Mansfield's Remarks Belittle Legitimate Concerns

To the editors:

Kenan Professor of Government Harvey C. Mansfield '53, at last week's protest, was quoted in The Crimson as saying "I was disguested by moronic Harvard students chanting political slogans" (News, March 10). I understand that Mansfield did not value the message that I, along with hundreds of other students and workers communicated to the assembled faculty and administrators on Tuesday. I did not, however, appreciate being called a moron.

As any good professor of government knows, dissent and demonstration have long and proud histories in our democracy. Those who organized and attended the rally were moved to action by the vision of a more just Harvard. We want to attend a university that respects its janitors and dining workers enough to pay them a decent wage. We are outraged that Harvard lacks basic resources like a women's center and adequate services for sexual assault.

I went to the rally to reach out to thoughtful faculty members as they entered the meeting. Although Mansfield neglected to consider that we might have something worthwhile to say, many other faculty members did care enough to listen and sign our petitions.

Mansfield and I both claim to know the meaning of responsibility and we resent each other for not getting it right. He frowns when students speak out of turn. I scream when I hear that Harvard Management pays someone $10 million a year to throw the dice on the stock exchange and less than $10 dollars an hour to 50 year old janitors who have been sweating at Harvard for years.


If Mansfield is interested in knowledge and morality, he should stop the name calling, pick up a mop and join the janitors who clean up after him at all hours of the day and night.

Aaron Bartley

March 11, 1999

The writer is a first-year law student at Harvard Law School.

Protestors Acted as Jury

To the editors:

As the little red buttons and signs reminded us all during last Tuesday's rally, rape does happen at Harvard. And, sometimes, the offender isn't a stranger in a dark alley; he is an acquaintance or even a friend. I suppose that this is why Professor Wisse's letter to the editor offended me so much (Opinion, March 11). She calls for rally demonstrators "to explain their aberrant and crude behavior."

In my opinion, violent crime merits vigorous protest. Professor Wisse argues that a "hushed vigil" would have been more appropriate than the "self righteous...[and] thuggish" protests which took place around University Hall. What about our constitutional right to assembly? Harvard may be called an "ivory tower," but the laws of the land still apply within its gates. What she deems "political hysteria" is perhaps well-deserved outrage at an administration which has done too little, too late to deal with the issue of sexual assault on campus.

Professor Wisse's most offensive objection, however, is her disapproval for protesters' treatment of one of their "peers." She asks, "since when do his peers become his prosecutors?" The answer is once he violates the safety of our community. I would argue that the protesters outside University Hall were acting as a jury, not as prosecutors. Our judicial system is based on a jury trial by one's peers. The protesters were merely endorsing a verdict passed down by an actual jury, in an attempt to propel our administrative "jury" to the same conclusion.

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