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Nearly 200 students gathered in the Yard yesterday to demand a say in the selection of Harvard's next president.
Students at the 90-minute long rally, which featured speeches by consumer-rights leader Ralph Nader and a number of campus activists, demanded that the search process be made less secretive and more responsive to student concerns.
Nader attacked President Derek C. Bok and his administration for allying the University too closely with corporate and government interests at the expense of faculty and students.
"Harvard is reverting to the commercial priorities and government priorities which reflect those commercial priorities," said Nader. "Universities are turning themselves into commercial adjuncts to corporate profit-making agendas."
Nader assailed students for not fighting an administration that has "tipped too far into the authoritarian and mercantile arena."
"The problem with you as Harvard students is that you are too comfortable," said Nader. Instead, he said, a Harvard education should be "an imperative for moral leadership. You've got to break that vise of authoritarian control over the University. They'll be proud of you later."
The protest was organized by the Nader-sponsored group, Harvard Watch, which issued a report this fall showing that Harvard's selection process is more closed than those at the vast majority of other schools. Another Harvard Watch study described the extensive corporate ties of members of the presidential search committee.
One thousand students have signed a petition drafted by the watchdog group demanding more openness in the presidential selection process, David A. Herne '93 announced at the rally.
The petition calls for the addition of twostudents--one undergraduate and one graduate--tothe selection committee and the accessibility ofthe "short-list" presidential candidates andsearch committee members to interested studentgroups.
Currently, the nine-member search committee iscomposed only of members of Harvard's twogoverning boards, and it has been particularlyclose-mouthed about who it is considering tosucceed Bok.
At the end of the rally, the crowd, chanting"Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! This secrecy has got to go,"marched to 17 Quincy St., the headquarters of theUniversity's governing boards, to deliver thepetition to the Harvard Corporation.
During the rally in front of University Hall,several activists called for more student inputinto the presidential search process and into allareas of Harvard governance.
York M. Eggleston '92, co-chair of the studentadvisory committee of the Harvard Foundation,called for students to force their way into theadministration of the University through activism.
"We must be willing to shout and rally andprotest even when our throats are sore," he said."We must be willing to do whatever it takes to getadequate representation."
Daniel H. Tabak '92, who chairs the residentialcommittee of the Undergraduate Council, criticizedBok, comparing him to Mr. Rogers, "anotherelederly white man who treats the people he'sworking with like children."
Tabak said that Bok left his office across theYard in Mass. Hall 15 minutes before the rallystarted, "lest he hear what we have to say."
Tony McLean '92, an Afro-American studiesconcentrator, fired up the crowd by lambasting Bokand the seven-member Harvard Corporation.
"I ask you, do we want a president who thinkshe is simply doing charity work to listen tostudent concerns?" he said. "How the hell can aso-called democratic institution like HarvardUniversity consider the voices of 18,000 lessimportant that that of seven?
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