Administrators say that they were not surprised by a Crimson survey this week that showed that an overwhelming majority of students favor adoption of a sex-blind admissions policy.
The poll of 397 undergraduates revealed that support for equal access runs high throughout the college, among all classes and in both sexes.
A majority of undergraduates also said that regardless of the admissions policy adopted, they favor an equal number of men and women at the college. Only 8 per cent said they were satisfied with the present 2.5-to-1 sex ratio.
Thus it appears that while students ideally favor a 1-to-1 male female ratio at the college, they are not willing to go along with a fixed admissions quota to achieve that goal.
Both President Bok and Dean Whitlock said yesterday they were "not surprised" by the findings.
Karl Strauch, professor of Physics and chairman of a committee studying the College's admission policy concurred. "Students favor sex-blind because it is the most philosophically sensible policy," Strauch said.
Strauch speculated that students are rejecting "the fixed boundaries" of quotas. "The trend is toward equal treatment of men and women, towards equal pay and equal access," he said.
Bok said the support for sex-blind admissions shows that students have faith in the admissions process "to look for the most able, talented students independent of sex."
The only sizable support for maintaining the current 2.5-to-1 sex quota came from the men at the River Houses; only a few women anywhere would support the ratio.
Students also overwhelmingly favored merging the admissions offices of Harvard and Radcliffe, and a 63 per cent majority favored complete merger of the two institutions.
While a majority of the men favored complete corporate merger of Harvard and Radcliffe, a plurality of women opposed it.
On the issue of merger, as well as admissions, the men at the River Houses and the women at the Quad emerged as the two most polarized groups in the College.
A group of about one in five of the men at the River Houses favored keeping the present admissions ratio, merging the admissions offices and eliminating the 1-to-1 ratio at the Quad Houses. The group stood out as the one most in opposition to the views of women.
Students also said they are opposed to increasing the size of the college to accommodate increased numbers of women, perferring instead a reduction in the number of men at the College.
The Strauch Committee report, due in February, is expected to propose adoption of sex-blind admissions for the College. The results of the Crimson survey, which will be distributed to the committee, may encourage adoption of the new policy and allow it to claim the the support of the student body. For the administration, the poll is reassuring.