Race Debates to Affect Foundation Elections

The recent debate over race relations at the University may have strong effects on this week's elections for the student advisory committee of the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations.

Students running for the 10 atlarge positions said the recent flap involving the Foundation is foremost not only in their minds but also in voters'. And that means the elections, which will take place today and tomorrow in undergraduate dinings halls, will shape future campus debate.

"With the profile the Foundation has been getting recently--not just the past two weeks, but this semester. There has been a lot more interest in joining the Foundation," said Muneer I. Ahmad '93, co-chair of the student advisory committee.

According to Ahmad, 22 students are seeking 10 positions on the student advisory committee. The committee, which has 20 members, reserves 10 seats for representatives of campus organizations including the Black Students Association, the Asian American Association, La O, Raza, Native Americans at Harvard-Rad-cliffe, the Undergraduate Council and the Radcliffe Union of Students. Three houses, selected on a rotating basis, also hold seats each year.

Foundation Director S. Allen Counter touched off the recent debate about campus race relations in a letter to The Crimson two weeks ago.


Counter criticized the newspaper's coverage of minority issues. The Crimson responded by disputing Counter's charges in an editorial, which in turn led several campus minority groups to fault the paper and defend Counter.

Some candidates for the advisory committee said this debate caused them to run.

"I think race relations are one of the biggest problems facing this campus," said Kenneth A. Katz '93, whose position papers emphasize the need for greater dialogue between College students. "And the Foundation is potentially a very powerful way to help students. "And the Foundation is potentially avery powerful way to help students get together."

Katz is also deputy editorial chair of TheCrimson.

University's Role

Many candidates said they have beendisappointed by the Foundation's and the College'sreaction to recent events on campus. They said theUniversity needs to assume a greater role inencouraging ethnic and racial harmony.

"Harvard needs to take more proactive measuresagainst racial tension," said candidate Aaron J.Snow '93. "And I think the Foundation is in a goodposition to do that."

Candidates cite a number of specific exampleswhere the Foundation could have diffused racialtensions.

"For example, after the Jeffries thing, I thinkit would have been great if the Foundation hadgotten the Black students and the Jewish studentstogether to talk about this," Katz said. "Butinstead, people are trading letters through TheCrimson, and nothing is being done to solve theseproblems."

Recent Events

Other candidates said recent events had broughtthe problem of race relations on campus to theirattention, thus prompting them to run.