FRESHMEN WILL VOTE in a referendum today to decide whether they wish to continue the four-year student boycott of the Committee on Rights and Responsibilities, a body that is charged with disciplining political demonstrators. Freshmen should vote to continue the CRR boycott, and direct the Freshmen Council not to begin the process of selecting freshmen to serve on the CRR.
The reasons for continuing the boycott are clear. In the boycott's four years, the Faculty has seldom addressed and never remedied the student objections to the CRR. Ending the boycott now would signal an end to student reservations about the CRR, and would lend a false sense of legitimization to the CRR's inherently biased proceedings.
Objections to the CRR are straightforward. Its composition is weighted in favor of the Faculty members. There is no separate body to which students can appeal CRR decisions. The CRR can deny students the right to legal counsel when appearing before it, and can admit hearsay evidence against a student. Furthermore, the CRR's charter is extraordinarily vague in defining the offenses that make a student liable for discipline; in fact, almost any administrator can bring a student before the CRR on charges of "interference with members of the University in performance of their normal duties."
A student committee worked tirelessly last spring to draft the CRR reform proposals that were overwhelmingly approved in a College-wide referendum last May. The Faculty has yet to agree to hear those proposals, however, and the student committee has requested that the CRR boycott continue at least until those proposals are considered. If the student boycott ends now, the Faculty will lose any incentive it might have had to work to change the CRR.
Ending the boycott at this time would accomplish nothing. The CRR cannot be reformed from the inside through student participation. Only the Faculty can make the necessary changes in the CRR's charter and composition, and it is only through the continued pressure of the student boycott that the Faculty will be moved to reform or abolish the CRR.