Approval for Mass PIRG Remains Uncertain
While the immediate future of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group at Harvard will be decided at the next CHUL meeting in December. Paul Rosenberg '75, an organizer of the group, is pursuing other tactics to get MassPIRG approved.
"I don't think a negative vote from CHUL will kill MassPIRG at Harvard," Rosenberg said yesterday. He is now seeking the approval of President Bok and each of the deans in the University in case CHUL turns it down and he is forced to present the idea to the Corporation.
Opposition to the organization centers on its method of finance. The funding of the Ralph Nader program, which includes student and paid professional research in such areas as local urban renewal corporate irresponsibility, and retail price comparison, requires a four dollar increase on each student's annual tuition bill.
Daniel Steiner '54, general counsel to the University, said yesterday that although MassPIRG is a "manageable consideration" from a legal point of view, the coercive element in its financing remains a problem. David Johnson '74, a member of CHUL, said after the last meeting that he expects the program to be defeated for this reason.
Rosenberg believes that the petition drive of last Spring and this Fall, which obtained the signatures of half the undergraduates presently enrolled in the University, is a convincing show of student support.
"Refunds will be available to students who do not wish to participate." Rosenberg aid, "and if their numbers equal half the college, the program will automatically be dropped."
"If there is no way that the present program will be accepted by Harvard, we will probably hold off altogether, and wait at least a year," he said. "The board of Directors of MassPIRG must then decide if they want to compromise with Harvard on the financing plan."
MassPIRG is already operating in 12 states besides Massachusetts. "It is unfortunate if Harvard says no," Rosenberg said, "become the organization will go ahead without it."