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President Unaware Of PBHA Warning To Curtail Service

Student Leaders Opposed to Report

By Sarah E. Scrogin

President Neil L. Rudenstine said in an interview yesterday he was unaware of student public service leaders' warning that they may curtail service programming if the administration approves recommended changes to the University's public service structure.

The warning was distributed prior to Tuesday's faculty meeting in a letter to the faculty, which was signed by the president and vice president of Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA), the three central Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND) coordinators, the Phillips Brooks House (PBH) executive and assistant directors and the director of the Office of Public Service.

The letter threatens shutting down some public service programs if Knowles does not reject the recommendations of the Report on the Structure of Harvard College.

"Therefore, as of December 15th for PBHA and January 31st for HAND, we will not commit to programming beyond June 1, 1995," the letter reads.

Rudenstine also said he was unaware of the current status of the Report on the Structure of Harvard College, which was supposed to have been discussed at Tuesday's faculty meeting.

Rudenstine expressed concern over the warning of PBHA President John B. King Jr. '96-'95, who said this week that his organization might reject University oversight and administer itself if some controversial recommendations in the report are implemented.

"From my point of view, Phillips Brooks, although clearly an independent organization, is a crucial part--both symbolically and substantively--of Harvard," Rudenstine said.

"I think it would be extraordinarily unfortunate in every way if any- thing like that happened," the president added.

The recommendations of the committee, which met to consider the structure of the College all last year, were presented to Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles in August.

The report was docketed for yesterday's faculty agenda, but the group did not discuss the report.

Faculty members present at the meeting said they were not surprised the report had been overlooked.

"The fact is that nobody had anything to say about it," Cabot Professor of American Literature Alan E. Heimert said last night. Heimert is the parliamentarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Student service leaders have criticized the report's recommendation that Harvard's current public service programs (PBHA and HAND) be combined under a new assistant dean for public service and that the new, larger structure exist in the Phillips Brooks House building in the Yard.

The report also recommends creating a standing faculty committee on public service, which would oversee programming and direct University funding.

PBHA and HAND leaders have said repeatedly that they will be unable to commit to programming next year if they remain uncertain about the future structure of their programs.

Currently Gail Epstein directs the Office of Public Service and Greg A. Johnson is the executive director of the student-run PBH.

In memos to Knowles this September, Johnson and Epstein expressed concern that their jobs might be eliminated by combinging the two programs under the supervision of a single dean.

"As a result we will be unable to pursue crucial funding for PBHA Summer Programs or make preparations for any PBHA or HAND activities beyond June 1."

Earlier, at a meeting of the PBHA Committee October 30, King had also warned administrators that if Johnson were no longer executive director the service organization would not be able to make financial plans for next year's programs.

"The executive director of PBHA signs off on about $100,000 of grants and funding proposals," King said at that meeting.

"If Greg is let go in the middle of his contract [which ends this June], there's ambiguity about whether he'll feel comfortable signing off on those grants."

Rudenstine said yesterday he was unaware of the deadlines mentioned in the letter or established at the October 30 meeting.

""I really can't comment on that," he said. "I think it sounds like a sufficiently complex matter that I'd better let [Knowles] really look at it."

Knowles could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Nancy L. Maull, administrative dean for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and one of the report's primary authors, said at the October 30 meeting that the University will avoid making changes to the public service structure until at least next September.

University administrators have said they began the public service review out of a concern for efficiency and student safety.

PBHA members on official business were involved in 24 traffic accidents this summer, which resulted in a revision of PBHA's vehicles policy this fall.

The PBHA cabinet voted to accept a series of by-laws changes last night, which would increase student accountability.

Cabinet members voted to create permanent positions responsible for committee applications and accountability, to create a summer board of directors and to codify a temporary process by which the board of directors may vote to suspend a fellow board member.

King said the changes were in part a reaction to the controversial attempt by some board members to oust Harvetta E. Nero '96, the PBHA secretary who was involved in three van accidents in three days this summer.

"I think that's a part of it, and it's also a larger issue," King said following the meeting. "We're developing a structure in which we can ensure the required responsibility to ensure safe programming.

The recommendations of the committee, which met to consider the structure of the College all last year, were presented to Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles in August.

The report was docketed for yesterday's faculty agenda, but the group did not discuss the report.

Faculty members present at the meeting said they were not surprised the report had been overlooked.

"The fact is that nobody had anything to say about it," Cabot Professor of American Literature Alan E. Heimert said last night. Heimert is the parliamentarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Student service leaders have criticized the report's recommendation that Harvard's current public service programs (PBHA and HAND) be combined under a new assistant dean for public service and that the new, larger structure exist in the Phillips Brooks House building in the Yard.

The report also recommends creating a standing faculty committee on public service, which would oversee programming and direct University funding.

PBHA and HAND leaders have said repeatedly that they will be unable to commit to programming next year if they remain uncertain about the future structure of their programs.

Currently Gail Epstein directs the Office of Public Service and Greg A. Johnson is the executive director of the student-run PBH.

In memos to Knowles this September, Johnson and Epstein expressed concern that their jobs might be eliminated by combinging the two programs under the supervision of a single dean.

"As a result we will be unable to pursue crucial funding for PBHA Summer Programs or make preparations for any PBHA or HAND activities beyond June 1."

Earlier, at a meeting of the PBHA Committee October 30, King had also warned administrators that if Johnson were no longer executive director the service organization would not be able to make financial plans for next year's programs.

"The executive director of PBHA signs off on about $100,000 of grants and funding proposals," King said at that meeting.

"If Greg is let go in the middle of his contract [which ends this June], there's ambiguity about whether he'll feel comfortable signing off on those grants."

Rudenstine said yesterday he was unaware of the deadlines mentioned in the letter or established at the October 30 meeting.

""I really can't comment on that," he said. "I think it sounds like a sufficiently complex matter that I'd better let [Knowles] really look at it."

Knowles could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Nancy L. Maull, administrative dean for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and one of the report's primary authors, said at the October 30 meeting that the University will avoid making changes to the public service structure until at least next September.

University administrators have said they began the public service review out of a concern for efficiency and student safety.

PBHA members on official business were involved in 24 traffic accidents this summer, which resulted in a revision of PBHA's vehicles policy this fall.

The PBHA cabinet voted to accept a series of by-laws changes last night, which would increase student accountability.

Cabinet members voted to create permanent positions responsible for committee applications and accountability, to create a summer board of directors and to codify a temporary process by which the board of directors may vote to suspend a fellow board member.

King said the changes were in part a reaction to the controversial attempt by some board members to oust Harvetta E. Nero '96, the PBHA secretary who was involved in three van accidents in three days this summer.

"I think that's a part of it, and it's also a larger issue," King said following the meeting. "We're developing a structure in which we can ensure the required responsibility to ensure safe programming.

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