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For everyone miffed about what's happening to their university: for the last 20 years tenured professors have been accepting large federal research ; grants. This new priority has led them to gradually abdicate their teaching duties creating a need for more low-level teaching assistants, while their government money has created new positions for research assistants. Its resources thus redistributed, the university is dependent on the new federal funds to maintain it all. Traditional sources of income are drying up. Our universities will either have to fold or become federally controlled. Harvard will be the last one to go because it's the most independent one now.
The whole student rebellion at Harvard has grown out of the side effects of this uncontrolled evolution. This story explains what is happening. It is important.
Nearly two weeks ago, William L. Marbury, the senior member of the Harvard Corporation, was interviewed by the Baltimore Sun. The result was a news story with a three-column headline that read "Harvard Trouble Laid to Maoists." Marbury blamed what was going on at Harvard on certain members of the Progressive Labor Party, who are followers of the famous Mao Tse-tung of China, and so on. Mr. Marbury, who is a Baltimore lawyer, a director of not a few corporations, and a Fellow of Harvard College of 22 years' standing, also said some things that were a little less predictable about the Harvard Trouble. For one thing, he said that SDS and is supporters want Harvard to take a political stand against the Vietnam War by kicking ROTC off campus. But, he said, Harvard as an institution cannot take a stand on the war, because taking a stand on the war "could produce a governmental backlash that might imperil the school's independence."
Then, he went on: "Slapping ROTC in the face is like slapping a lion in the face. It is a crazy thing to do especially at a time when every university is dependent on federal funds. . . Harvard is less dependent than other schools," but the university does not want to be put in the position of "denouncing the military service and the government." He added that he was in "complete agreement" with the Harvard faculty's decision to downgrade ROTC from an academic department to an extra-curricular activity. "I am perfectly satisfied with having the faculty say ROTC courses shouldn't be accredited."
There are two conclusions that can be drawn from this. The first is that the Corporation has very little intention of removing ROTC from Harvard, or putting ROTC in a position at Harvard that will cause the Pentagon to remove it. This means that there is more Harvard Trouble ahead. Those Maoists and their two are tree thousand friends in the Stadium who voted to get rid of ROTC are not going to like this. But the second conclusion is more important. Marbury's reason for keeping ROTC is far different from reasons that Pusey has stated previously (" to provide an opportunity for a young man to satisfy his military obligations and remain in college" and "it's terribly important for the United States of America that college people go into the military.") The reason that Marbury gave in the interview is undoubtedly what is behind all the other talk we have been hearing: if Harvard removes ROTC, it will face a "Governmental backlash." It will be like "slapping a lion in the face." (The Sun reporter, one Alvin P. Sanoff, failed to ask Marbury what a lion was doing roaming around the Harvard campus.) Harvard receives three-eighths of its total income (37.8 per cent according to the financial report of the treasurer for 1967-68) from the federal government; this money is necessary to Harvard if Harvard is to survive, or, as Marbury puts it, if Harvard is to retain its "independence"; getting rid of ROTC would be an action that would clearly harm Harvard's relations with the federal government.
The story of what has happened at Harvard over the past month is essentially a story of Harvard's relations with the federal government--how Harvard has become deeply dependent on federal funds for its survival; how that dependence causes university administrators to act often with the interests of the federal government, not the university, in their minds; and, finally, how federal funding has torn the university apart, produces strains and tensions in Harvard's internal structure, and renders the university helpless to defend itself.
Harvard is a mild case. It receives less federal money as a proportion of total income than many other private universities its size, because of its huge endowment. (Princeton and M.I.T. receive more than half their funds from the government.) Still, federal funds are by far the largest single source of income at Harvard, more than room and board, student fees and tuition (21.9 per cent), more than private gifts and annual endowment earnings (33.6 percent). The trend is very recent. Federal funds have been pouring into Harvard steadily since the end of World War II, but the greatest surge has been since Pusey became president in 1953-54. In that year, income from student sources was 36.2 per cent of the total, income from private sources 46.3 per cent, and from the federal government, 7.8 per cent. The Federal money amounted to $3 million. Last year, 14 years later, it was $64 million.
