Issues of the Day
The peace from a relatively quiet year in campus race relations was disturbed last May when students picketed the Freshman Dean's Office, protesting the decision to with draw University support for minority and women's activities during Freshman Week But while the immediate issue sparking the outburst was the events it soon became clear that broader issues lay under the surface. The demonstrations led to more general complaints about University policy such as the veto of the Third World Center, and insufficient minority professors and administrators which add up to a feeling on the part of some minority students that Harvard simply does not care about them.
The strongest opposition to University policies on minority issues has traditionally come from Blacks-- a discontent that may be prompting fewer Black students to register at all. The number of Black students accepting Harvard's offer of admission has dropped sharply in recent years, falling from 73 percent to 53 percent over the past three classes.
While enrollment of other minority groups has increased or remained stable they all joined with Black undergraduates to form a Third World Alliance last spring.
Among the priorities for the alliance this fall is to strengthen the Harvard Foundation an administrative office created to improve campus race relations in lieu of a Third World Center Many minority students have opposed the Foundation and several Black student groups actually boycotted the office last fall Nevertheless, other minority groups have worked with the office which handed out more than $15,000 in funding last year.
Minority issues also flared up at the Law School last year where minority students protested the small number of minority faculty members. The first, and most publicized outburst came when Black law students group decided to boycott a civil rights course taught by two prominent civil rights professors chagrin that the course should be led by a tenture-track minority professor And in the spring 40 students staged a demonstration outside the deans office to demand that the University hire a Black Law professor passed over by the school's tenure committee.
Although the number of women admitted to the College continues to rise--a record 43 percent of the incoming class is female--many women undergraduates say Harvard offers them only a second-class citizenship.
Under the merger/nonmerger agreement signed in 1977, Radcliffe College abdicated control of undergraduate life on a day-by-day basis, leaving most policy decisions on women's issues in the hands of Harvard administrators. And women activists, largely under the auspices of the all-female student government, the Radcliffe Union of Students, have frequently voiced their dissatisfaction with administration sensitivity to women's concerns.
Traditional sticking points have been the low number of women administrators and tenured faculty, Harvard's largely nonexistent women's studies program and University policy on sexual harassment.
In the wake of a widely publicized harassment case involving a woman undergraduate and a visiting professor, the University last year reviewed its sexual harassment policy. After a year of debate in the Faculty Council, Dean of the Faculty Henry Rosovsky issued an open letter defining harassment and outlining "unacceptable" faculty conduct. While pleased with the University's first major acknowledgement of the seriousness of the issue, RUS leaders say the College must still outline specific penalties for harassers, and stream-line the complaint process for victims.
This fall, the College will take up another longstanding women's issue--women's studies. Harvard has steadfastly rejected proposals for a separate women's studies department, instead insisting that those courses should be integrated into all the departments. Although several students have petitioned to concentrate in women's studies as a special concentration, none of these requests have been granted.
Dean of the Faculty Henry Rosovsky has approved in principle a joint-tenure position in women's studies and another, probably in the social sciences. The Faculty Council will determine the specifics this fall.
For the last decade, the manner in which Harvard invests its large endowment has continued to be a source of controversy on campus. Student activists have been continually attacked the University's investments in American companies that have business interests in the apartheid country of South Africa. These divestiture advocates argue the that University should sell its stock in those companies in those companies both for moral reasons and as a symbolic message against the apartheid regime. However, President Bok has defended the University's policy, saying that Harvard can most effectively fight apartheid by maintaining a shareholder's voice in those companies with interests there and that the University owns such a small percentage of the total company stock that selling it would not make that big a difference.
Proponents of divestiture have always been frustrated in their efforts to try to sway the University In 1972. Harvard's primary governing board, the seven-member Corporation, created a student-faculty-alumni committee called the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (ACSR) Some, however, have charged that the ACSR has had no influence on the Corporation, but has only deflected student from the board. In fact, it was massive student protests in 1978 that forced the only change in University policy on investments in South Africa. The Corporation said then that Harvard would divest from banks that lent money directly to the apartheid regime. The ACSR, on the other hand, has tried without any success to force the University to sell shares in companies whose South African operations fail to meet the Sullivan Principles, minimum wage, and fair labor standards. Earlier this year, it tied on a vote recommending that the University completely divest.
This spring, a group of seniors decided that an effective way to influence the University was holding it by its endowment. They established a fund, apart from the University's regular senior gift, to be held in a trust until Harvard divests itself completely from companies doing business in South Africa. The so-called Endowment for Divestiture raised $7000 from seniors, received the support of a number of noteworthy alumni and political figures as well as several faculty members. Under the leadership of this year's group of seniors and an entire year to organize, the fund could become a major player in divestiture efforts.
The ACSR, however, will be losing most of its most liberal members and should be quite dormant this fall as the new people familiarize themselves with the different issues. Once it does get going, though, it is likely to press the Corporation on the statement spokesman Hugh Calkins '45 made that Harvard does not look at any ethical factors (i.e., labor conditions, wages) before it invests in companies. Calkins, after ACSR members attacked that policy, said that the Corporation would investigate the feasibility of pre-screening companies before the University buys shares in them.
Student divestiture proponents, especially the South African Solidarity Committee, will likely monitor administration policies and will continue a series of demonstrations and candlelight vigils as in past years. A different kind of protest occurred in May when several students and one faculty member fasted for seven days in an attempt to force Harvard to divest Predictably, the University did not budge.
