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STUDENT SUBSCRIBERS to the New York Times and Boston Globe were hardly surprised to learn recently that the Harvard Delivery Service dropped virtually all attempts to respond to subscriber complaints after Christmas vacation. Admission of this reality by the director of the service only made official what those who had futilely complained to the service's "phone-mate" had already realized.
It is absurd for Harvard Delivery to plan to leave the question of reimbursing subscribers to the results of a year-end audit. Unless it plans to declare bankruptcy, the service should move immediately to rebate students the full cost of undelivered papers.
Harvard Delivery's failures are doubly disturbing because the administration--specifically Archie C. Epps III, dean of students--was instrumental in setting up the organization. While the administration cannot guarantee error-free service, it is obligated to oversee Harvard Delivery. Epps has taken no steps to compel resumption of complaint processing and has never required the service to set up a system for reimbursing students--something that should have been done before Epps granted the campus delivery franchise. Epps's inaction becomes even more disturbing in light of his alacrity in arranging subscriber rebates in January 1974 when a subsidiary of Our of Town News handled paper delivery.
Epps erred further in arranging rent-free use of a Buildings and Grounds vehicle for Harvard Delivery, violating a longstanding B&G policy. The student subscribers who have been shortchanged by the service now discover that they have unwittingly been subsidizing its profit-seeking operations.
Campus newspaper delivery is undoubtably a tricky task but such difficulty is no license for the Harvard Delivery Service to defraud student subscribers or for the University to default on its oversight responsibilities.
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