Although blacks and women may not be getting an even break now when appointments are handed out by Harvard, it looks as though the Federal government is satisfied that the University has a plan to safeguard against future racial and sexual--conscious and unconscious--discrimination.
The Department of Health, Education and Welfare is close to accepting the University's affirmative action plan, HEW regional officers disclosed this week.
Government approval of the program would end a long and expensive effort by the University to meet Federal guidelines regarding non-discriminatory hiring.
But the University's plan is not perfect, at least by HEW standards.
Robert Randolph, an HEW regional officer and chief, said that his department will probably accept Harvard's program "after a few more negotiations," but that HEW will request additional modifications.
Harvard has received no notification of the status of the plan it submitted to HEW August 1. And Randolph said his department's official review of the pro-Harvard's four-volume proposal will not come for at least two weeks.
The plan now under government review is a revised version of Harvard's previous proposal, one that was rejected by HEW in mid-June.
The official Federal rejection cited more than 20 deficiencies, including a lack of departmental target figures for hiring women and minority faculty members, and an anti-nepotism policy which HEW claimed in practice tended to discriminate against wives.
But Randolph said this week that the revised plan is "certainly more comprehensive" than earlier Harvard proposals and that the University had corrected the major deficiencies of its previous plan.
"Harvard has been good about providing us what we requested," Randolph said.