FAS Solidifies Committee on Public Service

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) voted yesterday to establish the Committee on Public Service as a standing committee, with the understanding that changes to the official description of the committee will receive further consideration.

Members of the Undergraduate Council who attended the meeting asked the Faculty to consider amending the language of parts of the committee's mandate.

Among the changes proposed by the undergraduates were allowing the Undergraduate Council to select the three student members of the committee.

The original proposal rested power over the committee with Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68. Defenders of the proposal said that since the heads of student organizations like the PBHA (Phillips Brooks House Association) and HAND (House and Neighborhood Development program) are on the committee, students are in effect choosing their own representatives.

The chair of the committee, The de Skocpol, professor of sociology and government, protested the two-month delay, which a change in language would cause. She urged faculty members to endorse the original proposal.


"We have already made it clear that the head of PBH and HAND will always be members, so there is no question," Skocpol said. "With all due respect, appointment by the Undergraduate Council will decrease the diversity of students."

Had the Undergraduate Council's proposed change of language passed, the ad-hoc committee could not have been made permanent without a confirmation at the next faculty meeting, which will probably not take place until February.

"It is important for this committee to get under way," said Rev. Peter J. Gomes, Plummet professor of Christian morals and a member of the committee. "I am satisfied with what the original proposal states."

Even the faculty members who formally introduced the motion to propose the new language suggested by the undergraduates said they did so not because they endorsed the motion, but because they felt the faculty needed more time to gather information about many of the issues the measure addressed.

Professor of Afro-American Studies and Philosophy K. Anthony Appiah, who moved that the language proposed by the Undergraduate Council members be considered by the Faculty, said he supported the student proposal because of the recent emotion that has been expressed about public service.

Weary Professor of German and Comparative Literature Judith L. Ryan, who seconded the motion, said she did so because she felt the proposal deserved more discussion.

Another change suggested by the Undergraduate Council members was to change the language of the resolution to deem phases the currently prominent reference to financial administration.

Skocpol said this could be a limiting change, but undergraduates disagreed, saying that it instead shifted the committee's focus to curriculum issues.

The last change to the original language of the committee proposal involved changing the charge from enveloping programs "authorized" by the FAS to programs "managed" by the FAS. Skocpol raised questions about the scope of the committee under the new language.

The proposed language will be studied by the Faculty Council and will be taken up again at the February faculty meeting.

"I walked into the faculty meeting knowing it was not going to pass," said Edward J. Han '97, the undergraduate council member who proposed the new language. "I think we did the best job we could under the circumstances."

"It's incredible to me that a large number of the Faculty didn't know the students were upset," Han added