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Soc Rel 148 Staff Clashes Over Student Sectionmen

By William M. Kutik

The Soc Rel 148 staff clashed yesterday over Thursday's decision by some staff members to drop undergraduates as official course sectionmen.

After a heated, three-hour closed meeting yesterday, a staff spokesman said that no solution had been reached. Discussion will resume today at 9 a.m.

But it is understood that many of those present refused to concede the removal of undergraduates. Only a small number of the 21-member staff took part in reaching Thursday's decision with the official course sponsor--Thomas J. Cottle '59, assistant professor of Social Relations.

Faculty regulations on instruction specify that only persons holding Corporation appointments--teaching fellow or higher--can teach course sections.

The reasons for the disagreement over the decision seem to be three:

* Concern that a major alteration in administration would disaffect students enrolled in the course. Members of Students for a Democratic Society organized the course over the summer to present a radical view of social change in America. Students enrolled seem to view it as being free of University interference.

* The still undocumented belief of some staffers that a few Harvard courses in the past have had undergraduates teaching sections.

* The practical problem of manpower. It is now understood that nine of the 16 sections are led by persons reportedly ineligible for Corporation appointments. Besides several undergraduates, they include one non-student, one special student, two candidates for MAT's at the Ed School, and a graduate student from M.I.T.

The possibility exists that the staff will decide to retain all their present members as official sectionmen, thereby provoking a confrontation with the University. But this is only speculation as nothing definite will be known until after today's meeting.

CEP Approval

Thursday's decisions were made when Cottle realized the planned administration of the course violated Faculty regulations. The Committee on Educational Policy approved the course Wednesday, without knowledge that ineligible persons were scheduled to teach sections.

Dean Ford said after the meeting that if undergraduates were teaching, the course would be re-examined.

Cottle and two or three staff members decided to have a Harvard graduate student (easily appointed a teaching fellow) officially in charge of and present at every section meeting.

The ineligible people in question would have stayed in their sections to direct discussion and suggest readings. They would have, according to Cottle, explicitly fulfilled the teaching function."

Today's meeting was ostensibly for informing the other staff members of the decisions, but dissension quickly arose.

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