National Student Association tours to Europe, a student seminar in Germany, and its third national student congress in Michigan, all received the active support of local NSA contingents this summer.
Alton L. Jenkins '52, George W. Miller '52, Earl M. Neyman '52, and Kenneth S. Warren '51, formed the Harvard delegation to the student congress which convened at the University of Michigan on August 24.
Robert J. Stern '50 also attended as chairman of the Northern New England Region and steering committee member, while Richard M. Sandler '52 acted as observer for the Student Council.
Eight hundred delegates representing over 250 student governments discussed topics ranging from academic freedom to student cooperatives twelve hours a day for eight days.
The congress was divided into four major commissions dealing with student life, educational and economic problems, international affairs, and organizational affairs.
On the question of academic freedom the congress supported the American Association of University Professors' stand, stating that "the hiring, firing, and placing on tenure of academic personnel should be on the basis of professional competence, not on the basis of political, religious, or social criteria."
Further, the congress felt that loyalty oaths are ineffectual in ferreting out the disloyal, and that innocent people may be harmed through improper use of such measures.
Unable to reach a majority decision on the problem of federal aid to higher, education, most of the delegates seemed to be for active aid if it could be in the form of student scholarships rather than outright grants to the colleges.
Three to Budapest
The NSA also sent three members to observe the conventions of the international Union of Students at Budapest. Their report to the NSA congress brought about the renewal of the no-affiliation resolution, Communist domination of the IUS, it was felt, made cooperation, even on non-political projects, as impossible as it has been in the past.
In Europe, grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and from the Office of the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany financed an international student seminar on student self-government and self-help.
Robert L. Fischelis '49, former Student Council president and new graduate secretary of Phillips Brooks House, directed the seminar which was held at Konigstein im Taunus, Germany from July 23 to August 18. Eight delegates from the U.S. and 25 from Germany compared the majority of the 50 delegates representing 13 countries.
Organized to promote an interchange of ideas on student activities, the seminar paid special attention to the topics of academic freedom, student political activity, specialization in university education, and American fraternities as contrasted to German Verbinungen (student clubs).
Although NSA finally sent more than 800 students to Europe on its low cost tours, it ran into trouble early when the S. S. Svalbard, slated to carry 600 waiting students to Europe, was declared "unsafe" and was forbidden to sail by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Since the Svalbard had the International Safety Certificate required by the 1929 Transoceanic Safety Treaty (Signed by both Norway and the U.S.), the failure of the Svalbard to clear port was a minor crisis.
As the Norwegian Parliament convened to clear things up, President Truman came to the rescue, releasing the U.S. government ship S. S. Ballou to transport the stranded students to Europe.