The Harvard Varsity Club opened its doors to a women's team for the first time yesterday to regale the Radcliffe Field Hockey varsity with roast beef at their pre-opener lunch.
Barbara Matson '75, the team's goalie and captain, arranged the pre-game meal. Asked if it was difficult to organize, she groaned, "Oooh, boy! Bureaucratically, it was very difficult. But, basically, everyone was nice all along the way. The main problem was financing the meal."
The funds for the 14 meals are coming from the newly merged Harvard and Radcliffe athletic departments, although the alumni-controlled Varsity Club is a separate organization from the Athletic Department.
However, once the Executive Committee of the Club okayed the women's lunches, Robert B. Watson, director of Athletics, allocated the money. "It takes time, but we are trying to bring about equality between Harvard and Radcliffe sports," Watson said yesterday. "Allowing women to have pre-game meals would be another step."
Because there are eight Radcliffe varsity teams, pre-game lunches are an expensive proposition. As of now, the women do not have every day eating privileges, Alice G. McCabe, assistant coordinator of Sports at Radcliffe said yesterday.
McCabe said that women will be able to have daily lunches at the Club if it is found they will use the facilities regularly.
Matson said that she felt the opportunity should be offered. "The women shouldn't be expected to attend every day, just as the men shouldn't," she said.
Admission to the Club has always been dependent on having a Harvard varsity letter, Matson said. Radcliffe varsity sports still grant Radcliffe letters and the merging of the departments has not included merging of either awards or facilities.
Glenn Whitman '74, a member of the squash team, said yesterday he felt that playing a varsity sport is sufficient for admission. "The Club should be exclusive in terms of people who play varsity sports, not in terms of male/female."
Other varsity sportsmen were not so eager to welcome women to their Club. Ric LaCivita '74, a soccer player, said, "I don't really like it. No, not at all. It would just make things so proper."
Mike O'Malley '74, had mixed feelings "My first reaction, being the traditionalist I am, is 'disgusting,'" he said. "But then, when I think about it, I'd have to say the girls have a right to be there."
The women uniformly said they enjoyed their first Varsity Club meal. Ada Fan '75, a first-team substitute, said that the club was not really as ritzy as she had anticipated. "But the ice cream sure was good!" she added.
The female athletes sat together and "were ignored by the other members," Karen Linsley '77, said after the meal. But eating at the Varsity Club did have its effect.
As the women left the Varsity Club, Matson said, "Well girls. You are now officially jocks."
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