President Pusey has turned down a proposal for coeducational housing submitted by Mrs. Mary I. Bunting, President of Radcliffe, Bruce Chalmers, Master of Winthrop House, and Jerome S. Bruner, Master of Currier House, the new Radcliffe dormitory scheduled to open in September, 1970.
Chalmers and Bruner had agreed on a plan to let Cliffies take over one of the two buildings of Winthrop House and open two of the four buildings of Currier House to boys. The arrangement was to have been permanent, not experimental, Chalmers said.
Pusey turned down the proposal in telephone conversations with the people involved, Bruner said. Pusey was firm in his position that no Harvard-Radcliffe coeducation plans are possible until Radcliffe is administratively a part of Harvard, according to Chalmers and Bruner.
But Bruner said he is "certain that once Harvard is convinced that Radcliffe is moving towards merger" coeducation plans will go into effect. Plans will have to be agreed on within the next year in order to have boys in Currier House when it opens, Bruner added.
Bruner said he is "puzzled" that any experiment short of merger is impossible under present arrangements. He said it is possible Radcliffe will make an "unambiguous sign," such as putting Currier House under Harvard disciplinary regulation, in the future.
"Whereas Harvard would like coeducation, Radcliffe needs it," Chalmers said. He predicted Radcliffe might have difficulty competing with Yale and Princeton when they are fully coed. But Chalmers stressed that he, Bruner, and Mrs. Bunting had started discussing coeducation in September, before Yale and Princeton had acted.
Mrs. Bunting declined comment on coeducation, merger or any communications from Pusey.
Both Chalmers and Bruner stressed that more student pressure may be necessary to speed up plans for coed housing. They agreed that progress will come faster if different houses are allowed to move toward coeducation at their own paces.