To the Editors of The Crimson:
I write to say that I was outraged, though hardly surprised, when President Bok decided to challenge the results of the union representation election and to surround his challenge with high-sounding rhetoric about fairness. Maintaining checklists of voters and escorting prospective supporters to the polls are common practices in every civic election in which I've ever participated. Why is it that what's fair in Cambridge is not fair at Harvard?
As a small example of the high moral and intellectual standards with which Harvard conducted its own anti-union campaign, I refer to the following graph copied from one of the "informational" pamphlets Harvard distributed to employees. Whether or not the actual data about "average" salary increases have been distorted I cannot say, since no raw data or notes are provided. What I can say is that whoever was making up the graph saw a disturbing trend, among both union and non-union staff, toward lower rates of increase as the years progressed. Therefore, despite titling the graph "...Increases 1980-87," he or she defied all common practice and reversed the chronological order of the bars--in order to mislead employees into thinking that raises had been growing rather than shrinking.
In fact, correcting for inflation, real wage increases may have been growing. My point, though, is that Harvard's anti-union crusaders engaged in an obvious attempt to distort the figures they chose to use. I have worked as an economics journalist, have edited tests in statistics and social sciences, and have taught graphing in math classes; I can't recall ever having seen a chronologically backward graph before--and certainly not one which was also titled chronologically forward.
This is a small example, but I'm sure it testifies to the type of election campaign practices in which Harvard engaged. Dick Cluster '68