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To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
Being away from Cambridge this year, I was unable to participate in the Friday, April 11 Faculty meeting on the seizure of University Hall. May I use your columns, therefore, to express my concern over the Faculty's action on that matter.
The Faculty resolved in part to deplore the seizure. Only the most partisan will quarrel with this decision, relating as it does to not only occupation of a key University building, but forceful ejection of deans and other personnel, and theft and dissemination of confidential University materials. The Faculty has also been construed in the press, however, as deploring with virtually equal stress the Administration's response to the seizure. This I understand was not at all the intention of many participants in Friday's meeting, but the fact remains that Faculty failed to differentiate sharply and emphatically between the seizure and the Administration's response. It surely should have done so.
The decision to call in the police obviously was a most difficult one for President Pusey. Perhaps there is room for some disagreement as to just what course was indicated for him, but very often those who object to such a decision simply argue that it is inexpedient because it alienates "moderate" opinion. Isn't it time for "moderate" opinion to ask itself whether it is rightly alienated in such circumstances; whether in fact it has not become irresponsibly indulgent of willful minority actions, which are still destructive even if idealistically provoked by a dreadful war. At this late date, one need not be an alarmist to wonder how long the free university in this country can survive the extra ordinary conjuncture of such extremes of tolerance and dissent.
What next? We already hear familiar calls: "Amnesty for the students involved." "The president must go." "The Corporation must go." I trust that Harvard will not be impressed by such shopworn slogans, that Faculty and students alike will decline to play the mindless roles which the impressarios of the action at University Hall have arranged for them. Great as it is, Harvard no doubt is open to improvement, and perhaps it is time to review the representation accorded different interests. But the first order of business on any constructive agenda must be the reassertion of traditional Harvard reasonableness and resistance to pressure. These are qualities for which President Pusey's administration has been especially distinguished.
Professor of Economics, Harvard
Visiting Professor of Economics, Stanford
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