Harvard May Grant Access To Some Confidential Files

Harvard will accept student requests for access to confidential material now kept in a closed "non-active" file if the requests are accompanied by written statements citing immediate need for the material, Dean Rosovsky said yesterday.

This policy will not guarantee access to confidential material, Daniel Steiner '54, general counsel to the University, said yesterday. It only urges deans of faculties and vice presidents to assist students in attempting to obtain permission from authors of confidential material to return the material to the non-confidential files. If that permission is refused, the material must remain in escrow.

Steiner said the policy--based on his recommendations--was made in response to student complaints about the difficulty of obtaining recommendations for jobs and graduate schools.

Steiner said that Peter S. McKinney, administrative dean of the graduate School of Arts and Sciences, had also brought the matter to his attention.

The students of the Harvard Radical Union who lost the file-related suit against Harvard Sunday also complained of the same difficulty, Steiner said. "I told them I would do something about it, and I have" Steiner said.


The administration is awaiting further action on the Buckley amendment, which granted students 18 or over access to their files. Sen. James L. Buckley (R-N.Y.), who initiated the proposal, and Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.) have agreed to meet to discuss changing or delaying implementation of the bill. Aides of Senator Pell said yesterday that the two senators have not yet met and have made no headway concerning the bill.

Steiner said he expects Congress to act on the bill before the Christmas recess.

The Office of Career Services and Off-Campus Learning (OGCP) has adopted a policy somewhat similar to the administration's.

Joseph P. Healey, counselor in the OGCP, said the office will refuse to accept any information classified as confidential concerning fellowships and scholarships. He said the purpose of the policy is "to insure that there will be no breach of confidence."

The OGCP is also requiring release slips to accompany recommendations for applicants for the Rockefeller, Fisk and DeJersey fellowships, Healey said, because the competition began before the Buckley Amendment went into effect on November 19.

Healey said most of the faculty and administrators have been very co-operative in giving recommendations for fellowships. "The bulk of students have not had difficulty with this, but in getting into the more personal aspects one may encounter difficulty," Healey said.