President Supports Choice of Kidd

President Neil L. Rudenstine yesterday expressed his hope for continued dialogue between students and administrators over the controversial issue of public service at Harvard.

"I would hope there can be found a way to work through this together," the president said yesterday.

Rudenstine also said he agreed with the decision of Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 to appoint Judith H. Kidd as the new assistant dean for public service last month.

Since Kidd's appointment, student members of Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) and the House and Neighborhood Development (HAND) program have expressed disappointment with the choice and the appointment process.

Rudenstine said Lewis' decision was made on the basis of structure and programming.


"What the dean has done is to think about the programs, not only in terms of quality, but in terms of sustainability," Rudenstine said, supporting Lewis' choice. "I remain hopeful that there can be long-term vitality."

However, the president said he has not met with Kidd and was not involved in the decision-making process.

Students have argued that the dean did not take their views into account during the search for an assistant dean.

Rudenstine said that he was sure the students had been consulted and that Lewis had taken those opinions seriously.

"I think the dean did indeed listen," Rudenstine said. "One needs to make a distinction between listening and making decisions."

PBHA has scheduled a rally to protest the administration's decision next Thursday, Dec. 7. Students have also formed a subcommittee to examine the possibility of greater autonomy from the University.

PBHA cabinet members voted unanimously last month to begin raising funds to hire their own staff members. Currently Phillips Brooks House staff is paid by the University.

And the Cambridge City Council passed a resolution last month criticizing the University for its decision, which it said went against students' interests.

Despite the public outpouring of student criticism in the wake of Kidd's appointment, the president noted that he has only had a couple of visits from students concerned about public service during his office hours this fall.

Rudenstine said that the students' discontent probably could have been predicted.

"It was clear that there was a fair amount of controversy," Rudenstine said. "[Lewis] must have felt strongly about the choice if he was willing to cause some people pain."

"Decisions which make people unhappy are not easy ones to make," he said.

Rudenstine also emphasized that student safety is a major concern for University officials in the wake of several violent incidents, including a rape, on campus this fall.

"There is no question in my mind that this is not an issue where we take any chances," he said.

The president said that student safety will receive a complete review when new police chief Francis D. "Bud" Riley takes over in January.

"The first thing the new chief will do is assess everything," Rudenstine said. "We'll sit down and make sure we're absolutely where we ought to be.