The Committee to Review College Governance was appointed in the Spring of 1980 by the Dean of the College. John B. Fox, Jr. The Committee was asked to determine both the strengths and the weaknesses of the present system of College governance at Harvard and to consider any reforms that might improve the quality of College life.
The initiative for this review came from the Student Assembly which in requesting the review wrote the following. "Student participation in College governance needs to be better coordinated and more directed. Harvard undergraduates need a representative student government to help accomplish these goals and to speak as a voice for student concerns. These needs can only be satisfied if the current system of College governance is reformed and if the revised structure includes a representative student government."
The present system of College governance was established largely by the Fainsod Committee in 1969, which recommended the establishment of both the Faculty Council and the two major undergraduate-faculty committees--The Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE) and the Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life (CHUL)--that function today. These two student-faculty committees. CUE and CHUL, have been in existence for just over ten years. It is thus a propitious time to review their effectiveness.
The Student Assembly recommended, and Dean Fox agreed, that the Review Committee consist of eight members--four students and four faculty--drawn as follows:
One undergraduate member of the Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE)
One undergraduate member of the Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life (CHUL)
Two undergraduate members of the Student Assembly
One faculty representative to the Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE)
One House Master
One member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, to serve as Chairperson
The Committee met fourteen times between May, 1980 and March, 1981. We first reviewed the present system of College governance involving undergraduates including the House Committees, the Freshman Council, CUE, CHUL, the Student Assembly, and the various College and University standing committees that have student representatives. Contrary to popular opinion, we found that a very large number of students are involved in some form of College governance. For example, we estimate that between 300 and 500 undergraduates participate weekly in House Committee meetings, approximately 100 students serve on Standing Committees of the University and other advisery groups and another 150 students are involved in CUE, CHUL, the Student Assembly and their various subcommittees. It is true that there is some overlap in that one student may serve on several committees. Nevertheless, the total number of students concerned with governance matters at Harvard is impressive, and we wonder if other universities have as high a percentage.
We next turned to a consideration of the problems recognized or perceived as impeding more effective student participation in governance matters at Harvard. Eight major concerns were identified, including the lack of effective communication between the various governance committees and students-at-large in any one year and between years; the lack of a suitable undergraduate forum for discussion of University-wide issues; the overlap of responsibilities between the various governance committees: the present fragmentation of college governance; the variable and sometimes erratic election or selection procedures for various governance and standing committees; the problem of funding of student government and other student organizations and the need for improved mechanisms to insure a strong student voice in decision-making processes within the College, especially those that deal with student life.
Our attention was focussed [sic] for the majority of our remaining meetings on these concerns and how student governance at Harvard might be organized to help solve them. We propose, in this report, a plan that we believe will improve student governance at Harvard. It builds on present strengths and provides an organizational framework for student government presently lacking. In short, we suggest that a Student Council become the central student governance structure positioned between the students-at-large and the student-faculty committees. Representatives would be elected to the Council from the Houses and the Freshman Class to participate in the activities of five working committees that would deal with educational policy, social and residential affairs, student services, and communications. Representatives from the educational policy, residential and student services committees would participate in three student-faculty committees including CUE and two committees that we suggest replace CHUL.
II. Existing Undergraduate Committees Involving Governance
Three kinds of committees presently exist that involve undergraduates in college governance. First, there are the two major student-faculty committees--the Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE) and the Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life (CHUL)--that were established following the Fainsod report. Second, there are three groups consisting exclusively of students,--the Student Assembly, the House Committees and the Freshmen Council. Finally, there are a variety of Standing Committees within the University that have student representatives. The following is a brief description of these committees, with comments concerning their strengths and weaknesses.
Committee on Undergraduate Education
This committee consists of ten members. Its chairman is the Dean of Undergraduate Education and its five other faculty members are elected members of the Faculty Council. The five undergraduate members are elected from the Educational Resources Group (ERG), a student committee concerned with academic affairs that has two elected representatives from each of the Houses and four freshmen. In addition, other interested students may participate as voting members in ERG after three meetings. The total number of active participants in ERG at any one time is between fifteen and twenty. The ERG meets approximately once a week to discuss, in a larger forum, issues to be presented to, or which are presently under consideration by CUE. The parent committee meets approximately once every two weeks.
