This Date in UCSF History: Student Groups ‘Alarmed’ by Committee Takeover


Originally published in Synapse on March 30, 1966. Several student groups on campus have become alarmed at a proposed mechanism whereby the Board of Governors (a body with very considerable faculty and administration influence) would choose the heads of the various student committees, including the editorship of Synapse.

The concern arose last month when a special committee of the Millberry Union Board of Governors submitted a recommendation to the full board that would define specific aspects of union student committees’ structures.

Also causing consternation in the proposal is a program council that would have among its duties to “formulate general procedures under which union student committees shall operate, and to establish the range of interest of each committee subject to the approval of the Board of Governors.”

Since the “range of interest” and “general procedures” is left undefined, there are many who feel that the non-student members of the board could end up with effective control over the student committees.

The consensus of the board (consisting of faculty and alumni and students) was that since the committees are financed by union funds, that the board should be able to exercise some control over them.

In addition, it was felt by a few that some mechanism should be set up to prevent any group of students from “taking over” a committee and perpetuating itself thereby.

Until now membership in student committees has been open to all, with the chairmen for the following year being chosen by vote from within.

Under the new directive, the chairman of the Board of Governors would appoint certain members from the board to serve with the heads of the various committees as a “selection committee.”

It will be the function of this selection committee to pick the chairman of each committee (editor of Synapse) for the following year.

Included among the affected committees are the Public Affairs Committee, Synapse, the Film Committee and MEDI-CAL.

The concept of a program council (as this “mechanism” is to be called) has been pondered for six of seven years, but the first fruitful attempt to implement the idea came at the first Board of Governors meeting last fall when Union Director Robert Alexander suggested that the board establish a program council to serve as an organizational link between the union board (and staff) and union student committees.