Statements yesterday by President Pusey left little doubt that the University will soon be receiving funds under the NDEA student-loan program.
Pusey reported that at Tuesday's meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences there had been general agreement in favor of entering the program, and he said that if the University's other faculties shared this feeling, he would recommend Harvard's entry to the Corporation.
It is virtually certain that the Corporation will give its approval.
At Tuesday's Faculty meeting, the basis for discussion was commentary from Pusey and Mark DeWolfe Howe, professor of Law, on the fact that applicants for government loans under the National Defense Education Act will no longer have to disclaim belief in any subversive organization. The NDEA program still asks that students swear they have never been members of a subversive organization, but Howe explained that this request is not as overbearing as if sounds.
The Subversive Activities Control Board, which would have to decide the status of any suspect organization in which a loan applicant held membership, exists only on paper, Howe pointed out. Though it was set up in 1950, the board has not yet succeeded in getting the Communist Party to register as a subversive organization. The reason for the Board's difficulties is that in demanding that heads of subversive organizations register themselves, it may violate the Constitution. There has not been any test case.
[Howe reemphasized last night that this particular provision of the NDEA program is "fantastically unreal and meaningless."]
President Pusey told the Faculty that he personally thought the University should enter the program. Pusey closed the meeting with an informal, show-of-hands vote which revealed only negligible dissent.
Entry into the loan program would make between $75,000 and $90,000 available each year to students under the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The move would represent the end of a four-year campaign by the University, working with other institutions all around the country, to have the NDEA act revised to the point where it seemed compatible with the principle of academic freedom.
President Kennedy has signed the legislation amending the National Defense Education Act. His signature, added yesterday, turned Congress's bill into a law.