night the earlier this week he telephoned United Press International, the Associated Press, the New York Times the Wall Street Journal the Boston Globe, and the Heral-Traveler to warn them about the petition.
The petition was circulated October 2 and 3 by the Harvard Business School Vietnam Peace Committee. Hokanson said that by Monday afternoon, October 6, about 100 students had approached him and complained about the procedures and intentions of the Peace Committee, in addition to the accuracy and validity of the signature count.
When asked to name a few of the 100 people who complained to him. Hokanson refused, saying that he did not care "whether you know any of their names or not." Hokanson emphasized, however, that his personal views of the war were not involved, and that he was acting only in the interest of these 100 students.
The following are among the nine charges which Hokanson, in his statement, made against the petition.
the Peace Committee did not make clear it would publish or advertise the petition in the mass media;
some foreign students signed the petition, oven though it stated "our... U.S... government"
a second petition with 133 signatures (some of whom also signed the first petition) was confusingly cited in the Peace Committee's news release on the more widespread petition;
the petition contained non-MBA signatures
Peter C. Aldrich 66. chairman of the HBS Vietnam Peace Committee, denied the last charge outright and called thefirst three charges "almost meaningless."
"hat the hell do people expect you to do with a petition, anyway?" Aldrich asked in response to the first charge. He added that the second petition was not misleading and that he guessed the number of foreign students who signed was no higher than 20 to 40.
On the evening of October 3, after the signatures for the petition had been collected, Hokanson and a first-year MBA student approached Aldrich. The first-year student proposed a referendum whereby Aldrich would not release the petition to the press if a majority of the School asked him to withhold it. Aldrich rejected this idea.
Aldrich did release the petition at noon, Monday, October 6, and held a meeting about the petition that afternoon.
Hokanson had expected this meeting to take place before the petition was released. "It wasn't that they pulled a fast one on me, they pulled a fast one on a lot of people," Hokanson said.
That same evening, Hokanson prepared a statement for immediate release and telephoned the national press.
Hokanson said that during the past week he has spent 40 to 50 hours working against the petition. "I felt I was fulfilling my duty to the complaining students," he said.
Asked why the 100 students complained to him, Hokanson replied, "I'm visible and they think I'm the one who can solve their problems. It just happens to be a function of the job that you take a lot of shit from everybody."