A student proposal that the Faculty appoint a special student-faculty committee on women's studies, endorsed in a petition by 1164 students last spring, was the center of discussion in the Faculty Council's first meeting of the year yesterday.
The Committee on Women's Studies, an ad hoc group of twenty students, made the proposal in a letter to Dean Rosovsky last April.
In the letter, the women's group asks the Faculty to appoint a special committee to investigate both the neglect of women's studies at Harvard to date, and to start developing a new degree-granting women's studies concentration.
The committee should include 12 members--six from Faculty or administration and six undergraduates or graduate students, the letter says.
"Most theories upon which Harvard's courses are based have been developed by men, who have studied men's roles in society," the group states in the letter, adding that "Women's Studies is needed to re-evaluate such theories."
The letter also proposes that the Faculty search for and hire "a Visiting Professor eminent in Women's Studies" to come to Harvard for the 1978-1979 school year.
Several other major universities, including Cornell, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Michigan, have all developed women's studies programs in the past few years, the group points out in its letter.
Council members contacted yesterday refused to comment on the council's reaction to the proposal. Sources indicated, however, that the council had merely aired the issue, and had not yet addressed the specifics of the proposal.
Both the Committee on Undergraduate Education and the student caucus of the Committee on Housing and Undergraduate Life have seconded the ad hoc group's recommendation for a committee to review women's studies.
The CHUL caucus, however, stopped short of endorsing one of the charges included in the letter to Rosovsky--that the special committee review the University's good faith in complying with federal affirmative action guidelines on hiring women.
The council spent the rest of the meeting dealing with organizational matters, including the nomination of a Faculty parliamentarian and assignments to the various council subcommittees.
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