Cachan's Criticism Was Misguided

To the Editors:

I would like briefly to respond to an editorial by Undergraduate Council member Manuel F. Cachan (Opinion, Dec. 20, 1994) regarding housing randomization. Cachan alleged that certain comments which I made at a Student Affairs Committee meeting last month were "insensitive" and "nearly racist."

My comments were taken out of context and inaccurately reported by Cachan. Like an overwhelming majority of Harvard students, I am opposed to the increased push for total randomization of the Houses. College-age students are intellectually and emotionally capable of rationally choosing whom to block with and where they would like to live.

Students seeking diversity have a plethora of avenues available to them, including classroom discussions, intramural and extracurricular activities, and choosing their own blocking groups. If students wanted each House to be a microcosm of the University, then the current system of non-ordered choice--which has been in place since 1991--would have resulted in this patterned distribution.

My own blocking group exhibits this racial and ethnic diversity. But the fact that some Houses have larger percentages of certain groups means that other students would rather live with students of similar racial, cultural, or ethnic origin. A caring, understanding residential community is of tremendous importance in an individualistic, stress-filled campus like ours. Students should not be denied the freedom to seek their own caring communities as they see fit.

Council member Cachan's accusation of insensitivity and near racism by randomization opponents is misplaced and misguided. Hopefully he will refrain from similarly offensive, inflammatory, and unproductive remarks in the future. --C.R. McFadden '95