'They Were Never Meant Seriously'

(The following are excerpts from a statement issued by Dean Ford prior to the Faculty meeting on Friday, April 11.)

IF ONE evaluates those six demands as a basis for negotiation, it seems clear to me that they were never meant seriously. The community was asked to support them on the basis of the Corporation's alleged disregard for the Faculty vote removing academic credit from ROTC courses as soon as that could be legally effected, and withdrawing academic status in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences from the officers of the three ROTC units. The ROTC negotiations now in progress are in fact following precisely the lines laid down by the Faculty vote, on the explicit instructions of the Corporation. In any case, the first demand of the S.D.S. this week was to disregard the Faculty's vote and move immediately toward total abolition of ROTC, without regard to legal commitments or the provision for extracurricular status.

The other demands are equally distorted or unreal. The reference to Medical School building plans is not only inaccurate but simply untrue. The reference to "construction" of the Kennedy School of Government names a site where there is not the faintest intention of erecting any University facility. The Kennedy School, if it is accompanied at all in the new John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library complex, will find a place only in a combined international-public administration section hundreds of yards from the apartments in question. Both the sloppiness of the demands and the fact that they were in many cases addressed to parts of the University having nothing to do with University Hall reveal the artificiality of the seizure of that building on the basis alleged by S.D.S.

(The following are excerpts from Dean Ford's actual remarks to the Faculty.)

Several of the demands hae no basis in fact whatever.... One of them presupposed a building plan by the Medical School, which, if there were such a plan, would have nothing to do with us, but which in any case does not even exist. Secondly, there was a reference to a play for a new Kennedy School of Government building. There is no such plan, and in so far as the Kennedy School may some day be accommodated in the complex of the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, it will be in an international studies, public administration unit hundreds of yards from the apartments cited in the demands.

BUT OF COURSE the most important one for the community was the first one, which demanded that the University immediately abolish all reserve officer training, and specifically said "break all existing contracts." What's important about this, I think, is not so much the specific terminus ad quem cited, but the relationship in the community's mind between that, which, incidentally, is a demand to ignore the Faculty's vote to retain ROTC but on essentially an extracurricular basis, or at least, to turn it around, to remove curricular credit and let ROTC remain on whatever term could then be worked out.

The important thing here is the continuing insistence of may people in this community and indeed in this Faculty, that the Corporation has instructed officers of the University to renegotiate the ROTC contract on some terms other that those voted by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. This is not true, and I challenge anyone who reads the instruction, first of all, to reply to my formal notification of the Faculty's vote to the Corporation, or the instructions that Dean Glimp relayed to the community through his statement last Monday in the CRIMSON, I challenge anyone to say that anything short of what the Faculty voted is being worked on right now.

I must say that when all is said and done that I can only conclude that those demands were never seriously intended as a basis for negotiating anything. They were slapped together, I think obviously, at the last minute, two of them as I say have premises which are false, distinctly in the "have you stopped beating your wife category," and the others were either unrelated or misleading.

The important thing was the tactic itself, and we had been told for days indeed weeks, that some such seizure would take place sometime in the days after the Easter recess, it wasn't at all clear what the issues would be. And when it occurred, I must say, it still was not clear what the issue was.