Faculty Decides to Choose Council with PR Elections
The Faculty yesterday decided to elect the members of the proposed Faculty Council.
By a 148 to 123 vote, it rejected the Fainsod Committee's recommendation that the dean of the Faculty appoint the members of the council, with elections being held only if the Faculty was not satisfied with the dean's choices.
The Faculty Council will replace the present Committee on Educational Policy, and will serve as a combination of a Dean's Cabinet and Faculty steering committee. It will work in a wide variety of areas, including setting the agenda for Faculty meetings, advising the dean and President on appointments, and suggesting priorities for the future growth of the Faculty.
The motion-introduced by Kenneth Arrow, professor of Economics-which the Faculty adopted provides that the 18 members of the council will be elected under a Proportional Representation (PR) system. In order to give minority candidates a better chance of election, PR systems generally require that a candidate receive only a quota of votes-less than a majority-in order to win office.
Exact Procedure Uncertain
A committee will later devise the exact election system. Christopher A. Sims '63, assistant professor of Economics, moved to strike the Fainsod Committee's recommendations that the council membership be divided equally among the Faculty's three areas-Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences-and that council members serve for three years. The Faculty adjourned before acting on Sims' motion.
Sims explained that he offered the motion "in the spirit of the Fainsod Report," intending that the election procedures committee would set the terms of office and other requirements so as to retain the division between the three areas, while assuring that enough council seatswould be open each year to give all groups fair representation in each election. This could be done by cutting the term of office so that more seats would be open each time, Sims said.
The Faculty's action came after more than an hour of debate, most of which followed in the lines of the first discussion of the matter three weeks ago. Several themes predominated in the debate:
The Role of the Council-Backers of the Fainsod plan stressed the council as a "Dean's Cabinet" able to work harmoniously with the dean, while opponents of the plan viewed the council more as a Faculty steering committee, where opposing points of view could be hammered out before proposals came to the floor of the Faculty.
Politicization of the Faculty-Those supporting the proposal to elect council members argued that the PR system would reduce the incentive for political organization within the Faculty, while backers of the Fainsod plan replied that regular elections would inevitably "policize" the Faculty. The election proponents then retorted that having the dean select members would drag him deep into whatever Faculty polities existed.
Legitimacy of the Council-Fainsod and others argued that the dean, in making appointments to the council, would be striving to make sure all faculty factions were represented. Opponents of the Fainsod plan countered by saying that, while the dean might very well do this, it was important that all Faculty members participate in the selections. so that they would recognize the council's legitimacy and stand by it even in a crisis.
Obtaining Capable Members for the Council-Proponents of elections argued that they would give an opportunity for a wide range of able Faculty members-some of them not known to the dean-to serve on the council. Those opposing elections replied that many capable Faculty members would not want to stand for election, but would serve if asked by the dean.
There was one sharp division over an empirical issue at the meeting. When the Faculty took up the question last time. Arrow had pointed to several universities-primarily Columbia, Princeton, the University of Chicago, and Stanford-which elected bodies similar to the Faculty Council.
Yesterday. Fainsod objected to the citation of other universities "where, we were told, democracy ruled triumphant." proceeded to analyze the other universities, and found their elected bodies and electoral systems not comparable to those proposed by Arrow, Arrow, a former Stanford professor, took issue with Fainsod's view, at least in the case of Stanford, which he said was essentially similar to Harvard.