THE SPECIAL committee established by the Faculty at its last meeting is to consist of elected student and Faculty representatives with equal voting rights. This is a significant and commendable innovation, since the Faculty has in the past tenaciously avoided the inclusion of students on an equal footing with Faculty members on any committees.
The creation of such a committee is also a positive achievement to the extent that two of the three functions of this body are of explicitly advisory nature. The information channels of the University should be as representative as possible. The ten Faculty members and five students who will make up this special committee may well prove helpful in its role as an investigating committee to "study the causes of the present crisis" and in "recommending changes in the governance of the University."
Nevertheless, however worthy the special committee as a study group, it is clear that it is a mistake to also assign the power to discipline students to this body.
THE CONCEPT of extemporaneously electing a judicial body to deal with a specific situation--and a highly charged political one at that--is nonsensical. Difficulties are already arising from this attempt to resolve the contradiction between the needs of legal justice and those of political justice. In some of the Houses student candidates are being told that they will not be allowed to run on a platform of amnesty.
This enforced neutrality on the part of student representatives is not matched however on the side of Faculty members since, in their case, each department is free to nominate candidates on the basis of their political views. The Government Department, for example, put up two slates, a "liberal" one and a "less liberal" one of which the latter won.
In addition, the procedures for electing House undergraduate representatives, under which three are chosen by lot out of the ten winners in each House, are so arbitrary as to be utterly inadequate. It is difficult also to see how the one representative from Radcliffe and the one from GSAS can adequately reflect the views of their constituencies.
These inadequacies in the election procedures that have been established for the special committee are not serious if the aim is merely to produce a number of people to make an objective investigation of the facts of a situation. These same inadequacies, on the other hand, must be considered very serious if the resulting body is to be expected to make a decision on a political issue such as punishment. So much so that it is hard to escape the conclusion that the irregular student representation on a committee comprised of a two-thirds Faculty majority is merely a token representation intended to legitimize any punishment that the Faculty members decide on.
In view of these circumstances the Faculty should withdraw the power of discipline from the special committee and vote on the matter itself at its meeting today. Student opinion has been sufficiently expressed. The committee for Radical Structural Reform proposal, which was accepted by an overwhelming voice vote at the Soldiers' Field meeting, specifically demanded that no one be punished by severance or suspension. The Strike Steering Committee, also with massive student backing, calls for complete amnesty. The CRIMSON has urged complete amnesty for the University Hall demonstrators; we do so again today.