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Joseph Kraft's syndicated column this week criticizing Preisdent Pusey's relations with the Overseers and the Faculty has stirred controversies that go beyond Kraft's own accusations.
Without details, Kraft dropped the suggestion that Pusey threatened to resign this summer, over a feud with the Overseers, then followed with the prediction that John Kenneth Galbraith, among others, was planning a no-confidence vote on the President next week.
Reporters seeking to verify Kraft's report have found discontent among the Faculty, but not hostility. Unfortunately, "Kraft's crisis" has obscured fundamental and deep problems brewing in Cambridge- problems exemplified by the announcement on registration day of the formation of the new University Committee on Governance.
The new committee was hailed last Sunday as a "consititutional convention" by Overseer Donald F Hornig. While prematurely optimistic, his statement indicates the prevailing opinion of other less enthusiastic Overseers also.
Thursday, William Young, a consultant to the Friendly Committee, emphasized the Overseers intention to open the new committee so that everyone could "lay their cards out on the table."
Pusey however, sees the University-wide committee from a typically cautious perspective. Responding to Kraft's charge that he changed the election procedure of the committee, Pusey called his tampering insignificant because the new committee is not supposed to be representative or judging from his statements, important.
"This committee is not a legislative body and it's not a constitutional convention. It's a vehicle for communication. This committee is not constituted of individuals who are supposed to represent various interest groups or numbers of people." Pusey said.
Pusey's attitude toward the new University committee has already negated most of the initial optimism felt around the College when word of the Friendly report's findings started to leak out during August.
Believing the committee to be a "vehicle for communication," Pusey has handled the formation of the committee in his own inimicably callous style.
When the Board of Overseers approved the Friendly report two weeks ago, they attached a provision giving complete authority to Pusey in creating the committee. Contrary to Kraft's report, the Overseers in effect reasserted their confidence in Pusey according to Paul Nitze, another Overseer on the Friendly Committee.
The Friendly report had strongly re-commended that the faculties of the schools appointing representatives to the 35-man committee choose their own representatives. Noting that the committee could never be truly representative. they nevertheless argued strongly for weighted numbers, giving the larger faculties. especially the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. more seats than any of the smaller faculties, such as the School of Public Administration and Public Health.
Viewing the University Committee as a channel to the Overseers. Pusey instead decided on equal representation for all faculties. giving the power of appointment to the deans and not to the faculties at large. Any 35 men can pass along information.
Although the Faculty of Arts and Sciences will have only one less vote than originally planned. equal representation balances the undergraduate voice on the committee with students from graduate schools where restructuring is not really a major issue.
Allowing Dean Ford to name the Faculty's representatives has also avoided the possibility of an already rebellious faculty naming controversial representatives. Instead. Committee of Fifteen members. will now alternate in the Faculty's five seats in the group.
My decision was made on the recommendation of the Council of Deans, part of whom are the deans in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences." Pusey said.
Pusey suggests that approval of the council of deans makes his decisions more demoeratic or more logical. To some liberal faculty members it only suggests a cabal among deans and Pusey, and a very exclusive one at that.
To chair the new University committee. Pusey has named John T. Dunlop. David A. Wells Professor of Political Economy a noted member of the Faculty's conservative caucus. where newly appointed Dean May was also a member.
Increasingly Dunlop has found himself on responsible University committees, including the Dunlop committee last year. which he chaired and the Committee of Fifteen. Next Spring. he will join May in University Hall as acting Dean of the Faculty while Dean Ford is on sabbatical.
In announcing his change in appointment procedures. Pusey cited the need for the committee to begin its task early. His haste, however. has led to early discontent and pessimism over the composition and potential of the University Committee on Governance.
Coming at a time when even student government types are shrugging their shoulders at "just another committee." Pusey's exclusive appointment procedure worked out with Dean Ford has generated little enthusiasm and made several enemies.
Committee chairman Dunlop must begin his work trying to dispell the notion that the group is just another rubber stamp. Perhaps an early report citing specitie necessary changes would help. Perhaps only open committee meetings can restore Harvards confidence.
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