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The Council Knows Basketball



To the Editors of The Crimson:

The latest installment of your eternal war against the Undergraduate Council met with rave reviews among us simpleton council members who sit day after day staring at the walls of our Canaday Hall office. In typical hard-hitting Crimson form, you do an excellent job of criticizing what you know nothing about. We would therefore like to take this opportunity to respond.

First, you claim that the council "has yet to address" the issues of clean water and internal mail. This is true if you look only at what takes place on the council floor. If your Woodward and Bernstein wannabees ever bothered to attend committee meetings or our individual meetings with deans and other administrators, you would see that work is being done on both these important issues.

As members of the executive board, we could convene an emergency session of the council and declare our emphatic support for clean water and internal mail, but we are sure that such action would lead to little tangible accomplishment other than another front-page Crimson headline. Instead, we are collecting all the relevant information and working out the details first, so that we can then bring a practical and feasible resolution to the floor for consideration.

Such planning takes time, perhaps on a scale that is inceivable to those who produce a daily newspaper. We are elected to one-year seats on the council, and our solutions might sometimes take one year. Judging the accomplishments of a representative body half-way through its session would be like, in Senate majority leader George Mitchell's words, "calling a baseball game after four-and-one-half innings."

that the resolutions on Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) "were moot because this year's council cannot bind future councils to its decisions."

Yes, and last year's council had no authority to invite ROTC back, either. What the controversy last spring proved, if nothing else, is that symbolism and moral stands on issues as sensitive as ROTC are important statements that Harvard students are willing to make. The Undergraduate Council accordingly voted on and established a student policy on ROTC at Harvard.

Finally, you unfairly describe our attempts at securing a concert as "a string of rejections from concert performers who probably couldn't fill a Harvard arena anyway."

The "string of rejections" that you cite is merely an indication of our caution and care in negotiating a concert this spring. We could take the first group that becomes available and pay them whatever they ask for (not an unprecedented occurence in council history), but we are trying to act more responsibly with students' term bill fees this year.

We entered a bid for Ziggy Marley after careful consideration among the executive board and after soliciting the opinions of constituents who watch the music industry.

The one supposedly authoritative executive board member whom you quote as opposed to the concert is the executive board member with the worst attendance record for executive board meeting and the one who has traditionally opposed council activities this fall. A more accurate reporter would solicit responses from council members beyond the one known to be negative.

This knee-jerk denunciation of everything the Undergraduate Council does is perhaps best exemplified by your incisive converage of the "pro-Gorbachev" episode last week. "The rally's total attendance was five," you stated dramatically in three separate stories (presumably for emphasis), followed by the requisite council-bashing.

In fact, what happened was somewhat different. A Harvard graduate came looking for help in planning a pro-Gorbachev rally, and three council mebers offered their suport by attending. The executive board did consider the possibility of sponsoring such a rally, but agreed that it would not be appropriate to represent students on a matter of which they had not been advised.

To insinuate that this unsuccessful event was somehow sponsored by or endorsed by the council is only the latest example of your irresponsible and unprofessional coverage of the Undergraduate Council.

Therefore, we the undersigned hereby challenge you five best editors to a game of basketball, at a place and time to suit your convenience. We hope you will accept this challenge as an alternative means for quenching your voracious and often destructive appetite for confrontation with the Undergraduate Council. Athanassios G. Tolis '91   Christopher J. Borgen '91'   Lori L. Outzs '91   Evan B. Rauch '92   Eugene S. Kim '92   The Undergraduate Council starting five

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