HLS Staff Sounding Off

To the editors:

Harvard’s support for Barack Obama during his presidential campaign was enthusiastic and near-unanimous. When he won, the university was jubilant. His ideals of shared sacrifice and spreading the wealth, however, appear to have made few inroads on campus (“HLS Will Cut Staff To Trim Budget,” News, May 6).

While faculty and top administrators, most of who earn six figures, face the annoyance of not receiving pay raises, staff and service workers are threatened with losing their jobs altogether. In this economy, it is unlikely they can find new ones.

In The Crimson and elsewhere, calls have been made for administrators, faculty, and higher-paid staff to take pay cuts to save jobs. Other institutions have done just this, but at Harvard these calls go unanswered.

Harvard has the reputation of preaching concern for the public good but not practicing such concern when it comes to its own affairs. Unless administrators, faculty, and higher-paid staff start to share some of the sacrifice, instead of foisting it all on those who earn far less, the university will continue to deserve this dubious reputation.

Stephen Helfer

Cambridge, Mass.

May 11, 2009

Stephen Helfer has been an HLS library assistant for 22 years.