The disgruntled freshman class flexed its righteously indignant political muscles yesterday and thwarted the Harvard Council for Undergraduate Affairs' attempt to replace itself with a bicameral student government.
The referendum to abolish the council was spurned by a college-wide margin of 1123 to 996, but it was the lopsided 431-90 freshman vote that decided the issue and eclipsed a substantial 906-692 upperclass consensus in favor of the motion.
Motivating the freshmen's rejection of the proposal was their feeling that freshmen would be grossly underrepresented under the new constitution. (Freshmen would have had one seat on the envisioned 21-member Harvard Undergraduate Council and no representation on its sister body, the Policy Committee.)
Freshman discontent was largely mobilized by a leaflet against the proposal which was stuffed into freshman mailboxes late Tuesday night. The leaflet was drawn up by William G. Sinkford '68 head of the Freshman Council, and several other council members.
Sinkford said that the idea for the protest was born at a breakfast table conversation Tuesday morning and was in no way an official act of the Freshman Council.
H. Reed Ellis '65, chairman of the HCUA, expressed disappointment at the result of the referendum. He attributed the defeat of the proposed constitution to "the vote of freshmen who acted on grievances which they did not bring to our attention until the day before the ballot."
Ellis termed some of the grievances "valid" and said that he would try to meet Monday with freshman representatives.
Also to be represented at the meeting would be the ad hoc student group which opposed the new constitution as a "rehash of the traditional idea that student governments are for show, not for governing." This group would like Harvard to espouse a philosophy of student government that would give much more actual power to the students than is now allocated to the HCUA.
The results of the meeting of the factions will have to be digested by the Constitutional Revision Committee. A new constitution will then be submitted to the Council, and another referendum taken.
Complicating the situation is the fact that the old HCUA leaves office at the end of February. If the constitutional issue is not settled by that time, an election will have to be held. The main issue of the election would unquestionably be the abolition of the HCUA.
William W. Hodes '66, speaking for the dissident ad Hoc group, said that it will attempt to get Monday's meeting delayed until after vacation, and would propose a college-wide constitutional convention