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Rudenstine Race Talks Aim at `Concrete Steps'

President, Minority Groups to Discuss Recent Tensions

By Ira E. Stoll, Crimson Staff Writers

President Neil L. Rudenstine has launched a series of almost daily discussions with campus Blacks and Jews in an attempt to develop "concrete steps" to improve Harvard's tense race relations.

"There have been serious tensions between people of different ethnic or racial groups that have obviously not involved violence or direct physical action of any sort but that have involved a good deal of very bruised feelings. And it's a problem," Rudenstine said of recent campus events.

In an interview yesterday, Rudenstine said he is acting to fix the problem. "We are definitely doing things," he said. "There have been daily meetings, more or less, and there will continue to be meetings."

Those meetings have included members of the Black Students Association, representatives of Hillel, other Jewish students and representatives from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the central administration, Rudenstine said. Rudenstine has attended some of the meetings in person and has sent representatives to others.

"There will be an effort to sort through the issues, and, I hope, out of that will come some sense of what concrete steps make most sense," Rudenstine said.

Any further steps to alleviate tensions will be decided on after the round of talks, the president said.

"We'll keep at it until it seems that there's the right kind of a sensible step to take," he said.

Rudenstine said he aimed to have "a fair number" of the meetings done by the end of the coming week.

The president also acknowledged concerns recently raised by Black students about their status at the University.

"There clearly have been some incidents where Blacks have been, I believe, insensitively treated. And there are other incidents where they certainly perceive they have been, and where it's clear that there is a clash of perceptions," Rudenstine said. "The total of both means that their concerns are real, and their sense of relationship to the life of the University is just very exacerbated at this point."

Rudenstine also said there are some students who do not have these feelings or do not hold the feelings as strongly as others do.

Still, he said, "Enough students feel some of that tension and some of thatsense of being not fully respected in a sensitiveway all the time that it does concern me. I don'tthink it's easy to resolve because there are alsoother groups that have similar concerns."

Rudenstine said the University should act onthe student concerns. "It troubles me deeply, andI think that we, as an institution, have to thinkabout ways to mitigate and heal much of that."

BSA, Police to Meet

Members of the Black Students Association willalso be meeting with University Police Chief PaulE. Johnson late next week to discuss concerns theorganization raised in a flyer earlier this week.

The flyer, titled "On the Harvard Plantation,"charged the police with racial injustices, listingfour cases of alleged police insensitivity.

"The issue that the students raise is a realone and that's been with us off and on for anumber of years," said Vice President and GeneralCounsel Daniel Steiner '54, who oversees thepolice department. Steiner said Johnson isinvestigating each of the incidents listed in theflyer.

"When Chief Johnson explains the facts, I thinkthere may be better understanding on the part ofthe students as to what happened," Steiner said."That doesn't necessarily mean everything was donein the most professional way."

But Steiner said that although there may havebeen shortcomings in professionalism, "The policeacted with reason."

Steiner said that as the issue of racialinsensitivity has surfaced in past years, meetingshave been held which have improved theunderstanding of both students and police. Steinersaid that a similar prescription may ease tensionsthis year.

"We hope to start some processes which can leadto better understanding on both sides and betterperformance by the police," he said.

Steiner said that next week, the Black StudentsAssociation, Johnson and Assistant Dean ofMinority Affairs and Race Relations HildaHernandez-Gravelle will meet.

"There is a tough problem of bringing togetherthe police perspective and problems and thestudents' perspective and problems," Steiner said.

"It's our job on an ongoing basis to bringtogether and bring greater understanding betweenthe police and the problems they face and thestudents and their highly understandable desire tobe treated as full members of the community," hesaid.

Steiner said he was troubled by the recentracial tensions.

"It's trying in the sense that I care verydeeply about these issues, and I care very deeplyabout Harvard and this community," he said. "Idon't like to see what's happening now happen, andI think we all have to work very hard to bringthis community back together.

Rudenstine said the University should act onthe student concerns. "It troubles me deeply, andI think that we, as an institution, have to thinkabout ways to mitigate and heal much of that."

BSA, Police to Meet

Members of the Black Students Association willalso be meeting with University Police Chief PaulE. Johnson late next week to discuss concerns theorganization raised in a flyer earlier this week.

The flyer, titled "On the Harvard Plantation,"charged the police with racial injustices, listingfour cases of alleged police insensitivity.

"The issue that the students raise is a realone and that's been with us off and on for anumber of years," said Vice President and GeneralCounsel Daniel Steiner '54, who oversees thepolice department. Steiner said Johnson isinvestigating each of the incidents listed in theflyer.

"When Chief Johnson explains the facts, I thinkthere may be better understanding on the part ofthe students as to what happened," Steiner said."That doesn't necessarily mean everything was donein the most professional way."

But Steiner said that although there may havebeen shortcomings in professionalism, "The policeacted with reason."

Steiner said that as the issue of racialinsensitivity has surfaced in past years, meetingshave been held which have improved theunderstanding of both students and police. Steinersaid that a similar prescription may ease tensionsthis year.

"We hope to start some processes which can leadto better understanding on both sides and betterperformance by the police," he said.

Steiner said that next week, the Black StudentsAssociation, Johnson and Assistant Dean ofMinority Affairs and Race Relations HildaHernandez-Gravelle will meet.

"There is a tough problem of bringing togetherthe police perspective and problems and thestudents' perspective and problems," Steiner said.

"It's our job on an ongoing basis to bringtogether and bring greater understanding betweenthe police and the problems they face and thestudents and their highly understandable desire tobe treated as full members of the community," hesaid.

Steiner said he was troubled by the recentracial tensions.

"It's trying in the sense that I care verydeeply about these issues, and I care very deeplyabout Harvard and this community," he said. "Idon't like to see what's happening now happen, andI think we all have to work very hard to bringthis community back together.

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