The term "private university" at Harvard and at other large universities like it had become an anomaly. The advantage of a private university over a public one is that it is free to pursue knowledge without being responsible to a large public. It has a constituency, mostly its alumni, but they normally understand that it should be able to create new knowledge and pass it on without too many mundane restrictions. The private university, since World War II, has developed what Clark Kerr has called a "common law marriage" with the federal government. There is nothing very sinister about this, or very conspiratorial. The university became involved with the federal government because it needed money, the federal government became involved with the university because it needed research.
Since World War II, the traditional sources of support for universities have been gradually drying up, while at the same time, costs have been rising enormously. There are many reasons for this. First, there is more competition for the philanthropic dollar. Private foundations used 46 per cent of their grants for education in 1961-62 and only 37 per cent in 1964-65 (latest figures, Foundation Library Center). The foundations have said they are looking for more actionoriented programs, and the largest, Ford, has announced that it will try to stay away from areas where the federal government is very active (e.g., private higher education). Private citizens are finding other uses for their money too. Gifts represented 11.5 per cent of educational and general income at American universities in the peak year, 1957-58. Within six years, the figure had dropped to 7.2 per cent (latest figures, U.S. Office of Education). Student income is falling too, as university assume the social obligation to educate students who are qualified but who cannot pay (one way to do this is through scholarships, clearly; the other, by extremely low tuitions). Meanwhile, overall costs at universities are rising, first because enrollment is rising, first because universities cannot increase their productivity to absorb normal rice rises the way industry can. Tenure, nine-month sessions, and small classes are expensive habits, but universities claim they need the "psychic income" they provide to operate successfully. Technology -- film, tape, television, computers, programmed instruction--has improved learning, but it has increased its cost (see Anthony Oettinger's new book, Run, Computer, Run). In industry, technological progress has led to more output per man hour. The irony is that education has been largely responsible for the increase in knowledge that leads to the increase in productivity, but education gets few financial benefits.
So more and more, universities have been turning to the federal government for aid--not direct institutional support, but, in most cases, support for scientific research. Research funds are very versatile; they can be used to build new laboratories and hire new faculty members and janitors. Also, they enable universities to free their unrestricted gifts for use in areas other than science. This may seem a strange way for the federal government to support universities, but there is no other way that is justified by America's ideology. The Constitution does not mention the word "education" (even though there was early support by Washington, Jefferson, and others for a "national university"). From the founding of the nation, the government's involvement with the universities has had little to do with education per se, rather with other political goals that peripherally involved education. The Morrill Act of 1862, which established the land-grant college system, was motivated in large degree by a desire to dispose of excess public lands profitably. The National Defense Education Act of 1968, which provided graduate fellowships to thousands of students, would not have passed Congress without the sputnik scare, without the word "defense" in its title, and without the preface, "The security of the Nation requires the fullest development of the mental resources and technical skills of its young men and women." The Higher Education Act of 1965 (extended in 1968) provided another justification for aiding universities, again tied to other political goals, but closer to education for its own sake. That act calls for federal support to give everyone in America an equal opportunity to make it, to get their social and economic advancement. This justification is greatly expanded in the Carnegie Commission report of last December: "Equality of opportunity through education, including higher education, is beginning to appear as a realistic goal for the less privileged members of our society."
Today, the federal government supports universities mainly because it needs to purchase a product--scientific research (that is where two-thirds of all federal aid to higher education goes, and even a higher proportion at Harvard and other large universities--the $64 million, 37 per cent figure at Harvard include only government money for research; government money for scholarship aid, the other major proportion, is included in tuition figures).
In certain cases, the university is better equipped to turn out the research product then private firms and the government itself. Actually, the term "federal government" is misleading. Every federal Department except the Post Office and the Treasury and at least 15 independent federal agencies, from the Smithsonian Institution to the Tennessee Valley Authority, buys university research. Buying research is like buying guns; it is something the federal government does regularly, so it did not require any major change in philosophy or even in policy for the federal government suddenly to become higher education's major benefactor.
The universities were eager to sell their product. New areas of scientific research were opening up, excellent European scientist (and social scientists were flowing to America to escape Hitler and the devastation of Europe, and the universities were hard-pressed to find private funds to finance research. The demands from the government were not so strict as to interfere with free intellectual inquiry, the universities concluded. Whatever the weapons implications of their research, most scientists were doing what they wanted to be doing anyway. Some universities, like Harvard, prohibited secret research on the campus just to be safe, but the federal government did not mind.
