Daniel Patrick Moynihan is considering leaving Harvard this June to accept Cornell University's most distinguished professorship.
Moynihan, who returned to Harvard last February after two years as President Nixon's special assistant for urban affairs, has been offered the John L. Senior professorship at Cornell. The post carries a salary of $50,000, and an expense account of $50,000 per year for secretarial help and research.
The money comes from a fund donated by the Senior family, which has long ties with Cornell, and from a donation by a Cornell fraternity.
Moynihan was unavailable for comment yesterday. However, a member of the Cornell history department confirmed that he had been offered the position, and several of his Harvard colleagues reported that he had discussed the offer with them.
Richard M. Neustadt, professor of Government and director of the Kennedy Institute, who taught at Cornell when the chair was set up, said. "I don't know if this chair is resistible. You teach when and where you want, and it has a substantial research fund attached to it. It's sort of a super University Professorship."
Like a University Professor at Harvard, the Senior Professor can give courses in any department of the university, and has no required teaching load.
Moynihan traveled to Ithaca on April 5 for an interview with the Cornell faculty committee which will select the new Senior professor. The chair has been empty since its last incumbent, the political scientist Clinton Rossiter, died last fall.
When the Cornell Daily Sun reported that Moynihan was being considered for the post, James Turnor, director of the Cornell Africano center, which runs the black studies program. stated his opposition to the appointment. Turner based his stand on the fact that no blacks were considered for the position, and that no black faculty members had been consulted.
Moynihan has been heavily criticized in the black community since the publication of the "Moynihan" Report' in which he argued that the economic problems of blacks in American ghettoes is due to matriarchal domination of the black family.
He received further criticism last year when the New York Times released a memorandum he had written to President Nixon, arguing for a policy of "benign neglect" toward blacks. The report urged Nixon to provide a welfare allowance for black families, but not to press for programs of retraining and job placement.
Newspaper reports last November suggested that Nixon would appoint Moynihan as his ambassador to the United Nations. Moynihan denied that he would accept the offer and re-affirmed his intention to return to Harvard.
Colleagues of Moynihan at the Ed School have reported that he is dissatisfied with the treatment he has received at Harvard since his return. While still in Washington, he had expressed interest in receiving an appointment in the Government Department of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, but no such professorship was offered him.
Moynihan resumed his Ed School position in February, and was given a small office on the top floor of 24 Garden Street. a converted wood frame house which accommodates the Center for Educational Policy Research.
Moynihan's friends on the Faculty were unsure yesterday whether he would accept the Cornell offer. Several admitted that they had discussed the matter with him, and had differing guesses as to whether he would stay or go. His ultimate decision will certainly be influenced by the reasons he expressed, in a CRIMSON interview last November, for leaving Washington and returning to Cambridge: "My children are happy in Cambridge, and my friends are here."