Students Hold Sit-In to Defend HAND

After staging a brief University Hall sit-in, about 35 House and Neighborhood Development (HAND) program members yesterday left the office of the Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 reassured that their public service activities will safely continue.

The students entered the dean's outer office at about 2 p.m., holding fluorescent green fliers and letters written to Lewis voicing their concerns over recent decisions to change the organization of the college's public service programs.

The students waited in the reception area for approximately five minutes before Lewis came out of his office to collect the letters from the students and address their concerns.

"As I said to the central coordinators, there has never, ever been any intention to curtail the HAND program," Lewis said to the demonstrators. "Everything I am doing is trying to ensure a smooth transfer."

Lewis and central HAND coordinators met yesterday after the sit-in to discuss HAND's requests. The students had been concerned by a report that the position of their professional advisor, Gail L. Epstein, would be eliminated on January 1, 1996.


"Dean Lewis addressed the first two points right away in our letter," said Lynn M. Itagaki '96. "We are very happy with Dean Lewis' decision to honor his previous promise."

In the meeting, Lewis assured the coordinators of the continuation of the Office of Public Service Programming (OPSP) and Gail Epstein as the advisor until June 30, 1996, as he originally told them.

"We know the administration cares about us, and we hope that they will include students in making decisions over the next semester," Itagaki said. "We consider this a step in the right direction."

According to Itagaki, Lewis and Epstein are in the process of making a "legal agreement" which will ensure that the day-to-day running of HAND will not change significantly for the next semester.

In the meeting, Lewis presented the coordinators with a draft of the agreement.

Itagaki said that HAND is "waiting for a decision to be reached by both parties," adding that this is a "very, very promising step in the right direction."

Yesterday's sit-in came after a Sunday night meeting where HAND members discussed the future of the organization under Lewis' changes and wrote a letter addressed to Lewis which voiced their opinions.

HAND members wrote to Lewis that if they were to be able to carry out the HAND program safely and successfully, no changes could be made in the Director of Public Service Coordinator Gail L. Epstein's office, staff, budgets, or responsibilities until June 30, 1996. The letter also said HAND must keep its office space and budget intact, and that a full-time professional staff person would be in place by April 6, 1996.CrimsonMatt MillerStudents hand letters of protest to HARRY R. LEWIS '68.