Still, the universities, especially the private ones, had to severely change their self-images and their purposes to accept so much federal money. In 1952, the Association of American Universities, an organization of 42 of the top public and private universities, studied the financial condition of universities and the federal role in funding them. The report concluded with this warning about federal aid:
Perhaps higher education has responded too much to trends in American society. Where the need is for wisdom, the colleges tend to teach skills. When citizenship demands broad knowledge and critical thinking, the colleges frequently offer narrow professional training. Although America's new position in the world calls for the highest level of social, philosophical, and political leadership, the universities build larger laboratories, federal programs encouraged the universities to do these things. Thus have federal programs encouraged higher education to turn away from its first function of criticizing, prodding, and even leading out national thinking.
In a second AAU study of the same subject, which Pusey helped draft last April, the organization (whose members were by this time receiving 77 per cent of all federal aid to universities) urged "a substantially increased investment by the Federal Government." This report makes no mention at all of the problems of federal control from federal aid.
In a speech at Clark Kerr's inauguration as president of Berkeley in 1958. Pusey also warned of government influence:
There is no reason to deny that the initial impetus toward many of the research efforts now going forward at any moment in a university can come safely from outside--from the needs of the military, or industry, or from some other quarter of our complex society; but never in my judgment should all or even a preponderant part of our research programs so derive. For the kind of research effort which alone can safely maintain the life of a true university is one into which an imaginative scholar is led not by outside pressures but by his own curiosity.
Within six years after Pusey's speech, the federal government was financing 72 per cent of all university research (1964 is the latest NSF figure), and today the share is estimated at 86 per cent. At Harvard, virtually all scientific research is government-supported. (See Harvard and the Federal Government. A Report to the Faculties and Governing Boards of Harvard University, 1961.)
The reason that attitudes toward federal money have changed so much is that the need for federal money has increased. The AAU report and the Carnegie report (which Pusey also helped draft), the two most significant studies of federal financing, merely advocate a greatly increased role for the federal government in universities, to save universities from going broke. University administrators are looking for money desperately. Despite is $1 billion in assets, Harvard is getting into deep trouble too. At this point, the universities need the money. They are concerned about obvious cases of direct federal intervention in university affairs. Pusey, for example, turned down thousands of dollars in scholarship money under NDEA because of an objectionable security affidavit. Last year, he strongly protested the "anti-riot" amendments to cut of federal aid to students and faculty who participate in campus disorders (but he took the money anyway). He has forbidden secret research on campus (but professors can do it as "consultants"). This concern with "direct control" is largely misplaced. The federal government itself, especially the federal agencies that provide most of the funds, generally opposes direct control itself for the same reason it opposes general aid--it is not its business to meddle in the affairs of universities, unless other political stakes are involved. As long as the permanent government gets its research product, it is happy.
The real problem is dependence. The government, to a large degree, has created its own need for itself among the universities. It is not merely a case of the universities needing money and the government providing it; the government has built up large scale scientific research as an almost totally new function for universities, a function that only the federal government can finance. The increase in total costs for universities--the ostensible reason that they need federal funds--can be linked to the rapid in flux--can be linked to the rapid influx of federal funds itself. Between 1957 and 1967, federal funding of universities in America increased 400 per cent, nearly all of this money going to research. During that same period, non-federal expenses increased only 200 per cent. At Harvard, during the same period, total university expenses tripled, government funding increased more than 10-fold (from $4.5 million to $55 million), while non-government spending barely doubled (from $46 million to $96 million). It is doubtful that universities would have invested so massively in research all by themselves, without government support.
As the sale of the research product become more and more profitable to universities (especially after sputnik in 1957), the universities began to reorient their resources--and their own concept of their function--to be able to provide the product more easily. The universities developed a deep dependence on the government, which caused them to anticipate what the government wanted from them and brought them to believe the government's interests were the same as their won. "Like many other Americans, the scientist does not like to be told what to do, but he will gratefully accept a clue as to what will sell so he than can suggest it himself," wrote Michael Maccoby in a perceptive article in Dissent five years ago.
