The Harvard Independent, a new student weekly paper, is in danger of foundering on a political reef even before it's launching day. Three members of the original nine founders of the paper resigned their positions last week and a fourth is reportedly considering leaving before the first issue appears on October 9.
The controversy centers around the Independent's editorial page. The group which quit the paper left because they opposed board editorials-unsigned editorials expressing the view of the majority of the members of the paper.
"We felt there should be a open forum representing all views." said Edward P. Atkinson '71, one of the three who left the Independent. "Board editorials will only color the paper and hurt our reputation for unbiased reporting." Morris Abram Jr. '71. the paper's originator, favors running board editorials and signed opposing viewpoints.
Underlying the editorial page dispute is the paper's financial situation.
All the money which was collected over the summer, mainly from alumni, to start the Independent lies in two trusteeships, held by Abram and Mark C. Shields '70. Most of the money is in Abram's name.
Abram said the trusteeship arrangement will last only until the Independent can incorporate. "But as of now." Atkinson said yesterday, "the paper belongs to Abram."
While collecting the money to start the paper, Abram made no political commitments to contributors. He did, however, promise that there would be board editorials.
Because the money is in Abram's name and he made the promise he could be personally liable to legal prosecution if a board editorial does not appear.
Abram said yesterday that he still plans to have an issue out on October 9. "In raising money we stated we would have board editorials and run opposed opinions. We want to have a controversial page." he said.