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North House Women's Dinner Provides Sense of Community


By Judy E. Matloff

For most undergraduates last night's dinner was hardly out of the ordinary. But for the 40 women who ate at the Moors Dining Hall at North House the evening was, as one Radcliffe student said, "one of the few times I didn't feel like I was on trial at Harvard, where I didn't have to compete."

The occasion was the second all-women's dinner this year. Scheduled for the first Tuesday of every month, the dinners are student-run and sponsored by the Radcliffe Union of Students (RUS) and South, Currier, Winthrop and Eliot Houses.

"The idea of the dinners is to maintain a sense of community within the women's community at Radcliffe," Barbara Norris '77, last year's president of RUS, said at the dinner last night.

Several women at the dinner, including Laurie Walker '78, said that this aim is being met.

Walker, a former North House resident who now lives off campus, said, "It's one of the few things that I come back on campus for--an example of what's good in the Radcliffe-Harvard community."

Walker and the other women said they occasionally feel a need to escape from what they find is a male-dominated, traditional atmosphere at Harvard.

The women also said they find the atmosphere at the dinners dissolves the tensions that they feel limit their relationships with women here. Judy Zachs '79 said, "It's sad, but I tend not to meet other women. The dinners are a great chance to meet other women. It's much easier here."

All-female dinners began at Radcliffe six years ago, when Harvard and Radcliffe adopted a co-residential living system. This is the first year, however, that the River Houses and RUS are funding the dinner.

The financial aid is used for publicity and the sherry served before the Food Services meal, Ruth Colker '78, RUS president, said last night.

North House is not supporting the dinners because residents of the House narrowly voted, 116-107, not to allocate money for the dinners. However, the masters of North House, Hannah and J. Woodland Hastings, have offered to pay for the meals of any non-student guests at the dinners, Colker said.

The first dinner, which was held in December, drew about 100 women

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