'Radical Structural Reform' Demands
[Following is the complete text of the program drawn up by the 30-member Teaching Fellows Committee for Radical Structural Reform.]
Harvard University exercises immense power affecting both its own members and the large community in which it resides. This power had not been used responsibility have refused to accept responsibility for this misuse.
Recent events have raised particular issues of such importance that business at Harvard must not return to normal until we begin to deal with these issues in a fundamental and permanent way. We recognize the importance of the specific demands which have been made. Striking for these demands alone will not guarantee that Harvard face up to its obligations in the future, for they arose from the deeper problem that the organization of the University does not reflect the needs of those it effects. A change in the structure of the University can guarantee that Harvard's power will serve and not destroy.
In the behalf that further strike activity should be concerned with clear issues, we proposes the following:
The Harvard community is divided over the presence of ROTC at the University. ROTC is maintained at Harvard by a contract between the Corporation and the Department of Defense. That contract has been challenged on various grounds: because it implicates the University in the Viet Nam war and present American foreign policy, and because that contract subverts the spirit of liberal a status unlike that of any other off-education. We wish to focus on the contract, which has infested ROTC with campus or non-curricular activity. The termination of that contract violates no one's civil liberties.
We therefore demand that :
1. The Corporation immediately terminate its contractual obligations with the Department of Defense, regarding ROTC, and commit itself not to negotiate any new contracts of any kind, regarding ROTC.
2. The University replace any scholarship aid lost to Harvard students as a result of the termination of the contract.
The development of Harvard has had an unacceptably disruptive impact on the surrounding community. By its nature Harvard attracts to Cambridge many individuals and industries. Through the operation of supply and demand, this continuing influx has resulted in a severe housing shortage and a dramatic rise in rents. The University's failure to construct more housing has seriously exacerbated the situation. More importantly, it is also clear that Harvard's expansion policies have caused genuine hardships for the community. The fact that some individuals have benefited from this process in no way relieve Harvard of its obligations toward those who are hurt.
Harvard must commit itself to the principles of preserving Cambridge as a heterogeneous community, of maintaining adequate housing and health standards, and of making no profits on its housing. Only through such profound structural changes in the process by which such decisions are reached can we hope to achieve a more responsible policy.
We therefore demand that:
1. No further physical expansion of Harvard take place until the views of the surrounding community are represented in the decision-making process.
2. The Corporation not demolish nor transfer title to an agency which will demolish the University Road apartments and the housing on the Harvard Affiliated Hospital site until all residents have been relocated to their satisfaction at Harvard's expense.
3. No relocation occur until a representative group of community residents, students, and faculty report on all matters pertaining to the University's relation to the Hospital and University Road apartments.
4. The University freeze rents on housing owned by itself and its agents until procedures are established to implement the above guidelines on expansion.
It is extermely important that all of us have full confidence in the justice of any disciplinary action taken against students involved in the seizure of University Hall. The normal processes for the determination of disciplinary measures are ill-suited to the situation. The faculty committee established for this purpose is also inadequate. As members of the community in which the events occured, students have both the right and the obligation to share the responsibility for these decisions. Given the circumstances, selective severance or suspension of students involved in the seizure would have to be very arbitrarily distributed. Mass dismissals would deprive the community of many valuable individuals who are deeply committed to the University.
Therefore we demand that:
1. An elected committee of faculty and students make the decision on discipline for students involved in the University Hall sit-in, and in any future such incidents.
2. None of these students be severed or suspended.
Removal of financial assistance is an outrageously discriminatory punishment, affecting only those without other resources.
Therefore we demand that:
3. No students be deprived of financial assistance as a result of the Paine Hall demonstration or any other breach of the rules.
Demands even if granted can be subverted. This requires that there be a structure, responsible to the Harvard community, which can regulate the implementation of demands. Moreover a representative mechanism would make it possible to deal with future demands in a manner recognized as legitimate by the community. Since the only restriction placed on the Corporation is that it have five members, there is no legal barrier to the following demands.
We demand that:
1. An elected student-faculty committee be created to review policy and consider guidelines for the governance of Harvard.
2. The Corporation recognize the authority of this committee on issues relevant to the life of the community, and its moral and social concerns.
3. The members of this committee must be representative of and responsive to their respective constituencies through the mechanism of a student-faculty senate.
We see these first-steps as radical and necessary, and believe that they must be taken with a view either to creating a more responsive Corporation, or to delegating the authority of the Corporation to the above joint student-faculty bodies.
We offer the following as a recommendation to this committee once it is established:
1. The members of the Corporation be directly elected, two by the students of the various divisions of the University, two by the faculties, and one by the alumni.
2. Policy-making bodies elected by the faculty and students be created in the colleges and all graduate schools of the University.
The original purpose behind the creation of the Harvard corporation, in 1650, was to establish a governing board more involved with an responsive to the affairs of Harvard than the distant Board of Overseers. The latter was a cumbersome body, difficult to assemble, composed of the political and religious leaders of the Bay Colony. The five initial members of the Corporation as named in the Charter all were recent graduates who were, or became, teachers in the College. It is time to return to the first principles of the University's constitution and create a structure which will again reflect the needs of the community