As home support grew yesterday for Professor Harlow Shapley's position in his battle with the House Committee on Un-American activities, his opponent, Repsentative John E. Rankin (D-Miss), gave ground slightly under pressure from his Washington colleagues.
Backing down form his contention of Thursday that he could and should act alone to send a contempt citation of Shapley to Speaker Sam Rayburn of the House, Rankin announced yesterday that he would present the question of Shapley's contempt to the whole committee next Friday for their approval or disapproval.
Reached by the CRIMSON yesterday, the Director of the College Observatory said that he could take no positive action in the matter now and that he would wait for the next move by Rankin and the House committee presumably on Friday.
His attorney, Thomas W. Eliot '28, told the CRIMSON last night that Rankin's action "puts it squarely up to the whole committee whether they endorse Rankin's star chamber methods or not. If they vote the citation of contempt, they accept star chamber principal because the alleged incident of contempt occurred as a result of star chamber proceedings."
Meanwhile, in the College, the Liberal Union activated its announced support of Shapley's stand as it passed out petitions in the seven Houses during that the "disgraceful treatment accorded Professor Shapley be disowned by the Congressional leaders of the United States." In a letter distributed to students as they signed the petition, the HLU added that it felt that "all students at Harvard, whatever their political opinions may be, are shocked and disgusted at the treatment accorded professor Shapley."