Federal money is not something that the university can just take or leave as it wishes. Since universities use it to finance other parts of their operation, it becomes a basic component of the whole organism. Universities build structures around their federal money, structures that will collapse if the money is suddenly withdrawn.
At Harvard, the Atomic Energy Commission has announced that it is beginning to stabilize the $6.5 million that it provides the university each year to operate the Cambridge Electron Accelerator, which cost the government $20 million to build nearly 10 years ago. The AEC has told Harvard that it will not pay the normal five to six per cent inflationary increase next year, reportedly because of general cutbacks due to the Vietnam War and because of the disenchantment with the further weapons implications of fission physics. The university is forced to find more then $300,000 elsewhere or discontinue many of the projects--weapons implications or not--that involve the Accelerator and perhaps fire some of the 14 researchers who work there.
This kind of dependence has developed because the federal government pays a large amount of the indirect costs associated with the research it sponsors. Indirect costs are expenses that cannot be associated with particular projects, such as departmental administration, maintenance of the physical plant, heat, water, even the hiring of an additional accountant or the construction and outfitting of a new laboratory. Many agencies put ceilings on indirect costs they will pay for a project as a percentage of direct costs (even though the relationship between the two varies enormously with the type of project, regardless of total expense). At the average university, indirect costs paid by the government represent 50 per cent of direct costs (at Princeton, it was 80 per cent last year), and universities claim that this is still not enough. Congress thinks it is too much, and a plan, offered by Mike Mansfield, is being considered to lower the ceiling to 25 per cent. Universities are in a double bind. If they pay the indirect costs themselves, they will be making large commitments in areas of government research interests (mainly the physical sciences and engineering) that cannot be used elsewhere. And, paying indirect costs means making partial investment under the assumption that the government pays the other part. If the government does not, the university will be faced with firing personnel and discontining programs. On the other hand, if the government is allowed to assume all indirect costs, as the universities are now urging it to do, then the government will effectively be determining the entire research policy of the universities, even certain hiring practices.
A second area of serious dependence is the payment of faculty salaries. The most recent survey, conducted seven years ago by the Brookings Institution, shows that at ten large universities, one-quarter of the tenured social scientists and scientists receive part of their salary from the federal government, and one-tenth of the scientists receive half or more from federal funds. At Harvard, all senior faculty members are paid with university funds, but professors may receive outside income from the federal government. Forty-four per cent of Harvard's professors have an outside income that exceeds one-third of their Harvard salary (see Dunlop Report, 1968); most of this is from the government. The 1400 teaching fellows and research appointees receive extremely heavy federal support. There are some hidden dependencies too. Many faculty members go on leaves of absence without university pay, retaining their tenure status, to work on federal contracts or to take a federal job. One administrator in a large university has said that if all professors on such leave were to return to the university simultaneously, there would not be enough money to pay them. At Harvard in a recent year, five per cent of all tenured faculty members were on leaves of absence working for federal agencies; an additional 10 per cent were doing research on federal travel grants.
The result of all this is that universities like Harvard have become full fledged arms of the federal government. This is very hard for them to admit, because they consider themselves benign institutions, and they believe the influence of the government on them has been benign too. University administrators admit that the Vietnam War is very bad (they try to out-epithet each other on how "bad," "disgusting," "shocking," etc. it is) and that racism is all around us. But they refuse to admit that the university is an institution that is participating in this sort of thing. they do not enjoy being the target of rebellion. After all, they brought these kids up, taught them why they should hate this society, and gave them the freedom to play at revolution. Pusey said in a speech at the Business School two weeks after the University Hall occupation: "Their [the students'] concern is not with the universities at all. That is where they happen to be. Their aim is to build a movement to politicize and radicalize American society. It is just plain unfair to pick on universities--tat is the word from the New York Times and all over. But the university is the logical institution to attack not only because students live there, but because it, alone among institutions, must be left free to criticize the federal government and al of society. The university, however unconspiratorially and politely, has been taken over by the federal government. It cannot tell the government's interests from its own. It must be set free again.
