The Committee on Educational Policy's unanimous recommendation that Harvard should not participate in any program which requires Harvard to administer a loyalty oath is a major step toward putting the full weight of the University's prestige against the loyalty provision of NDEA.
The University's freezing of the funds before it was prepared to refuse them gave an appearance of indecision, but the 8-0 CEP vote should help prove that Harvard intends to take a strong stand. The Faculty vote on Tuesday must reflect similar unanimity if Harvard's influence is to be important in the fight. Even a unanimous vote for withdrawal, however, will not conclude the University's obligations.
If Harvard is to maintain its position as national leader in defense of educational freedom, it is its job to organize a campaign which will unite the universities of the country in a vigorous and concerted campaign. This "concert" of institutions advocated by Dean Elder is only the first step in the program of lobbying and publicity which will be necessary to effect repeal of the oath.
The loyalty oath will be difficult to defeat. It is politically profitable to a majority of Congressmen, and defense in emotional patriotic terms is very easy. Only by making its opinion felt in papers and colleges throughout the nation, by mobilizing the hitherto silent leaders of state colleges, and by communicating directly with the administrations of other universities can Harvard accomplish anything.
The fight must be carried beyond the liberal Senators and Cabinet members to the conservatives who are as yet unconvinced that those who oppose the oath have any real political strength. It will involve Harvard in the kind of politics and national campaigning which educators have traditionally disdained. The CEP vote is commendable, but only one step in a long, difficult campaign.