No Time to Abdicate
(This represents the view of a minority of the CRIMSON editorial board)
THE EVENTS of the last five days have left the majority of the Harvard community confused and dismayed. The SDS tactic was repulsive, the violent police raid used to defeat it even more disgusting, but worst of all is the prespect that the University is now splitting so violently that its survival is endangered. The temptation for moderates to despair and give up politically is overwhelming, but this is precisely the time when they must not quit as a political force.
They must not, for instance, support continuing the three-day strike as a vague sign of student solidarity. Such solidarity does not now exist; and with SDS providing the only coherent leadership, continued participation implies endorsement. For at least three days, moderates ought to suspend their participation in the strike and use that period to revive their leadership and political identity.
The act of suspending the strike for three days would in itself help define a crucial intermediary force, unwilling either to docilely identify itself with an Administration that must be changed or to play into the hands of manipulative radical groups bent on stretching confrontation politics into the indefinite future. Possibly the moderates can group around those strike demands which have been quickly gaining majority support in the Harvard community. Such a program could include:
* restructuring the University to include students and faculty at the highest levels of decision-making. This would begin with full voting student membership on the Faculty committee to investigate the crisis;
* a binding referendum on the issue of ROTC;
* a reassessment of University policies in Cambridge and Boston including a guarantee not to displace residents without providing alternative housing at a reasonable cost.
Of course, it is essential that everyone attend the meeting at Soldiers' Field. At the very least it will provide contact with the full spectrum of moderate opinion; at best it may be able to vote some gestures of solidarity and start on the task of organizing majority leadership and majority opinion into the force they ought to be. Whether or not tomorrow's meeting makes significant progress on these tasks, those in the middle must not stop thinking for themselves or stop working on the crisis. `The crisis is political, and political abdication is not an option for anyone who cares that some kind of Harvard University continue.