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Anticipating a visit today by Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan, several Dunster House residents have expressed concern over Sullivan's policies, particularly his views on AIDS issues.
Several students said there may be a protest tonight at Dunster House, where Sullivan will be the guest of honor at a Harvard Foundation-sponsored dinner.
About 20 to 25 Dunster residents met Wednesday night to discuss their concerns about Sullivan's visit, according to Thomas B. Watson '91, who attended the meeting. None of the meeting's organizers would comment on whether they planned a formal protest.
But "there has been some discussion in the house, and there may be some mild form of protest--I don't know," said David S. Strait '91, the Dunster House Committee chair, who was not at the meeting.
This would not the first time Sullivan has been picketed at Harvard. When he visited the Kennedy School of Government in September, he was confronted by protesters from the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP), a gay-rights group that had demonstrated against him in the past.
After that protest, ACT-UP member Warren J. Blumenfeld said they would continue to protest Sullivan wherever he went until he took stronger action.
Students who attended the meeting in Dunster House attacked Sullivan's health care policies, and charged him with neglecting the AIDS epidemic, citing in particular his refusal to support distribution of needles and bleach for AIDS prevention.
"We don't doubt that he is a Black scientist who has distinguished himself," said Dunster resident Leon L. Lai '91, "but the fact is that since being appointed, the man has acted extremely irresponsibly towards the major medical issues facing the country."
Lai charged Sullivan with being a "right-wing homophobe."
"He still believes [homosexuality] is a disease. He thinks it can be cured." Lai said.
Watson and Lai also said Sullivan suppressed the findings of the Health and Human Services Task Force on Youth Suicide, which indicated that 30 percent of youth suicides are related to problems of sexual orientation.
In addition, Watson said he and many other students are concerned about what he called a failure on Sullivan's part to take a stand on national health care.
"The Bush administration calls for a `kinder, gentler nation,' and over 37 million Americans are uninsured," he said, noting that the U.S. and South Africa are the only industrial nations lacking national health care.
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