News

Mass. State Rep. Calls on University VP to Increase Transparency for Allston Multimodal Project

News

Harvard President Lawrence Bacow Made $1.1 Million in 2020, Financial Disclosures Show

News

Harvard Executive Vice President Katie Lapp To Step Down

News

81 Republican Lawmakers File Amicus Brief Supporting SFFA in Harvard Affirmative Action Lawsuit

News

Duke Senior’s Commencement Speech Appears to Plagiarize 2014 Address by Harvard Student

City Council Discusses Affirmative Action

By Leondra R. Kruger

City Hall's Sullivan Chamber was packed last night in anticipation of the City Council hearing on the City of Cambridge's affirmative action policy.

Community members from United Baptist Church Pastor Rev. Jeffrey Brown to concerned parent and Cambridge resident Caroline Hunter took the microphone to defend affirmative action.

According to Mayor Kenneth E. Reeves '72, the hearing was held in response to citizens' concerns that affirmative action policies, now threatened in the U.S. Congress, may be curtailed by the City of Cambridge as well.

Speakers at the meeting emphasized that affirmative action is essential in building a staff that reflects Cambridge's diversity.

"Why affirmative action?" Hunter asked the councillors. "Because we haven't done a good job...Our schools and our city [employees] do not reflect the people who live here."

Sarah Reese, student body co-president and senior at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, said there is a great disparity between the ethnic breakdown of Cambridge employees and the residents they serve.

Reese, who is white, said that she was disappointed that in her four years at the high school, she had only approximately five non white teachers.

"That obviously doesn't represent the diversity of the student body at CRLS," she said.

Others took the microphone to defend affirmative action in broader terms, pointing to the legacy of discrimination that has made it difficult for ethnic minorities to compete with whites for job opportunities.

"Affirmative action is not preferential treatment," Brown said. "Affirmative action is designed to eliminate preferential treatment."

Because of the large quantity of public statements on affirmative action, the Council had to postpone its regular agenda until after the hearing.

Among the issues raised during the general Council meeting was the possible appointment of Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence Charles Fried to the Massachusetts Supreme Court.

Gov. William F. Weld '66 is expected to nominate Fried to fill a position on the Massachusetts Supreme Court.

Councillor Katherine Triantafillou proposed a resolution opposing his appointment on the grounds that Fried has consistentlyargued for the restriction of rights of women,gays and lesbians, workers, tenants andcommunities.

In particular, she pointed to Fried'sopposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1991, to"home-rule" powers of communities independent ofMassachusetts and to his involvement in theimposition of the "gag rule" that prevents doctorsand health professionals from advising women aboutabortion.

The resolution asks that the City Council "urgethe Governor to appoint to the court instead anindividual capable of being impartial who willseek to maintain democratic rights rather thanrestrict them."

Further, the resolution asks for a nominee "whowill increase the diversity of the state's highestcourt as the twenty-first century approaches."

Present to support Triantafillou's resolutionwas Lester P. Lee Jr., chair of the Save OurCommunities Committee.

"Either this Council believes in democracy orit doesn't," Lee said. "Charles Fried poses themost serious threat to democracy the Commonwealthof Massachusetts has ever seen."

Lee's remarks were underlined by Michael H.Turk, co-chair of the Cambridge Tenants Union.

"Our entire community is being disrupted anddestabilized," Turk said.

"And Fried can claim credit as one of thearchitects," he added

In particular, she pointed to Fried'sopposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1991, to"home-rule" powers of communities independent ofMassachusetts and to his involvement in theimposition of the "gag rule" that prevents doctorsand health professionals from advising women aboutabortion.

The resolution asks that the City Council "urgethe Governor to appoint to the court instead anindividual capable of being impartial who willseek to maintain democratic rights rather thanrestrict them."

Further, the resolution asks for a nominee "whowill increase the diversity of the state's highestcourt as the twenty-first century approaches."

Present to support Triantafillou's resolutionwas Lester P. Lee Jr., chair of the Save OurCommunities Committee.

"Either this Council believes in democracy orit doesn't," Lee said. "Charles Fried poses themost serious threat to democracy the Commonwealthof Massachusetts has ever seen."

Lee's remarks were underlined by Michael H.Turk, co-chair of the Cambridge Tenants Union.

"Our entire community is being disrupted anddestabilized," Turk said.

"And Fried can claim credit as one of thearchitects," he added

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags