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When the Committee on Rights and Responsibilities met yesterday in its first formal session of the year, it had no student members. The next time it meets, that could change.
Following a three-month series of meetings, votes and debates, 15 students representing the freshman class decided Tuesday night to break the seven-year student boycott of the CRR by nominating four of their number to serve on the CRR.
Faculty members on the CRR greeted the end of the boycott not with joyous exultation, but with quiet assent, perhaps because they realized that the final act of this political minstrel show has not yet been played.
The freshman panel also voted this week not to officially forward the nominations to Dean Fox until the four nominees have met with a student subcommittee of the Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life (CHUL) to discuss proposals for reforming the CRR.
After that meeting, the four freshmen are supposed to report back to the panel, which will review the suggested reforms, and then make the nominations official.
Before the students actually join the CRR, their names must be drawn by lot at a CHUL meeting (there are four spots available, so the freshmen are shoo-ins) and then sent to Dean Rosovsky, who formally appoints the students.
Then the central issue in the CRR debates of the past months will come to the fore--whether students can effectively work for reform of the CRR by participating in the committee's work.
The freshmen who favor ending the boycott maintained that it has had no effect on the Faculty, and barred student input into politically charged discipline cases.
The catch in the "reform from within" strategy, the boycott's supporters said, is that the CRR cannot change its own procedures or composition.
Only the Faculty, which established the CRR after the 1969 student occupation of University Hall as a student-Faculty body to discipline political demonstrators, can change the CRR's charter. In the past, it has shown no inclination to do so.
And, as one former student found yesterday, the CRR does indeed meet. It met yesterday to decide whether to readmit a student who the CRR forced to withdraw from the University several years ago, because of involvement in a demonstration.
For the present, the four freshmen nominees will begin studying CRR reform proposals, and planning strategy with CHUL. The first real test will come when they try to present their proposals to the Faculty, or when students are brought before the CRR after a political demonstration.
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