To the Editors of The Crimson:
Congratulations! For the first time in recent memory, the Harvard Crimson has jumped onto the bandwagon, calling for the abolishment of the Committee on Rights and Responsibility and abandoning responsible journalism. Students, by the way, did not need the New York Times to tell us that the sixties were finally over in 1976--the sixties ended in the sixties.
But it is just that those opposing the CRR have not realized it yet. You have joined a small crew of ardent antagonists who still find a need to cling to the "adversity" of the sixties in order to counter comments on how apathetic we students of the seventies are. So, instead of responding to such a charge--like many students have--by finding worthwhile causes such as the South Africa anti-apartheid movement or equal rights for women. The Crimson and a select group of others decided to identify with and fight for a dead issue. The CRR as an administration's tool to harass students with unpopular political leanings is no longer an issue, ladies and gentlemen. Times have changed!
As a matter of fact, the Resolution on Rights and Responsibility gives students the right to protest, to demonstrate and to hold whatever opinions they wish. And incidentally, abolishing the CRR does not abolish the Resolution, it just eliminates the students' voice in the process of discipline. The CRR is the only disciplinary body on campus that has student participation--and an equal voice at that. The students have no other voice; advocating the CRR's abolition hurts the students. The AD board, for example, has no student representatives. By advocating the abolition of the CRR, students are embarrassing themselves by implying that they cannot distinguish between the credible and the implausible, the right and the wrong, the innocent and the guilty, the fair and the unjust or hard fact and hearsay as others in society can. The indictment of faculty members and the senior tutor is no less incriminating.
Now, the CRR is not perfect. There are some changes that need attention. But students must send their representatives to the CRR to help in the process. More importantly, House Committees should send representatives to insure that we students are represented when and if a case is brought before the Committee. Granted, there have not been many cases in the last few years. But this should serve to show the general trend in the students. Furthermore, most of the students do not even know what the CRR is or does. Students are not opposed to the CRR as you would have us believe. As a matter of fact, the poll that the Freshman Council took of its constituents showed that the class favored sending students to the CRR like the last two classes had. The results were not overwhelming; many did not even vote. But to say that the freshman class is opposed to the CRR is absurd even given the results. The apathy results from misinformation and tradition. Students are made to believe that they have to continue the boycott.
It is time for the propaganda to cease. It is not like The Crimson to fall prey to such unsubstantiated public relations. Students should channel their excess energizs into more constructive avenues. Phillips Brooks House can use the volunteers. But to cling to some dead issue like the CRR boycott or the abolishing of the CRR is wasteful and foolhardy. The Student Assembly will gladly put people to work to worthwhile ends. And even the Crimson needs people to deliver its papers, especially during Reading period. Or work with the CRR and we students who are interested in maintaining student participation in university affairs--in a quiet way.
I realize what may happen to this response to your editorial. But in the interest of your usually fair journalistic practices, please don't bury it. Richard Chassin CRR student coalition
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