For the first time in Harvard University’s history, more women than men have been admitted for this year’s fall incoming class.

The Associated Press has reported that 1,016 women were accepted from an application pool of 19,750, just surpassing that of 1,013 men. William R. Fitzsimmons, Harvard’s dean of admissions and financial aid, says that the university has been trying to raise the number of women on campus for decades, searching and recruiting talented women around the world.

“As someone who was here [as a student] in the 1960s when the ratio of men to women was 4 to 1, I am absolutely delighted that we’ve reached this milestone,” Fitzsimmons says. He hopes that this year’s record will help change the historical perception of Harvard as a place for men, “and perhaps not for women.”

Last year’s graduating class was comprised of 47.9 percent women. “We have been on the doorstep for a while but this year we have stepped over the transom,” says Fitzsimmons. “But we are not disillusioned. We are still not on a level playing field. We would like to be able to yield at least 50 percent of women each year. And many years, the yield is slightly lower for women.”


A pharmacist at a CVS pharmacy outlet in a Fort Worth, Texas, suburb refused to fill a prescription for birth control pills this week, claiming to be morally opposed to contraception.

The pharmacy’s customer, 32-year-old school teacher Julee Lacey, told the Dallas Morning News that the pharmacist at the North Richland Hills pharmacy refused to fill her prescription saying, “I’m sorry, but I personally do not believe in birth control, so I will not fill your prescription.” When pressed, the pharmacist told Lacey that the pill causes cancer.

The incident was part of what officials from Planned Parenthood have called a “dangerous trend” in which pharmacists are exercising their moral or religious beliefs to refuse to fill prescriptions.

In 2002, 19 states around the nation consider “conscience-clause” legislation that exempts medical providers, including pharmacists, from performing procedures or dispensing drugs based on moral or religious grounds. Arizona and Massachusetts passed the law.

In February, three pharmacists at a drug store in Eckerd, Texas, refused to fill a rape victim’s prescription for emergency contraception. The pharmacists were fired for their refusal as their actions defied the policy of the store’s owner, Eckerd Corp., that workers can not deny a legally prescribed drug based on “political, moral, or religious beliefs.”

There have been no reports as to whether the North Hills pharmacist has been reprimanded or discharged. A spokesperson for CVS, Todd Andrews did not return calls for comment.

— Emma Pearse.