The Kingdom and the Power The Story Behind the New Look Of the Harvard Faculty

"I've seen the workings of the Daley political machine. I've seen the corruption of urban police departments. But nothing can compare with the filth of faculty politics."

HARVARD Faculty meetings used to be cordial, rather intimate affairs a few years ago. Convened beneath the portraits and statuettes of the tiny Faculty room in University Hall, the meetings began after a short tea and cookie session for early arrivals. An ornate chime clock hung at the side of the room and, on striking the magical hour of 6 p.m., called down the President's gavel on whoever happened to be speaking and brought an immediate adjournment.

Sometime in the last two years, things changed. Meetings became more urgent and more frequent. The Faculty shifted over to Sanders Theatre. The clock was left behind. And at least a few professors are sorry it was.

"I'm tempted to say the old meetings were lovely," H. Stuart Hughes, Gurney Professor of History and Political Science, said last week. "They had the air of a gentleman's club, whereas now it's more like a parliament."

Accounts of how the Faculty changed must take into consideration the Kennedy-era integration of the University into national political life-the "Collapse of the Ivory Tower" theory, as early sixties educational commentators called it. After scores of Harvard administrators went to Washington to work under the Kennedy administration, many began filtering back to the University in the late sixties.

But the Harvard community these Washington emigres were coming back to was, by 1968, more diffuse than the one they had left. Just as the professors had become more politically involved, the students-without leaving the campus-were equally, if not more, involved.

The traditional dichotomy between scholarly endeavors and "extra-curricular" activities was breaking down. The puppy dog student government that arranged mixers and fought for parietal liberalization was becoming more political as students joined SDS rather than the Young Dems. The War had come to Harvard. And the Dow incident in the Fall of '67 turned student anti-war rage in on the University itself.

The Faculty-because it was the most visible part of the University structure-naturally found itself in the middle of the controversy. And the Student-Faculty Advisory Council (SFAC), created in the wake of the Dow demonstration, evinced the first cracks in the old Faculty way.

UNTIL '68, the Faculty had always worked through a staid committee system. As problems arose, the solution invariably fell to an appointed committee, chaired by one of the prominent senior professors on the Faculty. The committee deliberated from nine months to two years. And the result invariably was an impeccably argued report on the problem, suggesting several means to its solution.

In a time of complacency, the system worked well. Such names as John T. Dunlop, David A. Wells Professor of Political Economy; Henry Rosovsky, professor of Economics; Robert L. Wolff, Coolidge Professor of History; and Merle Fainsod, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor, appeared on the most recent of these committees in 1968 and 1969.

The Dunlop Committee on Recruitment and Retention of Faculty met leisurely for over a year. And in a time when Faculty news meant committee news, it is interesting to note that the CRIMSON devoted its entire front page, editorial page, and features page to the Committee report the morning after it appeared. Today this would not happen: partially because of a change in the CRIMSON, more probably because of a greater change in the structure of the Faculty.

"Before, there were a limited number of committees with a limited number of professors on them. These were usually the 'eminences' of the Faculty. There were a group of ins and a group of outs-the ins being close friends of the Dean," one of the younger Faculty members complained. "Before, you would get a docket and that was the first inkling you had of what was being voted on at the next Faculty meeting."

Such resentment to faculty committees among younger faculty members remained cautiously below the surface refore 1968. But the changes wrought by the eventual report of the Dunlop Committee made it easier for the "young turks" to voice their disagreement. In one swoop, the Faculty expanded from 500 to 700 members when the title of instructor was changed to assistant professor and 200 junior faculty members were enfranchised at Faculty meetings.

The SFAC, although now defunct, served two purposes in its brief Faculty history. It existed as a reminder of the gap between student and Faculty thinking. It functioned as a forum where students and professors could publicly assess the Faculty shortcomings.

SFAC drew the public eye on the Faculty and surfaced people for committee posts who had otherwise been left out. Men like Rogers Albritton, professor of Philosophy, and Everett I. Mendelsohn, professor of the History of Science-Faculty liberals who shared great rapport with their students-had been on the Faculty for 19 and 11 years respectively, and never been appointed to major committee positions.