Federal officials have told the University that the new Congress will be asked to repeal a disclaimer requirement in the Economic Opportunity Act.
Charles P. Whitlock, assistant to the President for civic and governmental affairs, said yesterday that if the requirement were repealed, Harvard would be likely to apply for U.S. aid in the "War on Poverty."
The University has not yet applied because it objects to the disclaimer affidavits that recipients of aid will have to sign. It maintains that such affidavits represent an attempt to "legislate belief" and considers them unconstitutional.
The requirement in the antipoverty law is so vaguely worded, it believes, that it is unclear whether affidavits would have to be signed by all students who receive funds in a work-study program or only by the president of the institution that administers the funds.
This point may be cleared up today at an all-day conference of college officials to be held today at Boston University. Representatives of the Office for Economic Opportunity will discuss the work-study program, which is designed "to stimulate and promote" the part-time employment of students from low-income families.
Even if the conference clears up the ambiguity in the disclaimer requirement, however, the question of the University's participation will still remain.
Under the requirement, a recipient of antipoverty aid must swear that "he does not believe in, and is not a member of and does not support any organization that believes in or teaches the overthrow of the United States Government by force or violence. . . ."