Report Released To Examine Women's Issues

Dean Responds to Diversity Concerns

In the wake of protests over the lack of women faculty at Harvard and the creation of a fund to increase mentoring for women, the University recently released a report on the status of women at Harvard.

The report, entitled "Harvard Women in the University Campaign," represents Harvard's beginning efforts to address the concerns of alumnae and to encourage their involvement in the capital campaign, according to Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles, whose office issued the report.

"Why aren't women more active at Harvard? Why do our alumnae feel less connected? Why have we not engaged as many women as leaders and donors in our fundraising?" Knowles questions in a letter introducing the report to alumnae and alumni.

Lyn Chamberlin, spokesperson for the Radcliffe Alumnae Association, applauded the questions asked by Knowles in the report. Linda S. Wilson, president of Radcliffe, was in Texas yesterday and could not be reached for comment.

"We are laudatory and supportive of anything Harvard wants to do in this area," Chamberlin said.


According to the report, President Neil L. Rudenstine and Knowles became increasingly concerned about the alumnae's involvement with Harvard during the planning of the capital campaign.

The report also aims to find ways to improve services for current undergraduate women at Harvard.

The report contains the responses of seven alumnae discussion groups held during 1995 and 1996 in five cities: Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.


Alumnae attending the discussion groups commonly agreed on the high quality of their education and their commitment to staying involved with the University while pursuing careers and families. However, many of the women said they needed different structures in order to participate more actively in Harvard's campaign.

At the meetings, alumnae also expressed their concerns about the number of tenured women in the Faculty.

In addition, they said the competitive fundraising among alumni classes at Harvard was not a "powerful motivator" for getting women to contribute.

In particular, many alumnae said that Harvard's agreement with Radcliffe not to ask pre-1976 alumnae for gifts gives the impression that Harvard "neither cares about nor needs the participation of its women graduates."

Women attending the meetings also expressed their desire to have more facts about how women students are faring at Harvard and what Harvard is doing for them.

"We will be content with nothing less than a Harvard environment that encourages both women and men to achieve and excel within the College community and beyond," Knowles said in the report.