The students are the conservatives in all of this. They do not quite know about the new university yet, the "federal grant" institution, as Kerr called it in his Godkin Lectures in 1963. The undergraduates are almost totally unaffected by federal money. Far from being the ones who have torn down the ivory tower in an attempt to politicize the university, as such commentators as Kennan and Reston, would have us believe, they are the ones who are trying to de politicize the university, to rebuild the ivory tower. The thrust of the original Six SDS demands was that the federal government should get out of the university (and that the university should get out of the community)--not that some other political power should replace it. SDS did not ask the university to take a political stand against the Vietnam War, as Marbury stated in his Baltimore interview (that is a ridiculous thing to believe; the days of that kind of symbolic gesture are over). It did not ask the university to back a radical slate for the Cambridge City Council or to invest money in the Black Panther Party the way it invests in Middle South Utilities. SDS asked the university to stop doing things that preserve the political power of the men now in control of this nation. "We want universities that stand in critical detachment from the existing order," said Henry Norr '68, a Harvard SDS leader, at the Business School.
Marbury's statements indicate that government involvement is the reason that the Corporation wants to keep ROTC. An interview with Pusey hours after the bust indicates that the reason he called in the police to beat students and get them out of University Hall was again government involvement. In an interview with CRIMSON President James M. Fallows, Pusey said: "The issue of the behavior of revolution-minded people is a national phenomenon. The patience of the general public is exhausted. . . . People who live in an academic community and who are not aware of this national mood are not thinking about the protection of the academic community." Pusey was protecting the academic community from having its federal funds cut off, as several bills in congress threaten to do to universities that cannot handle student disorders. On the night in April when he decided to call in the police, Pusey was looking n a direction that few others at Harvard were looking--toward the outside, toward Congress, and toward a constituency that private universities have tried to avoid, the whole vast public of the United States. No wonder Pusey called the ivory tower "a laughably grotesque symbol" in his 1967-68 Annual Report.
Pusey's Harvard is a university that accepts the interests of the nation (or more precisely, of the men who run the nation) as its own. A Harvard report on government funding issued by Pusey in 1961 concludes: "The university no longer expects to avoid involvement in public affairs, for its is by now all too clear that free universities and free political institutions are interdependent and their futures intertwined." At Harvard this past month, there were many people who did not think that their futures should be intertwined--not only because they did not like what the free political institutions were doing in Vietnam and in various ghettoes, but also because the free universities were not acting like universities, but instead like political institutions.
As soon as the university became linked up with the government, this student rebellion business was inevitable. Students accept the idea that a university is a place to criticize old concepts, even to criticize their own government. And from "federalized" universities, they learned that acting was an acceptable thing for a university to do. If a university can use its resources to help develop weapons and strategies for Vietnam or to draw up plans for putting down urban riots, then it can use its resources to help organize blacks in Roxbury, even if that activity may be anti-government. When men who run universities think like Pusey, there is bound to be conflict: "I think it's important that ROTC be kept here. I personally feel it's terribly important for the United States of America that college people go into the military. I do think that the government in Washington remains our government, and the military arm remains our arms. We should operate in these structures so that our influence within them remains operative." (See Robert M. Krim's excellent article in the CRIMSON, April 9, "Pusey at SFAC.")
Eventually, in a university where some kind of free thought is allowed to develop, like at Harvard, men will end up criticizing their government, especially this government at this time in history. But it is the identification of the government's interest with the university's interest that leads them to criticize and take action against their university. This institution has to be free of the federal government; it is important enough to fight over, if you one of those who is willing to act. A faculty member, interviewed in the Brookings study in 1962, said: "I grate against the idea of 'national interest' in a university. There is one danger, as I see it, of federal funds for education--the danger that higher education will become more and more 'nationalized' rather than 'universalized. After all, the word university implies universality--the study of the universe and all that is therein." That sentiment may seem almost quaint to the high-powered social scientist and administrator types in this university. But to understand what is happening here, you have to understand it. It is only natural to blame other people for the crimes you are committing, and there are always the rationalizations of ideology to make those crimes look like the defense of some kind of justice. The men who have destroyed the ivory tower are the men who have brought the federal government into the university, who have opened the university up to the outside (or more precisely, opened it up to the men who run the world outside).
Charles Kidd, a supporter of federal funding, wrote 10 years ago: "The universities of the nation cannot be viewed as agents free to participate in or to refrain from research financed by the federal government. . . . Most universities are not in fact free to reject federal funds. They must perform the research and take the consequences." What are these consequences? What direct effects had federal funding had on the internal structure of the university?
