Child Care Group Writes Memo to Council of Deans Against Unilateral Action

The Harvard-Radcliffe Steering Committee on Child Care criticized the Council of Deans for taking "unilateral action" in the day care issue in a memorandum sent to the deans on Monday.

"This kind of unilateral action on the part of the Council of Deans seems contrary to the assumption of good faith and mutuality of concern that has sustained and motivated the Steering Committee," the memorandum read.

The Steering Committee, created at the direction of President Pusey last fall, sent the memorandum to "seek clarification" about the Council's views regarding the standing and function of the Steering Committee since it is concerned about the poor communication between the two groups.

Edward S. Gruson, assistant to the President for Community Affairs and creator of the group, said last night, "I don't agree with the statement. The Council responds directly and promptly to the group.

"I represent the Committee to the Council of Deans and the Council to them," he added.

The Steering Committee wrote the memorandum at its meeting last Thursday night after learning-"ex post facto" -that the Council of Deans had solicited a "preliminary proposal from Children's World. Inc., for the 'Establishment of a Model Educational Day Care Program within the Harvard University Community,'" the memorandum said.

The Committee-with a strong preference for loosely federated small child care programs-is opposed to the "super market models now being promoted by commercial entrepreneurs."

The Steering Committee has also requested that the University help subsidize University employees who can'tafford the full tuition fee to send their children to the Memorial Church Day Care Center. The Center-which is partially financed by the University-has reserved a third of its 30 places for the children of Harvard employees.

"The $30 cost for full-time tuition is prohibitive to many employees especially if there is more than one child in the family," Lori Stokes, a member of the Steering Committee, said yesterday.

Yesterday, in response to the request Gruson asked Edward W. Powers, manager of Personnel, to submit a recommendation about the possibilities for such a subsidy.

"I am exploring the issue. It is a complicated question of money and of priorities in this time of financial difficulty," Powers said yesterday.

Last fall, Harvard had refused to subsidize day care, deciding that it was primarily a community rather than a University responsibility. Powers said, adding, "If the University decides to subsidize the Memorial Church group it would be setting a precedent which could potentially involve much money."