CRR Members Suggest Reforms for Committee
Members of the controversial Committee on Rights and Responsibilities (CRR) yesterday suggested a host of sweeping changes in CRR legislation, marking the first step in a faculty review of the recently revived disciplinary body.
The suggestions came at a meeting of the 19-member Faculty Council, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences steering committee, which revived the CRR last spring to hear the cases of some 18 students involved in two anti-apartheid protests. The CRR review will be the council's principal undertaking during the next several months.
The suggestions, offered by five of the CRR's seven faculty members and several administrators, followed the release two weeks ago of the CRR's report on those protests.
The council members yesterday heard proposed changes including:
*allowing press coverage of the traditionally closed hearings;
*asking the Undergraduate Council to choose student delegates to the CRR (now the responsibility of house committees) and to help in the CRR's review;
*requiring the CRR to meet yearly to review its procedures, even if it has no business to conduct;
*asking students, who have long boycotted the CRR, for "regular reaffirmation" of their involvement with the committee.
The Faculty Council will "want considerable involvement" by students in deciding changes to the CRR, said Secretary of the Faculty John R. Marquand. Students have perennially refused to participate in CRR proceedings, either as delegates or defendants, because they say it is an illegitimate body used exclusively to punish political dissent.
The committee, which had not heard a case for 10 years, this month admonished 11 students for their participation in a sit-in at 17 Quincy St. and gave suspended requirements to withdraw to 10 protesters involved in a blockade-turned-scuffle at Lowell House. Non-voting student observers took part in the proceedings and are expected to aid in the faculty review.
The CRR members yesterday raised perennial concerns focussing on the larger topic of engaging students in disciplinary procedures. Students are intended to constitute six of the CRR's 13 members but have not sat on an active committee since 1971.
Some CRR members yesterday said they question the appropriateness of allowing students to judge their peers. The few students on the committee in its earliest days said they were subject to severe pressure and suffered psychological duress because they had a vote in their peers' discipline.
Members of the CRR, which heard 60 hours of testimony during the five months it took to reach a decision on discipline, also raised concerns about the amount of time necessary for the CRR to reach decisions.
Some said the committee was too large and "unwieldy," and that reducing its size could make it more efficient, Marquand said. Members said that requiring the CRR to meet regularly to review its procedures could also increase efficiency.
CRR legislation requires each committee to reconstitute its own procedures, which caused a considerable delay to the committee last spring.
Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett '57 said earlier this fall that he is concerned about the inefficiency that such legislation yields.
The CRR members also said the time commitment required to sit on the committee could pose a problem for students, who might be forced to take leaves of absence to serve, Marquand said.
The Faculty Council last week informally agreed to send all undergraduates and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences students copies of the CRR report, another report about student charges of police misconduct at the Lowell House incident, a statement outlining the administrative "chain of command" during disruptive incidents, and a letter from Vice President and General Counsel Daniel Steiner '54 responding to the police misconduct report.
The faculty paid roughly $6525 (75 cents per copy) to distribute the packet to the 8700 undergraduates and graduate students, who should be receiving their copies yesterday or today. Marquand said the expenditure was indicative of the council's interest in engendering student understanding of the CRR and related issues