The question-debated at last Tuesday's special Faculty meeting-of how the Faculty Council proposed by the Fainsod Committee should be selected has aroused sharp disagreement between the liberal and conservative caucuses of the Faculty.
Three members of the conservative caucus's steering committee sent a letter to 250 of their more conservative colleagues before the meeting, urging that the recommendations of the Fainsod Committee be adopted intact. These recommendations included a suggestion that a Faculty Council be selected by a combination of appointive and elective procedures.
The two professors who offered an amendment Tuesday which would give the Faculty full powers of nominating and electing Council members were members of a liberal caucus subcommittee formed to draft such an amendment.
The conservative letter was addressed "to the 150 signers of the October letter to the CRIMSON, and others." The CRIMSON letter argued against a formal Faculty vote on a motion calling for immediate American withdrawal from Vietnam.
The letter supporting the Fainsod report was signed by three professors- Robert L. Wolff 36, Coolidge Professor of History and chairman of the conservative caucus; Arthur A. Maass, professor of Government; and Richard J. Hermstein, professor of Psychology. All three are members of the conservative caucus's steering committee.
"Our letter was not an official piece of caucus business," Wolff said yesterday. "It wasn't private, secret, or political," he added, Michael L. Walzer, professor of Government and chairman of the liberal caucus, said that circulation of the letter was "perfectly appropriate."
The letter was sent to the 150 signers of the earlier letter, according to Hermstein, "because we felt there was some connection between the attitudes expressed in the two documents. Both deal with one view of what a University is about, and particularly what a Faculty of Arts and Sciences is about." That view sees the University and Faculty as officially non-political.
Wolff, Maass, and Hermstein mailed their letter to about 250 Faculty members on October 23- five days before the special meeting. Only 250 copies of the letter were sent, Wolff said. "because we thought we'd start with the constituents who had agreed with us before."
"By and large," the letter stated, "we regard the recommendations of the Fainsod Committee... as the best compromise likely to be achieved." It added, "We would oppose specific amendments, of a kind we foresee as likely, designed to make the future Faculty Council wholly elective."
Such an amendment was proposed by Kenneth J. Arrow, professor of Economics, and Christopher A. Sims, assistant professor of Economics. Arrow and Sims were among the four members of a subcommittee appointed at a meeting of the liberal caucus on October 23-the same day that the conservative letter was mailed. The subcommittee was formed. according to Walzer, "to discuss the amendment we wanted to offer."
The Arrow-Sims amendment called for the Faculty to nominate all candidates for the Faculty Council; any Faculty member with 20 or more nominations would be a candidate for election to the Council. The election would be run on a proportional representation (PR) system, which gives minority candidates a better chance for election.
The Faculty Council. according to the Fainsod report, would replace the present Committee on Educational Policy and act "as a combined dean's cabinet and steering committee of the Faculty." The report suggested that the dean of the Faculty nominate candidates for all Council seats, with the possibility of further nominations by the Faculty itself through petitions signed by at least ten Faculty members.
The Faculty would then vote by mail ballot to choose the Council membership. This procedure, the report said, would represent "a compromise" between an elected committee-generally favored by liberals-and an appointed committee-supported by many conservatives.
The Fainsod report has been a topic of much discussion in both Faculty caucuses since it was made public on October 17. The caucuses held a joint meeting about the report on October 20, and discussion within the conservative caucus about circulating a letter began shortly thereafter.
Four of the six members of the conservative caucus's steering committee-Wolff, Maass, Hermstein, and Peter B. Doeringer, '62, assistant professor of Economics-met on October 23 to decide on the text of the letter. Doeringer left the meeting early because of another commitment and therefore did not sign the letter.