Harvard's participation in the student loan program of the National Defense Education Act, in the face of the Act's "loyalty oath" requirement, seems again to be a likely source of concern for President Pusey, the Administration, and the Faculty.
Sometime this week, a committee from the Harvard chapter of the American Association of University Professors will see President Pusey to inquire whether he favors the University's continued participation in the loan program now that Senator Kennedy's bill to remove the loyalty oath has failed.
A number of highly influential faculty members have expressed their definite interest in meeting to discuss the issue before the next meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which is scheduled for Oct. 20. It is not known whether the Committee on Educational Policy or the Committee of Deans will debate the matter before the Faculty meets.
While the initial NDEA grant to Harvard was only $27,000 (the University gave the entire sum to the Graduate School of Education), an additional $100,000 reportedly has been received and an even larger grant is expected this fall.
When the initial grant was allocated to the GSE last spring, President Pusey appeared before a meeting of the Faculty of the School to explain the University's position on the loyalty oath, and received a reportedly unenthusiastic and slim vote of confidence.
Since it is almost certain that at least a large portion of the new grants would be allocated to other Schools, more vocal faculty concern with Harvard's participation in the loan program would seem to be indicated. "With the failure of Senator Kennedy's bill, the matter again is becoming one for faculty debate, rather than administrative detail," one highly placed University officer has stated.
Last year the University agreed to accept loan monies offered under the NDEA and to administer the required oath to students requesting loans, in order to applaud and encourage "the high motives which prompted Congress to pass the ... Act." But President Pusey, in a letter supporting Senator Kennedy's bill to abolish the oath requirement, also called the oath "rude and unworthy of Congress," "a direct personal affront" to the colleges, and urged that Kennedy's committee recommend the "elimination of this odious section of the law."
The Kennedy group did make such a recommendation, but a narrow vote of the Senate returned the bill to committee.
Now that Kennedy's bill has been shelved, feeling is stronger in some quarters that the University can not continue to 'accept oaths with one hand while praying for repeal of the oath requirement with the other.'