Conant Criticizes Draft Bill--'Unfair'
President states Opposition to Full Immunity for College Students
The present draft law is "unfair" President Conant charged Saturday, urging that the Selective Service Act "be drastically changed by the new Congress." But he added that any attempt to obtain exemptions for college students "would be grossly unfair and socially unwise."
Speaking at Northeastern University's fiftieth anniversary celebration, President Conant hit upon the problems of choosing not from too few eligible draftees, but from too many. He pointed out that there are approximately 800,000 non-exempt 19 year olds, the largest eligible age group under the present act. "I am inclined to think we cannot choose among them with any degree of fairness."
President Conant rejected any plan to exempt immediately all college students, claiming that accidents of family finance and geography are larger determinants of who goes to college today. "And no one wants to turn out educational institutions into draft establishments."
Law Promotes Marriage
the President also said that the 1948 law is "certainly not in the interests of the nation when it makes the one sure road to civilian life early matrimony."
In place of the current act, President Conant suggested the building of a vast reserve establishment of all youths of 18 to 28. He proposed placing every youth, upon graduation from high school, or on becoming 18, into a local unit subject to orders from the national government.
Training in Periods
Obligations of such a unit would be fulfilled in two-month periods of military training and in local weekly meetings. He suggested that anyone wishing to avoid such a duty be allowed to volunteer for immediate two-year service in the armed forces.
At the Northeastern convocation, President Conant received his twenty-fifth honorary degree, Doctor of Laws. Among 13 other degree winner was Bernard DeVote '18 critic and historian.