Although South African investments are the center of attention, the ACSR has made recommendations on other stocks. The Corporation agreed with its suggestion to abstain on company shareholder resolutions which deal with nuclear weapons but has not acted on their recommendation to divest from Philip Morris because the company makes cigarettes.
In 1980, then President Jimmy Carter declared that fit males, upon reaching the age of 18, must go to the Post Office and send the Selective Service a postcard. To enforce the order, the Justice Department last summer started a largely symbolic effort to prosecute violators. This past year, the government added a more practical and widesweeping measure--withholding federal financial aid to those non-registrants going to college.
The aid provision passed through Congress last summer, and was originally scheduled to have gone into effect for the 1983-84 school year. But in March a district court judge in Minnesota ruled that the law was unconstitutional because it violated a student's rights for a fair trial and against self-incrimination, and it seemed that the government would have to postpone implementation for at least a year until the U.S. Supreme Court could make the final judgement on the law's constitutionality.
In June, however, the Court issued an indefinite stay allowing the Department of Education to go ahead with the law until the justices can make a final decision after they return from their summer recess.
Several schools, including Yale and Dartmouth, have announced policies to make up lost aid. Harvard has not yet announced an official policy, but it has been somewhat forceful in its opposition to the Solomon Amendment. University General Counsel Daniel Steiner told the Education Department that there are "substantial constitutional questions" posed by the law and Dean of the Faculty Henry Rosovsky hinted that Harvard would provide non-registrants affected by the law with market rate loans and jobs in place of with-held federal funds.
Students have been relatively quiet on the issue throughout, the year with the exception of an October concert/rally held outside Memorial Church and a resolution that passed the Undergraduate Council calling for the University to make up aid to non-registrants.
It is unclear how many Harvard students have registered. The Selective Service estimates that 96 percent of all eligible males have signed up nationally.
The law has created nightmares for admissions officers who, on the prompting of the Supreme Court, have had to implement the guidelines on six days' notice. After the Court decision June 24, the Education Department told colleges that by August I they had to have indications from students receiving federal financial aid that they have registered before the money can be legally disbursed.
This hasty implementation procedure has forced Harvard's admission office to send out special forms to students. But College Financial Aid Director James S. Miller has said that he fears that many students will be away and not are the forms and to will be ineligible for federal aid. He anticipates that admission officers will have to track down students when they return in September.
Some students choose to adopt the ivory tower approach to attending Harvard confining themselves to the University environs and taking no notice of the real world during their four years here. An encornous university like Harvard however cannot afford that isolation; instead is very aggressive in making its voice heard in both federal and state government.
Harvard's interest in government goings-on exists for two major reasons. Firstly, as a major research university its scientists and scholars rely extensively on government monies to support their work. Secondly a large portion of the discussed legislation both on Capitol Hill and the State House often can have a direct hearing on atleast one of Harvard's 10 schools. Harvard employs three full-time people to take care of its interests in Washington. D C--the most of any university--and one to minor state affairs.
Faculty along with staffers from the Office of Sponsored Research seek our grants from different federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanies. The Reagan Administration's first budget in 1981 made severe cuts across the board in research funding Recently however, science has regained prominence and money from a government which is now worrying about our technological inferiority both economically and military's. The administration asked for funding increases up to 15 percent for science research in the upcoming fiscal year and proposed separate percent for science education and futuristic defense projects. Funding, however, for the social sciences and the humanities, has continued to fall.
One specific bill that Harvard focused on recently was one aimed at limiting the flow of illegal aliens from Mexico and the Carnbean. The measure as originally proposed would have also limited the number of foreign students and scholars from other countries that coult come to-Harvard Secing that those parts of the bill could have a detrimental effect on the University, governmental relations officials worked hard with other schools putting pressure on Congressmen to delete the harmful sectors of the bill. When it pussed the Senaine in June, most of those parts had indeed been excised.
Harvard, in the past couple of years has also begun to keep an eye on state government University officials have worked with state government leaders, many of whom served as faculty in Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. But a couple of box local ressues have given them troubles such as anima' resting at the Medical School, and the toxic that other researchers produce in then work.
One Harvard professor has computed the selection of tenured professors in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to the canonization of a saint. He is not too far off. The search for and appointment of scholars to Harvard's chairs and other permanent position is one of the most exacting negating and in the view of some critics, impractical in all of academia.
On the face of it, things are not that complicated. The thrust of the tenure system administrators have said, is to ensure the widest possible effort to recruit the very best in a given field. To this end, an elaborate system of checks and balances in place since the 1930s, has been created regard against "insidership" and to make sure candidates are judged strictly on their merits as scholars and teachers, not their political skills. (Some professors maintain, however, that the tenure process in certain departments have mailed the budget process on Capitol Hill).
Tenured professional searches at Harvard are authorized by the dean of the Faculty. Henry Rosovsky, after consultations with the department in question and the budget office. Senior positions in most of Harvard's 40-odd departments open up every couple of years depending on the complicated calculations of the so-called Graustein rule, a mathematical formula that determines the number of annual appointments a department most make to remain at its current sure, factoring in the average stay of a tenured professor at Harvard Adherence to the rule is not rigors new fields in certain deciplines develop that merit an extra appointment, and departments often want to make appointments ahead of schedule when they