CUE is considered to be a very successful committee. Indeed, most believe it to be the most effective student-faculty group at Harvard. Both student and faculty participants feel the meetings are interesting, worthwhile and congenial. The Committee's accomplishments are significant. For example, the recent reform in tutorial practices and the annual student review of course offerings represent successful initiatives on the part of CUE. The interactions between the student members on CUE and the ERG is viewed as a healthy one in that it affords the CUE representatives a broader student view on various academic issue. The size of both CUE and ERG appears also to be optimal; small enough to provide for effective interaction between participants, yet large enough to obtain a fairly representative view of the issues.
The main problem voiced concerning CUE was the lack of any formal mechanism for CUE and ERG representatives to report to their constituents, namely, the students-at-large in the Houses and freshmen dormitories.
Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life
This committee is a very large one, consisting of an elected undergraduate representative from each House, three undergraduates from the Freshman Class, the House Masters..the Dean of Freshmen, and the Dean of Students. The meetings are chaired by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Dean of the College is the Vice-Chairman. In addition, at the invitation of the Dean of the College, representatives from Finance, the Housing Office, Food Services, and Buildings and Grounds attend most meetings. Meetings are held once a month, and at any one meeting, as many as 30 or more members may be present. CHUL, at the present time, has five standing committees: executive, house systems, budget, educational policy, and food services. These committees meet approximately once a month, have both student and faculty members, and report to the parent body. In addition, the student members of CHUL meet separately in a forum called the Caucus to discuss issues presently before, or which are to be presented to the parent committee.
During its ten years of existence, CHUL has been most effective in planning, aiding, and advising on the implementation of the co-residential House system that is now in place at Harvard. More recently, CHUL has formulated more equitable procedures for the selection of Houses by Freshmen than had existed previously. Nevertheless, as illustrated by the prolonged and often tedious CHUL debates on hot and cold breakfasts or kiosks, CHUL is not considered by its members to be nearly as successful nor as satisfying as CUE. Its meetings tend to be more combative and often the issues discussed are not of general enough interest to engage the entire group. It has been remarked that there are too many speeches given in CHUL meetings and there is not nearly enough dialogue. Many of the members of CHUL feel uncertain concerning its role. For example, its educational policy subcommittee overlaps the concerns of CUE, and occasionally both groups are studying the same problem.
CHUL appears to be too large a committee and its concerns too diverse for it to be as effective as it might be. Each year an enormous amount of energy is expended educating its new members concerning its procedures and the issues before the committee. Yet issues thoroughly discussed in a previous year are often brought up again, causing the continuing members, particularly the Masters, to lose interest. Communication between CHUL and the students-at-large is also a problem; some representatives report regularly to their constituents, others do not.
The Student Assembly
The Student Assembly consists of 96 elected undergraduate members, elected from the Houses and the Freshman Class according to the formula of one delegate for every 75 students. Other interested students may participate in Assembly meetings which are held once every two weeks. The Assembly has five committees that are concerned with housing and service to students, educational matters, finance, student rights, and communication between the Assembly and the student body and, also, among student groups. In addition to these standing committees, there is also an administrative committee made up of the chairs of the five committees of the Assembly as well as the officers of the Assembly--the chairman, vice-chairman, secretary, and treasurer.
The Assembly came into being in 1978, following the approval of its constitution by the undergraduate body. The Assembly constitution was formulated by students from every House and the Freshman Class who gathered at their own initiative to write a charter for student participation in college governance. The Assembly has no formal input into the administrative or legislative bodies of the College, such as the Faculty Council or Council of Masters, and no faculty members or administrators hold seats in the Assembly. In its short history, the Student Assembly has initiated and implemented a number of projects. The Assembly has conducted surveys of the student body on issues of concern to undergraduates that have led, for example, to the extension of library hours during reading and exam periods. The Student Assembly has also organized a University-wide rock concert at the Bright Hockey Center and helped implement a successful publicity program to save energy in residential areas.
