Compliance Office Investigates University's Affirmative Action

The Federal Office of Contract Compliance is investigating the validity of a complaint charging that Harvard's affirmative action plan is inadequate.

The complaint, registered by the Eastern Massachusetts chapter of the National Organization of Women, says the plan "is poor in itself and widely violated," Delda H. White, Radcliffe director of publications and a NOW member, said Tuesday.

The complaint is the fifth NOW has filed with federal agencies about the affirmative action plan and the third it has filed with the Department of Labor, which instructed the compliance office to undertake the investigation.

Gerald Reidy, regional director of the Department of Labor, said yesterday that the investigation is "at this moment purely internal" and that the compliance office is reviewing the Harvard plan. He would not comment further on the investigation.

If the compliance office decides the NOW complaint is valid, it will conduct a full review to determine whether Harvard is following federal affirmative action guidelines.


The usual channel for affirmative action complaints is the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, but White said HEW refused earlier this year to consider NOW's complaint.

White would not release a copy of the complaint, but she said it charges that Harvard's departmental goals and timetables are "poor" and that University hiring, training, and grievance procedures do not live up to the plan's promises.

Walter J. Leonard, special assistant to President Bok, was unavailable for comment yesterday, but other University officials closely involved with Harvard's affirmative action plan--including John B. Butler, director of Personnel, Daniel Steiner '54, general counsel to the University, and Phyllis Keller, the Faculty's affirmative action officer--said they had not heard about the investigation.

Harvard's affirmative action plan, approved last year by HEW, outlines the University's efforts to eliminate job discrimination and hire more women and minorities.

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