Cornell Rejects Plea From Student Council For Social Freedom

Cornell University has rejected a student proposal that it not concern itself with "the private lives" of students. The proposed part of a new social code, had been submitted to the faculty committee on student affairs for approval last spring.

The Cornell controversy over social regulations achieved national notoriety in October when a graduate student was expelled for having lived with a girl from Cortland College during the summer.

The proposal for virtually total social freedom is one of the few points in the new social code that the Cornell faculty opposes. John H. Summerskill, dean of students at Cornell, said. He emphasized that faculty-student opinion "has not, polarized into two hostile caamps on this issue."

"It is neither the policy nor the practice of the university to scrutinize our students' private lives." Summerskill emphasized. "This is an educational institution, and we are too busy."

A university policy statement November 27 affirmed that "the University shall police the private lives of students."


Several students interviewed felt that the university policy statement was "purposefully vague." "The faculty can't openly condone students living with girls," one student said.

The student government at Cornell has wide discretionary power. In past year it has abolished compulsory student ROTC, senior women's curfew, and instituted an honor code.

"The university must reserve the right to take appropriate action in cases of gross misconduct," Summerskill said. He added that "gross misconduct" was not clearly defined. Asked if the university's policy was an appeal to students to be discreet in their social activities, Summerskill said "perhaps that might be read into it."