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Deans Lewis, Kidd Are Not PBHA's Real Problems



The recent exchange of letters between former officers of Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) and Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 unfortunately bring to the personal level what ought to be criticisms of an entire structure.

As former director of a PBHA summer camp, I worked with Assistant Dean for Public Service Judith H. Kidd during her first few months here and can only say that she seemed earnest in her support of public service, though certainly new to the details of our programs. Regardless of her personal character or motives--and I have no reason to believe or disbelieve the former officers' allegations--the real problem lies in the fact that the Assistant Dean for Public Service works for a corporation with no real support for public service.

When one-quarter of the student body participates in either PBHA or Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND) programs, it is absolutely shameful that the College should put the two organizations at odds with each other over issues of space and staff. This is particularly evident when one compares the level of the College's support for public service to its support for athletics. The students who want to do public service get a cramped three-floor building and a skeleton crew; those involved with athletics get enormous and expensive athletic facilities on both sides of the river and a legion of coaches and support staff.

As far as Harvard is concerned, though, there is a world of difference between PBHA and the football team. Public service spends money and puts the College in risky situations. Athletics, on the other hand, makes money for the University. And the latter is a healthy, wholesome activity the old boys who run this place would approve of, unlike the rowdy folks at PBHA who helped organize the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers or joined communities in fighting the University in places like Mission Hill or on issues like rent control in Cambridge (where Harvard is the biggest landlord).

It is a sad fact that the Harvard Corporation is an enormous, self-sustaining, soulless bureaucracy with no more concern for public service or even higher education than Microsoft. Which is not to say it has no concern for these things, but that they are a means to an end--the end of raising more money. When one considers the facts that Harvard controls more money than some nations, that last year its investment wizards created one billion dollars out of thin air, that it has a moral responsibility to contribute to its local community and, as it likes to boast, "serve mankind," its inability to provide student-run public service programs with the resources they need is shameful.

The problem isn't Dean Kidd or Dean Lewis or the bureaucrats doing what bureaucrats do naturally, that is, try to control everything. The problem is that Harvard is an institution with no conscience and no shame. --Gene Koo '97

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