News

The Path to Public Service at SEAS

News

Should Supreme Court Justices Have Term Limits? That ‘Would Be Fine,’ Breyer Says at Harvard IOP Forum

News

Harvard Right to Life Hosts Anti-Abortion Event With Students For Life President

News

Harvard Researchers Debunk Popular Sleep Myths in New Study

News

Journalists Discuss Trump’s Effect on the GOP at Harvard IOP Forum

Gender Council Has First Meeting of Year

By Jal D. Mehta

The group created by Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 to advise him on women's issues last week met for the first time since May, but committee members said they remain wary of the administration's commitment to reforming the College's gender problems.

In the Wednesday meeting, the group discussed issues such as the possibility of bringing students in closer contact with successful outside women, according to Lewis.

The meeting, only the second the group has ever held, was scheduled by Lewis but attended by only four of the approximately 15 student members. Several students said they had not received a September 29 mailing notifying members of the meeting.

"I think a lot can be accomplished [in the group], but I am hesitant to say that much will be accomplished," said Radcliffe Union of Students President Megan R. Peimer '97, who was not at the meeting.

General complaints by women about gender issues at the College focus on three central areas: the lack of tenured women faculty, the skewed gender dynamics in many sections and the need to raise student awareness of safety issues during first-year orientation.

Women leaders said the University moves excruciatingly slowly on these issues.

"There is a bastion of patriarchy on this campus," said women's committee member Lisa D. Graustein '97. "You can't expect things to move quickly."

Particularly grating to students has been the fact that despite student agitation early last year, Lewis did not form the committee until May and did not preside over its second meeting until last week.

But Lewis said in an e-mail message that the group's original meeting last May resulted in a positive change--the addition of Karen E. Avery '87 as an assistant dean of the College and a liaison to students about women's issues, campus safety and sexual orientation.

Lewis said he sees the group as one that will provide "informal advice" to the College on women's issues.

"I expect that we will meet occasionally and informally, though not everyone can come to every meeting," Lewis said. "Since the object is frank , from page 1and open discussion, we have kept the group small."

But student leaders said the campus has serious gender problems and said they hope the committee could take a larger role.

"I have had four female professors in the time that I have been here, and I have had friends that haven't had one," said Graustein. "My biggest hope is that we will come to these meetings and say this is what we as students want, and the administration will provide support to our ideas."

But other students, while agreeing with the goals of gender equity, said the group was not necessarily a place for fundamental change.

"I think at the moment the committee is functioning for the dean to get an inside scoop on what students are thinking," said Willow D. Crystal '97, who is an executive board member of the Women's Leadership Project and a member of the group

But student leaders said the campus has serious gender problems and said they hope the committee could take a larger role.

"I have had four female professors in the time that I have been here, and I have had friends that haven't had one," said Graustein. "My biggest hope is that we will come to these meetings and say this is what we as students want, and the administration will provide support to our ideas."

But other students, while agreeing with the goals of gender equity, said the group was not necessarily a place for fundamental change.

"I think at the moment the committee is functioning for the dean to get an inside scoop on what students are thinking," said Willow D. Crystal '97, who is an executive board member of the Women's Leadership Project and a member of the group

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags