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Former Student Is Suing Harvard

By R. ALAN Leo

A former student at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) is suing the University, charging that she was denied a Ph.D. because she refused to embrace the feminist ideology of the Comparative Literature Department.

Marilyn B. McLatchey, a doctoral candidate in comparative literature from 1988 to 1993, wrote in a complaint that faculty examiners would not give her a passing grade on her general exam, simply because she would not advocate feminist doctrine, she charged.

As a result, McLatchey wrote that she could not receive her degree, even though she had fulfilled all other academic requirements.

She is suing the University for breach of contract and discrimination.

McLatchey and her attorney, J. Gary Bennett of the law firm Mone, D'Ambrose and Hanyen, refused to comment yesterday.

Proponents of gender-based research emphasize the importance of the interaction between and development of the sexes in the literature they study.

McLatchey's complaint claims that examiners belittled her because she was eight months pregnant during her examination.

According to the complaint, one of the three examiners told McLatchey to "go home and have your baby," and withheld her exam grade.

The complaint asserts that an expressed and implied contract existed between McLatchey and the University: if the student fulfilled the requirements for a Ph.D., she would receive the degree from the University.

In the lawsuit, McLatchey contends that she did fulfill the requirements, and that the University therefore violated the contract by not conferring upon her the degree.

The suit seeks unspecified damages, plus interest and trial costs.

Jan M. Ziolkowsi, chair of the Comparative Literature Department, was on vacation this week and was unavailable for comment.

Officials at Harvard's Office of the General Counsel refused to comment, saying that they had not heard of the complaint until they were notified by The Crimson yesterday.

Although the complaint was filed in the Middlesex Superior Court May 22, McLatchey has until August 22 to serve Harvard with the suit.

The case is on the "fast track," which means that if it goes to trial, it will be heard by July 1997

Officials at Harvard's Office of the General Counsel refused to comment, saying that they had not heard of the complaint until they were notified by The Crimson yesterday.

Although the complaint was filed in the Middlesex Superior Court May 22, McLatchey has until August 22 to serve Harvard with the suit.

The case is on the "fast track," which means that if it goes to trial, it will be heard by July 1997

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