To the Editors of The Crimson:
I am writing in response to fundamental misrepresentations made by both The Crimson and Dean L. Fred Jewett '57 concerning Civil Liberties Union of Harvard (CLUH) report on discipline at Harvard released on Wednesday, April 8. Statements made by The Crimson, as well as those attributed to Dean Jewett, reflect a misunderstanding of CLUH's recommendations as well as a failure to consider them within the context of the analysis in the report.
The majority of our 17-page report analyzes and critiques the disciplinary process at Harvard, articulating the administration's goals and explaining how they are not being achieved in certain circumstances. Our recommendations for reform stem from this analysis, and are inseparable from it.
For example, the report devotes considerable space to explaining how the lack of information on the Administrative Board precludes effective utilization of its safeguards and therefore undermines due process. The report thus concludes, for example, that although students are allowed to appear before the Ad Board and choose people other than their Senior Tutor as advocates, these choices are made unappealing.
The Crimson and Dean Jewett fail to note this critical point. When they state that our recommendations have already been implemented, they ignore our analysis of the relative success of that implementation.
CLUH understands that someone who did not read the report's first eleven pages and instead focused on the recommendations section could reach the conclusion that most of what we advocate has already been implemented. However, anybody who carefully reads even the recommendations will notice that the language we used transcends advocacy of procedures and demands that existing procedures be made more accessible.
There are three fundamental problems with the Ad Board that CLUH hopes to have addressed as the result of our report. First, the lack of information on the Ad Board's procedures, purposes and precedents fosters an ignorance within the Harvard community that inhibits student's ability to effectively utilize what few protective remedies they have.
Second, the Ad Board's view of itself as an "educational" rather than a "judicial" body creates an atmosphere more conducive to coercion than to due process.
Finally, even when the Ad Board reaches a "good" outcome, students are so often alienated by the process that they derive none of the "educational" benefits that the Ad Board had hoped to impart to them. To characterize CLUH's recommendations for remedying these problems as having already been implemented is therefore to miss the entire point of the report.
CLUH's recommendations are designed to create a few revolutionary changes in Ad Board procedures and a variety of minor ones to smooth out the edges of the process. We would appreciate that the administration and the media give the conclusions of the body of our report the consideration that they deserve, rather than contenting themselves with the facial and inconsequential fulfillment of an overly narrow interpretation of our recommendations. Allan H. Erbsen '94 Assistant Director Civil Liberties Union of Harvard