Despite these successes, many students both inside and outside the Assembly feel that the organization has not operated at its full potential. A severe shortage of funds has limited the ability of the Assembly to conduct its internal affairs, to research issues, and to communicate with other governance groups or with the student body in an adequate manner. More importantly, there is much confusion within the College as to the role of the Student Assembly in the present governance structure of the College. Many of the functions of the Assembly and its committees overlap with those of CHUL, CUE and the existing Standing Committees of the College. The Assembly as presently structured competes with existing governance groups. At any one time, the Assembly, CHUL, CUE-ERG may all be discussing the same or very similar issues.
Each House has a student committee that deals primarily with House affairs. These Committees are very diverse both between Houses and in different years. The House committees ordinarily have an elected Chairman and Treasurer. To become a voting member, a House resident is typically required to participate in three meetings in a given period of time. Ten to twenty per cent of the House residents attend the weekly meetings. In some Houses, the Masters regularly participate; in others they do not. The House Committees usually take responsibility for the election of student representatives to CHUL, ERG-CUE, the Student Assembly and certain standing committees (see below).
The House Committees are viewed as very effective for dealing with local House issues and social affairs. They are less effective for providing a forum for discussion of University-wide issues. Some House Committees require the CHUL, ERG-CUE, and Student Assembly representatives to report regularly to them on current issues; others do not. Some House Committees circulate the minutes of their meetings to all House members; others do not.
The Freshman Council includes representatives from each dormitory. It too is most effective in organizing social events. It supervises elections of freshman representatives to faculty-student committees and has sponsored a successful speakers' series. Primarily a service organization, its attention is most focused [sic] on issues in the freshman year.
There are eight Standing Committees that have student representatives. These include the Committees on Advising and Counseling, Athletics, Shareholder Responsibility, Rights and Responsibilities, Dramatics, Use of Human Subjects, and Hazardous Biological Research, and the Library. In addition, the Core Curriculum Committee and the Core Curriculum subcommittees have undergraduate members as do virtually all of the Undergraduate Committees of the Departments.
The number of student representatives varies between the various committees but averages between two and three. The method of selection of the student members also varies widely. Some representatives are selected by the Chairman of the Committees (Use of Human Subjects; Library), the Dean of the College (Advising and Counseling) or by other means (Athletic, Dramatics, Hazardous Biological Research, Departmental). Some representatives are elected by the House Committees (Shareholder Responsibility, Rights and Responsibilities) or by the student members of CUE (Core and Core Subcommittees).
The Standing Committees with student representatives are viewed as useful and for the most part successful. The one exception is the Committee on Rights and Responsibilities which has been boycotted by students for the past several years (we will discuss this issue in a later section.) However, communication between the various standing Committees and students-at-large is poor; few students know the issues being discussed in the various Standing Committees and the student body provides virtually no organized input to the Committees. The variable selection procedures to the various committees are not widely known, and it is felt that there would be much more interest in these groups if election or selection procedures were regularized and more information concerning their activities made available.
III. Problems of Existing Organization
Our review of the various committees concerned with college governance revealed a series of issues that any reformation of existing student governance structures must take into account. These may be grouped into eight areas and phrased as follows.
Can information flow be improved from the various faculty-student committees back to the students-at-large? Conversely, can the amount of student input to these committees be increased?
Can better mechanism or forums for students-at-large to discuss the issues or concerns of the day be provided and can communication be improved so that this discussion is heard by those in appropriate positions?
Can procedures for passing on information and experience from one student generation to another be improved or instituted?
Overlap of Committee Responsibility
Can the overlap of various committees and groups be eliminated? For example, the CHUL Educational Polices subcommittee and ERG-CUE overlap in their concerns, and both overlap with the Student Assembly Committee on Educational Resources.
Fragmentation of College Governance
Can more form and coherence to the various faculty-student committees and all-student groups be provided? Can mechanisms to improve coordination and efficiency be suggested?
Can ways be found to insure that election/selection mechanisms to various governance committees especially Standing Committees, become more uniform, better understood, and more widely known?
Funding for Student Government and Undergraduate Organizations
Can ways be devised to provide funding so that governance groups can more effectively carry out their responsibilities? Newsletters, open meetings and polls are all mechanisms that are useful in informing the student body and soliciting student views. These mechanisms require money and at the present time, no source of funds exists that can be used by the various groups for such purposes.
