Affirmative Action Plan Released

Percentages Increase, But Some Hiring Goals Not Met

Against the backdrop of Harvard Law School student protests for more minority and women faculty hiring, the University puts its cards on the table today with the release of its 1992 Affirmative Action Plan.

On the surface, the results of the 1991 status report included in the Plan seem positive: The percentages of minority and women faculty increased in every area but one. But a look at University targets for the year indicate an uneven track record in meeting hiring goals for these groups.

For instance, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) is doing well in the social sciences: it has proportionately many more minority tenured professors than the national pool of such scholars.

But in the humanities departments, the Faculty needs to appoint seven women to non-tenured posts--an extremely difficult task--in order to match the proportion of women there with the proportion in the national pool.

The plan summarizes Harvard's efforts to achieve full utilization--employing the same percentage of minorities and women as are available in the national pool. The University calculates its hiring goals based on the number of appointments necessary to reach full utilization.

At the Medical School, for in- stance, only 6.25 percent of tenured facultymembers are women. In the national pool, 11.4percent are women. The difference in the figuresmeans that in order to equalize the twopercentages, the Medical School must appoint orpromote 18 tenured female faculty members.

The plan acknowledges that these one-yeargoals, ranging from one to upwards of 15 hirings,are often unrealistic because of facultyretirement and competitive recruitment by otheruniversities.

"We have met our targets in most, but not allareas," says FAS Assistant Dean for AcademicPlanning Joseph J. McCarthy, who co-authored theFAS section of the plan. "While the FAS wouldcertainly like to meet and exceed the goal of fullutilization, it appears unlikely that we will, bynext year, meet all of our present targets."

Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles says thatthe University needs to start early, at the searchcommittee level, if it hopes to meet goals.

"We are very concerned to encourage departmentsto come up with minority and women candidates inall searches...without diverting the searchprocedures of departments," he says.

But including women and minority candidates oninitial search lists may not be enough. Makingseveral tenure offers does not guarantee thatminorities or women will accept.

While FAS offered tenure to eight women thisacademic year, only two have yet agreed to come toHarvard. The rest have either refused the offer,or have not yet made a decision, Knowles says.

In addition, President Neil L. Rudenstine saysbudget constraints at all ten faculties may hurtUniversity hiring efforts.

Rudenstine says progress so far has been"modest" and that the University will construct anew five-year affirmative action plan.

"We will definitely want to keep updating thegoals," he says. "My concern is that under theeconomic conditions right now, we will in someareas not be making more hires and in some areasprobably absorbing attrition.