Students Decry Decision Process

Gagged Protesters Play 'Model Students'

A small group of students huddled in the cold in front of University Hall yesterday. They had gagged themselves with strips of cloth--symbols, they said, of the University's disregard for their voice in the choice of Judith H. Kidd as the new assistant dean for public service.

Amused tourists snapped photos as the students sat in protest before a gagged John Harvard with signs propped on their laps reading: "The Model Student."

Student activists are also planning a large-scale rally in front of the John Harvard statue tomorrow. The rally has been the focus of extensive publicity, ranging from daily-changing countdown signs to personal calls urging student leaders to attend.

Scott McCue '96, speaking for the group, said yesterday's protest was not an "official" action by either of the College's two main public service organizations.

"This is just a group of students who are concerned with students being ignored," McCue said.


Neither the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) not House and Neighborhood Development (HAND) sponsored yesterday's protest, which was inspired not only by the Kidd decision but also by the College's disregard for student opinion in making the recent move to randomize housing and reaffirming the College's unique final exam schedule, McCue said.

Among those at the protest, which began at 9 a.m., were McCue, Gene M. Koo '97, John C. Raezer '97, Gabriel Hanz '97 and David S. Grewal '97, McCue alone spent the entire day in front of University Hall.

McCue is secretary of PBHA's board of directors. Koo is the chair of PBHA's Chinatown Adventure service program.

Signs behind the silent protesters displayed their message for passerby to read.

"The Ideal Student, Silent, Disempowered," read one poster. "The administration recently concluded a year long search for a dean for public service. At every stage student input was solicited then ignored. The candidate ultimately selected has been judged unacceptable by students."

Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III paused briefly before the protesters to read their protest message.

"[I understand] that it is some students who feel especially frustrated over a number of issues which they've stated [on their signs]," Epps said. "I just hope there's some way out of this impasse."

Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 announced Kidd's deanship after more than a year-long process in which the College's two-part public service structure was reviewed and recommendations were made to consolidate the structure under a single assistant dean for public service and director of PBH.

Gail L. Epstein, director of the University Office for Public Service, and Greg A. Johnson '72, executive director of PBH, will both be released from their jobs in June.

Despite the participation of students from the public service committee on the search committee, students said they were dismayed when Kidd's appointment was announced November 7.

"As the student members of the search committee for the assistant dean for public service and director of Phillips Brooks House, we write to state that the individual selected by Dean Lewis in no way reflects our opinions or recommendations to him," PBHA President Vin Pan '96-'95 and Central Hand Coordinator Elizabeth Finger '96 wrote in a statement at the time Kidd's appointment was announced.