Amidst signs that the General Motors proxy controversy is spreading to most universities in the country, representatives of the GM management and the insurgent Campaign GM stockholders met for the first time before the M.I.T. Corporation Joint Advisory Committee on April 14.
At issue were two resolutions which Campaign GM succeeded in placing on the GM proxy statement for the May 22 annual meeting in Detroit. The resolutions are only two of nine which Campaign GM submitted seeking an expanded role for GM in auto safety, pollution control, and minority hiring.
The first resolution would expand the Board of Director from 24 to 27 members, to include three public representatives. If this passes, Campaign GM has promised to nominate for the posts Betty Furness, President Johnson's consumer affairs advisor; Rene Dubos, Pulitzer-prize winning environmentalist at the University of Chicago; and Rev. Channing Phillips, Washington civil rights leader.
The second resolution calls for a "Shareholders' Committee for Corporate Responsibility" to study GM's economic and social policies and their impact on the general public.
The original resolution said the Committee should be appointed by a representative of the GM management, one from the United 'Auto Workers, and one from the Project on Corporate Responsibility, which started Campaign GM.
During the debate, however, Joseph Onek, Campaign GM coordinator, offered to relinquish the Campaign GM role in selecting the Committee to any independent scientific or public interest group.
The debate lasted for more than three hours. Space considerations forced us to edit out slightly less than half of the debate.
Both Roger Smith, treasurer for General Motors, and Fred W. Bowditch, director of GM emissions control spoke for the Corporation. The Campaign GM representative was Joseph Onek '65.
M.I.T. owns 291,000 shares of GM common stock. Harvard owns 287,000 shares.