The topic of the week in University Hall was equality. On Wednesday the Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life declared itself in favor of equalizing the enrollment of men and women; one day later the administration detailed the effects on each House of the new formula for equalizing House occupancy quotas.
Originally proposed in response to a pro-equal admissions petition signed by 1700 students, the CHUL resolution urged that Harvard adopt either sex-blind or one-to-one admissions--with all possible speed.
For the time being, however, CHUL's recommendation is virtually inconsequential: Dean Rosovsky has said he will take no action on CHUL's statement until after the Strauch committee concludes its deliberations on admissions--more than a year from now.
The Strauch group--named after its chairman, Karl Strauch, professor Physics--is studying the relationship between Harvard and Radcliffe in preparation for merger talks next year.
CHUL also voted Wednesday to accept provisionally the new system for distributing resident students, which is intended to "minimize and equalize" overcrowding in the Houses, according to Bruce Collier, research assistant in the Office of Tests.
Instead of merely extrapolating a figure from the number of rooms in a particular House, as the old plan did, the new formula establishes quotas influenced by several other factors in each House: architectural variations, differences in the amount of space occupied by resident tutors, and inequities in the previous quotas for the House.
Theoretically the new system, as it is instituted gradually in a three-year process, will place the overflow of students that causes crowding in Houses and rooms that can most easily absorb additional residents.
An optimist might predict that in less than five years both admissions to the College and the occupancy quotas of every House will be "equalized." But, in the meantime, the wise man will not be holding his breath.
Leverett and North Houses will be getting the best deal out of the new quota system, each losing about 20 incoming sophomores next year. Eliot, Lowell and Mather will bear the brunt of the redistribution of sophomores, gaining 11, seven and eight students respectively next year.