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Affirmative Action Study Indicates Little Progress

By Nicole Seligman

The University has made little progress in hiring and admitting women and minorities, but expects to improve that record by 1978, according to a Revised Affirmative Action Plan and Status Report to be released today.

The report, which describes Harvard's policies and procedures to meet affirmative action guidelines, also evaluates progress since acceptance of the original plan three years ago.

It goes on to set timetables and goals through 1978.

One section of the 79-page report identifies problem areas within the University. "Although the University does not concede underutilization in a legal sense, except with respect to tenured women faculty," it states, "There are other areas of employment where continuing affirmative action efforts seem particularly important."

The report calls minority representation in the tenured, senior academic ranks and ladder faculty ranks in a number of departments and faculties relatively small.

It also indicates "the need to overcome the scarcity of representation of members of minority groups (and women) at both the undergraduate and graduate levels."

Sources close to Walter J. Leonard, special assistant to President Bok and the University's affirmative action officer, said yesterday Leonard changed the title from "progress report" to "status report" because "he did not think the work 'progress' was appropriate."

Old Censors Figures

Although the report indicates that the University expects improvement by 1978, it also warns that indices charting the availability of women and minority candidates for employment are based on 1970 census information. "Since 1970 increasing proportions of women and minority group persons have prepared for professional and managerial careers so that 1970 census information may not now adequately reflect present ratios of availability," the report states.

Availability figures are used to determine utilization or underutilization by comparing the availability of women and minorities for given employment with the percentage actually employed.

Figures on utilization in the report indicate that one department, Physics, may be considered to underutilize minorities at the tenure level, and 11 departments may be considered as underutilizing women at that level.

Those departments are Anthropology, Biochemistry, Biology, Classics, Economics, English, Fine Arts, History Psychology, Romance Languages and Literatures, and Sociology.

Three departments underutilize non-tenured women--Biology, Chemistry and Visual and Enviromental Studies, according to the report.

The government's affirmative action plan, administered by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, requires that institutions receiving substantial federal funds set goals and timetables for the hiring of women and minorities.

Compliance with the program is not based on meeting those goals but on the ability to show that an adequate effort has been made.

The University submitted its initial affirmative action plan to the government in 1973, stating its goals and timetable through 1976.

Several University officials and faculty members last night declined to comment on the report until it had been released officially.

A table of women and minority representation among students in the period from 1971 to 1976 also indicates a decline in the percentage of black students at many of the University's graduate schools. This comes at a time when many universities are also aware of the need to increase these figures in order to raise the number of women and minorities in job applicant pools.

At the Business School, black representation dropped from 3.8 per cent in 1971 to 3.6 per cent in 1976.

At the Kennedy School, the total fell from 5.6 to 4.4 per cent of the student body, while in the Juris Doctorate program at the Law School the percentage of black students dropped from 8.2 to 7.5 per cent since 1971.

A decline in black representation is also indicated at the School of Dental Medicine. The high point in black representation at the Kennedy, Law and Dental Schools came in 1973, rising from 1971 and then dropping to a lower percentage.

In the period since 1971, the percentage of women at the graduate schools has increased, rising three- and four-fold in several instances.

In discussing existing problem areas, the report states that "Harvard is not underutilizing minorities or women in any of the major staff job categories (University-wide) except women service and craft personnel." The study uses Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA) figures.

But the report continues that these categories--service and craft personnel--"seem inappropriate for Harvard since they include many types of jobs, heavily populated by women, which do not exist at the University."

Noting the underutilization of women tenure faculty members, the report states that since so few tenure positions become available each year, underutilization is expected to continue through the period covered by this report.

Currently, 26 of the University's 840 tenured professors are women.

"But the University has made steady progress in the past few years in increasing the number of tenured women faculty and will continue to exert its best efforts to comply with affirmative action procedures in making future tenure decisions," the report said

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