Governance Needs and Responsibilities
Can additional or improved mechanisms be devised to aid and implement student input into decision-making processes within the College? Are there governance responsibilities that could or should be assigned to students?
IV. A Plan for Governance
The various issues and problems that emerged from our review of present governance structures at Harvard suggested that a more centralized student government organization is needed. We believe our plan provides this.
We have fitted the existing governance groups into an organizational structure, without the need to create new committees. Indeed the plan calls for a reducation in the total number of committees and, we hope, a significant reduction in committee overlap. The one apparent exception to this is our proposal to divide CHUL into two separate student-faculty committees. However, we also suggest that each of these two new student-faculty committees be less than half the size of the present CHUL committee.
We have also tried to incorporate into the plan those organizational features of our present system that work especially well. For example, we have used the best features of the ERG-CUE model for all three student-faculty committees. We also call on the House Committees to play a larger role in college governance. A flow diagram describing the plan and how it relates to the Faculty, Faculty Council, House Masters and Administration is shown on page 18.
A Student Council and its Role in Governance
The Committee recommends the establishment of a representative Student Council. The Council should, through a system of coordinated committees, promote the discussion of issues relevant to undergraduate education and college life. In turn it should develop an effective system of communication between itself and the College. It should provide for continuity of thought on governance issues through the establishment and maintenance of open records on items that have come before it and relevant faculty committees, as well as other appropriate issues. In undertaking its governance function the council should seek to advance the quality and effectiveness of discussion on issues through research projects and the formulation of positions. It should enhance the role of students in college governance, insure informed student representation on faculty committees, and increase the awareness among students of the choices inherent in policy decisions. The Council should also seek ways to be of service to the student body. While it will be especially concerned with student affairs, it should seek as well to promote what is good for the College as a whole.
It is suggested further that the Council provide fair, open and uniform procedures for the selection of undergraduates to serve on the various standing committees of the College.
It should also develop and implement a budget process for the disbursement and oversight of student funds entrusted to it. Finally, the Council should assist in the coordination of social activities in conjunction with the Houses and the Freshman Class.
The Structure of the Council and Delegate Responsibility
Over the course of our deliberations, we discussed several possible structures for the Council. Some members of the Committee favored strict proportional representation of the student body by a formula such as one delegate for every 75 undergraduates. Such a system is similar to that used by the Student Assembly. Other members of the Committee opposed this proposal largely on the grounds that under strict proportional representation the smaller Houses would not have sufficient delegates to be represented on all the committees of the Council. These members proposed that each House be allowed one representative for each committee of the Council.
After extensive consideration of these proposals, the Committee recommends the following plan. The Council shall have 85 elected members, and each of its five working committees will have 17 members. Each House will elect five delegates, allowing for one representative for each of the five working committees of the Council. The Freshman Class will elect 20 delegates; it will have four delegates on each committee. The Committee recommends that all students be invited to attend and speak at both Council and committee meetings but that only elected Council members vote.
The Committee also discussed extensively issues of accountability, and the flow of information between delegates and the electorate. In relation to these concerns, the Committee debated the question of whether delegates should be elected to particular committees of the Council or simply to the Council itself. Persuasive arguments were marshalled on both sides of this issue. Members who favored election to particular committees argued that such a system could promote a more informed election process since candidates would identify themselves in terms of areas of interest, would tend to research current issues before running for the Council, and would, from the beginning, be clearly identified to their constituency in terms of interest and expertise. At best, this procedure would allow the electorate to choose their representatives on the basis of particular skills and interests, and would support the on-going relationship between the voters and their delegates as one linked to issues.
While recognizing the potential advantages of this electoral approach, the Committee has seen the role of the representative as equally that of a generalist, and has thought that a more informal system of designating voter preference regarding committee assignments would allow greater flexibility in terms of election procedure, and would guarantee that no House or the Freshman Class would lose representation on a particular committee through an im- balance in the pool of able candidates. The Committee recommends, therefore, that a delegation of five students be elected to the Council from each House and four geographic areas of the Freshman dormitories. We further suggest that each voter be provided with space on the election ballot, so that voters who wish to do so may recommend committee assignments for their preferred candidates. These suggestions shall only be advisory. After the election, each group of five delegates will confer and make committee assignments. Each delegation will distribute itself evenly among the five working committees. We envision that the delegation will take voter preference into account when assigning committee members.
