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The Harvard-Radcliffe Afro will probably reorganize its entire organizational structure at its next meeting.
The 200 students at last Wednesday's Afro meeting overwhelmingly supported a proposal that would replace the traditional office of President with an eight-man committee.
The move was prompted by the widespread belief among black undergraduates that the old leadership structure meant the president assumed all responsibility for the success or failure of Afro's policies. The formation of a central committee will not only collectivize responsibility in decision making, but also open up avenues of access to the leadership.
Essentially the evolution from one-man to collective leadership has been a response to Afro's quest for an ideological position behind which all black students on campus could unite. Such a pursuit was doomed primarily because Afro's membership requirement was not based on the acceptance of a particular political orientation but only required that the prospective member be a black undergraduate.
The absence of a consistent ideological position in the past has meant that political crises provided the only catalyst for concerted action by the entire organization. This occurred in the past three years with the fight over Black Studies in 1969, the Painters Helpers controversy in 1970, and, most recently, the dispute over Harvard's ownership of Gulf stock.
As a result of being a crisis-oriented organization, Afro leadership was primarily a personality cult. The president articulated the prevailing mood within an organization whose ideological position was determined by the nature of the crisis. Many black students have argued that Afro's effectiveness is minimized because it must include a diversity of political ideologies.
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