Pusey Names Albert Sacks Law School's Acting Dean
Albert M. Sacks, associate dean of the Law School since 1968, will serve as acting dean of the School during the Spring term.
President Pusey announced Friday that Sacks would replace President-elect Derek C. Bok, who will be on leave next term. Sacks will fill the position until a permanent Dean is chosen sometime late this spring or in early summer.
"There is no specific termination date for the appointment," Sacks said yesterday. "The manner of selection of a permanent Dean is a matter between President Pusey and Mr. Bok, but I would imagine the process will start pretty quickly."
As Associate Dean, Sacks has been one of the most influential spokesmen among Law School faculty. During the last two years he was instrumental in assuring passage of Bok's curriculum reforms.
Along with two Harvard professors of Law-Paul Bator and James Vorenberg-and Yale's Alexander Bickel, Sacks is considered one of the likely choices for permanent Dean.
It is still not clear how the next Dean will be chosen. Bok is out of town now recovering from the pressures of his own selection as President. He probably will not decide how to fill the Law School vacancy for at least two more weeks.
Traditionally, the method of selection has been the President's prerogative. But now some Law students are hoping to participate in the choice.
Last week several Law students circulated a petition asking that students have some role in the decision. Since Bok has been out of town, they have not yet spoken to him or given him the petition.
Mitchell S. Fishman '70, a first-year student who is one of the group's representatives, said yesterday that the students might not have to present the petition. "If efforts are made to take into consideration student's views and preferences," he said, "the petition will probably stay where it is."
Bok has reportedly discussed the selection system with the chairman of the Law School's student-faculty Governance Committee-Abram J. Chayes '43, professor of Law.
Some officials have already raised one objection to student participation: that it might set a precedent for other appointments. This could create an unwieldy situation for Bok, since Harvard protocol requires that all the University's Deans resign with an outgoing President.
When he was named President-elect two weeks ago, Bok suggested that Sacks be appointed acting dean. Sacks said yesterday that his job will be to "fill the function of dean and make whatever decisions are necessary."
"This is by no means a period of stagnation," he said. "Instead it is a continuation of the existing process of working toward change."
Highest priorities for the upcoming term are developing joint programswith other parts of the University, such as the Business School and the Kennedy School of Government, and diversifying the Law School's second and third-year programs.
Committees set up last year to evaluate changes in the first-year program will continue their work, Sacks said.
Sacks, who is 50, is Dane Professor of Law and teaches Constitutional Law and Legal Process, and has been a member of the Law School faculty since 1952.
Sacks has served Massachusetts in several capacities as a lawyer. He was Director of the Administrative Procedure Study in 1954, drafted the Home Rule Amendment adopted in 1966, and has been chairman of the Attorney's Committee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Boston Home Rule Commission.
After graduating magna cum laude from the City College of New York in 1940, Sacks received his LL.B. magna cum laude from Harvard in 1948. He was law clerk to Judge Augustus N. Hand of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1948-49, and to Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter the following year.
Sacks practiced law for the next two years in Washington with the firm of Covington and Burling, then came to the Law School faculty.