We further propose that the thirteen House Committees and the Freshman Council assume the responsibility for the election of delegates to the Council and that the election system be uniform. We also recommend that the House Committees and the Freshman Council regularize the practice, now extant in some Houses, of requiring regular reports by Council committee members at House Committee or Freshman Council meetings and that delegates bring matters of concern to these committee meetings for discussion. In this way we hope that discussion and input on various issues will be broadened within the University community.
Working Committees of the Student Council
The five working committees of the Council will have responsibility for the following:
Communications and Finance Committee
Communications, including newsletters, meeting notices, advertisements, and minutes of Council meetings; administering the election-selection of students for the Standing Committees; and the administration and disbursement of Council funds.
Educational Policy Committee
All curricular matters now dealt with by ERG-CUE, the Educational Policy Committee of CHUL, and the Academics Committee of the present Assembly. Items such as pass-fail legislation, calendar reform, reading period duration would be considered by this committee.
Matters involving life in the Houses and in the Freshman dormitories. Items under the purview of this Committee would include the housing lottery, food and dining matters, and House and Freshman year facilities.
University-wide social events; coordination of House and Freshman dormitory events, Alumni and Faculty relations.
Student Services Committee
Matters related to student services and student organizations. Items under the jurisdiction of this committee would include health services, security, shuttle buses, libraries, and new student organizations.
We propose each committee elect a chairperson who will call regular meetings of the group and preside over them. The Educational Policy, Residential and Student Service Committees shall choose five of their members to serve on the corresponding student-faculty committees. We expect that each of these Council committees will work closely with its student-faculty counterpart.
Officers and Administrative Committee
We recommend that the Council elect four officers: a chairperson, vice-chairperson, secretary and treasurer. We believe it appropriate that the secretary and treasurer be members of the Communications and Finance Committee, since that Committee is charged with the secretarial and financial affairs of the Council. The chairperson and vice chairperson, on the other hand, may be members of any of the working committees and would not ordinarily be the chairperson of that committee. The chairperson and vice-chairperson will also be ex-officio members of all the working committees.
We recommend that the officers of the Council and the chairpersons of the working committees form an Administrative Committee, whose major tasks will be to plan agendas for the Council meetings, and to coordinate activities of the Council and its committees. In addition, the Administrative Committee should work closely with the Communications and Finance Committee in planning the budgets for the Council, for its committees and activities, in providing information concerning committee activities, and in disbursing Council funds.
We propose three student-faculty committees each to be made up of ten members, five students and five faculty members. A student-faculty committee of this size appears optimal, based on the experience of CUE, and we see no reason why all three student-faculty committees proposed should not use this model.
The first of the student-faculty groups is the Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE) which we propose operate as it presently does. Its faculty members are elected members of the Faculty Council, its student members are to be elected from the Educational Policy Committee of the Council. Its Chairman should continue to be the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education.
The second student-faculty committee will assume those responsibilities of the present Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life (CHUL) that deal with the Houses and the Freshmen dormitories, including the review of the relevant parts of the College budget. We suggest it be called the Committee on Housing. We further suggest that it be chaired by the Dean of the College and that its faculty representatives be House Masters, elected by the Council of Masters. The student representatives for this committee would be elected from the Residential Committee of the Council. We suggest that they be distributed between representatives from three River Houses, one Quadrangle House and the Freshman dormitories. The Freshman Dean, or his delegate, should be a regularly invited guest at these meetings.
The third student-faculty committee will be concerned with those responsibilities dealing with college life that are presently under the jurisdiction of CHUL. We suggest that it be called the Committee on College Life, that it be chaired by the Dean of the College or Dean of Students and that its four faculty members be appointed by the Dean of the Faculty in consultation with the Faculty Council and Masters. We propose that at least one of the faculty members be a Master and we suggest that individuals such as the Director of the University Health Services would be appropriate appointees, as well as regular faculty members. We further suggest that administrators dealing with specific areas of student services of financial affairs be regularly invited guests. The five student members of this Committee would be elected from the Student Services Committee of the Council. This Committee also would review the relevant parts of the College budget.
