The executive committee of the Harvard-Radcliffe Chinese Student Association (CSA) announced plans last week to investigate hiring and firing practices in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations.
A statement appearing in the association's latest newsletter said the investigation was prompted by the firing last May of Isabelle P. Mao, an instructor in Chinese. Efforts by CSA members to reverse the decision late last spring were unsuccessful.
"The executive committee hopes to be able to conduct a more intensive Investigation of the issues leading up to and surrounding this unfortunate situation [the Mao dismissal], and to make further statements in a later publication," the association's statement said.
A companion editorial said, "the dismissal of such a highly respected, competent, dedicated, and gracious Chinese teacher as Mrs. Mao and the possible hiring of a less-experienced teacher...would constitute a drastic step backwards for the Chinese program."
Little Hope for Mao
Robin T. Yuan '74, president of the CSA, said yesterday that little could probably be done to reinstate Mao, but added, "what we'd like to do is to consider not only her case but the whole question of hiring and firing in the East Asian Department."
"We plan to interview several people in the department about tenure practices, and send out a supplement to our newsletter with our findings," Yuan explained.
Study Whole Issue
While the statement called for Mao to be "rehired if at all possible," Yuan said yesterday, "our interest is now more in the whole issue. We want to investigate it, and Mrs. Mao has agreed with us."
The editorial extensively criticized what it termed "the mistreating and misleading of Mrs. Mao by the Chinese department," and said, "it is hoped that the Chinese department and all other departments and bureaucracies at Harvard may learn from this mistake."