There is an inarguable disparity between percentages of male and female senior faculty at this University. The staff sees this disparity and assumes that it is the product of some institutional bias that leads to the chronic mistreatment of women under the tenuring process. The staff presents no evidence that such obstacles actually still exist.
The staff's endorsement of an affirmative action policy is their most misguided step. They seem willing to sacrifice the quality of this University in order to combat a prejudice that does not exist. A candidate's merit should be Harvard's only criterion for hiring. Once the University goes beyond merit in hiring professors, they do a disservice to every student who expects the highest caliber of education available. We have faith that there is an abundance of exceptional female academics who, based on this criteria alone, will have no trouble securing places at this institution.
As this University moves towards a more diverse faculty, it is easy to get frustrated with the rate of change. However, we see no evidence that Harvard is not acting in good faith. Special preferences are an attractive quick fix but are not worth their larger cost. After all, the mission of this University is to provide its students the full breadth of the intellectual experience with access to the worldis greatest scholars. Diversity of thought is far more important than some artificial diversity of gender. --Noah D. Oppenheim '00, Thomas B. Cotton '98, Alex M. Carter '00