The Committee recommends that these three student-faculty committees regulate their own internal affairs and rules of procedure as do CUE and CHUL at present. In this regard, we note the successful practice of CUE of allowing student representatives of ERG to attend CUE meetings and to participate fully in Committee discussions. All of the student-faculty committees may wish to experiment with such procedures.
We also urge continuation of the practice, recommended by the Fainsod Committee, of inviting student members of student-faculty committees to participate in Faculty and Faculty Council meetings when proposals originating in the student-faculty committees are being considered by the Faculty or Faculty Council. Furthermore, our Committee suggests that the students serving on the student-faculty committees, as well as the officers of the Council, should have the opportunity to consult with the Deans and administrators who will be interpreting and implementing the advice offered by these committees.
As noted above, the election-selection procedures for student members of the Standing Committees are not widely known and they vary from committee to committee. We propose that the Communications and Finance Committee of the Council assume the responsibility of informing undergraduates with regard to the availability of positions of these committees and the election-selection procedures. Students interested in serving on a committee would inform the Communications and Finance Committee of the Council which would serve to organize and supervise elections to that Committee or forward names to the appointing individual or body. [Footnote: Faculty legislation mandates that student members of the Core Curriculum Committee and subcommittees be chosen from ERG by the student members of CUE. We suggest that the student members of these committees be chosen in the future from the Educational Policy Committee of the Council.] The Communications and Finance Committee may, on occasion, actively seek candidates for such positions, and, if asked, rate candidates.
We further suggest that the representatives of the various Standing Committees report at least once a semester to a joint meeting of the Administrative and Communications and Finance Committees of the Council so that the activities of the Standing Committees be made more widely known, through a Council newsletter or similar mechanism.
We see three areas in which funds are needed for a more effective student government at Harvard. First, monies are needed for supporting Council business. This would include funds for secretarial help and associated supplies, office space, meeting notices and advertisements, and for a Council newsletter. Second, funds are needed to provide the backing for University-wide events, such as the concert held in the Spring of 1980 in the Bright Center. Finally, there is need for funds to enable new student organizations to get underway, or to support student organizations that are in financial difficulty. (We are assuming that the financial responsibility for the student-faculty committee operations and other activities related to college governance will continue to be supported by the College.)
At Harvard, student organizations are expected to be self-supporting, and we agree with this view. However, funds are often needed to undertake new ventures, or to maintain worthwhile organizations that have financial problems. The Radcliffe Union of Students (RUS) presently provides seed money for new organizations involving women, or financially troubled organizations in the same category. The RUS disburses approximately $7,500 a year for these purposes. We propose the Council assume these responsibilities. We suggest that the Communications and Finance Committee, with advice from the Student Services Committee, devise open and fair procedures to determine how funding of organizations be administered. The goal is to provide modest funds for new student organizations, or on-going organizations in need of additional support.
In applying for financial subsidies from the Council, student organizations should be required to include a presentation of their current and/or projected budgets. The Communications and Finance Committee should approve grants on the basis of need, and where appropriate, on a matching basis. We strongly urge that the disbursement of these funds be done in an impartial manner. While the disbursement of Council funds is intended to help new or student organizations in financial difficulty, we recommend that the Communications and Finance Committee encourage these organizations to become financially independent, both to relieve any longterm financial strain on the Council, and to allow the student organization in question the benefits of managing their own financial affairs. This Committee does recognize, however, that there are educational benefits involved on both sides of a process in which budgets are drawn up, proposals made and evaluated and funding decisions reached.
We believe that a budget of approximately $60,000 is needed for student government affairs. We estimate that $20,000 will be required for running the Council in an effective manner; we suggest that $5,000 be set aside for the support and/or backing of University-wide activities; and, finally, we see a need for approximately $35,000 for the initiation and support of student organizations.
These are substantial sums, and our committee discussed at length how such funds might be secured. Our view is that this can best be accomplished if a $10.00 surcharge is added to each tuition bill in a fashion similar to the RUS surcharge that is presently added to the tuition bills of women at the College. We acknowledge that some undergraduates may be reluctant to support the activities of the Council, and thus we would agree to a negative check-off system whereby undergraduates could request a partial refund of the $10.00 surcharge. Since all undergraduates would benefit from some aspects of the proposed student government, we suggest that no more than $6.50 of the $10.00 be refundable. This would mean that the Council would be provided with at least $20,000 per year. On the other hand, we hope that the Council will be enthusiastically supported by the entire student body and will have access to the full amount of $60,000. The Committee suggests that the principal uses by the Council of these funds be stated on the term bill work-sheet. Furthermore, any student requesting a refund should be provided with a clear and fair notice of the procedures.
