IN ITS FIRST attempt to solicit student opinion before attempting to lobby the University administration, the Student Assembly will poll undergraduates on several issues, some of which are indeed important. A substantial turnout is necessary for the referendum to have any significance, so we urge that all students give thought to the issues involved and vote.

Preeminent among the issues on the referendum ballot is the question of re-naming the Engelhard Public Affairs Library at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. While few undergraduates now use the library, it is crucial that they express their distaste for the school's decision to accept a gift from the Charles W. Engelhard Foundation and then honor Engelhard by naming its library after him. Because Engelhard made his fortune by exploiting the labor of South African blacks in gold mines, it seems inappropriate that a library in a school training future public servants should bear his name--especially when the school itself is named after a president who vigorously supported human rights in Africa. Students should not hesitate to condemn the Kennedy School administration's decision to accept the Engelhard money.

Another referendum question asks whether students want the choice of a 14- or a 21-meals-per-week plan. While a 14-meal plan with only lunches and dinners may have some drawbacks, most universities offer this option. Another item considers the merits of academic credit for drama courses. Credit is appropriate for courses in drama, but not for purely extracurricular activities.

Likewise, it would appear clear that the Faculty should grant normal academic credit for work done at universities abroad, which would represent a departure from current policy. A fifth question, which considers whether or not the University should resurrect the now-moribund writing center, presents some difficulty. The Writing Center represented an attempt to deal with a very real problem, but it was prohibitively expensive. While the University should certainly investigate alternative responses to the problem, the Writing Center is not the answer.

The answer, however, in the so-called "toilet paper" tangle is clear. Most, if not all students, will agree that the University should supply this necessary item that it now provides only to freshmen and Radcliffe Quad residents. What effect this question of weighty import will have on University policy remains to be seen.


This poll represents one of the few actions the Student Assembly has taken in its much-heralded first semester in action as the undergraduate voice. We earnestly hope that the information gathered in this poll will lead to concrete accomplishment on the part of next semester's Assembly.

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