The caucus has been meeting longer than the liberal caucus and is therefore more organized and cohesive. While the liberals first gathered the day of the bust, the conservatives began meeting informally in September. The caucus began holding regular Sunday afternoon gatherings as early as February, after the Faculty meeting which overturned the Ad Board decision to discipline the Paine hall demonstrators.
The impetus which the caucus gained form this event indicates both its members' attachment to traditional process and the important administrative role which both caucuses were to play during the crisis. The overturning of the decision of a standing Faculty committee convinced the conservative group that they were facing "a breakdown of internal Faculty authority," acording to Doty.
If the Faculty committees were no longer trusted to educate the Faculty, then someone else would have to do the job.
Need Standing Committees
Conservative caucus members apparently felt that the Faculty is simply too large and diverse a body to act meaningfully without the advice of standing committees.
"This is all a function," May argues, "of the fact that the Faculty is bigger than the Congress of the United States. It's not a body where it's possible for discussion to take place."
The liberals would later agree. "It is impossible," Hoffmann now argues, "in the long run for the Faculty to meet in a crisis and decide on two texts whose last commas have been put in two minutes before."
In any case, after the Paine Hall crisis, the conservative caucus began talking "about everything that the Faculty confronted" in its regular business and actually formulated resolutions that were introduced onto the Faculty floor, according to McCloskey.
For their part, the liberals have been a much more haphazard and more open group. They have usually gathered on campus, either in Lehman Hall or in the Littauer lounge. Though no students have attended the conservative group caucuses, the liberals have almost always had students in their crowded meetings, as well as tutors and teaching fellows who cannot attend Faculty meetings.
The liberals have had more trouble reaching a consensus during their meetings because they have been generally much larger. The core of the caucus consists of about 60 to 70 Faculty, and while this many did not attend all the meetings, their gatherings sometimes overflowed with as many as 100 Faculty.
Consider Political Side
Differences in the styles of the caucuses' members and meetings have eventually boiled down, of course, to some important political differences. Less committed to traditional ways of doing things, the liberals have also seemed more ready to deal with campus issues in political terms. In addition to a general willingness to experiment, the liberals are apparently more concerned with the "legitimacy" of decision-making groups on campus.
"It's really about legitimacy," says Hoffmann. 'The other group thinks the traditional way ought to be the legitimate one, and we do not."
Political differences over the problem of legitimacy came to a head during the period between the passage of the Faculty resolution creating the Committee of 15 on April 11, and the election