Graduate Students Elect Union Members to Panels
A slate of Graduate Student and Teaching Fellow Union members was elected yesterday to serve on two Faculty-student committees which will examine financial policies of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Representatives from every department met to decide which members of their group would serve on the Committee on Graduate Education (CGE), temporarily headed by Michael Walzer, professor of Government, and a Commission on Education, as yet unnamed.
The CGE was formed in 1969 to review problems of graduate students, such as financial aid, the role of teaching fellows, housing, discipline and social life.
Chairing the first part of the meeting, Walzer said that there would be six Faculty members and six student representatives on each committee. The 12 student representatives subsequently elected have pledged to work and vote together on committee proposals.
Rules-require a simple majority to elect members to the committees. Most of the pro-Union panel members had met the night before to choose a group of people who might work together, but other students were also nominated at yesterday's meeting.
Representatives of the three major academic areas--natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences--are included in both elected bodies.
The CGE will hold its first meeting next Wednesday. Walzer said that financial issues will probably be reviewed first, followed by discussions of the status of teaching fellows and their role in education at Harvard.
One of the elected representatives, Theda Skocpol, said that the Administration had "hoped the election would dilute the Union's strength, since the voting body was comprised of several departments which had not previously been involved in Union politics."
Another representative, who wished to remain anonymous, said "this is a great victory, because it shows that the Union has widespread support."
Last Spring, in response to Administration plans to cut back on funds for GSAS students, the GSTFU had drawn up five demands:
* that Staff Tuition Scholarships be restored, thus insuring funds for those teaching:
* that Harvard's budget be fully disclosed.
* that third year graduate student tuition be maintained at $1000 per year.
* that the Union be recognized as the sole bargaining agent for graduate students and teaching fellows:
* that the GSAS provide to students guaranteed tuition and living expenses.
Walzer said he "wasn't so sure" that the Union was heavily represented.
"The Union's Steering Committee had at one time voted not to participate in committee including members of the Administration," he said. "This election indicates that we have no reason to suspect that this elected group and the Steering Committee are the same people."
"I'm glad I'll be able to deal with a panel and not a secret maverick group of the Steering Committee," he added.
One graduate student elected to the Commission disputed Walzer's recollection of the Union's Steering Committee decision.
"At our last meeting, we discussed a boycott of these elections, but ultimately decided against it. The people who organized this slate and the so-called 'maverick group' are one and the same," he said