Harvard's lawyer in a gender discrimination suit brought by a former Business School professor yesterday postponed a meeting to go over newly-discovered documents that may prove relevant to the case, the professor's attorney said.
The lawyer for Barbara Bund Jackson '66, a former associate professor of industrial marketing, said yesterday that Harvard's attorney called him less than two hours before the scheduled meeting to tell him that he was still blacking out the names of professors mentioned in the documents. The scholars' identities are protected under Harvard's rights of academic privilege.
Jackson's lawyer, Evan T. Lawson, said the delay indicated that Harvard attorney Allan A. Ryan, Jr. had discovered a large number of unrevealed documents. Neither Jackson nor her attorney know what the documents are, but if they prove relevant to the case, Lawson said he will have the option of reopening the case for up to 10 days after the verdict is announced.
Ryan could not be reached for comment.
The four-year legal battle between Harvard Business School and Jackson, who charges that she was denied tenure in 1983 because she is a woman, is winding down. Jackson has sued the University and Dean of the Business School John H. McArthur for a tenured post and $847,000 in attorney fees and lost income. Federal Judge Douglas P. Woodlock is expected to hand down a verdict in the near future.
If Jackson wins the post she is seeking, she will become the fourth woman among the B-School's current 90-member senior faculty, and the fifth woman tenured at the school in its 80-year history.
"It seems clear to me that this is not a question of another piece of paper," Lawson said. "What could be taking them so long? This cache of documents--where did they come from?"
Harvard's attorney notified Jackson and herlawyer last week that in the course of aninvestigation to determine why another importantdocument had remained undiscovered until late inthe non-jury trial, he had found more documentswhich may be relevant to the case.
The document that was withheld until late inthe trial is a record of the 1981 full facultyvote on Jackson't tenure bid. The first voteshowed support for Jackson by a margin of 47-7. Asecond vote, taken two days later, showed thetally had changed to 29-27.
Woodlock thought the change was significantenough that he recommended two days before thetrial ended that the case reenter discover,normally a pre-trial period of gatheringtestimony. Both lawyers rejected the suggestion.
Ryan filed an affidavit with the court lastweek saying that he did not know the tally sheetstill existed until a witness referred to itduring the non-jury trial.
Testimony during the trial also revealed thatHarvard had incinerated 10 years' worth of tenuredocuments relevant to the case. The Universitymaintains that the destruction was accidental.
"A legal request for prediction of documentsisn't a voluntary suggestion that, if the moodstrikes you, you open your top drawer and see whatjumps out," Jackson said. "There's a requirementthere that you look diligently.