First, it has caused imbalances between science and non-science; funding has split the two apart and made them separate worlds within the university. Science professors spend fewer hours per week teaching then non-science professors at institutions with heavy federal funding. At institutions with little or no federal funding, science professors spend more hours teaching. At Princeton, in a recent year, the average Natural Sciences professor spent 5.2 hours per week in classroom teaching; the average Humanities professor spent 6.4 hours. In Physics, which has far more federal support than any other department in the university, the figure was 3.6, the lowest of any department in the university. A 1931 study (before the post-World Way II influx of funds) of 57 universities found that professors spent 14 hours teaching in the Social Sciences and Humanities, and 19 hours teaching in the Sciences. Science professors also receive higher salaries than non-science professors; they also have more income from outside sources. At Princeton, 60 per cent of Natural Sciences professors received summer research appointments, as against 4 per cent of Humanities professors. It is to the university's advantage to pay whatever it must to acquire high-quality science faculty, since the faculty will draw government support that can be used throughout the university.
A chasm is developing between science and non-science that is splitting many universities apart. Scientists have a high turnover rate; they participate less in university-wide decision-making. Their commitment is more to their research and to whoever provides them with the money to do that research than to whatever university they happen to be doing the research in. Data shows that the more research a faculty member does, the less time--by far--he spends on administrative duties. Scientists are becoming less and less members of the academic community. As they spend less time on administration, non scientists must take up the slack, and the chasm widens.
Steps that universities have taken to bridge the chasm have often caused more problems. The increase in the size of the science side of the university was balanced by a similar increase on the non-science side at many institutions. As a result, the faculty became huge and unwieldy. The frequency and intimacy of contacts among faculty members has been reduced. The under of tenured faculty at Harvard rose from 99 in 1900, to 240 in 1951, to 360 in 1966. The increase in non-tenure faculty from 1951 to 1966 was from 196 to 396 (see Dunlop Report).
"Bigness"--the inevitable characteristic of a science department flooded with federal funds--has been thrust upon the university at large in an attempt to balance its impact. "Bigness" in the sciences, however, was fairly easily accommodated. Total teaching staff and facilities did not outstrip it. "Bigness" in non-science has become "inflation." There has been a lack of planning, a lack of qualified instructors, and a land unaccommodated increase in students with large classes the result. A report on Harvard's graduate school, the Wolff Committee Report, issued last March, reveals one of the effects of inflation. The report notes a "malaise" among Humanities and Social Sciences students. They have become cut off from their professors and from much of the learning experiences because there are not enough professors to go around. Between 1951 and 1961, the number of students in Natural Sciences increased by one-half, as a result of federal research money and graduate aid; it was a solid increase, however, and the students maintained a good apprentice relationship with their instructors. At the same time, the number of students in the Social Science rose by only one quarter, and in the Humanities by only one-tenth. Nothing the imbalance in absolute numbers of students in the three areas, the graduate school inflated the Humanities and Social Science departments over the next seven years to achieve the old balance before federal funding. The Humanities enrollment rose 51 per cent, Social sciences 34 per cent, and Natural Sciences 22 per cent. Numerical balance was virtually achieved, but the non science departments increases because they did not have the federal funding to enrich the top of their department. The result was a vastly increased student-teacher ratio and the "malaise."
There is a final problem with some attempts to remedy the imbalance. To bridge the chasm universities have had to commit nearly all of their unrestricted gift funds to non-science to balance the federal money that has been committed to science. An even more serious imbalance has resulted. One university world is supported almost entirely by federal money, the other almost entirely by private money. When men like Kerr say that the genius of American higher education resides in the balance between private and public sources of support within the university, they neglect to recognize that the "balance" has caused a great split within the university.
A second imbalance has occurred between tenure and none-tenure faculty. A rise in none-tenure faculty, research faculty, research appointees, and teaching fellows has occurred because of federal research and fellowship funds that has far outstripped increases in tenure faculty, who receive very little federal money in comparison. More an more, these tenure faculty members are abdicating their teaching duties, especially in the sciences. By doing more research, they acquire more federal research money for their universities, which in turn goes in part to create more lower level faculty positions. At Harvard, the figures on this new imbalance are startling.
