The Harvard Board of Overseers, the University's highest governing body, has created an unprecedented student-faculty-Overseers committee with power to make recommendations on all aspects of the University decision-making process, reliable sources said Sunday.
In an unreleased report on the April crisis, the Overseers Friday approved the University-wide committee-expected also to include members of the Corporation-with an open mandate for restructuring proposals.
When the committee is formed it will be that first time in Harvard history that representatives from all faculties in the University, students, Overseers and members of the Corporation have sat together on a University Committee.
"This is like calling a Constitutional convention," Donald F. Hornig, an Overseer, said Sunday. "What it comes up with can be radical or non-radical. We have not yet given the committee a formal charge."
The report, written this summer by the Overseers' Friendly Committee, was approved in draft form Friday and is now being readied for distribution late this week or early next week, Hornig said.
The Friendly Committee, headed by Judge Henry J. Friendly, was created in the middle of the April strike to study "those factors in the University and in society which made possible the recent events and to recommend such action as may be appropriate."
The 10-15 page report deals primarily with the moods and background of student unrest around the country and particularly at Harvard; however, it concludes that any recommendation for restructuring the University should come from a more representative, broadly based committee.
Details on the selection of committee members have not been worked out, and the Overseers have not, as yet, named a chairman for the group. Hornig said. The proposal passed Friday is only an interim report.
Because the Overseers have no executive authority, the report will go directly to the Harvard Corporation which is meeting today, and eventually the responsibility for forming the committee will fall to President Pusey.
The new committee has not been given a deadline for reporting its findings. Hornig, however, estimated that the work would take at least a year, if not longer.
The range of the committee's power has also not been determined. Much of its work may duplicate the studies of the Committee of 15 and Fainsod Committee, which are presently reviewing restructuring in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. While these committees cannot go beyond Faculty regulations and procedures in their recommendation, the new committee may presumably consider the composition of the Corporation and of the Board of Overseers, election of the President of the College, and other major University bodies.
The committee will report back to the Overseers, who have final power over any committee recommendations.