Provost Meets With Gay Group

Students Propose Center for University's Gay Community

Members of the Harvard Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Leadership Council who met with Provost Jerry R. Green yesterday said they were pleased with Green's receptiveness to their request for a center for their community.

The council members said Green made no formal commitment to the establishment of the center.

But they said the provost was sympathetic to the concerns they expressed at the meeting, which was their first with a senior Harvard official since issuing a proposal for the center in February.

"It went very well," said William Meikrantz, a student at the School of Public Health. "[Green] was very attentive and interested and supportive, but didn't promise to build a new building next week."

Neither Green nor Assistant to the President Michael W. Roberts, who also attended the meeting, returned phone calls late yesterday afternoon.

Meikrantz and others present at the session said Green was unaware of the number of organizations for bisexual, gay and lesbian individuals at the University. But they said he seemed interested in learning more about them.

"The provost clearly didn't know very much about the [bisexual, gay and lesbian] community at Harvard," and Professor of Philosophy Warren D. Goldfarb '69.

"He wasn't aware of the rather large number of organizations on campus of the activity that has been going on by way of conferences, lectures and so on, nor in any fine grain detail of the more particular needs of students for outreach and support type activities," Goldfarb said.

"If there could be some sort of a center where students can go and get information [and] if we were visible, then maybe some more people will come out, which I think is a major concern for the undergraduates," said Dennis K. Lin '93 94.

According to the council's February proposal, the center would centralize the administration of events and social services; provide a "safe space" for meetings, social events and protection from harassment; house a library and research institute for the study and maintenance of resources on gender and sexuality studies; include a health education foundation for outreach, peer counseling, AIDS education and the organization of sports leagues for members of the gay community.

Council members said Green expressed some reservations about the financial requirements of the plan. "He brought up the issue of money," Lin said. "He wanted to have some reason why he should support our proposals while they're turning down a lot of other proposals."

They said Green told them he would discuss the matter with President Neil L. Rudenstine, adding that they would likely speak further with either the provost or the president in the near future.

The council members said they did not discuss in detail with Green several other issues mentioned in their February proposal, including the development of a gay and lesbian studies program in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Rebecca M. Wand contributed to reporting this story.