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No Blame to Assign


By Douglas M. Pravda

It is wrong to imply that Harvard's counseling services (or lack thereof) were in any way responsible for the Dunster House tragedy.

We do not know why Sinedu Tadesse '96 killed herself and her roommate, Trang Phuong Ho '96. To conjecture that the shortcomings of the Bureau of Study Counsel's led to last week's deaths is both insensitive and offensive.

While Harvard's counseling services and House tutor system may be wanting, it is not necessary to assign blame. There may have been a reason for the deaths: it could have been that Tadesse was mentally ill, that she was from another country, that she was under stress, that she was lonely. We simply cannot know why it happened. This is certainly a time for self-examination. It would be equally wrong to ignore these deaths. But to point fingers in order to assuage our own consciences serves no purpose.

There is room for improvement in Harvard's counseling and support networks. But The Crimson's call for change at this moment seems to be a form of scapegoating. It is wrong for the staff to presume to know the cause of this great tragedy and then to suggest a simplistic remedy.

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