Council Initiates College-Manned Watchdog Group
After numerous votes, revotes, proposals and counter-proposals, the Student Council last night voted to sponsor a watchdog committee of college groups to speak for the undergraduates if and when future Congressional investigating teams act flagrantly.
The committee, called the Harvard Student Council Committee of Undergraduate Organizations on Academic Freedom, is to issue statement only if each representative to the body is in accord.
The Council unanimously elected Anthony C. Beilenson '54 its representative to act on all issues only with specific Council sanction. It further voted that a duly elected Council member always hold down the chairmanship on the Committee.
President Paul D. Sheais '54 and Beilenson will draw up a list of undergraduate political organization to be invited to join. They wish to include as wide a spectrum of opinion as possible in this group on which one negative vote constitutes a virtual veto.
Text of the Motion
The motion creating the Committee reads:
"In an effort to gain the benefit of the thinking and advice of Harvard undergraduate organization interested in Congressional investigations of colleges, the Student Council hereby invites the following groups to send one representative each to a committee established by the Council to offer suggestions for Council action and or to issue statements under their name in response to specific actions of investigating Committees provided that every member of the established committee can concur therein: (list to be drawn up)."
While any one Committee representative can block a statement because of the "unanimous concurrence" clause, any member organization can, of course, initiate independent action at any time.
A Question of Prestige
The Council spent considerable time arguing a point which became virtually semantical. At heated issue was whether the proposed group be autonomous or a Council and hoc committee. Since in either case the Council would hold veto power, the question was one of prestige.
The Council's position will be discussed at 10:15 tonight over WHRB.
Meanwhile Edward Strasser '56 asked for an amendment to the Council constitution to give the Freshman Class one additional voting representative.