The Overseers of Harvard University have received a petition signed by one hundred and twenty well-known New York graduates and other interested persons protesting against the action of the board in granting the president the power of countersigning the diplomas of the graduates of Radcliffe College. Some of the most prominent names among the signatures are: Rt. Rev. Henry C. Potter, Bishop of New York; Rev. Dr. William R. Huntington, Judge Charles P. Daley, Edwin L. Godkin, Richard M. Hunt, Albert Stickney, Hon. Carl Schurz, Joseph H. Choate, George Blagden, William E. Dodge, W. D. Howells, and the Hon. Theodore Roosevelt. The petition is also signed by the members of the New York Committee on Harvard Examinations for Women.
Following is a brief summary of the main points of the petition:
First.- The petitioners believe that if the diplomas of the proposed Radcliffe College should require the signature and seal of the President of Harvard College, the incompetence of the governing body of Radcliffe college to act as a degree-conferring tribunal would there-by be confessed.
Second.- Unless the proposed diploma of Radcliffe College should explicitly state that the degree of Bachelor of Arts therby conferred was equivalent to the degree of A. B. of Harvard College, the signature of the president and the seal of the college would not clearly indicate such equivalence.
Third.- Even if the Radcliffe College degree should explicitly state that the A. B. conferred is equivalent to the degree of A. B. of Harvard College, and if Harvard College is prepared to confirm such a statement, the petitioners are unable to see why the identical degree of Harvard college should not be given to the graduates of Radcliffe.
Fourth.- As no guarantee of the identity of the examinations of Harvard and Radcliffe has been given by Harvard University, the petitioners feel that no general assertion of equivalence in attainment is conclusive and satisfactory.
The petition ends with a mention of the system pursued by several of the largest universities. Columbia, which confers its degrees directly upon the graduates of Barnard College, and the University of Cambridge, England, which admits the women of Girton and Newnham Colleges to the identical examinations of its own students, and confers very specific certificates of degree. In Oxford the same course is followed, while the University of London confers degrees upon women without restriction.