THE STRIKE that began yesterday at Brown University is a welcome show of student strength on an issue that has received little attention at Harvard. The compromises that have been achieved in negotiations with the administration during the last few weeks are only a small measure of the student coalition's success. For the first time, the budget-making process at Brown has been opened to public scrutiny, and students have a participated, in however small a way, in decisions that have a serious effect on the quality of education and student life.
Harvard has barely begun to feel the economic pinch that reached crisis proportions this year at Brown. The recession has a long way to go before Harvard will have to reduce its faculty by 15 per cent, and if administrators are considering making financial aid a criteria for admissions, they have not said so. But if Harvard students can learn anything from what is happening at Brown, it is that when the crunch comes. President Bok will not announce it at a Lowell House dinner. It took two massive student rallies and a month of negotiations at Brown to bring the bad news to light. And it may be too late to do much about it--students have already conceded that next year's reduction in the faculty cannot be reversed, and letters of acceptance have already been mailed out to what will probably be a wealthier and less diverse incoming class.
It should not happen here. Harvard's proposed budget for 1975-76 must be made public this year before it goes to the Corporation for approval sometime in May. And to forestall the possibility of an unpleasant surprise like th one at Brown, a permanent mechanism should be devised to involve students and faculty in the setting of budget priorities.