Students led by members of SDS rallied last night in the Currier House dining hall in order to confront Dean John T. Dunlop over his role in designing "exploitative" labor-management policies for the construction industries.
The major result of the meeting, however, was a promise by Dunlop to make a public statement about the facts concerning the case of apprentice electrician Charles McNeil.
Dunlop and four other College deans-Dean May; Archie C. Epps, dean of students; Barbara M, Solomon, dean of the College; and Charles P. Whitlock, assistant dean of the College-had been invited by Currier House to engage in an "informal discussion" with Currier House students over dinner.
The demonstration by 125 members of SDS threatened to cancel the discussion after Jerome S. Bruner, Master of Currier House. was shouted down in his attempts to arrange a meeting between ten SDS members and the deans.
"I'm unable to cope with them-I can't get a word in edgewise," he said upon returning to his living room where the deans were drinking sherry and talking with several Currier House students. "In view of this, our previous decision to hold the discussion should be changed. I think we will be forcedto use the machinery of the Committee on Rights and Responsibilities."
SDS members rejected Bruner's proposal because they wanted a large audience to witness the confrontation.
The deans voted down the proposal to invoke the CRR after several students present objected although they were still reluctant to continue with the planned discussion.
Finally at 7:15-two hours after the discussion had been scheduled to begin-Bruner announced that the situation outside was "much cooler" and that he felt the deans could engage in a "meaningful" conversation with the students.
Only half a dozen SDS members remained.
At the meeting, which over 100 students attended, SDS members persistently questioned Dunlop about his role in designing government construction programs and demanded a solution to the McNeil problem.
"I have no desire to conceal anything," Dunlop said about the McNeil case. "Some statements have been made tonight that I have never heard before. I'm prepared to take them at face value." Dunlop promised to make a public report on the facts.
Radcliffe students were mainly concerned with the female-male ratio in the University's admissions policy. "The maintenance of any ratio involves a distribution of pain," May said. "To reduce the number of men involves a certain amount of pain. Chase Peterson is very eloquent about this."
During a beer and pizza party following the discussion-the deans had gone without dinner-they issued the following statement:
"Five Harvard deans were invited by Currier last night for dinner and an informal discussion with the students. An SDS demonstration in the dining hall delayed the meeting for approximately an hour.
From 7:15 p.m. until after 9:30 a lively discussion took place with Deans Dunlop, May, Whitlock, Epps and Solomon responding to questions about Harvard employment policies, male-female ratios, co-residential living, national incomes policy, and ways of handling problems at Harvard. In response to allegations regarding the case of Charles McNeil, Mr. Dunlop asked Mr. Whitlock to report the facts with respect to certain questions that were raised; his statement of facts will be made public.
Currier's Master, Professor Jerome S. Bruner, and Karen Peterson and other students in the House expressed hope that future discussion meetings could take place without interference."