Letter from Officers of the Harvard Replublican Club

The Harvard Republican Club has not and most likely will not articulate an official position regarding the PSLM protest and the Harvard Living Wage Campaign, and our opinions do not represent an official stance of the HRC board or its members. However, as conservative leaders and executive board members of the Republican Club, we feel that we have a responsibility to make our opinion known and to ask others to consider these arguments offered against the Harvard administration and for a Living Wage from a conservative and free-market perspective.

After much struggling and prayer over the issue of the Harvard PSLM and the Living Wage debate, we cannot fully align ourselves with the position, demands, and tactics of the Harvard PSLM. However, we have become convinced that the Harvard administration is in the wrong in its persistent failure to act to improve the conditions of Harvard employees. We have two primary concerns:

First, Harvard has failed to follow through in accordance with the recommendations of President Rudenstine's handpicked committee. Although Harvard agreed to act upon the recommendations to expand education and heath care benefits and to ensure a fair code of conduct in contracting employees, little action has been taken to realize these stated goals. These goals, as developed by a Harvard-friendly committee, are certainly among the most conservative measures that Harvard could adopt, yet it has failed to do so. To the extent that Harvard's stated objectives have been unreasonably neglected at the expense of its employees, Harvard is in the wrong.

Harvard must act now to fulfill its own promises for improved conditions.

Second, although government-imposed wage levels are contrary to conservative and free-market views, this campaign is an entirely private concern. It is a disagreement arising between private groups. Conservatives should voice their support for this social mechanism of change enacted by private individuals coming together to voice a shared opinion. No one should have to work two or three jobs days, nights, and weekends, to scrape by on an impoverished lifestyle. Life conditions in which one has no personal or family time, no leisure time, and no surplus income despite hard work every day are simply inhumane. We are concerned for strong family values and therefore we must also recognize and accommodate the need for people to spend time with their families. To the extent that Harvard employees with family and dependents are forced into inhumane work schedules as a result of contracting and outsourcing, Harvard has failed its employees, students, and faculty.

Harvard must provide an officially negotiated and adjustable living wage.

Even by its own standards, Harvard is perpetuating injustice by failing to implement the policies to which it agreed. Moreover, the fairness of those standards is suspect, and Harvard should engage in dialogue and continue to seek to adopt fair practices and wages for all of its workers.

In faith, hope, and love,

HEATHER WOODRUFF - Political Director, Harvard Republican Club
LAURA SEATON - Secretary, Harvard Republican Club
RICH HALVORSON - Membership Director, Harvard Republican Club