In boiling down "Regulations Affecting Undergraduate Organizations" from 33 pages to five pages, the Student Council Rules Committee has shown its respect both for brevity and for the freedom of the undergraduate. The new set of rules is a sensible and practical way of assuring organizations of the high degree of independence which is their chief educational contribution.
While the Council and the Dean's Office should not delay in passing the new rules, there are several changes that must be made in order to clarify the relationship between the University and its organizations.
Most important of these changes is that "evidence that an organization will comply with the rules" should not be a criterion for recognition. Demonstration of intent is virtually impossible, and groups should lose or be denied charters only if proved guilty of an actual rules violation. The Dean's Office should not have wide discretion in deciding whether organizations are likely to be law-abiding.
The projected requirement of two faculty advisers for a group would make the University in a way responsible for the group's actions, a responsibility that it has traditionally shunned. Likewise, the provision that all posters put up by a recognized organization be marked "Approved" would imply University endorsement of the posters' contents.
Inclusion of an anti-discrimination provision, as tentatively voted by the Council, will put an unwarranted restraint on students' rights of free association. There is too much inherent danger in allowing any outside control of organization membership.
Many of the new rules are ambiguously worded, and could be misinterpreted by either side. But they follow closely the sensible recommendations drawn up by representatives of organizations last month, and avoid the red tape and the reiterations of federal, state, city, and parietal laws which filled the earlier Council plan. A simpler, more liberal approach is the result.