Now You See It, Now You Don't


The axe fell on the Radcliffe Forum this week when the Board of Trustees voted to cut the entire staff and move its programs to President Horner's jurisdiction.

But women's groups concerned--who protested outside the Trustees' meeting--don't intend to take "no" for an answer and plan to meet today to plan their next move.

Peggy Plympton, staff assistant at the Forum, said yesterday the groups may "ask Harvard to take on its legitimate responsibility" to women by providing some of the services Radcliffe has indicated it cannot afford. "I don't understand how you can continue programs without staff and without funding," she said.

Burton I. Wolfman, Radcliffe administrative dean, said yesterday the college would probably be reluctant to allow Harvard to fund Forum-like activities. "If programs are indeed critical, then it becomes the responsibility of the Radcliffe Trustees to sustain them," he said.

Horner has said the cuts will not affect any Forum programs and that one assistant dean will take charge of the projects. "There's no place else where without cutting programs you can get that kind of saving," she said.

The Forum office will remain open until the end of June, but at that time the ten staff members will have to find other jobs.

Radcliffe has guaranteed the staff equivalent positions within the college, but Forum staff said yesterday no positions are really equivalent to the work the Forum does.

"I don't think it looks good on your resume to say that you were brought in to start a program and the program closed down," Plympton said.

"As soon as they offer me the job and I turn it down, I'm fired," Mindy Fivush, a secretary at the Forum who began working there in November, said yesterday. "I feel that I had certain plans about what would be happening in my future. I didn't expect the Forum to close," she added.

Wolfman said yesterday the college will save $90,000 in salaries, adding that the Forum cuts are only one of a number of measures his office has taken to reduce a projected $300,000 deficit.

The college will pay an assistant dean a salary "in the high teens or low twenties" to administer the Forum's programs, Wolfman said, adding that the Bunting Institute and Schlesinger Library--which are also feeling the budget pincers--as well as the Seminar Office will take over some projects.

Carole G. Williams '83, a member of the Student Advisory Committee to the Forum, said yesterday the Forum benefits undergraduate women by keeping them "plugged into the women's studies program," as well as providing support for graduate students, who, as section leaders and teaching assistants, often provide undergraduates with a feminist perspective they might not otherwise see.

Williams said the Women's Clearinghouse operates with money from Harvard and from the Radcliffe Union of Students, but without organizational help from the Forum, starting the clearinghouse "would probably have been impossible."