Between 1951-52 and 1966-67, the number of tenure faculty members increased by 50 per cent. The number of non-tenure faculty (instructor, assistant professor) increased by 100 per cent; teaching fellows by 150 percent; and research appointees by over 300 per cent. The result of these disproportionate rises has been a complete readjustment of Harvard internal structure. With the imminent elimination of the rank "instructor" non-tenure men will outnumber men at faculty meeting for the first time in history. Teaching fellows, now over 100 strong, banded into a "federation" in 1967, demanded a raise and received it the next year. They forced the university to recognize that a teaching fellowship is not a privilege or a financial aid but rather "an honorable mark of acceptance in the community of teachers," according to the Wolff Report
Their status now, in a kind of limbo between students and faculty is causing tensions that often surface in the form of radical political activity. During the April rebellion at Harvard, a renewed teaching fellows federation was one of the leading forces in the students strike. Its set of demands (an only slightly modified version of those of SDS) was approved at the mass Stadium rally hat called for the strike. The teaching fellow have a different kind of commitment to the university from senior faculty members, since their stay here rarely exceeds five years. And yet, the teaching fellows are king more and more of a role in running the university by teaching it students, and, in many courses, setting educational polity. They may soon demand a "legal" role in running also.
Research appointees are essentially a new lass in the university. They have the least commitment to it (they stay only two or three years). Their status is extremely insecure--when the individual project they are working on is fined, they generally leave. Researched appointees as a class may be appointees in an insecure positive but they do not demand much more than to be able to pursue their research in peace--without teaching. They have also contributed to a new definition of "professional" with in the university (it used to mean "teacher")and to the disintegration the old idea of a community of scholars, with the scholars deeply committed to the university. Research has become so much a part of the university that Harvard now hires more full time professional researchers than it does tenure faculty. In 1951-52, the faculty outnumbered the researchers nearly three-to-one.
To the huge influx of research appointees and teaching fellows, most university administrators have responded not at all. What used to be considered faculty is now composed of uncommitted and disenfranchised men, who are exerting enormous pressure on the present structures but are not invited to participate in finding ways to relieve that pressure. University administrators note that during student rebellions, many junior faculty members are on the side of the dissidents, often actively helping them. There is little wonder why this has occurred; the junior faculty members, who probably have a greater overall effect on students than senior faculty members, have no stake in their university; most often, they are not even considered members of the scholarly community. Research funding has split the university into two camps vertically--science and non-science. Now, fellowship and research money have combined to split the university into the camps horizontally--senior faculty, junior faculty, an students. The number of junior faculty continues to swell and the university is being torn apart.
In times like these, with Congress cutting back on all federal funding, with students seizing buildings and the nation asking for retribution (20 states have bills in their legislatures to combat student rebellion; 70 have been introduced in California), in times like these, it is hard to expect anyone to reexamine the relationship between universities and the federal government, to question whether the benefits are worth the costs. Besides, it may be too late for a reexamination anyway. Universities have become so big, so permeated with federal money, so crippled by the imbalances it has caused, that most of them cannot help themselves. Private universities face two alternatives in the next twenty years--to fold, or to become federally-controlled "service academies" and "trade schools," like the universities in the Soviet Union.
The last one to go will be Harvard. This is Harvard's president, Nathan Pusey, in a speech he made in 1955: "Universities were not put into the world to play the service role of administering exclusively to ordinary mundane needs. . . . There is new need to recognize that through universities have a concern and a responsibility toward the everyday world their primary, their fundamental responsibility lies totally elsewhere. This is for basic investigation for the pursuit of learning almost for learning's own sake, for poetry and for vision, and then from this kind of experience for the provision within society of a critically constructive force. . . It is possible for a university without being aware of it to slip into servile relationship with the culture in which it finds itself and so betray its real reason for being. This danger as it now presents itself to us in a new form is apt to grow as colleges an universities look increasingly to government and business for the sustenance they must have to keep alive. Limited dependence of this kind need not necessarily be harmful, but it cannot not fail to be dangerous if there is not a clear, prior recognition of the way universities deeply and truly serve society. For if the university does not stand in some sense a critic of society and a force always calling for fresh endeavor, it cannot be the university."
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