Faculty Committee Votes Down PBH Project Jarba
The Faculty Committee of Phillips Brooks House yesterday voted unanimously against approval of Project Jarba when it became clear that Jewish students would not be able to participate.
Following the Committee's decision, Mary B. Taylor '62, president of PBH, announced cancellation of the program which would have sent 20-30 students to Jordan this summer to help resettle displaced Bedouins.
Last week the PBH Cabinet voted 13-1 to submit the proposal to the Committee despite the restriction on applicants. Discussions with the former assistant to the United States ambassador to Jordan and a representative of CARE, recently returned from the country, convinced PBH there was no chance of including Jews, Miss Taylor said. At the conclusion of an exhaustive three-hour session with representatives of PBH and CARE, co-sponsors of the Project, the Committee issued the following statement:
"Despite the obvious merits of Project Jarba, under the terms presented to the Faculty Committee it cannot approve it."
Both sides agreed the question involved was the potential good to be done by Project Jarba weighed against the principle of no religious discrimination. Both expressed regret at the decision.
Dean Monro, a member of the Committee, said there was a "conflict of two righteous principles." Such a situation "creates the very difficult decisions that torment good people."
"My feelings are very clear," Monro said. "I don't want PBH, representing Harvard, to be involved in a project where you ask questions about religious belief and make a decision on this basis."
Monro noted a "great generosity of spirit" among the undergraduates concerned with Project Jarba, and said many students, including a number of Jews, "have urged us to be broad-minded enough to overlook this."
In explaining the great disparity between the votes of the Committee and the PBH Cabinet, Monro declared, "Adults of my age must be extra careful, extra sensitive on questions of discrimination. The people of my generation who have suffered fighting discrimination find this a difficult and dangerous road to take."
Elliott Perkins '23, Master of Lowell House, another Committee member, noted, "We all feel very badly about the decision"; but added, "Harvard cannot give in on discrimination one inch on this or any other occasion." Charles P. Whitlock, assistant to the President, echoed Perkins' opinion. "The question is what does Harvard really stand for when the chips are down," he said.
Miss Taylor said the PBH Cabinet realized it was a two-sided issue but felt "the question of the potential good the project could do outweighed the evil of having to exclude Jewish students." She expressed appreciation for the "exhaustive consideration given this very difficult issue by the Committee and the College community."
In a letter sent to all applicants last night, Miss Taylor said, "Neither we nor the Faculty Committee consider this decision to be in any way a discouragement for future summer projects.... If all this has proved nothing else, it has shown once again the interest and the enthusiasm of the student body for this type of project."
Project Jarba, which will initiate the building of villages for five million Bedouins now living in Jordan, will be continued alone by CARE. Each village will accommodate 300. Chances for arrangement of a substitute PBH project for this summer are slight.