Dean Monro said yesterday that the College would not issue an official statement or take any other action in behalf of John W. Perdew '64, a vounteer civil rights worker facing trial in Americus, Ga., on a charge that could lead to his execution. He added, however, that he personally thought Perdew's situation was "terrible."
"You have to make the distinction between Harvard as an institution and as a group of individuals," Monro said. As an individual, he indicated, he would welcome a fund-raising campaign to pay for legal counsel for Perdew and three other students in Northern colleges who were jailed nearly two months ago..
The four--all members of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee--were arrested during a sidewalk demonstration Aug. 8 and later charged with the capital offense of attempting to incite insurrection. Perdew, a 21-year-old government and sociology major, had been charged previously with assaulting a policeman with intent to kill.
"It's pretty clear that the charges against Perdew are un-Constitutional," Monro said. "The main thing to do now is to exercise his legal rights and get him out of jail. I think this is a great cause for the Harvard student body to get behind in one way or another."
Groups Favor Drive
A survey of Harvard civil-rights groups last night found much sentiment in favor of a fund drive but little in the way of preparation.
The Greater Boston Friends of SNCC, an ad hoc organization with offices at fair skin and long hair they are ordained 1039 Massachusetts Ave., sent a form letter to approximately 200 local residents, asking for money to fight "the legal harassments of Southern justice." Almost $1000 out of an eventual goal of $3000 has already been raised, according to Martin H. Peretz, teaching fellow in Government.
Peretz, one of the organizers of the group, said that the Friends of SNCC hoped "a large percentage of the money goes to Perlew," and that they would shortly expand their drive to include the University.
Rutgers Raises $2,300
In contrast, students at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, N.J., have already sent $2300 to the Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP, stipulating that it be used to defend Donald Harris, a senior who is among the four SNCC workers in the Americus jail. Kenneth G. McDermott, vice-president of the student council, reported that $200 to $300 is being raised daily by the university newspaper, which is printing the names of contributors and the amounts of their contributions