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To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
Yesterdy, at University Hall, I witnessed the obstructive sit-in of SDS, I am not only concerned about it as and individual act surrounded by specific issues but also as an indicator of the present atmosphere within the University.
The issue of painters' helper, like many other issues in the past, is far more complex than members of SDS would like to think. This issue concerns the speckle skills involved in the craft, mechanization and its effect on the craft, and-the resultant effect on wages, and finally the collective bargaining procedures involved in bringing about changes in hiring and promotion practices. SDS will not allow, however, for the existence of these complexities. Nor will they wait for labor negotiations to take place during the first week in December. As usual, the issue must be settled Now even at the risk of disrupting the University. And, as usual. SDS presents some cosmic notion which links all the issues, all the structures, and all the decision-makers into one massive, incomprehensible blob; wage inequities, black worker, racism, May, Corporation, Bosses, Evil!
Yesterday afternoon, I met for an hour and a half with three members of the Personnel Office: Messrs. Kielly, Powers and Moulton, Perhaps I will be criticized for what may seem to some as a "ruling class position" but I must admit that I was impressed not only by the sincerity of these men but also by their awareness and sensitivity to inequities which may exist in the present system. I am fully convinced that, if there are problems concerning wages for painters' helpers, they do not emerge from racist attitudes and that these men as well as Ernest May are susceptible to rational arguments for changes in policy. Abusive treatment and war games will not provoke much response from anybody who attempts to conscientiously deal with differing points of view. Regardless of what any individual may feel about Ernest May or any other member of the University, the treatment that the Dean received yesterday was inexcusable and inappropriate.
As a Renault of building-takeovers and sit-ins and the ensuing changes in University governance and policies, many members of this community have acquired a mentality which holds that change will not come without militant action. This presents sad prospects for the future. The members of this community must seriously consider what conduct is appropriate within the University. Until that time, change at Harvard will be marked with disruption and synonymous with reports from the Committee on Rights and Responsibilities.
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