SAA Didn't Oppose Counter


Editor's Note: Due to a production error, part of this letter from Mukesh Prasad '93 was inadvertently deleted on Monday's page. Here is the remainder of the letter.

To the Editors of The Crimson:

...As the Student Coordinator of the Freshman Dean Search Student Committee I came to The Crimson with a story, which I perceived as "news." For the first time in Harvard's history, the administration established a student committee to play a role in the search for the new Freshman Dean. This committee was also given the task of issuing a report commenting on the quality of life of students' first year at Harvard. I attempted to convey this to the Crimson reporter, but the reporter I was dealing with repeatedly asked me if I felt the administration took students' views seriously

I responded in the affirmative several times as the reporter continued inquiring about problems in dealing with the administration. In the end, the Crimson article printed very little of the information I had emphasized as the importance of this administrative step and failed even to mention our report and the potential impact it could have on the new Dean. When I inquired why this was so, I was told that "it was not news."

As for The Crimson's coverage of minority events, the paper has been very good to the South Asian Association. I would be remiss, however, if I accepted the SAA's good fortune and did not acknowledge the problems other groups have faced concerning Crimson reporting. A specific example is the East Coast Asian Students Union. After all of the time and effort the ECASU Conference Committee put into making this Conference one of the biggest in the nation, their own school newspaper did not grant it coverage. They were told that their conference "was not news."


Now to my criticisms of the April 27th staff editorial. Your ill-drawn conclusions and insinuations beg a response. By not even asking us why the SAA did not sign the letter and implying that we oppose Counter, The Crimson has disserviced its readers and insulted the SAA.

First, let me start by saying that in my past three years at Harvard the South Asian Association has never taken a stance in campus politics. Then, earlier this year the SAA took its first political stance by adding our name to the coalition condemning Leonard Jeffries' racist attitudes. As this was a big transformation for the Association, we underwent an intricate process before actually joining the protest. We invited representatives from both BSA and Hillel to speak at our weekly meeting, followed by a question and answer period, and finally followed by a closed and lengthy discussion. We concluded to join the coalition but also made clear that we opposed not his right to speak but only his past racist comments.

In the present incident, Dr. Counter's letter appeared on April 14. We as an organization met that evening but did not fathom the emerging controversy. In the week that followed our organization hosted both the Indian Consulate General and the Bangladeshi Ambassador, while holding our annual elections. All three events proceeded as planned but in the following week We were approached to sign various letters. As I have previously mentioned, we undergo an intricate process before taking a stance such as this. My Co-President Muneer Ahmad responded to those who asked him to sign that he could not even consider signing the letter because of the time constraint... Mukesh Prasad '93   Co-President   Harvard-Radcliffe South Asian Association