The strike and occupation of University Hall in 1969 seem remote these days as the Harvard Young Republican Club (HYRC) is fast on its way to becoming one of the largest student groups on campus.
Currently claiming a membership of 225, the club had 250 freshmen--nearly 20 per cent of the incoming class--sign a list at registration of those interested in the HYRC. Traditionally, more than 50 per cent of those who sign their names actually become official members of the club
Wallace Schwartz '74, president of HYRC, said yesterday that the number of students interested in joining the club is up 25 per cent from last year.
"At first we were surprised that so many people came to sign up," he said yesterday. "We thought that Watergate might have an adverse effect, but evidently it didn't." The membership of HYRC has risen from of low of 35 in 1969 to its present position as Harvard's largest political club.
Schwartz explained HYRC's popularity by citing the increasingly conservative political stance of the incoming classes. "Students are becoming more moderate," he said. "They want to learn now, and aren't as interested in militancy as they were several years ago."
"Hopefully, our name is no longer connected with all that is evil," Schwartz continued. In the current, less-militant university atmosphere, people realize that we're just a bunch of crazy people."
"We're no longer thought of as a small group of beer drinkers and fascists. We have members who voted for McGovern and we also have registered Democrats."
An SDS spokeswoman said yesterday that the large enrollment in HYRC reflects a lower level of student activism in general, although she said she believes the University admission policy may also be a factor.
"The admission committee is bringing in more students from a preppy background," said Kathy Moos '75. "These students then go out and join the Young Republican Club, which represents something we're fighting--the Republican party and the joining of the political establishment."