Every Monday night at 7:30 or so the duly elected and appointed representatives of the Harvard student body meet to discuss topics ranging from parietal rules and decentralization of the Dean's Office to buying a new mimeograph machine and establishing the number of desks their office can hold. Last Monday was a typical Student Council meeting.
At 7:45 the chair (Richard M. Sandler '52) suggested, "we might as well get started, although some people aren't here...the agenda's not loaded." Dick Johnson read the Treasurer's report, and commented that only two coupons for contributions to the council were illegible and not paid on the current term bill, and thus the Council took in only four dollars less than it anticipated. "This is great," quipped Doug Boshoff, "I contributed ten dollars and was only charged two dollars on my term bill."
The Council rapidly approved a resolution condemning the oppressive treatment of students and professors in East Germany. Carl Sapers suggested the name of a German Organization be in German first then English instead of vice versa, but Sandler asserted that since the resolution had to be translated into German anyway, this point was relatively unimportant.
Next Chase Peterson read a reworded Sapers amendment to the previous week's recommendation on membership rules for undergraduate organizations. Peterson headed a special "style committee" to reword this endorsement of Academic freedom and he introduced it with an apologetic: "This will not have a profound effect on undergraduates..."
In the middle of the second reading of the amendment, Bob Cole wandered in and asked what part of the statement was "borrowed from the pen of Grenville Clark." It turned out only one sentence had been--quotation marks were left out because the "synonymous" name "Academic Freedom" had been substituted for "Harvard."
Boshkoff asked what had happened at the previous meeting after he had left, and was filled in by Peterson. After a little "parliamentary procedure," Sapers' resolution was announced as being "on the floor." Boshkoff then inquired whether the resolution had been passed already. On being told it hadn't he continued, "Perhaps I am a complete reactionary and against Academic Freedom,..." and went on to object to letting the Young Progressives and the John Reed Club use the Harvard name.
"Perhaps I am speaking out of turn", he said, "but what I object to is the essence of Academic Freedom." Peterson then spoke on the virtues of hearing all view-points--using Paul Robeson as his example. Boshkoff retorted that Robeson is "willing to come out into the open" unlike the secretive YP's and John Reed Club.
"Anybody can get into this thing," Sandler reminded the members. Cole promptly gave a vigorous defense of academic freedom. Mike Yamin asked if the membership lists were kept on file by the Dean's Office more than a year but Sandler cut him short. "Irrelevant," he said, "It was passed last week and the details should not be discussed here."
The Cole-Boshkoff debate continued until Sandler recalled that there was a motion on the floor. Dave Stark promptly chirped, "I move the question..."
"I'd like to add one comment," Cole interposed and proceeded to object to a repetitious sentence. A few words were changed in the resolution and just as everyone prepared to vote, Boshkoff burst in: "May I say one more thing and then I'll shut up?" He then redefined his position. Vince McCarthy agreed that revoking the membership rule is "encouraging them to be cowards...and defy the law." Cole said, "we can't condemn these people as cowardly without giving them a chance to present their case."
Sandler interrupted to tell Stark that his motion to "move the question" on the motion to adopt Sapers' amendment was in order. Peterson reread the resolution for the third time and a photographer walked in with proofs of the Council's Yearobok picture.
Sapers immediately raised his hand to interject a "point of information." He moved to add the words "free and" to "uncoerced body of students," and suggested explaining who Grenville Clark was. Cole pointed out that a quote requires marks with added words in brackets. "Oh that's how you do it," Sandler said, and laughed. The changes were made and the resolution passed at 8:30 p.m., twelve votes to one, with three abstentions.
The Yearbook photographer interrupted to offer copies of his picture or to retake it "if it looks too bad." Sapers suggested the Council "take an interest" in the Jordan athletic policy controversy. "What's he (Jordan) saying? I don't understand..." interposed Charles Cabot. Cole stated "there's nothing objectionable in what he said...scholarships and interesting men in Harvard." After some discussion as to who should see Jordan, Cole moved that "the council find out what Coach Jordan said by talking to him." The motion was passed by fourteen to one with one abstention.
"Any other business?" queried Sandler. "I have some housekeeping matters." He then referred to the agenda and asked members for their lists of men who should get Associated Council Membership Cards or Certificates of Merit. "I never got an agenda," complained Cabot. Sandler explained just what he wanted, and there followed brief discussion of forthcoming reports and whether Dean Bender will still eat Wednesday lunch with the Council.
"Any chance of having the picture taken over again?" cried one member as the meeting adjourned.