We also note here that our Committee believes it important that the Council have a permanent office, in which records can be kept, meetings held, messages taken, and information provided to undergraduates.
V. Other Issues
Our Committee spent the greater part of one meeting discussing the two disciplinary groups that exist in the College. The Committee on Rights and Responsibility (CRR) is a Standing Committee with student members established at the end of the 1960's to deal with violations of the Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities. However, as noted earlier, the CRR has had a troubled history and has been boycotted by students for much of its existence. It has not met for the purpose of hearing alleged violations since 1975. The Administrative Board is the second, and major, disciplinary body of the College. It handles academic matters as well as rules violations. It has no student representatives.
Our Committee was not charged with the task of examining these groups nor their structure. However, we felt some discussion of these Committees might be useful. Our discussion was wide-ranging and frank. Some members of our Committee urged that further discussion of the Administrative Board and the CRR, their relation to one another, and the question of student representation on them, be undertaken. It is, however, a large task, well beyond the scope of our Committee. For example, any such group should study how other universities operate in this regard, and how successful they are. Also, very careful consideration would have to be given to any proposal to install a new disciplinary system at Harvard, which is certainly possible, but which may generate more drawbacks and difficulties than the present system. We are not able to make any simple suggestions as to how the present disciplinary procedures of the Administrative Board might be improved. The CRR, on the other hand, is essentially non-functional, and it seems unlikely that it will become important or significant in College affairs in the foreseeable future. Whether it should continue to exist, or whether its mandate should be broadened, are among the issues that might be discussed profitably by a future review committee.
VI. Concluding Remarks
Already it has been advocated by some that any plan put forward by our Committee be rejected unless it provides provision for involving students more directly in all decision-making processes within the College, including tenure decisions, curricular offerings, and requirements for degrees. It is perhaps instructive to recall what the Fainsod Committee had to say in this regard:
"The case of vesting faculties with the final responsibility for appointments, curriculum, and degree requirements rests on their professional qualifications and on the fact that they must live with their decisions over many student generations rather than over a short time span. To emphasize this is not to derogate the abilities or perspicacity of students, nor is it to reject the need for a student advisory input on the curriculum and related matters..."
Our plan calls for continued advisory input on curricular matters to the Faculty via CUE and the Faculty Council. Few question the effectiveness of CUE in helping to shape educational policies over the past decade, and many of the initiatives for reforms from CUE have been student generated. Thus, student input to educational matters has not only been significant but it has been welcomed by the Faculty-at-large.
The success of CUE has prompted us to suggest establishing two similar Student-Faculty Committees, on Housing and on College Life, that we hope will be at least as effective as CUE. Indeed, we expect these two Committees, dealing with matters that most directly affect student lives, to be even more responsive to student views and concerns, and to exert a powerful influence on decision-making related to these issues in the University. In this regard, we affirm the recommendation of the Fainsod Committee that "students should enjoy as much autonomy as possible in regulating their affairs outside of the classroom."
We finally propose that the Student Council have complete autonomy in certain areas, particularly in the funding of new and financially-troubled student organizations and in the planning and financing of social events.
An effective Student Government which is an integral part of the governance structure at Harvard is our goal and, we believe, the goal of all students, faculty and administrators at Harvard. We hope the plan put forward in this report represents a significant move in this direction.
John E. Dowling, Professor of Biology, Chairman
Archie C. Epps III, Dean of Students
Elizabeth A. Gray, Associate Professor of Celtic Languages and Literatures and Aliston Burr Senior Tutor in Kirkland House
Robert J. Kiely, Professor of English and Master of Adams House
Joseph F. McDonough '81, Member of Student Assembly
Nancy J. Northrop '81, Member of Committee on Undergraduate Education
Natasha Pearl '82, Member of Student Assembly
Elizabeth E. Ryan '81, Member of Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life