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PBHA May Alter Service Structure

Directors Prepare Resolution That May Distance Organization From College

By Marios V. Broustas

The Phillips Brooks House Association's (PBHA) board of directors last night prepared a resolution that will likely endorse measures to distance PBHA from the College's centralized public service organization.

According to PBHA Treasurer Andrew J. Ehrlich '96, the proposal, which will be brought before the full cabinet tomorrow night, aims to create a "single, unified structure" for PBHA.

"This is a very historic step and will finally resolve what has been a century-old fault line," said Ehrlich. "It will secure the quality of the program and the integrity of our structure."

The resolution, which will be officially released after tomorrow's meetings, comes in the wake of last week's controversial appointment of Judith H. Kidd as assistant dean of the College for public service and director of PBH. Kidd will assume her new posts on January 1.

"It's reasonable for us, in light of the recent hiring process to examine what control we have over what direction public service is headed," PBHA President Vincent Pan '95-'96 said yesterday.

Public service leaders and some faculty members have vehemently criticized last Tuesday's appointment of Kidd by Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68.

They have charged that Kidd lacks the experience with students necessary for the job. They have also accused Lewis of ignoring widespread student support for current PBH director Greg A. Johnson '72 in making his decision.

Lewis said last night that he was not yet aware of the pending PBHA resolution, but hoped that public service leaders would work through the new structure, of which the new deanship is a part.

"I had hoped that they would discuss with Dean Kidd their perspectives and desires, and work towards the kind of agreements I described," said Lewis.

The initial discussion about PBHA's independence began even while Lewis was considering the appointment. A letter released by former PBH presidents earlier this month urged public service leaders to consider independence from the College.

Pan said last night that the resolution will address "structural dysfunctions" which have "surfaced over the past decade."

"Primarily there is a conflict of interest that the staff of PBH often gets caught in given that its role is to support a student-run corporation," Pan said. "[It] may conflict with what the Harvard corporation may want to see."

"We will be working with the advisory board in developing a feasible plan," said Ehrlich. "We hope the University [and Lewis] will work with us on this."

Lewis said he met with Ehrlich, PBHA Vice President Eric D. Dawson '96 and PBHA Cabinet Coordinator Lisa Graustein '97 after the announcement of Kidd's appointment last week. But he said he received little indication that the PBHA directors were seriously considering independence from the College.

Kidd said yesterday that she was not aware of the pending resolution, but retains a hopeful attitude towards her post.

"I am still holding high hopes that everybody will be able to sit down and talk and work it out for the betterment of everybody," said Kidd, who talked with Pan last week.

PBHA Support

Ehrlich said that the directors have the support of the Association Committee, a board of alumni and community leaders that oversees PBHA.

But Association Committee members reached last night withheld comment, saying they preferred to read the resolution before giving their opinion.

"I see my role as supporting the students doing things that seem to make sense," said Association Committee Chair Anne Peretz. "If they decide to [become independent], I want to see under what circumstances."

Pan said many people involved with PBH are trying to sort out the events in light of Kidd's appointment.

"There are a lot of emotions with what happened last week and people are trying to think more," he said.

At least one faculty member said he fully backs PBH.

"The organization of PBHA knows much better what to do with its resources, human and monetary, than FAS or... the newly appointed dean however good her intentions," said Bliss Professor of Latin American History and Economics John Womack Jr., who is not an Association Committee member.

Womack said that PBHA, on its own, is most supportive of public service, rather than FAS which only "has the ghost of a passing interest."

Pan said tomorrow's meeting, which will include representatives from PBH's more than 80 student-run service committees, will play an important role in determining PBHA's relationship with the College in the future.

"I am eager to have the meeting with the full cabinet," Pan said

At least one faculty member said he fully backs PBH.

"The organization of PBHA knows much better what to do with its resources, human and monetary, than FAS or... the newly appointed dean however good her intentions," said Bliss Professor of Latin American History and Economics John Womack Jr., who is not an Association Committee member.

Womack said that PBHA, on its own, is most supportive of public service, rather than FAS which only "has the ghost of a passing interest."

Pan said tomorrow's meeting, which will include representatives from PBH's more than 80 student-run service committees, will play an important role in determining PBHA's relationship with the College in the future.

"I am eager to have the meeting with the full cabinet," Pan said

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