Draft Union Conducts Workshops On Medical and II-A Deferments

The Harvard Draft Union held open workshops last night for students interested in medical school and occupational deferments.

About 35 students attended last night's meeting in the Winthrop Junior Common Room on occupational (II-A) deferments. "At the moment there are no objective criteria for getting II-A deferments," Guy P.R. Metraux, a draft counsellor at 52 Dunster St., told the group.

"Some draft boards have said they aren't giving any II-A's at all," he said. "But most will give you a deferment if you can show that in your occupation you are fulfilling an essential community need."

Teaching Deferments

Most of those who attended the work-shop were interested in teaching deferments. But Nicholas Warren, a teacher in Winchester, urged them not to go into teaching "unless you're really interested in kids and education and doing something to improve it--some-thing far beyond getting yourself out of the draft."


"Teaching is a hell of a hard job," Warren said. "It's frustrating and lonely and the teachers you'll have to work with are some of the most reactionary people in the country."

It is also possible, Metraux added, that after granting a II-A deferment [which runs for a year] "your board may change its mind, decide you are not fulfilling an essential need, and refuse to renew your deferment."

Matraux said that jobs under government contracts are more likely to bring deferment. "I've never heard of anyone working as a computer analyst for the Defense Department not getting a deferment," he said.

VISTA Option

Draft boards are more sympathetic to VISTA volunteers than in the past, he added, "but there is no guarantee you won't be called back for induction a year after they give you a deferment."

At the end of the meeting, Warren invited six of those interested in teaching to a meeting of the Radical Teachers Group--a group of teachers which, Warren said, is working at "radical organizing" within the Boston Teachers' Union.

The workshops were the first of a week-long series. A workshop tonight will focus on service in the armed forces. Draft refusal and jail, conscientious objection, and emigration to Canada will be the subjects of workshops later this week.

Arthur N. Dion '68, who chaired last night's meeting, said that the Quincy House chapter of the Draft Union has received over $200 in response to a letter the chapter sent to all parents of Quincy students. The letter explained the Draft Union's work and asked the parents for help.