MCAD Budget Difficulties Won't Delay Fly Club Case

Although the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), the state agency that is investigating a Harvard student's complaint against one of the nine all-male final clubs, is facing a severe budget cut, thousands of pending cases will not be delayed, a state official said yesterday.

The Massachusetts House and Senate have proposed a 17 percent reduction in the MCAD's budget--the legislation would slash MCAD's funding from $1.9 million to $1.58 million for fiscal 1989. The pending reduction comes at a time when the number of cases before the MCAD has increased and federal funds for the state judicial board have dwindled.

But the state official said that incoming federal grants would more than make up for the state cuts.

Lisa J. Schkolnick '88, the Mather House senior who this year filed a complaint with the board against the Fly Club charging it with gender discrimination, is currently waiting for the MCAD to rule on whether her case has merit.

Schkolnick's lawyer said yesterday that he did not expect that the cut in funding would further delay her case.

"There's been no indication that it will be handled differently," said Kevin J. Baker, an attorney for the Boston firm of Stern & Shapiro who is representing Schkolnick free of charge.

Schkolnick's case "hasn't been a major commitment of theirs in terms of personnel and resources," Baker said. "I don't think it's going to affect thecase."

Baker said, however, that he does not know whenthe case will be resolved, and that it might beput on hold until the fall.

MCAD officials spent yesterday in a meetingtrying to figure out how to handle the potentialbudget cuts and could not be reached for comment,but a State House official said that the fundingreduction would not hinder the MCAD's efforts.

"Basically, we have been assured that this willnot result in a slowdown in the processing ofcases," said Michael Lelyweld, an aide toAdministration and Finance Secretary Frank Keefe,who oversees the MCAD budget.

Lelyweld said he had been told by MCADofficials that the agency will receive a $350,000federal grant from the Department of Housing andUrban Development (HUD) and that another $110,000grant is pending. With those grants, MCAD willlikely be able to maintain or improve its currentaverage processing time of 280 days, he said.

"When you add the $350,000 from the HUD, theymake out better in case-closing this year [thanlast year]," Lelyweld said. "With those two takeninto consideration, MCAD should do fine. Theircase-closing operation [is] not going todecrease."

"I really have no indication at all" as to whenthe MCAD would decide the case, Baker said. "Idon't expect that a decision will be reachedanytime soon.