The University official whose letter in last week's Independent prompted a series of reactions from the gay community to his suggestion that society discourage homosexuality has apologized to a Gay Students Association (GSA) moreover.
While Edward L. Pattullo, director of the Center for Behavioral Sciences, stated that he had "misread" a story by Michael G. Colantuono '83 as "an invitation to open discussion of a difficult and delicate issue," he stood by his original assertion that "a heterosexual life has advantage lacking in a homosexual one."
In his letter to Colantuono, Pattullo wrote also that he understood the article-which ran in the Independent last month-to be an indication that gay rights at Harvard were well enough established to allow public debate of the subject. "There "he wrote, "it is clear that I misjudged.
GSA president J. French Wall '83 said yesterday in reaction to Pattullo's comments. "Gay rights are anything but secure here." Wall called on Henry Rosovsky, dean of the Faculty to respond to Pattullo's statement "negative social pressures may keep some who have a choice from adopting the homosexual life."
GSA vice-president Jonathan L. Handel '82 said that in spite of student and faculty support for the GSA that has come in the wake of Pattullo's original letter. "We have not heard a single positive word out of University Hall on gay student.
Rosovsky said yesterday that he would not comment on the matter until he had discussed it with the Faculty Council-which he plans to do this Wednesday.
But Handel called Pattullo's advocacy of social pressure to "discourage" homosexuality "tantamount to genocide."
Colantuono said he regrets that University officials have not publically disclaimed the content of the letter-which was typed on University stationery and was signed with Pattullo's official title.
The GSA was "forced to make a massive protest" because the letter might indicate University policy, Colantuono added.
The GSA collected over 600 signature on a petition condemning Pattullo's letter and calling for an investigation of the center he directs.
Officilas from the University Health Services, in a letter dated May 4, attacked Pattullo's statement as "unenlightened, psychologically incorrect and clearly homophobic."