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Making Peace With The Crimson

To The Editors:


In the two years since I jumped into the political fray at Harvard, I have never written a letter to the editor complaining about any coverage I have recived. I fervently believe that despite any flaws the media may have, preservation of its independence is crucial.

But Friday's column by Stephen E. Frank ("Scandal Before Service," editorial, Oct. 14, 1994) and his conduct as a panelist at Wednesday's debate overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency.

Although he is a personable guy and proved beyond doubt a remarkable ability to ask tough questions, his conduct at the debate was more suited for a prosecutor than a journalist.

Nevertheless, Mr. Frank attempted both at the debate and in his column to insinuate that I illegally and/or unethically obtained a $24,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by using the Undergraduate Council's strong influence with the federal government to line my pockets.

Simply put, these charges are utterly ridiculous and represent the kind of cynicism that plagues many students at this University. I did receive a grant from the EPA, supervised by a professor here at Harvard, and I used that money to start a group called Students for an Energy-Efficient Environment.

Last year, we worked with students at over 100 universities to convince their administrations to convert their lighting systems to more energy-efficient technologies. We estimate that by Dec. 31, 1995, our efforts will have cut pollution by the equivalent of planting a forest the size of Vermont.

Ironically, our efforts even convinced The Crimson itself to commit to energy-efficiency by becoming a Partner in EPA's Green Lights Program.

This is what I wanted to say on Wednesday, but was unable to. I encourage any undergraduate, council member or not, who might doubt the veracity of my statements to contact me and I will be happy to provide a more detailed account of that year.

I am committed to improving this University, and I believe that my "no holds barred" approach to reform has likely been what has allowed me to be so misunderstood by those at 14 Plympton St.

I ask for no apology or retraction. Rather, I hope this letter can serve as a white flag in the war that seems to have been fought between one and The Crimson.

In order to bring about the change Harvard needs, we as a student body must not only begin to work together, but also to doubt each other's motives a little less. Randy Fins '96

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