President Bok has offered a non-departmental research professorship to David L. Lewis, a black historian and professor at Federal City College in Washington, D.C., administration sources said last night.
Bok last spring reportedly rejected a joint professorship in History and Afro-American Studies for Lewis after members of both departments voiced objections to the appointment.
Sources said that Lewis has not yet formally accepted the appointment, but that under Bok's offer he would come to Harvard next September to complete work on two books about black history. Lewis would not teach here, the sources said.
Bok said last night he would "prefer to remain silent" on the possibility of Lewis's coming here.
Sources in the Afro Department said last night that Lewis may have some future ties to the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for Afro-American Research, but Walter J. Leonard, special assistant to Bok and the administrator's coordinator for the DuBois Institute, said last night that the appointment is "clearly" not connected to the institute.
"I'd suspect it would be a research appointment within the University not related to any faculty," Leonard said. "I know the DuBois board hasn't made the appointment. There's been no offer by the DuBois board to anyone for anything."
Lewis said yesterday, "I'm not prepared to make any comment about a DuBois research professorship," and he refused to elaborate about either the appointment or the subject matter of his books.
Any appointment to an institute-related position would have to come through a 12-member advisory board appointed this fall by Bok to operate the Institute. The board has yet to meet.
Dean Rosovsky said last night Lewis's prospective appointment is not affiliated with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences nor any of its departments.
Rosovsky said, "The appointment has nothing to do with Afro as far as I know, and I think I would know if it did. To my knowledge he's not coming into Afro."
The DuBois Institute is scheduled to open next year and operate on Corporation and outside funding. It will grant visiting, research and institute fellowships and will have no specific teaching functions.