Council-Run Seminar Closes Second Session in Germany
Started at Koenigstein After NSA Military Group Report; Germans to Direct Seminar
The two-year-old German Seminar, which has until now been administered by Harvard, will be turned over to the German Student Union for the first time next year, after completing a successful beginning period.
The month-long seminar was started at Koenigstein last year in response to a report by National Student Association representative Thomas Farmer on student conditions in Germany. The 1950 seminar was run by the Harvard Student Council, in cooperation with NSA. The Farmer report, written at the request of the U. S. Military Government, was entitled "The University Student in Germany." In it, he made two recommendations: 1. German students should meet more foreign students, and 2. Germans should be encouraged to exchange information about student conditions in their country.
50 Students Attend
At the first seminar, more than 50 students from the United States, Germany, and Western Europe met for four weeks to discuss student self-government and self-help.
At the end of this seminar, participants set up a continuations committee whose job it was to plan a second seminar. John J. McCloy, U. S . High Commissioner in Germany, gave his support to the work of the first seminar, praising it by saying that "it helped the German students to continue their efforts in reestablishing and extending self-government in German universities."
During the winter, the continuations committee worked on getting money for the second seminar. Both the U. S. High Commission and the Rockefeller Foundation contributed. The money given by the Rockefeller Foundation paid for the expenses of the continuations committee, and enabled the National Student Association to share the expenses of the seminar administration, permitting six additional American students to participate in the seminar.
While the first seminar had been run by the Harvard Student Council under authorization from the National Student Association, the second seminar was run under the joint sponsorship of German, Swiss, and Swedish student groups besides the NSA.
Student Council President Richard M. Sandler '52 directed 1951 seminar, while Carl M. Sapers '53, the chairman of the Council's International. Affairs Committee, acted as Secretary-Treasurer. The main topic of the seminar was: The Specific Responsibility of the Student to their Universities and Society.
The groups toured universities in Germany, and in almost all of them, they found one common problem--that of the "corporations," which are supposed to promote "friendship among members." According to NSA observers, many German leaders feel that these groups are symbols of reactionary and undemocratic tendencies.
Another problem that the seminar directors faced was the strained relations between the Germans and students from other European countries. But at the end of the seminar, seminar officials noticed a marked change for the better between the attitude of the students toward each other.
At the end of the summer, participants unanimously voted to continue the seminar for another year. But next year, the German student group will take over control and be the host union.