Students Support Minority Recruitment; Poll Shows Few Read Bok's Letter

Four days after President Bok published his "Open Letter on Issues of Race," students said they strongly support affirmative action programs in faculty hiring and tend to favor aggressive recruitment of minority students.

But a Crimson poll taken yesterday also shows that more than half of the 219 undergraduates and graduates selected at random and interviewed by telephone said they opposed the creation of a Harvard sponsored Third World center that would serve primarily minority students. Only 36 per cent of those interviewed said they had read Bok's eight-page letter, distributed Friday.

The letter, Bok's sixth on ethical issues facing the University's community, reaffirms the University's admissions and faculty hiring policies, and lends qualified support to the establishment of a foundation to improve race relations on campus.

Why Not the Best?

Bok's letter stressed the importance of affirmative action in undergraduate admissions, maintaining that the creation of a diverse student body and the recognition of the "unusual opportunities" minority students have to make a contribution to society are important goals for the University.


However, he said efforts to recruit minority faculty members have been impeded by the small pool of minority PhDs: "In each faculty appointment we make, our aim must be to find the best available person anywhere in the world."

Students, however, appeared more concerned with affirmative action in faculty hiring policies than they did in admissions. Sixty-six per cent favoring aggressive recruitment of minority students.

"If there are not minorities in the faculty, it is difficult for minority students to feel that it is their university," Christopher P. Myers '84 said yesterday.

Other respondents, however, feared that affirmative action hiring policies might lower the faculty's standards. "Minority faculty members shouldn't be hired to fill quotas," Ben T. Downs '84 said.

Of the 34 per cent who said they oppose minority recruitment in admissions, most objected to the concept of giving special attention to any one group. "If minority students want to apply, they are jut as able. to get applications as anyone else," Eliot G. Kieval '84, said.

The creation of a Third World center, advocated byseveralminority groups on the campus, aroused the most disagreement among students polled, with 36 per cent favoring it and 45 per cent expressing opposition. Nineteen per cent called themselves undecided.

Helena M. Walker '83, said, "A Third World center is necessary. It would not serve as a segregational center, but it would serve as a cultural enrichment center for all races at Harvard."

Bok said he opposed a Third World center because it could contribute to the separation of the races on campus.

Those who agreed included Jean C. MacDowell '84: "A lot of these things tend to separate Third World "students from the rest of the University." Others agreed a center would be "divisive."

More Money!

An undergraduate center that is not exclusively for minorities drew support from many students. Keith B. Lewis '83 said, "I don't think that it should specifically deal with minorities. It should specifically deal with minorities. It should be open to everyone."

Sixty-four per cent reported that they did not read all or any part of Bok's letter. Most who did read the letter said they now understand campus race relations issues better than they did before