'Non-Merger': Report of Committee On Harvard-Radcliffe Relationships

In April 1970, as a result of discussions with committees of the Faculty of Arts and Selences and after consultation with President Bunting, President Pusey appointed a committee consisting of two Fellows of Harvard College, Francis H. Burr and Hugh Calkins, two Radcliffe Trustees, Mrs. Carl J. Gilbert and Mrs. James Donovan, and President Bunting and himself, ex officio, to advise with respect to the relationship between Harvard and Radcliffe.

The members of the Committee have carefully considered the various reports which have been issued upon this subject in the past year, and have talked with many of those most concerned. We found that, while opinion was sharply divided on some issues, there was substantial agreement on other points, which are included in the conclusions we have reached.

Our basic conclusions can be briefly stated. A total merger of Radcliffe College into Harvard University is not desirable at this time. Most of the advantages of merger can be obtained under the arrangements we propose below. At the same time these arrangements avoid the primary drawbacks, in particular the irrevocable nature of a merger and the loss of flexibility necessary for adjusting to rapidly changing ideas concerning the role of women in the University.


We join the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in its "commitment to the full and equal participation of Radcliffe students in the intellectual and social life of the University." We urge that a similar commitment be made by Harvard for the full and equal participation in the intellectual and social life of the University by women in roles other than as students-as faculty members, as alumnae, and as members of the Governing Boards. We recommend that Radcliffe College stand as a guarantor of progress towards these goals. Harvard and Radcliffe working together can continue to contribute most effectively to this joint endeavor.

There are strong reasons for revising the relationship between the institutions rather than awaiting the selection and settling in of a new President of Harvard: (1) the residence of Harvard students in Radcliffe Houses and dormitories, and vice versa, makes the continued administrative separation of residential services cumbersome and illogical; (2) the savings that can be achieved by the changes we recommend appear to be substantial, and this is not a time to lose sight of important economies: (3) Radcliffe finances are under a severe strain; in the absence of some such arrangement with Harvard as those proposed below, Radcliffe fund raising at a far higher level than previously would be required in the immediate future; (4) the continuing uncertainty of the present situation is upsetting and difficult for the Radcliffe staff and could create major replacement problems in the near future if allowed to continue; and (5) the new Harvard President will be faced with many critical problems at the outset of his administration and it is not in the best interests of Radcliffe or Harvard that he should be forced to deal with this issue immediately.


The Committee makes the following recommendations:

(1) House System at Radcliffe. The Radcliffe Houses and other dormitories should be operated by Harvard under the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as a part of the House system with appropriate consultation or other arrangements with the Dean of Radcliffe. The process, already under way, of establishing in Radcliffe residential facilities a House system comparable to that at Harvard should be completed as soon as the resources can be procured with the help of both Harvard and Radcliffe alumni, alumnae and friends.

Harvard should acknowledge that the necessary fund raising for this project will be a joint Radcliffe-Harvard task and the Harvard Corporation should undertake to advocate to the new President of Harvard a suitably high priority for this joint fund-raising project. This committee recognizes, however, that actual assignment of such priorities must await decision by the new President with the Corporation.

There should be flexibility in the plans in order to accommodate alternatives to or modifications of the House plan which may appear most attractive at the time when the funds become available.

(2) Administration. Continued separation of women into administrative units of their own no longer contributes to the full and equal participation of Radcliffe students in the intellectual and social life of the College. The present administration of Radcliffe should be redefined.

(a) A Dean of Radcliffe should be appointed jointly by the Harvard Governing Boards and Radcliffe Trustees to replace the President. The Dean should be a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the Committee recommends that the new President of Harvard include the Dean as a member of the Council of Deans. He or she would be expected to take a special interest in initiating and extending educational opportunities for women under that Faculty. Women should be represented in appropriate numbers among the House Masters, College Deans, Burr Tutors, and in the various faculties. It would be a responsibility of the Dean of Radcliffe to work with the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to achieve this goal.

(b) The present Radcliffe Dean's office should be replaced by the House Master and Burr Tutor system.

(3) Activities under Dean of Radcliffe College, Certain important activities that relate particularly to women should remain directly under the administration of the Dean of Radcliffe College. These include the career counseling office, the Radcliffe Institute and Research Center, the Schlesinger Library, the Alumnae Office, and such other activities as may be mutually agreed upon by Harvard and Radcliffe. In addition, Radcliffe College should retain for the present its responsibility for admissions and financial aids, both of which will continue to be administered separately from Harvard.

(4) Budget Arrangements. The present income of Radcliffe College from tuition, endowment, current gifts and other sources falls short of its expenses by an amount which will be at least $250,000 in the current fiscal year and will certainly increase as the full impact of recent decisions, especially as to scholarships, is felt. Closing this gap should become a joint responsibility of Harvard and Radcliffe. For its part, Radcliffe should contribute to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences budget all of its income from endowment, current gifts (not given for endowment) and other sources and in addition the percentage of tuition income presently retained by Radcliffe. (Radcliffe's restricted endowment income and gifts to Radcliffe for designated purposes would, of course, be used for the purpose specified.) Radcliffe should also endeavor to increase both endowment and current giving to close the budget gap and meet new needs. For its part, Harvard should use the Radcliffe income to pay the Radcliffe expenses and provide the balance of what is required, pursuant to the following provisions: (1) the budget for activities retained by Radcliffe (including admissions and financial aids) would be reviewed and approved by a committee representing the Governing Boards of each institution and composed of equal numbers from Harvard and Radcliffe; (2) if Radcliffe fund raising in any year should fall below an agreed amount (which might be the 1969-70 level, projected to allow for annual increases based on recent historical experience, if applicable), it would be expected that such a deficit would be reflected in the budget for the activities retained under Radcliffe jurisdiction (financial aids being excepted).

If the University Account (despite its substantial deficit) will absorb the current anticipated annual Radcliffe deficit of approximately $250,000, we believe it possible for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to absorb whatever portion of the anticipated increases in the Radcliffe deficit cannot be met by increased giving and by the savings which would be achieved by some of the changes we recommend.