Equalizing Harvard's Admissions

Early this morning the Harvard-Radcliffe Admissions Office mailed 2125 of its handwritten acceptance certificates to the students who were admitted for the Class of 1981 in an all-time low male-female ratio of 1.8-to-1.

Last year the ratio dropped from 1975's 2.3-to-1 to 1.9-to-1 and this year--the second under the sex blind equal access policy--shows a continuing trend towards a more balanced sex ratio at the College, Mary Anne Schwalbe '55, director of admissions, said this week.

She said that the movement toward an equal male-female ratio will be "gradual, maybe a percentage point a year. It'll take a couple more years for us to get a 1.5-to-1 ratio and it will probably level off there."

William R. Fitzsimmons '67, director of admissions, seems even more optimistic. "Since 50 per cent of graduating high school seniors are women, until you are at that 1-to-1 range you are not getting the best people into the pool," he said yesterday.

Fitzsimmons said he expects the Class of 1981, men and women, to match last year's 75 per cent acceptance yield. All other Ivy League schools had yields less than 60 per cent last year.

So far, the admissions staff and members of the administration have reported no protest against the admission of more women this year.

Even the alumni, who have traditionally opposed any cut in the number of men admitted to the College and many of whom expressed anger with last year's totals, seem to have accepted the ideal, if not the fact, of a trend toward 1-to-1 admissions, L. Fred Jewett '57, dean of admissions, said yesterday.

However, not everyone with influence in the matter will admit what appears to be the inevitable.

"I'm surprised at 1.8 and I guess if it went any further it would bother me," Alan O. Dann '55, chairman of the Committee on Schools and Scholarships of the Association of Harvard Alumni, said this week. "But I think it's levelling out--we'll see 1.8-or 1.9-to-1 from now on," he added.

The Committee to Review Equal Access released a report last week stating that the Harvard-Radcliffe admissions merger and the equal access admissions policy were both implemented with relatively little difficulty and that equal access "seems to have been the necessary final step in the full inclusion of women into every aspect of university undergraduate life."

As Alan H. Hammerman '55, chairman of the Schools and Scholarships Committee for the Harvard-Radcliffe Clubs of Chicago, said this week, "As much as I may be a male chauvanist, I do not think they are doing anything wrong at Admissions.