Woman Brings Charges Against B-School Club
The Harvard Business School Club of New York has been called to appear before a New York City commission today on charges of discrimination against women in the club's job counseling services.
Suzanne S. Paul, a 1961 graduate of a now-defunct Business School program for women, brought charges against the club and its director of placement, Carl R. Boll, after he refused to admit her to an October 22 meeting of about 30 men discussing job placement. The City Commission on Human Rights will hold a fact-finding hearing on the incident this morning.
Boll, who has counseled Business School graduates free of charge for more than 30 years, said yesterday that he discusses job problems with women individually, but does not allow them to attend meetings he conducts every Thursday evening.
The Sensitive Age
"These are very sensitive meetings for older men. Many of them are 50 or 60 years old and it becomes a problem for men to open up even before men. The men don't want women there," he said. Young male graduates are also eligible for the meetings.
Officials at the Business School have stated that the club is independent of the University but that they disapprove of Boll's exclusion of women.
"Dean [Lawrence E.] Fouraker and I didn't know about this practice until after Mrs. Paul brought charges. We have urged that the placement service be made available on the same-not just [separate but] equal-basis," John O. Whitney, the School's Associate Dean for External Affairs, said yesterday.
He said that he has instructed the school's job-placement office not to refer any graduates to the New York club until the service is changed. Whitney added that the School has both telephoned and written other large HBS clubs to make sure that they are treating women equally.
The Club itself, which relies heavily on volunteer services such as Boll's, also stated it was unaware of Boll's position, although the School has offered programs for women since 1937. "The first I heard of it was at a women's liberation program we held in early November where Mrs. Paul spoke," Stephen H. Baum, assistant to the president of the club, said yesterday.
Baum said that the club's board of directors will "consider at its meeting next week if the club will have its own counseling service, which would be an equal one" if Boll refuses to admit women to his "Thursday Evening Club."
The club is telling all callers asking information about the counseling service "that the service is being reviewed right now," Baum added.
The club and Boll-the two parties named in Paul's complaint-have evidently not worked with each other on today's presentation, Baum said the club will inform the Commission that it will "very reluctantly disassociate itself" from Boll if he does not admit women.
Boll, on the other hand, said, "The whole problem is whether it's discriminatory for a private non-profit organization to be under the Commis-sion's jurisdiction." He added that he had information that Paul was not officially an alumna because she had not filed out forms after her one-year program that would have listed her among the alumni.
Paul graduated in 1961 from the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration, a program giving women the equivalent of first-year B-School courses. Since 1961, she has worked in the Indiana University administration, as a legislative assistant to Sen. Birch Bayh (D-Ind.), and on the Commission on Civil Disorders.
When she moved to New York this fall, she contacted the Business School Club about job counseling and was referred to Boll's Thursday meetings.
"When I went to the session, Mr. Boll told me that I could not come in, that I could not sit down. Even after I outlined my affiliation with Harvard, other credentials and job history, Boll told me that I could not attend because I was a woman," Paul said.
She added that, during a heated discussion with Boll, none of the men present spoke up for her and one winked at her as she left.
Baum said that he offered to help Paul in finding a job. "I'm not interested in an individual settlement for myself. I want to see an end to all policies of discrimination against women in the Harvard Business Club and at the Business School," she said.
"Should I stop 500 or more men a year from coming to me because some woman wants to bulldoze her way into my meetings?" Boll said. "It isn't Mrs. Paul who's making a case of this-it's Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. They're making money out of these issues."