Radcliffe Union of Students Will Fund Undergraduate Lesbian Organization
The Radcliffe Union of Students (RUS) this week voted during its annual budget consideration to provide $350 out of a 1977-78 budget of about $11,000 to the Radcliffe Lesbians, a group of gay women.
RUS members who attended the Monday evening budget meeting said yesterday there was virtually no opposition to the grant, not to any of the other budget recommendations made by the RUS executive board.
About 15 women regularly attend the meetings of the gay group, Sarah Rabkin '79, a member of the organization, said Tuesday. Radcliffe Lesbians is a study group sponsored by the women's center until this year, she said.
"Special Needs" Claimed
Another member of the lesbians' organization, who asked not to be identified, said the group approached RUS for funding because "we're quite a large number of Radcliffe women, and we have special needs because of the climate we live in," just as black women do.
RUS also gives financial support to the Association of Black Radcliffe Women.
The group is only informally connected with the Harvard-Radcliffe Gay Students Association (HRGSA), and the lesbian organization decided to request RUS money in part to establish a gay group without the male predominance that has characterized the HRGSA, Rabkin said.
Mary E. Stokes '78, RUS treasurer, said yesterday the issue raised little discussion at the budget meeting because the lesbian group "seems a very natural thing for a women's organization to support."
She added, however, that the granting of RUS funds to the gay organization is "a touchy issue. It's possible people didn't want to speak up about it because the executive board supported it."
The funding in effect confers university status on the group, she said.
Cornelia Worsely '79, a Winthrop House RUS representative, said yesterday she voted for the funding because she thinks whatever personal objections she may have about lesbianism do not merit isolating lesbians from the Radcliffe community.
She added that the issue raised basic questions about the representative nature of RUS, because if RUS house representatives had consulted their constituents about the funding of the lesbian group before the meeting, there might have been opposition to the grant.