A special recruiting campaign pushed the number of black applicants to the Med School up 20 percent above last year's total, but the number of mainland Puerto Rican and Native American applicants sunk 40 and 50 per cent, respectively. They did not benefit from a special campaign.
It was only the extra campaign, and an extension of the application deadline that kept the total number of minority applicants at the same level as last year. The number was lagging at least one-third below last year right up until the original November 1 deadline.
Most officials at the school blame the lag on a controversy last spring over the claims of Bernard D. Davis '36, Lehman Professor of Bacterial Physiology, that medical schools admit and graduate minority students with substandard qualifications.
Minority recruiters for the school say the controversy raised large questions in the minds of almost all potential applicants they talked with. One recruiter says that, after black pre-meds had heard Davis's claims, they felt it would be "selling out" to apply to Harvard Med.
After black Med School students learned in September that minority applicants were down 60 per cent from last year's level at that time, some approached Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint, associate dean of the Med School for student affairs, with a plan to do some fast recruiting.
Poussaint approved the plan, and in October black medical students personally spoke with possible black applicants at 17 colleges, including many Southern schools. The Med School picked up the tab--roughly $1500.
The recruiters brought applications to the colleges and gave them to interested blacks. F. Sargent Cheever '32, director of admissions at the Med School, granted the exception--normally students send the $30 application fee before getting the application form.
When, even after the extra efforts, the November 1 deadline came and the number of minority applicants stood 100 below the 1975 level, the admissions committee made the original deadline "informal" and kept accepting applications until November 15.
Poussaint jumped the gun when he announced last month that the number of minority applicants had dropped 35 per cent this year over last year. A pile of uncounted applications from blacks brought the final tally of all minorities to last year's level.
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