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IRC Passes Ethics Resolution To Fight Rumors of Sexism

By Valerie Humes

In a move to help prevent irresponsible electioneering and sexual discrimination, the International Relations Council (IRC) passed a statement Monday calling for an ethics code to govern conduct and procedure in the organization's elections.

The statement, which was signed by the 18 members of the IRC's board of directors as well as four other women members of the IRC, was written in response to rumors circulated by some male members that women in IRC executive positions got elected by granting sexual favors to men in leadership posts, David Furth '79, IRC president, said yesterday.

Joan B. Breen '80, an IRC member, emphasized that the rumors "were completely wrong. They were spread about competent, hard-working women." There is a general atmosphere of "subtle sexism" that the organization must confront, Breen added.

Robin L. Hacke '80, one of the four women on the 18-member board, said yesterday that she has spoken to women in eight other undergraduate organizations about the problem, and has found the IRC experience to be a widespread phenomenon.

"I think it would be very interesting and helpful for women in leadership positions in different organizations to get together in a conference-type format and talk about the best ways to handle these sorts of problems," Hacke said. She added that she would like to have women in management jobs from outside the University come talk to students.

"A lot of organizations just let the rumors fly--we sat down and did something about it. I don't think it'll happen again," Cynthia A. Torres '80, the IRC's newly elected secretary and a Crimson editor, said yesterday. The statement was a significant and positive action, she added.

"There's sometimes resentment when women get in positions of power and it's expressed in disgusting ways. We need to get more women in the IRC and make the climate a little healthier," Furth said.

The 585-member IRC sponsors two model United Nations a year, as well as guest speakers, seminars and films.

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