Harvard Squares Off With Nixon


Harvard officially responded this week to President Nixon's proposed 1974 budget, which would cut back on federal aid to universities, by promising to actively oppose the cuts in Congress and beginning to look for alternate sources for funds.

Calling the cuts "Draconian," President Bok said Tuesday that Harvard would fight them in "whatever role seems most useful" -- by co-ordinating opposition or by lobbying in Washington. At the same time, he said, appeals for funds will go to foundations, corporations and individuals who "used to give thousands of dollars but thought that was kind of ridiculous when the government was giving millions."

If Congress passes the cutbacks despite Harvard's opposition -- as Bok conceded it probably will -- GSAS and Medical School training programs will be slashed by up to $14 million a year.

The Medical School alone may lose as much as $3 million next year as a result of the cutbacks. Besides cutting research funds, Nixon's budget plan would eliminate all federal scholarships for medical students. The federal government now support about 20 per cent of the scholarships at the Medical School -- and 60 per cent of its total budget.

Nationally, medical research will suffer a 6 to 10 per cent cut in federal funding starting July with inflation producing a real effect of 15 to 20 per cent.


Besides the cuts in training programs and scholarships, the proposed budget would reduce Harvard's funds for:

*Language and area study centers, including the Center for East Asian Studies, the Center for Eastern European Studies, and the Center for Mideastern Studies;

*Rehabilitation subsidies for work on a Harvard-owned housing project in Roxbury;

*"Community service" programs, such as an Extension School course now operating with the Cambridge Equal Opportunity Employment Center, and;

*The College's $400,000 work-study program.

Special project grants to the Medical School, used for such projects as recruiting and tutoring minority-group students and which total about $150,000 annually, are also eliminated in the proposed budget.

Research into such popular illnesses as cancer and heart disease will be nearly untouched, however. Immediately practical research is preferred throughout the budget.

But Harvard will not slacken its commitment to pure science, Bok promised.

"Our feeling is to strike a balance between the two," he said. "We will not dry up the intellectual sources for applied progress."

Bok attributed the cutbacks to a "less hospitable" attitude in society as a whole. He said that research in undeveloped countries may be particularly vulnerable because of "the problems of the last ten years."

"The President will probably prevail on the cuts," he said. "The issues aren't really susceptible to broad public appeal" in contrast, he said, to other aspects of the budget, which also cuts back on many social programs.

Bok conceded, however, that training grants have grown "out of all proportion" in recent years. The budget should have included selective cuts instead of slashing indiscriminately, he said.