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No Overreaction



To the Editors of The Crimson:

In an April 21 letter to The Crimson Mark Saltreit spoke of a desire to see the end of "criticisms and demands" that have been raised especially by Black groups on campus. He also wrote of what he felt was a "lack of communication and understanding of concerns" which resulted in misunderstanding and confusion harmful to improving sensitivity to racial problems on campus.

As a Black student familiar with some of the problems which beset Black students here on campus, I will communicate and express my concerns to assist in removing some of Salveit's misunderstandings. Since March 1979 over 31 Black Harvard University students have been the victims of racial harrassment perpetuated by whites in the greater Boston area: this includes one Black medical school student who was beaten unconscious and nearly lost his eyesight on the track by Soldiers Field Park. As of April 1979 there were only 16 Black teaching personnel of a total 851 (less than 2%) within the Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences! Five of these Blacks were tenured of an FAS total 352 tenured professors (1.5 per cent). However, as of April 1980 there are but 13 Black teaching area personnel: at least 6 of these (including 3 of the tenured professors) will not be teaching courses in September 1980. There were only 195 Black students (less than 8 per cent of total) admitted to the class of 1983: though there was no decline in the number of applicants to the Class of '84, the Harvard College admissions office has seen fit to admit but 175 Black students to that year's class. Harvard's historical attacks on the Afro-American Studies Department, the DuBois research institute, and the Afro-American Cultural Center are three additional areas of harrassment and insensitivity to Black students. The denial of tenure to outstanding scholar and great friend of Black students Ephraim Isaac is another. If I wrote of the harrassment of Black students at the hands of racism among Harvard students and faculty I could fill many large volumes.

My point in expressing these problems is to communicate to Salveit and countless others that it has always been necessary, it is necessary now, and it will forever be necessary for Black students to protest and raise "criticisms and demands" if the situation is to ever improve for Black students. The same problems which have always confronted Black students here are increasing in intensity.

I am sick of the use of such words as "excessive" "overreaction," "antagonistic" and similar others to describe the raising of demands by Black students here. The overall situtation for Harvard University Black students is frightening: it is nearly impossible for us to overreact as we lash out at the problems of blatant and structural racism and insensivity as they affect us. Those such as yourself who are concerned with the intensity and number of demands that Black students raise would be best advised to use your time and energies to recognize and work to end this University's and this society's oppression and antagonism of Black people in general. Eugene J. Green, Jr. '80

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