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A controversy over democratization of the Economics Department reached a new peak yesterday as graduate students,. supported by radical Faculty members, demanded greater power in departmental decision-making at a meeting in Harvard Hall.
The meeting yesterday afternoon grew out of a defeat by the Economics faculty of a series of reforms proposed by the Graduate Economics Club. The proposals included 50 per cent student participation in the establishment of criteria for the allocation of graduate scholarships, research assistantships and teaching fellowships, and 50 per cent student membership on Economics faculty committees. Undergraduates concentrating in Economics would be included.
In particular the discussion at the meeting focused on the off-voiced complaint that the faculty is biased against radical economics. Henry Rosovsky, chairman of the department, denied that political beliefs influence faculty decisions. "It is simply not true that radical economics does not get a fair shake here," Rosovsky said.
James W. Wetzler, a second-yeargraduate student, contradicting Rosovsky's statement, said that the faculty did indeed have an anti-radical political bias. To support this he read parts of a letter of recommendation written by Professor Richard E. Caves to the department of economics at the State University of New York at Stony Brook about Herbert M. Cintis, then a graduate student.
The letter said, "Gintis spends a rather large proportion of his time and energies being New Left," and that Gintis was "somewhat uncooperative around the department."
In defense of power lying with the faculty and not with students, Resovsky said the students had too many vested interests in important decisions to have power. "No group is probably more disinterested than the faculty," he said.
Marc J. Roberts, assistant professor of Economics, said that the faculty should control decision-making because of what he termed "skill, knowledge, and information differentials" between the faculty and students.
Arthur MacEwan, another assistant professor, said, in answer, "Seldom have I heard such a crass defense of elitism."
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