The Dowling Committee, assembled at the request of Dean Fox to review student governance at Harvard, will recommend today that a centralized student government comprising several existing student-faculty groups be created and given a $60,000 budget.
The committee, created last year, completed their recommendations for changes in the current student government system in their final meeting last night, and will forward them to Fox sometime today.
Although the report has not yet been made public, committee members yesterday discussed its contents. They said the report will recommend the formation of a centralized student council consisting of five committees to deal with social life, educavional policy, residential policy, student services, and communications and finance. The five committees would replace, among others, the present Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE), and the Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life (CHUL).
Five delegates from each House and twenty freshmen, four from each section of the Yard, would sit on the new council. The present system employed by the Student Assembly apportions seats according to the population of each house and the Yard. The delegates would be elected to the Council and then decide among themselves on which committee each would sit.
In addition, the Dowling Committee will recommend a $60,000 budget, raised through an additional $10 surcharge on each undergraduate's term bill, to fund student activities. The surcharge would be automatically added to every term bill, although students could indicate through a "check-off box" that they decline to pay $6.50 of the fee. The remaining $3.50 would be non-refundable.
Committee members said that a third of the $60,000 budget would be spent at the council's discretion, while $35,000 would be used to fund other student groups at Harvard. The remaining $5000 would be used for University-wide events such as concerts and picnics.
Although the report has not yet been officially released, parts of the report have been seen by members of the student bodies facing revisions if the report is accepted by the Faculty and the student body.
"The proposal doesn't give as much student autonomy over student issues as we would have liked to have seen," Andrew B. Herrmann '82, chairman of the Student Assembly, said, adding that the report contains no fundamental concessions on decision-making by students on student issues. "But it is a vast improvement over the present system," Herrmann said. He added that the proposed system seems "more rational and smoothly functioning."
Herrmann said the proposal creates an entirely new structure of student government, and does not merely expand the current student assembly.
After the report is given to Dean Fox tomorrow, members of the committee said they would urge him to make it available to the Harvard community. The proposal will be presented in full to the Faculty for approval although it is unclear whether the student body will have the opportunity to approve the report.
Fox would not elaborate on what he plans to do with the report, saying only that it will be distributed to all groups affected for their comments.
Kenneth R. Levine '83, former chairman of the Student Assembly, predicted that some of the recommendations might become issues of significant debate. He particularly identified the tuition surcharge, which was a major source of controversy in the committee