Of the many surprises of the last 19 days, none has been more unexpected than the Faculty's spectacular display of unity under the pressure of events.
In five crucial votes over the course of two weeks--on the original resolution establishing the new Faculty Committee, on election procedures for the Committee of 15, on the Wilson Report, on ROTC, on Black Studies--the Faculty spoke four times with a nearly unanimous voice.
Only in its consideration of the Afro proposal did the Faculty split, and even then, it made its decision by a margin of nearly 100 votes.
But the Faculty's unanimity was not all it appeared to be. Behind tranquil debates in the plushly upholstered Loeb Drama Center lay strongly held political differences and hectic Faculty efforts at reconciling groups which did not agree on how to respond to the crisis.
Two groups in particular posed the greatest threat to Faculty cooperation, but at the same time worked hardest to prevent a disastrous splintering of the Faculty. Widely termed the conservative and liberal caucuses, these two coalitions of like-mined Faculty members functioned throughout the crisis like combinations of political parties and traditional Faculty committees: sometimes campaigning actively among independent Faculty members in support of a position, at other times simply discussing the issues and feeding resolutions onto the meeting floor.
Since together the caucuses never represented more than one-third of the Faculty, they could never determine together or separately the outcome of any votes. But in at least one instance--the formulation of election procedures for the Committee of 15-- negotiations between the two caucuses prior to the Faculty vote proved crucial to the outcome.
The political differences between the two groups were real and dangerous. "They exhibit," muses Stanley Hoffmann, professor of Government and de facto leader of the liberals, "almost all the characteristics of the eternal left and the perpetual right."
But like all political coalitions, their differing politics stem at least in part from the differing temperaments of their members and their different histories.
Neither Faculty caucus took formal votes, and neither had elected leaders. But a leadership corps seemed to emerge in each case: among the liberals, Hoffmann and Michael L. Walzer, associate professor of Government; and for the conservatives, John T. Dunlop, Wells Professor of Political Economy; George B. Kistiakowsky, Abbot and James Lawrence Professor of Chemistry; Rob- ert G. McCloskey, Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History and Government; and Ernest R. May, professor of History.
It is difficult to make any simple statement of the political bias of either of the two groups. "What distinguished the two groups, at least as much as their place on the political spectrum," says Paul M. Doty, Mallinckrodt Professor of Biochemistry and a participant in the activities of both at various times, "was simply the polarization about two ways of getting thing done."
The conservative group consists almost entirely of senior Faculty members who share, as Doty puts it, "a sense of how to get things done" using traditional institutional mechanisms.
Consistent with its bias toward using traditional channels, the group is secretive in effect, if not in intention. Its members, according to Doty, share a sense that "one doesn't broadcast too much until one has a consensus developed."
During the crisis the conservative caucus usually met off-campus at the house of one of its members. Even leaders of the liberal caucus often did not know exactly where their conservative counterparts were gathering. While conservatives sometimes attended liberal meetings, liberals never visited the other caucus. According to McCloskey, his caucus met in at least 12 different Faculty homes during the crisis.
Certain other factors have contributed to the apparent isolation of the conservative group. First, it is relatively small in number. Average meetings have been attended by about two dozen professors, while a total of 45 to 50, by McCloskey's estimate, have been associated with the caucus at one time or another.
Met Since September
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