President Pusey yesterday turned down a request that he officially close the University today to observe the Vietnam Moratorium.
In a statement explaining his decision, Pusey said that the war and the issues raised by the Moratorium are not "matters on which the University as a corporate body should take a policy position."
Pusey read the statement yesterday afternoon to three representatives of the Student Mobilization Committee (SMC)-the group that made the request.
The SMC spokesmen went to Pusey's Massachusetts Hall office to present their list of requests, including cancelling all classes, declaring Oct. 15 "a day of protest and discussion," and paying University employees who take the day off to join the Moratorium.
(Pusey's statement appears at right)
Pusey's statement did not refer to the issue of paying University employees. But in a brief question session after he presented his statement, Pusey told the SMC students that he would not alter the policy already set by the University's Personnel Office.
Under that policy-which was announced last week-employees will not be penalized for leaving work, but they will not get any pay for the time they miss.
The SMC statement was approved by about 200 people at a meeting last Wednesday. In presenting it to Pusey, the SMC representatives said that it "reflects the sentiment of the majority of students"; and they asked him to "respect the will of the majority."
In his reply, Pusey stressed the University's duty to "protect the rights of its minorities." He added that while the war and the Moratorium "are quite properly subjects of individual or group concern and action," the University's "long-term health" depends on avoiding political stands.
When Pusey finished his statement, one of the students-Zachary A. Polett 72-asked him whether the Corporation had remained apolitical in its ROTC statement last spring.
In regard to the Moratorium itself. I assume that most of the people in our community agree, as several of the Faculties have explicitly stated, that one's attitude toward this, as toward the war itself. is a mater of individual conscience. "The University" does not have a view on this issue nor are its Governing Boards willing to let it be made to appear that it does.
We believe that the academic activity of the University is of very great importance. We do not plan to close the University officially on October fifteenth nor in November nor in December. But the rights of individuals-teachers. students, staff-to follow the dictates of their own consciences in these deeply troubling days will, of course, be fully respected.