Visiting Professor of Law Elizabeth Warren, one of the two female scholars offered tenure by Harvard Law School this year, said yesterday that she will not accept the post.
Warren, who holds a tenured position at the University of Pennsylvania, said that her decision was based on "personal reasons."
Students interviewed yesterday speculated that Warren turned down the offer because her husband, Bruce H. Mann, a visiting professor of legal history at Harvard, was not offered a position here. Mann currently teaches law and history at Penn.
Earlier this year, Yale Law School professor Carol Rose, the other woman offered a senior post this year, turned down the tenured position.
A specialist on commercial law Warren is teaching an extremely popular course on bankruptcy this spring.
Student support for her is unprecedented at the Law School.
"I'm heartbroken," said third-year law student Elizabeth A. Moreno, one of the students in Warren's bankruptcy law class. "She is loved by both the right and the left, something that is unheard of at Harvard Law School."
According to Moreno, Warren's bipartisan appeal and excellent teaching ability caused students on both the right and the left of the Law School's extremely divided political spectrum to lobby for her.
"I had hoped that she would lead Harvard Law School into the future," Moreno said.
Law School Council President Enu Mainigi said it is "unfortunate that [Warren] is unable to accept."
"I didn't have to take a class with her to know that she is an excellent teacher," said Mainigi. "I had heard it from so many people."
Warren had nothing but praise for the Law School, which has been criticized by activists for the lack of diversity on its faculty.
"I've had a wonderful time," she said. "The students here are terrific, the faculty are interesting--there are really special opportunities at Harvard Law School."
And students here seem to have been at least as impressed with her. Many are still hoping that the Penn professor will change her mind. According the students, the University will keep its offer to Warren open for two years.
"Along with everyone else at the Law School, I hope that circumstances will change over the next two years and she will be able to reconsider her decision," Moreno said