Graham T. Allison Jr. '62, dean of the Kennedy School of Government yesterday rejected a Kennedy School student resolution calling for the renaming of the Engelhard Public Affairs Library.
"For my part, I believe that changing the name could give offense and demonstrate insensitivity to many people who are dedicated to this University...and whose financial contributions make possible our independence of learning," Allison's statement said, adding that changing the name "would do little to advance the cause of freedom in South Africa."
Luther M. Ragin Jr. '76, a student at the Kennedy School and the Law School, said yesterday if Allison's response is interpreted as a "flat no" a prolonged conflict might occur between the Kennedy School administration and many student groups.
In a closed meeting, minutes after the release of Allison's statement, approximately 45 students of the student association voted almost unanimously not to participate in the formal "Working Group" Allison outlines in his statement.
The functions of the committee--which is to be composed of faculty, students, and alumni--include proposing criteria for fundraising and naming that will meet the school's financial needs, "respect the interests of all parties and avoid unnecessary controversy."
Stick to the Issue
"We have no objection to the committee as such. We do object to the use of the committee to circumvent the (Engelhard) issue," Gerry Connolly, a member of the student government who chaired the meeting, said yesterday, adding he does not want student communication with the administration to be cut off.
"It could be a useful thing to deal with the issues after the Engelhard issue is solved," Gordon R. Olson, a Kennedy School student said yesterday.
Allison said yesterday the committee will not circumvent the Engelhard issue. "I think that this interpretation of our intention, if I understand it correctly, is mistaken and I hope to be able to work with the student association to engage them in what I think is a process" that addresses the fundamental questions the Engelhard issue raises.
Members of the student association will write a resolution protesting Allsion's statement, which they will give to Allison on Monday, Connolly said