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The Association of Graduate Schools has revived the discussion over the loyalty oath required from graduate students accepting grants under the National Defense Education Act.
Under the initiative of John P. Elder, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Donald Cooke, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Cornell, the Association decided last October to set up a committee to study the possibility of political pressure to abolish the oath and recommend appropriate action.
The Council of Graduate Schools, the other national association passed a motion last December "deploring" the requirements of the NDEA grants.
Under Title 4 and 6 of the bill students are asked to fill out a pink slip which consists of a loyalty oath, a statement of criminal convictions, and a "disclaimer clause" stating that he will not join any group ordered to register by the Subversive Activities Board. This includes such groups as the Communist Party and the DuBois Clubs.
NDEA money represents an important part of many university budgets, with some universities receiving as much as $2 million in scholarships. NDEA student scholarships are larger than most Harvard scholarships.
Dean McCarthy, President of the Association of Graduate Schools, stressed the importance of NDEA money and expressed hope that the Federal Government would fund the full 7500 scholarships authorized by the bill. At present there are only 6000 scholarships funded.
The present NDEA act has only one more year to run.
Several philosophy departments throughout the country do not offer NDEA grants to their students. Rogers G. Albritten, professor of Philosophy, explained yesterday that Harvard's Philosophy Department was the first to refuse NDEA money so as not to force its students to sign the NDEA forms.
The Philosophy Department at Cornell also refused NDEA money and is currently writing to Philosophy Departments all over the country urging support for this practice.
Although many faculty members feel uneasy about the NDEA clauses there has been little action taken. "One of the reasons we have not pressed the issue is because there has been no interest on the part of the students," Richard M. Hunt said today. "I only know of one case in which a student had any objections to signing," he added.
The present NDEA provisions were passed by Congress in 1958. John F. Kennedy '40 introduced at that time a bill which would have eliminated the three clauses, but it was defeated. The present bill is a compromise reached then.
One of the politicians the Association will be likely to approach is Sen. Robert F. Kennedy '48 who sponsored a bill during the 88th Congress to remove the objectionable clauses from NDEA scholarship forms. The bill was referred to the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare which shelved the matter.
"The situation does not look much more hopeful now because of the war and the state of congress," Adam Walinsky, Senator Kennedy's legislative assistant said today.
The Association hopes to get enough politicians interested to bring the matter to the attention of the Office of Education. Another politician they believe will be of help is Senator Jacob Javits.
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