CRR: Fair


To The Editors of The Crimson:

The Committee on Rights and Responsibilities will be fair.

That is the assurance given to student divestiture advocates who will soon be subject to CRR disciplinary consideration. However, no procedural safeguards protect these students from unfair actions, rendering the promise of fairness hollow and meaningless.

As President Bok notes, "efforts by universities to teach students about ethical issue are likely to be limited in value and to produce the universities themselves are perceived [to behave unethically]." (U.S. News and World Report, Feb. 21, 1983)

Yet by its own example, what is Harvard teaching you and me about important ethical issues?


Due process. When the CRR adjudicates the actions of these students, virtually none of the constitutional guarantees of our government will apply to these students. The CRR sets its own procedure. There is no right to present witnesses, and no right to cross-examine opposing witnesses. The meeting is closed and there is no appeal. If the CRR will be fair, the University has no reason to fear appellate Why therefore should Harvard shy away from providing fundamentally fair procedures such as the right to appeal?

President Bok and Vice President Steiner, as lawyers, know the importance of due process, yet choose to support Harvard's exemption from it. This "trial" will be held in paranoid Soviet style--behind closed doors with no opportunity to appeal.

Free speech. Throughout the history of the CRR, it has been invoked only to punish leaders of progressive causes. Even though, in my view, divestiture is not a leftist issue, but rather a humanitarian cause, it is clear that administration officials view it as an ideological excursion. Thus the University hierarchy initiates proceedings against undergraduates who stood outside Lowell House chanting radical phrases such as "one person, one vote" Use of the CRR historically only against students on one side of the political spectrum, will certainly have a chilling effect on free speech here at Harvard.

Equal protection. The CRR may consider only charges against students, not faculty, administrators, or the University Police. Hence, complaints filed by several students who allege injury due to police use of excessive force at the Lowell House incident may not be consider by the CR.R, In fact, the Commission of inquiry, to which the complaints were direct, has not met or taken action on charges buy student. Why are there two standards of rights on of rights on campus?

Exclusion The CRR, like the Cooperation, is composed only of white males. Harvard has systematically denied women and minorities to positions of power. Why does Harvard's commitment to affirmative action and with the student body?

Privacy. In the face of convincing evidence that the University Police obtained information from private phone conversations between students, the University refuses to assist these students in investigating this serious infringement of civil rights. According to Mr. Steiner, it is "their problem." Is this a proper example for the University to set?

While the University continues to undermine the ethical principles taught in my law classes, it still invests over half a billion dollars in companies operating in South Africa. No amount of disciplinary action can deflect attention from that sad fact. Douglas Hagerman, 21.