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SOMETHING IS WRONG down at 17 Quincy St. What's worse, nobody seems to want to make it better.
In a December 11 open discussion with students. Hugh Calkins '45, Chairman of the Corporations Subcommittee on Shareholder Responsibility, said that if a majority of students wanted the Kennedy School of Government's Engelhard Library of Public Affairs renamed, the question would be put on the Corporation's agenda.
Last week, after hearing that 52 per cent of students who responded to a Student Assembly referendum said that Harvard should "take whatever steps are necessary" to change the name of the library, Calkins balked, saying that he didn't know if the poll was indicative of student opinion.
He also noted that the issue may not be put on the Corporation's agenda, saying "an expression of student opinion does not automatically put the issue on the Corporation's docket."
Caulkins refused to say why the poll may not be considered indicative of student beliefs, and his attitude is indicative of the Corporation's severe case of myopla.
Support for renaming the library--established in memory of the late Charles W. Engelhard, an American businessman who made most of his fortune through mining interests in South Africa--is by no means limited to undergraduates who responded to the survey. Congressman, Kennedy School faculty and students and other administrators have already said the library should be renamed.
Calkins' equivocation on the issue--and it appears that he has changed his mind--is indicative of the Corporation's attitudes that what students believe does not matter. Combined with the statements of Graham T. Allison Jr. '62, dean of the Kennedy School, Calkins' action reinforced a patter of refusa! to even consider the issues.
To questions as important as Harvard's many and varied involvements with South Africa white minority government can be solved by not discussing the issue at hand. The Corporation must come out of its protective shell and face the facts--a lot of people with a wide variety of backgrounds, and an equally large number of positions in and outside of Harvard, care about this issue. The results of the Assembly referendum underline these feelings.
If the Corporation is going to insist that students act rationally and reasonably, we can only hope that it will do the same.
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