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Skirting Trouble


By Mark T. Whitaker

The question of what to do about student demands for more women's studies at Harvard was the first item on the Faculty Council's agenda in September, and until last week it looked as if the council was taking it very seriously.

The issue arose last spring, when an ad hoc group of some 20 students sent a letter to Dean Rosovsky asking him to appoint a special committee, which would investigate the possibility of creating a new degree-granting concentration on Women's Studies.

In September, Rosovsky passed the request on to the council, which has taken its own sweet time discussing the demand--thrashing out the proposal's problems' and potential with students from the ad hoc group and with interested professors through four consecutive weekly meetings.

The reason for the drawn-out discussion, council members explained, was that the council wanted to decide not just whether to appoint the proposed special committee, but exactly what to charge that committee with doing.

The choice lay between asking the new group simply to study the request further or to establish a concentration.

But last week the council did the predictable, and skirted the conversial. It appointed a special committee, but left the task of defining the scope of the committee's mandate to Rosovsky.

The ad hoc students' group immediately issued a statement welcoming the council's vote, but demanding once again that the special committee move beyond "investigating" the issue and take concrete action before the end of the year.

Rosovsky, meanwhile, promised last week to get around to drawing up instructions for the special committee "with all due speed."

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