The Center of Conversation


To the editors of The Crimson:

Conversation overheard on the shuttle bus between two Black women: "Did you read Bok's letter?" "We read it last night at the BSA meeting and prepared a response to it." "Oh, was it favorable or what?" "No, there were a lot of problems with it."

As I listened I thought, "If God sent a message to the BSA on Bok's stationary, they would immediately term it 'short-sighted', 'racist', etc." The point is, the BSA doesn't approve of anything that Bok says. They have lost their credibility in the eyes of many because of their opponent stance that "if it's signed Bok' it has to be bad."

I have no special reason to support Bok other than the fact that I think he does a good job in his principal role as a figurehead and an adequate job in his secondary role as administrator. But let me continue the same conversation.

"There's not one reason we shouldn't have a Third World Center at Harvard. Yale has one, Brown has one, and Princeton has one." At this point I could contain my anger no longer. I turned to her and said. "I can give you three reasons why Harvard shouldn't have a Third World Center at this time: Yale has a general student center, Brown has a general student center, and Princeton has a general student center." She replied, "I just don't want to hear that. This University has plenty of money to build both a Third World Center and a general student center." At this point we got off the bus and went our separate ways. I was disturbed by her attitude which I felt was reflective of the general BSA attitude: We come first.


I honestly don't know if Harvard has funds for student centers. They probably do and even if none existed, it's a facility many would not mind paying for through increasedtuition. The point is this: I believe we should have both types of centers, but, the center to serve all of the students is the one which should be constructed first.

The argument that the BSA has given in the past about Jews having Hillel, and WASPS the clubs, etc, is impotent. A very small percentage of our undergraduates can use these facilities. There is no central meeting place for all Harvard students. The BSA, however, continually ignores this fact. Maybe if we first worked together as one student body for a general student center, we would be in a more realistic position to build a Third World Center. Here's an idea to kick around: Let's consolidate University Administration in Holyoke Center (where there are ample open offices). After moving Rosovsky and Company out of University Hall, we could gut the interior and use two-thirds to build a general student center and one-third for a Third World Center. It's centrally located and everybody would be happy.

I urge the BSA officers to come out of their Ivory towers and be realistic and fair in their efforts. For their present position is just as bigoted and untenable as that of President Bok's. Steven E. Goldin '82