(The following is the text of a letter from Archie C. Epps, assistant dean of the College, to Mark D. Smith '72, spokesman for OBU, explaining why Epps did not attend last night's open hearing on the OBU occupation.)
Mr. Mark Smith:
I am sending this letter to add to our conversation this afternoon as to whether I would appear at a hearing where, to quote your letter of notification, I would "have an opportunity to represent the position of Harvard University as relates to the issues of Black employment and Black student discipline."
I am not able to honor your request. I repeat what I said this afternoon, that I am an academic dean and do not think I should try to represent Harvard's position on employment.
The University policy should be represented by those who have the responsibility to carry it out and who have been parties to discussions with OBU over Harvard's internal construction projects. I am, of course, quite committed to the changes in policy you seek to bring about, although I think OBU should give Mr. Alexander a chance to make his recommendations. Events of December certainly compelled the University to take a new tack, and it has done so.
Now as to discipline. As I told you. I think it very wrong for OBU or other groups in the University to continue storming into University Hall as if every single aspect of Harvard policy is decided here. And I think it fair to point out to you that the deans had not been parties to your discussion on construction work. But then you would presumably have me pretend-because you say I should have nothing to do with Harvard's hearings in that I am black-I was not here during the occupation, and that my office was not taken over. I wonder what you would think of me if I did that? I don't think you would have much respect for me.
The hearings of the Committee on Rights and Responsibilities at which the deans must appear are fact-finding hearings. Discipline is decided by the CRR and not by the deans, as you seem to think. The rules of the CRR do not permit me to say much more than this.
I do want you to know that I am, of course, very disturbed and worried about the events that have taken place during this controversy. This worry is no less a result of the concerns that have brought OBU to action. I believe institutions, such as Harvard, should do all they can to aid the black community.
Thank you for coming to see me, and for talking with me about your hearing.