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Seniors Unveil Alternate Gift Fund

By Ariel R. Frank

About 20 seniors last night unveiled the Alternative Senior Gift Fund (ASGF), an escrow fund to be donated to the College once the University hires a certain number of women and minority faculty.

According to Megan L. Peimer '97, spokesperson for the Alternative Senior Gift Coalition, the fund will provide an option to the traditional Senior Gift Fund for students who are dissatisfied with Harvard policy on a variety of issues.

The ASGF Statement of Purpose, written last night, criticizes the University's treatment of labor unions, student public service, curricular reform, a multicultural student center and investment.

Peimer said members of the Coalition could have chosen any of these concerns for the fund, but picked the issue of women and minority hiring because they had already researched it.

Harvard will receive the fund if and when the percentage of tenured minority and women faculty reaches the level recommended in the 1971 report of the Committee on the Status of Women in the Faculty.

The 1971 report suggested that the percentage of tenured women faculty should match the "availability pool"--the proportion of women who received Ph.D.s from Harvard 10 years earlier.

Peimer said that although the SENIORSpool's size varies from year to year, Harvard's hiring practices have never come close to matching it, and fall especially short for women in the social sciences.

"It's time for Harvard to start living up to its promises and to respond to the needs of its community members, especially its students and employees," she said.

According to Peimer, the Coalition has secured a Faculty adviser, Professor of Sociology Mary C. Waters. In addition, 20 faculty members have pledged to support the goal to hire more women and minority Faculty in general.

Both Peimer and Scott L. Shuchart '97, another organizer of the Coalition, said their goal is not to amass a large sum of money, but to get a large percentage of the senior class to show their support by donating.

"It's very symbolic because many members of the senior class will eventually have a significant amount of money," Peimer said. "If they're saying now that they're not satisfied with the University, that forebodes poorly for the University's future fundraising attempts."

According to Shuchart, the ASGF from the Class of '97 may be added to a similar account established in 1995 by the Committee for the Equality of Women at Harvard (CEWH).

The trust, the Harvard Women Faculty Fund, currently holds about $500,000, according to Peggy B. Schmertzler '53, chair of the CEWH.

Schmertzler said the CEWH fund will be donated to Harvard once the University establishes a plan with "realistic timelines" for meeting the recommendations in the 1971 report.

According to Peimer, the CEWH fund for older classes shows that the seniors' "voices are being echoed and matched by decades of alumni."

The Coalition plans to publicize the ASGF by sending letters to some seniors, advertising in The Crimson, The Boston Globe and The New York Times, making a Web page, printing brochures and stickers and getting the endorsement of several student groups, Peimer said.

She said she will bring the issue before the Student Affairs Committee of the Undergraduate Council tonight and possibily before the entire council on Sunday

"It's time for Harvard to start living up to its promises and to respond to the needs of its community members, especially its students and employees," she said.

According to Peimer, the Coalition has secured a Faculty adviser, Professor of Sociology Mary C. Waters. In addition, 20 faculty members have pledged to support the goal to hire more women and minority Faculty in general.

Both Peimer and Scott L. Shuchart '97, another organizer of the Coalition, said their goal is not to amass a large sum of money, but to get a large percentage of the senior class to show their support by donating.

"It's very symbolic because many members of the senior class will eventually have a significant amount of money," Peimer said. "If they're saying now that they're not satisfied with the University, that forebodes poorly for the University's future fundraising attempts."

According to Shuchart, the ASGF from the Class of '97 may be added to a similar account established in 1995 by the Committee for the Equality of Women at Harvard (CEWH).

The trust, the Harvard Women Faculty Fund, currently holds about $500,000, according to Peggy B. Schmertzler '53, chair of the CEWH.

Schmertzler said the CEWH fund will be donated to Harvard once the University establishes a plan with "realistic timelines" for meeting the recommendations in the 1971 report.

According to Peimer, the CEWH fund for older classes shows that the seniors' "voices are being echoed and matched by decades of alumni."

The Coalition plans to publicize the ASGF by sending letters to some seniors, advertising in The Crimson, The Boston Globe and The New York Times, making a Web page, printing brochures and stickers and getting the endorsement of several student groups, Peimer said.

She said she will bring the issue before the Student Affairs Committee of the Undergraduate Council tonight and possibily before the entire council on Sunday

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