To the Editors of The Crimson,
Two items in Saturday's Crimson (April 17th) deserve comment. First, the report that Ephraim Isaac seeks redress of denial of tenure in Afro-American Studies Department seems curious, for Mr. Isaac is neither a female nor a black American and thus is not a legitimate applicant for redress through the proceedings of the EEOC. And it surely cannot be his claim that Harvard discriminates against foreigners.
The second item concerns the reported dispute between Professor Eileen Southern and the Afro-American Studies concentrators. Few things associated with the University's efforts to bring academic stability and excellence to the Afro-American Studies Department have disturbed me more than the reported statement from Professor Southern that her discussions with Afro concentrators have involved such a degree of "abuse and vilification" that she found it unsettling to continue the meeting with them. Professor Southern is an internationally recognized scholar in the field of Afro-American music and is an intellectual of superior human sensitivity. She--nor anyone else on this faculty for that matter--does not deserve to be treated with abuse and vilification, and it should be incumbent upon every member of the Harvard community to condemn this kind of behavior by students.
I think it is particularly important that students at Harvard let it be known that this kind of incivility--a throwback to the incendiary student behavior of the late 1960s--is not to be tolerated. Black students at Harvard have. I believe, a special obligation to shake off the chip on their shoulders on matters associated with the new black presence at white colleges and make it clear that the black presence here will not longer be defamed by the kind of behavior that a small clique of black students has meted out to Professor Eileen Southern.
Finally, it is strange indeed that as one peruses the experience of other top-flight universities that created Afro-American Studies curriculum over the past eight years (Yale, Stanford, Princeton, California, etc.) only at Harvard is it still possible for a small cabal of black militant ideologues to play havoc with the academic and intellectual quality of Afro-American Studies programs. This is a shameful state of affairs and the Harvard faculty and community ought to find the will to put an end to it. Martin Kilson, Professor of Government
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