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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained
A boycott--one that lasted so long many people forgot why they were boycotting--has finally begun to bear fruit.
Students began to boycott the Committee on Rights and Responsibilities (CRR) in 1970, to protest its Faculty majority, the lack of an appeals board for its decisions, and other procedural rules.
The boycott continued until December of last year, when the Class of '80 voted in a referendum to break the boycott of the disciplinary body. Last spring four freshmen became the first undergraduate members of the CRR.
In consultation with graduate students and members of the Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life (CHUL), the four freshmen drew up a series of proposals to reform the CRR. These became the basis of discussions that began in October between CRR's seven Faculty members and the four undergraduates.
Last Wednesday, the discussions culminated with the five Faculty and three undergraduate CRR members present voting with one Faculty abstention but no dissents, to endorse a comprehensive bundle of reform measures for the committee.
With a few exceptions, the package was similar to the proposals the undergraduates made in the beginning. They suggest the CRR include six Faculty members, one senior tutor and six students. One of the Faculty members would serve as chairman and vote only in case of a tie.
In addition, the proposals ask that hearsay evidence be banned from CRR hearings, that the Faculty create an appeals board for CRR decisions, that the transcripts of CRR hearings be made public if both parties agree and in some other cases, and that legal counsel be banned from CRR hearings.
The CRR must now seek Faculty approval of the changes if they are to take effect.
Many students involved in boycott efforts said this week they found the proposals adequate. "For all intensive purposes, it's like what we drew up last spring," William T. Prewitt '79, a CHUL representative who helped to write last year's proposals, said yesterday.
And most of the House committee chairmen have said their committees would nominate representatives to the CRR if the Faculty approves the proposals, Daphne P. Hsu '78 chairman of the Adams House Committee, said yesterday.
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