To the Editors of The Crimson:
This letter is being written with the intention of clarifying some of the issues concerning the Urban Field Service which were raised in your article of October 2.
At the outset, we would like to indicate our support for Director Mania Seferi's decision to discontinue the Field Service, given the present conditions under which it would have to operate. The Urban Field Service was created in order to provide research and technical assistance to groups which could not otherwise obtain such services, and to provide students with the opportunity to work for community groups in terms of community-defined needs. Such work would be done under the supervision of professionals, which requires substantial financial support for the UFS. The important point was, however, that community groups would themselves be asking for assistance and that UFS participants' primary responsibility was to these groups.
It is not at all clear from the article if it is this particular kind of Field Service concept that Dean Kilbridge has always and will continue to support, or if it is some different kind of field work that he has in mind. In addition, the Dean does not indicate what he would consider to be appropriate funding arrangements for any such field operation.
Furthermore, we do not understand why Professor Mann's statement about Professor Seferi's teaching ability appears at all in the context of a discussion about the Urban Field Service. Hopefully, we can separate a discussion about the Field Service as a particular kind of field work experience from a personalized discussion concerning the teaching abilities of its director.
We strongly suggest the creation of a joint student-faculty committee to examine the role of community-oriented field experience within the School of Design curriculum, in terms of student needs and Harvard's responsibilities to the greater Boston Community. Jorge Hernandex Kate Thompson Michael McCullough Thomas H. Kelley (Students of GSD) Steve Zimmerman Richard Telford Sy Adler Laura Nields