Spence: Statistics Dept. Abides by GSAS Rules

Dean of the Faculty A. Michael Spence, in a statement issued yesterday, said that Statistics Department has followed University guidelines in its admission and financial aid decisions, and said he was "disturbed" by a recent Crimson article about the department.

The Crimson reported this week that some department affiliates said that Professor of Statistics Donald B. Rubin had abused his authority as chairperson. The affiliates, who asked not to be identified in the article, said that Rubin's advisees received more money than other students in the department, while at least one student receives no money at all.

"I am disturbed by The Crimson's publication...of unsupported allegations [by unidentified persons] directed against Professor Donald Rubin," Spence wrote in the statement.

"I have consulted with the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Neither she, nor I, nor the administration of the Graduate School has any evidence of irregularity or wrongdoing with respect to departmental decisions in admissions or financial aid," Spence wrote.

Spence's statement did not mention allegations reported in the Crimson article, made by affiliates who asked not to be identified, that Rubin used confidential information to embarrass a student in a public setting, and that he has at times been insensitive in comments about Asian students.

Spence could not be reached to elaborate on his statement.

Instead, Spence said in the statement that "thefocus of the story appears to me to be allegedabuses of authority on [Rubin's] part with respectto graduate student admissions and financial-aiddecisions." He added that these departmentdecisions are made by senior and junior statisticsprofessors acting together, while The Crimsonreported that Rubin has final say over funding forgraduate students.

The Spence statement did not specify how he andMoore had determined that the Department met GSASguidelines.

Moore said in an interview that, "When theallegations were made, the Statistics Departmentsituation was reviewed by administrators in thegraduate school to see what had been done. Whathad been done was blameless," Moore said.

She added that, "A number of people were askedto look into this and they did and reported back."

Moore said that the review conducted by heroffice consisted of examining the department'sadmission files, but she said she did not knowexactly when the review had taken place or whatspecifically prompted it.

"What was looked at was whether the normalprocedures had been followed, [we looked at] ourprocedures, our records, not interviewinganybody," Moore said.

The Crimson article also reported that someaffiliates of the department, and some scholarsoutside of the department, questioned whyHarvard's Statistics Department has relativelyfewer Asian or Asian-American students than otherschools.

Harvard has three Asian or Asian-Americangraduate students in statistics among a total of20. One of the three is based in the EconomicsDepartment and spends little time in theStatistics Department.

At the University of Chicago there are sevenAsian or Asian-American graduate students instatistics out of a total 18. At the University ofCalifornia at Berkeley, there are 34 Asian orAsian-American students among the 70 statisticsgraduate students.

There are approximately 70 Asian orAsian-American students among a total of 121graduate students in statistics at the Universityof Wisconsin at Madison. Among 41 statisticsdoctoral candidates at Stanford University, thereare 14 Asian or Asian-American students. And atYale, which scholars have said is most comparableto Harvard's department, there are seven Asian orAsian-American graduate students among a total of14 full-time students.

Neither Spence nor Moore made mention of thefigures for statistics graduate students atHarvard and other departments