A recent debate sparked by the Undergraduate Council has arisen concerning the diplomas of Harvard-Radcliffe undergraduates. Currently, the diplomas male undergraduates receive are signed by the University president, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Dean of Harvard College and their house masters; the diplomas women receive are signed by the same people except Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis' 68 in whose place is the signature of Radcliffe President Linda S. Wilson.
The bill endorsed by the council and sent to Dean Lewis, which he may sign or "veto," calls for his signature to appear on the diplomas of all undergraduates.
As it stands, our diplomas are different from one another, but we all attend Harvard College. We live together, we study together and we participate in many of the same extracurricular activities. For this reason, Dean Lewis' signature must appear on the diplomas of both men and women.
We encourage Lewis to sign the council bill and begin the process of renegotiating the relationship between Harvard and Radcliffe as required under the 1977 agreement. In this agreement, Radcliffe turned over the education of female undergraduates to Harvard and determined which signatures would appear on all diplomas.
If signed by Dean Lewis, the council bill will force the overdue discussion of the role of Radcliffe on campus.
Whether through Schlesinger Library, the Bunting Institute, the Lyman Common Room, Radcliffe Union of Students or Agassiz Theater to name a few, Radcliffe is a large presence on campus for women. President Wilson's signature should appear on the diplomas females receive, although it is unnecessary for it appear on the diplomas men receive.
A diploma is simply a symbolic gesture that represents to the outside world the experience we have had. Female undergraduates are enrolled in Harvard College, and must be recognized as such by the addition of the Dean of the College's signature on their diplomas.
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