After a brief but spirited debate over the ethics of proposed federal regulations linking federal financial aid to draft registration, the Undergraduate Council last night voted to urge Harvard to make formal its current leaning to replace any funds that undergraduate nonregistrants would loss.
The resolution states the council's belief that the proposed regulations--now nearing the end of a 90-day comment period prior to enactment-violate "the rights of conscience of those who would be affected by it."
Approved by a 40 to 10 margin, with four abstentions and seven members present not participating at all, the resolution represented the first indications of organized student support for the University to compensate nonregistrants for lost financial aid.
Last week, Harvard officials indicated that the University is inclined to provide-but has yet to approve formally-the substitution of market-rate loans and non-work-study jobs to fill in any gaps created by the federal regulations.
The council's resolution will be submitted this week to President Bok, Dean of the Faculty Henry Rosovsky, and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid L. Fred Jewett '57, along with a request for swift action on the matter, Council Chairman Sesha Pratap '84 said after the meeting.
Last night's move by the council also follows up on its action last week to have Pratap write to the Department of Education, expressing the council's opposition to the regulations themselves. At last week's meeting, the council failed to touch upon the questions of University's role in the matter.
Several council members were highly vocal last night in their opposition to the resolution, questioning whether Harvard should-as other schools have already done-effectively subvert the purpose of the federal regulations.
"If you want to follow your own moral dictate to not register for the draft, that's one thing, but if you want to be subsidized for your noncompliance with a federal law, that's quite another matter," Bennet E. Cooper'83, said.
But Natasha said that any move by Harvard to help students who lose aid would not constitute an equal replacement of lost grants and loans, and that the replacement loans and jobs would pose an unusually heavy burden on those students who choose not to register.
"This would not be a subsidy by any means," Pearl said, adding "These people are going to still be paying through the nose."
Despite passing the resolution, the council rejected proposals for a post card campaign about the issue to President Bok, as well as a phone poll to gauge student sentiment and measure how many students would be affected by the threatened loss of aid.
Both proposals lost in voice votes, with most opponents citing potential logistical problems and questioning whether either move would have any real impact on Harvard's position.
In other business during the meeting--which ran 30 minutes over its scheduled 90 minute time, and which was interrupted by an unusual number of procedural matters--the council approved funds for incorporating itself as a nonprofit organization, enabling potential contributors to deduct gifts for tax purposes.
The council also approved its budget for the spring semester; outlined plans for an open student forum on the Core Curriculum scheduled for next Tuesday; gave preliminary approval to a constitutional amendment regarding council-run referenda: and approved expenditures for a council newsletter, to run as a paid full-page advertisement twice monthly in the Harvard Independent.
The council last night also welcomed eight new members to its ranks, elected last week in seven Houses to fill vacancies created by delegate resignations. Turnout ranged from 11.8 percent in North House to 55.8 percent in Dunster, which was the only House with two vacancies Of a total of 2579 eligible voters, 801 students cast ballots, for an average turnout of 31.1 percent.
Elections were uncontested in North House and Quincy, and all Houses had unofficial write in candidates.
The new council members are: Gilberto A. Pimentel '84, Adams; William J. Jason '83 Currier; Luis C. Silva '84, David R. Traum '84, Dunster; John F. Coburn '84, Eliot; Gregory B. Williams '85, North; Karen M. Park '84, Quincy; and Thomas A. Schuler '84, South.
Another round of elections will be held next week in Dudley, Leverett (2), North, Winthrop, and the East District of the Freshman Yard to fill six newly-announced resignations. These elections will bring the council back to its full complement of '89, a membership that it has not enjoyed in several months.