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To the Editors of the Crimson:
We are concerned with the impression given to many that the recommendations of the Faculty Committee on Fellowships and Other Aids for Graduate Students of March 27 constitutes a response to the Graduate Students and Teaching Fellows Union's demands.
First, whatever the content of the Committee's report, it is neither a response to the Union, nor even a statement of Administration policy, but merely "the sense of the meeting" of that committee. Second, the proposed minimum of $800,000 for next year is inadequate to meet the needs of teaching fellows even at this year's level. At least 200 additional teaching fellows are expected to apply for tuition abatements for next year, and, it should be remembered, tuition has been raised $200 for those teaching fellows not on reduced tuition. According to Administration figures, then, a minimum of 1.1 million is needed for next year, and not the proposed $800,000. If adjustments are going to be made, we ought to be talking about a reasonable base figure.
The most disturbing part of this committee's report is its failure to indicate the sources of the money it proposes to distribute to teaching fellows. Funds for tuition abatement must not come at the expense of other graduate student support, the pay of nonprofessional employees, undergraduate scholarships, or the quality of graduate or undergraduate education. When the Union first issued its demands, commitments had already been made to graduate students on the scholarship dockets of their departments. We believe those commitments should be honored, and are deeply distressed that the Faculty Committee did not feel required to acknowledge them. A committee report or Administration statement cannot be seriously considered unless it provides guarantees that graduate student aid will not be diminished to provide funds for teaching fellows.
There has been widespread confusion regarding the Union's position on the need for a criterion of equity on the distribution of University aid funds. The Union is naturally concerned about questions of equity, but it does not believe that taking expected salary income away from teaching fellows (the tuition stipend) constitutes an acceptable application of this criterion.
Moreover, it is the Union's position that equity is not achieved by transferring funds away from the lowest paid employees of the University. The Administration's highly touted defense of the equity principle is analogous to President Nixon's advising the residents of Roxbury to redistribute their income amongst themselves in the interests of equity in America.
The Financial Research Committee of the Union has already suggested that viable alternative income sources do exist within the University for the support of students. Precise information, however, is hard to come by so long as the University's books, accounting practices, and financial priorities remain mysterious to all members of the academic community.
On Arpil 3, the New York Times carried an article on the Harvard University Press. Last year the Press suffered a record deficit of over $500,000. This year the Press has a new administrator--Harvard's new Vice-President Stephen Hall, who comes to Harvard from his previous post as director of "operations support" for ITT. The article reports that President Bok "intended to reduce its (the Press') deficit sharply because we've reached; the point where many of our graduate students don't have financial aid and we must revise our priorities." We are gratified to learn of Bok's concern for graduate education, but surprised to hear that the only source of funds discovered to date are from the deficits of the University Press. The Union's demand for full financial disclosure, if met, would make informed and serious discussion of University financial priorities possible--without the intermediary of the New York Times.
If the Union is recognized, it will be pleased to send representatives to the Administration to discuss needbased scholarship programs, financial priorities, and decisions that will effect the quality of education at Harvard. These matters are the business of the entire community, not just Bok, Dunlop, Jones, their cohorts, and the New York Times. Steering Committee Graduate Students and Teaching Fellows Union
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