President Bok said last night he will "reserve public judgement" on possible new admissions policies until after reviewing the report of the committee on admissions he and President Horner will appoint within several weeks.
Bok said it would be the "height of disrespect [to the committee] to deliver in advance what my views are" and said he had tried in a speech on admissions Nov. 9 not to indicate his personal preferences.
Bok said that nothing in his speech had contradicted his desire not to make his opinions on admissions policies a matter of public record. He said that such comments would tell the committee what he wants the outcome of the deliberations to be.
Several administrators at the speech said yesterday the president's speech had left the impression he personally favors a sex-blind, or "equal access" policy.
They also said Bok insisted in that speech to the biannual conference of the Schools and Scholarship Committee, that the committee should consider all options and not be prejudiced by the opinions of high-level administrators.
Alberta S. Arthurs, dean of Radcliffe admissions and women's education, said yesterday, "It did seem to me that equal access is the one he finds most attractive" and the one he "seemed to speak about the most enthusiastically." According to Arthurs, Bok also said sex-blind admissions is "perhaps inevitable."
Seamus P. Malin, director of the Harvard Financial Aid Office, said yesterday that Bok had indicated a personal preference toward moving to a sexblind policy. "That's certainly the impression I got," he said.
Other members of the administration have also said in the last week that Bok favors a sex-blind policy. One high-level administrator said he believes Bok has already "made up his mind what he thinks," and another said Bok "uses the term 'equal access' a lot, so obviously he's in favor of it."
Bok said he hopes to receive the committee's report within a year, and he will not be reticent to express his opinions on admissions after reading the report. "I can't say my mind on the issue is empty," he added, however.
The committee on admissions will be "in the neighborhood of 15," Bok said, and it will include Faculty, students, alumni and members of the Governing Board. Bok said the committee will receive whatever time it needs to "fully explore and exhaust the issues."
President Horner said last Friday she favors sex-blind admissions and would advocate an increase in the number of women in the College if other changes take place. However she added that the report of the committee will be "very important in shaping my thinking."
L. Fred Jewett '57, dean of Harvard admissions and financial aid, said Friday he believes Harvard "will and ought to" move toward a sex-blind policy.