World Watches Harvard
HARVARD UNIVERSITY, bedrock of international intellect since the birth of America, today trembled on the lip of an abyss. The academic home of some of the world's most distinguished leaders, past and present, finds itself bleeding and embattled--fighting to retain a 331-year history unique in the annals of education.
It is split up and down and sideways; its students are in deep dissension; it Faculty is in quiet, elegant strife; the nation's academe is in a kind of breathless pain; much of America simply does not understand and the whole world is watching.
And riding on the outcome is a way of life that represents the immovability of Gibraltar and a pride that no one really ever put into adequate rhetoric.
Keen academicians who have traced student travail from Berkeley to Columbia to the Quadrangle at Harvard, unofficially agree that the moment of truth is at hand--if Harvard frays then the entire U.S. university fabric could unravel.
Over the soul-searching interim since Wednesday the inviolable prestige of Harvard began to show chinks as questions of high morality and undistilled bunco soared.
Some numbed in near-disbelief, said: "Many of our Presidents attended Harvard. Some of their sons went there, too." Then they voiced their private positions.
Others maintained that, far beyond Harvard second thoughts were taking seed. Many countries, those in the free world and those under heel, sent their promising youth to Cambridge. What now?--Was the inevitable inquiry.
Still others were more direct: "They send out advisers to Presidents and they can't contain a skirmish on their own preserve."
One observer assayed a feeble witticism: "The kids kicked out the teachers--that's a twist."
President of Harvard, Nathan M. Pusey, big dome embodiment of the old-school tie who blew the whistle, finds himself both beloved and beleaguered. His job could be on the line. His own Faculty neither backs him nor does it disown him....
The crux of the dispute, the student himself, has amoeboid into a polyglot of campus factions, quarreling, poaching, threatening, taking pro and con stances, some militant, some passive, others ready to ditch it all to crack the books once again.
On the fringe stand the odd-balls and yahoos, some of whom never get closer to a book than a bet but ready to light the fuses.
At the top of the pyramid is the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) who seized University Hall Wednesday, gave nine officials, including six deans, an academic version of the heave-ho and laid down their demands....
The SDSers, both culprits and liberal white knights depending on the observer's leanings, are no longer alone. They have spawned new groups which have served, if anything, to complicate a distressing situation, fraught with real woe.
Dissent even rakes the ranks of SDS. A splinter minority of SDS is the Progressive Labor Party. The PLP is made up of a pro-Mao Communist cabal.
It is contended that the militants made a charade of the academic freedoms they seek to preserve: that pulling the rug from under ROTC would scandalize academic freedom, depriving those who want it to get it.
But criticism is building with sting in the stratosphere occupied by the prestigious Board of Overseers and the Harvard Corporation. This criticism is mostly among Faculty and students.
The Corporation leaves decisions on curricula, appointments, tenure and research to the Faculty but it retains control of the University's $1,100,000,000 endowment complex and appointment of presidents. Elected by international ballot, the Board of Overseers is being criticized for abdicating much of its authority to the Corporation.
Yesterday for the first time in centuries a meeting of the Faculty was made public and from this meeting grew increasing signs that the University may be headed for complete restructuring with encrusted mores falling like tenpins.
surfacing off-campus are gut-wrenching questions and fresh declarations blooming in the clear light of hindsight.
"When is all this going to end" is one question coming from all over and from all levels.... --JOE PURCELL, Record American