Letter from the House Masters

(I just typed this up, I apologize for any typos - liz)

An Open Letter to the Harvard Community

We as House Masters recognize that the issue of a living wage affects the quality of our community life in the Harvard Houses. In the Houses, the living wage has a human face. The living wage campaign invites us to ask if we are doing as much as we can to assure that the workers in our communities are reveiving adequate compensation for their work and their contribution to our daily lives.

We appreciate the care and diligence of our students in bringing this issue of wages to the attention of the entire Harvard community in their work and written reports over the past two years. We have deep respect for their commitments to social an economic justice, and we support them is these commitments.

We also appreciate the year-long work of the Mills Committee and the sustained attention of President Rudenstine, Provost Harvey Fineberg, and others who care deeply about the issue of wages and benefits. And we are thankful that the University and HUPD have demonstrated their care for students in spite of the current interruption of University business.

We believe that an ongoing university-wide conversation on the living wage issue is essential to the well-being, not only of our workers, but of the University community as a whole--too students, faculty, staff, and administration. Critical questions need to be asked and answered in a climate of mutal respect and trust.

We urge that a process be put in place to move beyond the present impasse. We suggest a face to face meeting between student leaders and the administration and a step-by-step plan for larger community dialogue that will take advantage of Harvard's extensive intellectual resources in the areas of economics, labor negotiation, law, business, religion and ethics, and public health.

Sean and Judith Palfrey, Adams House
James and Janice Ware, Cabot House
William and Barbara Graham, Currier House
Everett Mendelsohn and Mary Anderson, Dudley House
Lino Pertile and Anna Bensted, Eliot House
Howard and Anne Georgi, Leverett House
Diana Eck and Dorothy Austin, Lowell House
Sandra Naddaff and Leigh Halfrey, Mather House
James and Sue McCarthy, Pforzheimer House
Michael Shinagel and Marjorie North, Quincy House
Paul Hanson and Cynthia Rosenvery, Winthrop House

[The Liems in Dunster House and the Conleys in Kirkland House were out of town and could not be consulted on this letter.]