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Harvard women are not inferior to Harvard men by any means--but we do spend four years playing away-games. Women can still thrive and achieve great things, but they do them on others' terms. Harvard began as a college for men, and while it now enrolls women, it ignores their personal needs. As a conservative, I have never favored special treatment for women. But some-thing must be done for women at this quintessentially male institution.
Radcliffe will do greater harm than good to the female segment of the undergraduate population if it agrees to be only a research institution. Radcliffe alumnae feel more connected to their alma mater than do Harvard women. Radcliffe has served women--has produced content alumnae--in a way Harvard has proved incapable. Based on Harvard's callous attitude toward women, there is no reason to believe the situation will improve.
There is no question that the current Radcliffe is a weak institution of questionable relevance to undergraduate women. But things can change. The relationship of Barnard College and Columbia College can serve as a model. Harvard needs a structured support system for its women. We have a school for dentists, why not a school for women? Demand the return of a real Radcliffe!
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