Renewing a search for ways to improve House life, the Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life yesterday mulled over proposals as improbable as Harvard's purchasing land in Cambridge for faculty homes and as ordinary as providing nonresident affiliates with House offices.
"What you often see is a cabal of faculty members sitting and talking together in the dining halls," Renee N. Landers '77, former CHUL representative from Lowell House, said at the two-hour meeting.
William H. Bossert '59, master of Lowell House, disagreed with the criticism of the professors. He told CHUL members that he "wonders where the problem lies. It would seem much easier for students to initiate the contact" than faculty members.
Dean Rosovsky suggested that permitting retired Faculty members to teach House seminars would improve the House course program, which CHUL members had cited as one way to increase student-faculty contact.
The dean, who chaired the meeting, said John K. Fairbank '29, Higginson Professor of History, will retire next year and might be a candidate for the leader of such a seminar.
Other House masters on the CHUL criticized the funding Houses receive for their House courses and suggested the House course program be funded and run like the Freshman Seminar program, which includes many senior faculty members.
Alan E. Heimert '49, master of Eliot House, said House might be allowed to hold the unspent funds in their House course budget so they could spend a large sum for an exceptional but costly course every few years.
"Each House could build up its little nest, so that every two or three years we could offer a course taught by a senior faculty member, for example," Heimert said, adding that House courses provide students with a "less threatening learning environment."
In another move during the meeting, CHUL voted unanimously to establish an ad hoc subcommittee to study a House assignment system similar to Yale's, which affiliates freshmen with a "college" upon their entrance and offers them no choice.
Task Force O.K.
Paul K. Wang '79, CHUL representative from Currier House, said he hopes the subcommittee will submit its final recommendation to CHUL by next fall. The no-choice, pre-assignment proposal has been endorsed by the Task Force on College Life.
CHUL also voted unanimously to permit the American Committee for Cape Verge to arrange a fast in University dining halls to raise money to help purchase a tractor for an agricultural project in Cape Verde.
Also, the student representatives to CHUL chose William T. Prewitt '79, CHUL representative from North House, as chairman of the student caucus of the committee.
Prewitt said yesterday the most immediate goal of the student caucus is to generate proposals to reform the Committee on Rights and Responsibilities.