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Putting The Brakes On Merger


By George K. Sweetnam

The major fund drive Radcliffe is planning for next year will certainly put the brakes on further talk of merger with Harvard. "Radcliffe is here to stay," Susan F. Lyman '36, chairman of the Radcliffe Board of Trustees, said last week.

Lyman said that an independent Radcliffe is crucial because its existence guarantees a voice for women in University and undergraduate level planning.

Although Radcliffe has turned its role in undergraduate education over to Harvard, it retains $30 million in endowment and another $50 million worth of buildings. It still owns the Quad Houses, which Harvard uses and pays operating expenses on.

Radcliffe's main components now are the Schlesinger Library, which houses a collection on the history of women in America, and the Radcliffe Institute, which handles a fellowship program for some 35 women in various fields, and a seminar program chiefly serving women no longer in school. Radcliffe also supports, together with Harvard, the Office of the Arts.

The largest single allocation of Radcliffe's endowment income is turned over to Harvard to use for undergraduate scholarships.

Radcliffe alumnae attitudes have shifted since the school first started going coed with Harvard. When then Radcliffe President Mary I. Bunting announced in 1969 that Radcliffe would seek a merger, she foresaw a day when the two institutions would be essentially indistinguishable. And she said the great majority of Radcliffe's trustees would support such a move.

But the trustees have since developed some reservations. There is no more talk of combining the two schools beyond the present "non-merger merger" agreement. Lyman said she hopes a successful fund drive will make Radcliffe's position stronger and help expand its present programs.

Radcliffe's alumnae think it is important to have a special place for women in the University. Lyman said she literally thinks so--she foresees the creation of a women's forum, where women can talk in a supportive atmosphere that she believes cannot be found here now.

The specifics of the new fund drive, which will be part of Radcliffe's 1978 centennial celebration, are currently under study by a consulting firm.

President Horner has "big plans to make a splashy introduction" for the drive, Cecily O. Morse, assistant director of the Radcliffe College Fund, said last week.

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