Students Trying To Convert Congressmen
WASHINGTON (AP)- Hundreds of college students, schooled
in legislative lobby techniques, are popping into Capitol Hill offices and hinting
at a failing grade at the polls for Congressmen flunking their antiwar test.
Encouraged and sometimes accompanied by sympathetic university and college
administrators and faculty, students have come from campuses across the nation
to talk about America's role in Southeast Asia with friends and foes in the
Senate and House.
"We may be able to make some converts," Charles I. Schottland, acting
president of Brandeis University, told more than 500 young men and women from
Eastern schools who jammed into a House hearing room Monday. He said they represented
Rep. Edward I. Koch, D-N.Y., told the students to ask congressmen "what
they are doing in terms of closing out this war now- and tell them if they continue
to support the war you are going to oppose them in their districts" when
they seek re-election. That drew a burst of applause.
At other meeting rooms scattered across Capitol Hill, groups gathered from
such campuses as Yale, California, Virginia and Minnesota universities, plus
a host of smaller schools.
Switching from street demonstrations to lobbying in the halls of Congress,
the students sought out home-state senators and representatives for face-to-face
discussions- some of them private, most of them public.
Many students had done their homework. They were prepared with voting records
and home-district strengths and weaknesses of their congressmen; they had background
information on key resolutions.
They also were boning up on the language of parliamentary procedure to keep
track of measures moving through the legislative process.
Most students concentrated on congressmen publicly uncommitted on such proposals
as halting funds for U.S. operations in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia except for
the withdrawal of American forces.
They received an information kit that contained helpful hints on how to get
around on Capitol Hill-including instructions on eating and tourist facilities.
Yale President Kingman Brewster, among the administrators attending the meetings
with congressmen, said he was pleased by the reception. But, he added, "the
test will be action- not the cosmetics of hospitality."