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Staff Should Support Council Bill to Add Student Representation to the Ad Board



As one of the students sponsoring an Undergraduate Council bill to add student representation on the Ad Board, I was disheartened to read "Ad Board, I was disheartened to read Board Needs Revamping" (Nov. 12) by the Crimson Staff. I disappointed that the Crimson Staff would dismiss the propect of students on the Ad Board with a vague reference to "confidentiality" and "consistency."

If the Staff has objections to students on the Ad Board, they should have the respect for our bill and our concerns to articulate them at length, not to treat our idea like some sort of absurdity. While I can relate with the Staff's concern with confidentiality, I do not understand their worries about "consistency." Will an Ad Board with student members be "inconsistent?" To oppose our measure based on "consistency" is ridiculous. If the Ad Board is consistently unfair, it needs to be fixed. If in fixing this problem, we enter a brief period of inconsistency (say, the first semester with students on the Board) then it is worth it. This is a moot point anyway since our greatest desire is to make the Ad Board fair and not to change specific cases or threaten consistency. We are concerned with process over consequence.

If the Ad Board bases its decisions on community consensus or standards, students, as the majority of the Harvard community, should be included in interpreting these community standards. Therefore, the Staff would be happy to learn that the Ad Board would be consistent since we do not expect, nor are we really aiming for, a drastic ideological overhaul of the current Ad Board.

The process of "demystifying" the Ad Board procedures, as the Staff suggests, does not address the absence of a student voice on the Board. Why can't Harvard, like every Ivy League school, save Yale, trust that its students will be responsible enough to maintain the confidentiality of specific disciplinary decisions? Is the Staff implying that we cannot handle that responsibility? Are we not "adults?" Aren't we suppose to be the leaders of tomorrow?

If we are to grow while at Harvard there should be a certain degree of trust and confidence in students that both the Administration and the Crimson Staff lack. The Staff should join Baratunde Thurston '99, me, and most students in demanding, not asking for students on the Ad Board.

As William Kirtley '97 suggests, if a student is concerned about the confidentiality of his/her case, then the student could choose to have the hearing in front of an all-Faculty Ad Board. I sincerely hope that the Staff reverses its Judgment and tackles these issues instead of making a shallow, ill-advised and foolish stand against student representation on the Administrative Board. --Sozi Sozinho '97

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