The House of Representatives passed by a voice vote last week the first measure of the year aimed at putting limits on college disorders. The measure was designed to "put some backbone in college administrators" said its sponsor, Rep. William J. Scherle (R-Iowa).
The action came as an amendment to a bill to appropriate $3.8 million for a new program that would pay part of the interest on private loans made to colleges for construction. The amendments would deny such funds to colleges that fail to enforce section 504 of the Higher Education Act.
Section 504 provides that if a college determines, after holding a hearing, that a student or teacher already convicted of rioting by a court is guilty of "substantial disruption of the administration of the institution," then Federal aid to the individual must be cut off for two years. The selection requires colleges to report such individuals to the government. So far it has been largely ignored.
Won't Affect Harvard
Robert G. Leahy, assistant dean for Resources and Planning, said yesterday that this specific bill will not affect Harvard. He added, however, that he expects that such amendments will be attached to all education bills in the near future and that some of them may affect Harvard.
"What it will mean is that we simply have to report to the Federal government [which students are guilty of disruption]. We would do this reluctantly, but if you're slapped with a subpoena there's not much you can do," Leahy said.
The Scherle amendment must still pass the Senate and be signed by the President before it becomes law. Few of the measure's opponents, however, expect that the bill will fall to pass these final hurdles.
Major opposition to the bill melted when Rep. Edith Green (D-Ore.), chairman of the House subcommittee on Education, supported Scherle and said 'there's nothing punitive, nothing repressive about this. It simply serves notice that we're sick and tired of this rioting and that this Congress is determined to do whatever is necessary to stop it."
Rep. Bertram L. Podell (D.N.Y.), however, said that the measure "is the first step toward abrogation of all liberties on the campus today."
In an interview yesterday, Dr. James E. Allen, President Nixon's new commissioner of Education, said that "I am particularly opposed to legislation which would withdraw funds from institutions. I think we ought to think in terms of how to bring about those changes which are so long overdue in our institutions. I think we could accomplish more this way than we could through any kind of negative legislation."