To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
Two years ago an issue of local and limited concern came before the Harvard community in the form of the Memorial Church 'Controversy.' Both student body and faculty responded with dedicated fervor and concrete action. This year an issue of national and nearly unlimited concern has come before this community in the form of the attachment of a disclaimer affidavit and a loyalty oath to the NDEA funds. Harvard's response to this issue has been marked by its lack of fervor and action. That this apparent anomaly should exist suggests a reproachable peculiarity of the Harvard community and a breach of responsibility on the part of the Harvard CRIMSON.
Harvard students and faculty display an impressive homogeneity in their liberalism. The Corporation's suspension of the NDEA funds, the CRIMSON'S feature articles and editorials leveled against the "loyalty oath," and the obvious widespread student agreement with the same indicate an unusually common attitude toward the current issue. There is no controversy as there was two years ago and, consequently no real action. That is to say that since we all individually believe in, and affirm the rightness of opposition to the loyalty oath, we feel that our personal moral responsibilities have been met. But does not a social life entail social responsibilities--even for Harvard students? That a majority (as measured by Congressional action) of the nation outside of Harvard is in solid support of the loyalty oath, certainly has something to do with us and is partially our responsibility--particularly, if we fancy ourselves to be among the more enlightened of student bodies. And yet, despite these observations, we as students seem to be undisturbed, and indeed to be almost indifferent toward any performance which might absolve us from the guilt of social irresponsibility.
The CRIMSON too is guilty. While it has run many articles pointing to the immediate and potential dangers of the loyalty oath, describing faculty attitudes, and reviewing Congressional action, not once has it been suggested that Harvard students ought to do something. Failing to see the "ought," no "what's" have been proposed.
Does each student know how his senators voted on the Kennedy-Clark amendment? Does each student's home town realize the implications of a loyalty oath? Would home town newspapers print articles by Harvard students? Where is the Harvard Liberal Union? What connections do they have with the liberal unions across the country? Where is the Student Council? How do the student councils and newspapers in other colleges feel? Where are letters to congressmen? Where is the dedicated fervor and concrete action? Or is not this issue really worth the effort?
We at Harvard are now academically free, but let us not be too aloof lest we forget that the social forces of this nation are quite capable of destroying such freedom; and that, perhaps, is only the most short-sighted of concerns. --Robert M. Bohlig '60