Proposals on Women-'A Lot of Unease'
Despite rumors of Faculty opposition to the Bynum-Walzer proposal-four recommendations of the Committee on the Status of Women slated for discussion at Tuesday's Faculty meeting-members of the Committee are guardedly optimistic about their chances of winning the votes.
"I think it will pass, but I've heard a lot of uneasiness," Caroline W. Bynum, assistant professor of History and committee co-chairman, said yesterday. "I hope that people won't simply assume that it will pass without difficulty and not come to the meeting. A bad turnout itself is a bad thing."
And Michael L. Walzer, professor of Government and Bynum's co-chairman, said, "We're all expecting some opposition. I think it will pass, but I've been wrong before."
All recommendations were approved, 15-1, at last Wednesday's meeting of the Faculty Council.
The proposals-held over from last Tuesday's regularly-scheduled Faculty meeting-stem from the report of the committee released two weeks ago. They have been arranged for approval around four separate points, three of which are expected to meet with some opposition.
The proposals are:
That the Faculty endorse the major conclusion of the Committee on the Status of Women, "that the number of women on the Faculty must be increased," and urge its officers, its department chairmen, and the members of its search committees to work toward that end; and that the Faculty urge the Dean to appoint as soon as possible a Standing Committee on Women to assist in the work of bringing more women onto the Faculty and to report periodically on its success;
That the Faculty recommend the establishment of part-time professorships with full Faculty privileges, appointments which can be made at any of the present professorial ranks subject to... normal appointment procedures and normal academic standards;
That the Faculty recommend that any nontenured professor, full or part-time, who becomes pregnant during her appointment shall be allowed an extension of the appointment for one year for each pregnancy, not to exceed a total of two years;
That the Faculty permit graduate students in all departments who, for valid reasons, cannot carry a full course load to petition to work on a part-time basis, not less than a two-course load per term.
The "major conclusion" mentioned in the first resolution-"that the number of women on the Faculty must be increased"-refers to guidelinesrecommended in the Committee's report: a proposal that the Faculty strive for a percentage of women in its tenured ranks equal to the percentage of women receiving Ph.'D's from Harvard ten years ago (9.6 per cent) and a percentage of women in the nontenured ranks equal to the percentage receiving Ph.D.'s from Harvard today (19 per cent).
The most recurrent opposition to the entire package centers around the wording of this point-specifically around the use of the word "must." However, all other points except point three-the pregnancy leave-are being met with dissatisfaction in some quarters.
"I don't know of anyone who is against the principle of the thing," said Oscar Handlin. Warren Professor of American History and the Faculty member most often mentioned by colleagues as an opponent of the proposed legislation. "There are some questions as to the wording, however. I have raised the question of whether 'must' means 'must' or 'ought to' in regard to the first resolution-the point is to make the motion more effective."
"There seems to be a centain uneasiness about the first piece of legislation, particularly the word 'must'," Bynum said. "The assumption is that we will be forced to hire unqualified women. This should be a non-issue-the whole conclusion of our report is that there are qualified women to hire."
Although Handlin and other objectors to the resolutions-including Bernard Bailyn, Winthrop Professor of History and Andrew M. Gleason, Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy-denied yesterday any organized opposition, supporters expressed on and off-the-record paranoia. "It seems all the opposition to the idea of standing committee comes not just from the lunatic right, but from the sensible right," one Faculty member said.
And Janet M. Martin, assistant professor of Classics, said, "There are people who on principle want women's status improved, but get very nervous when they see the machinery."
"The wording will be broadly questioned, but I don't think anyone is out to subvert the report," Bailyn said. "There are many implications to be tought out." He said there had been "a lot of talk" among Faculty members, but no kind of lobbying or organizational splitting-"there's no ideological division here."
Gleason, a known opponent of the legislation as it stands, also said that he knows of no counter-resolutions. "There's very little in the report that represents any real change." he said. "As the dean says, there's hardly anything that I can't do myself."
Objections to the report-in addition to the word "must"-center around the role of a standing committee, the part-time professorships, and the part-time graduate students. Only the pregnancy leave escapes opposition.
"I don't think anybody is going to fight motherhood," Handlin said.