Brass Tacks Coed Housing
ALTHOUGH coed housing seems to have bogged down into a morass of polls and proposals going nowhere, there should be some major breakthroughs by the end of next month.
One of the main problems of the situation has been a general lack of communication on all levels, from President Pusey on down. With the exception of mildly disorganized student committees at Lowell and East Houses, however, this is no longer true. In the past few weeks, the proposals have been approved by pivotal committees, and Faculty approval may be less than a month away.
As of today, four Masters from Harvard and Radcliffe have proposed to President Pusey two exchanges for next semester: between Adams and South (Barnard, Briggs, Bertram, and Mabel Daniels) and Winthrop and North (Holmes. Moors, and Cosmetic). Each of these would involve up to 100 students-50 from each campus-in a one-semester "experimental exchange," East House (Cabot, Whitman, and Eliot) is working on two exchanges. A Lowell-East swap may be proposed before the end of the month, and the Cliffies are also sounding out Duster on its willingness to go coed.
No matter what happens with these proposals for next semester, coed housing will probably become a large-scale reality within the next two years. A Faculty subcommittee chaired by Jerome Kagan, is investigating all aspects of coed housing before and after the merger goes through. They will make recommendations on how many houses should go coed, the ratios of men to women in coed housing, and many other detailed aspects of coed housing. Kagan will present a preliminary report to the Faculty in December or February.
The target date for the merger is September, 1970. Supposedly Curlier House, Radcliffe's fourth and fanciest house, will be completed at that time. Currier is looked on as a major step toward coed housing. Its separate entries and general comfort (similar to Mabel Daniels) will make it easier to attract men to Radcliffe. Unfortunately, as Mather House has taught us, it may be September, 1971, before Currier is actually fit for habitation. So far, however, Currier is on schedule.
President Pusey stated last Spring that coed housing would be impossible without complete merger. Harvard now has jurisdiction over Radcliffe students only in the classrooms, while total legal responsibility elsewhere belongs to Radcliffe. In a speech last month. Pusey softened his stand and said that coed housing would be possible "without complete merger." Since then, students have shifted full gear on coed plans. "We're acting as if the President of the University didn't exist," one coed housing planner said recently.
The two proposals already made do not mention any changes that would give Harvard legal jurisdiction over the Cliffies living in Harvard houses. They do, however, specify that these women would still be responsible to the Radcliffe administration in terms of academics and discipline. Harvard men living at Radcliffe would also remain under their senior tutors' jurisdiction.
PUSEY broke a long silence on the coed exchanges last week when he privately said he would give the proposals to Dean Ford to work out with the Faculty as he saw fit. President Pusey justifiably wants the Faculty's stamp of approval on any exchange-even an experimental one.
Ford will probably consult two Faculty committees before bringing the matters to the floor: the Kagan Committee and the Committee on Houses. The Kagan Committee has already considered the Winthrop-North and Adams-South exchanges and approved of both (they are almost identical in content). Although the Committee on Houses has not approved the plans, it has informally agreed not to oppose them.
Right now, the major roadblock to bringing the proposed experimental exchanges to a Faculty vote seems to be the Lowell-East House exchange. Lowell students will be taking a poll in their House this week to determine how many are in favor of coed housing. If, as expected, this percentage is great enough to convince Master Stewart that it is worth making a proposal to the Faculty, Lowell and East House will start work in carnets on an exchange plan.
Proponents of the exchanges feel that it would be politically wiser to present all three exchanges to the Faculty at once, rather than at different meetings. Liller has said that the latest these exchanges could be approved in time to implement them next semester would be early December. Students who are moving still have to be picked, room assignments must be changed at Radcliffe to give men whole floors in the dorms, and a lot of red tape must be overcome.
LOWELL and East House would do well to model their exchange closely after the two already proposed to assure its speedy committee approval before going with the other two to what should be an easy approval by the Faculty. The exchanges backers stress that these are experimental exchanges, not in any way binding for future years. They also feel that these small-scale exchange will point out any unforeseen problems in coed housing which could be remedied before coeducation is started on a large scale after the merger.
Harvard classrooms fell to women in 1943, the CRIMSON went progressively during the '50's, then there was the diploma in 1962, Lamont in 1966, and, with luck, the hallowed Harvard Houses will finally fall-officially-in 1970.