Jack Vaughn, director of the Peace Corps, last night denied charges that the Peace Corps has lost its old idealistic fervor and joined the 'establishment;' "We are a free speech movement," he asserted.
Vaughn, speaking at Burr Hall, claimed that the Peace Corps has complete autonomy from the State Department. "If we become doctrinaire, we're all through," he said.
The point is, said Vaughn, to promote peace through personal "confrontation" with the "one and a half billion people in the world who are completely out of it"--economically and socially.
As for charges that the Peace Corps is a haven for draft dodgers, Vaughn merely said, "we don't question what the source of motivation is"--as long as the qualifications are there.
Vaughn claimed that 94 per cent of the volunteers "love" the Peace Corps. The six per cent who do not "become journalists or go to Capital Hill--and I'm glad the numbers aren't reversed," said Vaughn at a press conference yesterday afternoon.
Continuing in a statistical vein, he noted only one-tenth of one per cent of eligible Peace Corps men have had trouble with their draft boards. If that happens, said Vaughn, all the Corps officials--and in one case even the King of Nepal--write to the boards and General Hershey saying "you can't do that." This policy has been successful, he said.
Vaughn stressed the flexibility of the Peace Corps administration, pointing out that Peace Corps training "no longer has the boot camp aspect."
One training reform he mentioned is the "LST" program, Language Submersion Training, which demands ten hours a day, six days a week of language practice for a month. It works better than the former less intensive method--and any thing that works is okay with the corps administration, said Vaughn.
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