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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

NSA, Up for College's Ratification, Begins Attack on Student Problems

By Alexander C. Hoagland

This is the first of two articles setting forth the history, organization, and goals of the National Student Association on the occasion of Student Council-sponsored ratification tomorrow and Thursday.

Appearing on America's postwar campuses along with 25-year old Freshmen and G.I. subsistence checks is a now organization--a federation of United States collegiates called the National Students Association.

Tomorrow and Thursday, the College will decide whether or not to become an official member of this body. These who have watched it grow and develop indicate that without the support of Ganisbrigiaus, who have been prime movers in N.S.A., the infant organization will have to fight hard for survival.

Curiously enough, N.S.A. was conceived in Europe. At the height of the war, a handful of exiled European students and scholars met in London. Seeking some machinery that would help insure peace, the laid the groundwork for an International Union of Students. The need for a nation-wide organization that would faithfully represent, students of this country in such an international unit resulted in N.S.A.

A surprisingly large number of American schools rallied to the N.S.A. ideal. They guided the stripling organization through conferences and preparatory meetings. Presenting its own mind, its own officers and its own mind, it today stands on its own feet. Drifting far away from the Continent, N.S.A. intends to affiliate with the Soviet-oriented international unit for its "service" functions only, maintaining clear autonomy from the union's political hijinks.

At Madison, Wisconsin, last September, 750 United States students from 351 colleges and universities gathered in a huge convention hall and gave a government to their popular national organization. They provided for an annual national student congress; they set up an executive committee, as well as a domestic and an international committee to carry out plans formulated by early congresses.

But like the Articles of Confederation, the N.S.A.'s Constitution placed most of the work load on local campus shoulders. Emphasis of the organization is on 26 regional federations, and even more, on the student governments of the colleges of the region. It is the student government that in the long run will execute any recommendations from above.

Machinery, however, is secondary to N.S.A. There is no tight hierarchy, Delegates in Madison's convention hall established the machinery because they had work for it to do.

Through it they hope to eliminate discrimination in U.S. education; they hope to set up student governments in schools lacking them. By using the N.S.A. as a coordinator, the students in the nation can trade suggestions on curriculum; can unite to work for federal aid to secondary education; can organize a nation wide job-seeking service

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