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Divinity School Students Question Report on Blacks

Blacks Form Caucus Protesting Makeup Of the Committee

By Deborah B. Johnson

A student-Faculty committee at the Divinity School has released a report calling for extensive efforts to recruit black students and to improve the black curriculum. The school's black student group is planning to reject the report formally in a statement next Monday because they say the committee was not representative of the black students.

"The committee had no strong links with black students," one of the eight black students at the Divinity School, who asked not to be identified, said yesterday.

The eight-man committee which signed the report has three black members listed: a student, a local minister, and the acting dean of Students at the Divinity School. The student protesting the report said that Theodore E. Moran Jr. D-69, had been the only participating black member.

Moran said last night that the minister, Gilbert H. Caldwell, had attended about two of the six meetings the committee has had since its inception in November. Caldwell was unavailable for comment.

Edward Wright, Jr., acting dean of Students, said last night, "I wasn't on that committee at all--I made one or two suggestions and I assume that's why they put my name on it."

Wright called Wednesday's meeting of the Black Caucus, which decided to reject the committee's report. "I'll be very eager to support the black students' report," he said.

The Black Caucus will propose setting up a new, more representative committee "to start out studying the problem from scratch," the student said yesterday.

Krister Stendahl, dean of the Divinity School, appointed the committee to study the School's relationship to the black community last Fall after black student demonstrations at two nearby theological schools.

The report of the committee, chaired by J. Lawrence Burkholder, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Divinity, made three general observations on the Divinity Schools's obligations to blacks, and gave fourteen recommendations to be implemented as soon as possible.

The Divinity School Faculty will have to approve the report before any action is taken, Burkholder said.

The general observations made by the report were:

* Theological schools have an obligation to set up special programs to provide leadership to black churches;

* Harvard Divinity School, only four of whose eight black students are American, will be bypassed by the many qualified black students graduating from colleges in the next ten years unless it "is prepared to make a deliberate effort to understand and to meet the needs of the black churches."

* Despite the cultural and religious gap between Harvard Divinity School and most black churches, Harvard is in a strong position to prepare men for high quality leadership among black churches.

Among the recommendations were:

* Appointing a permanent student-Faculty committee on theological education for the black community to continue the work of Burkholder's committee;

* Starting a major recruiting drive with the aid of the Divinity School's black students and offering several nationally advertised black student scholarship;

* Finding a black faculty member this Spring to help start the recruiting drive and eventually go on to teaching and field education projects in black churches;

* Considering admitting inadequately prepared black students who could be given a program of remedial studies;

* Asking the National Committee of Black Churchmen for a "black audit" of curriculum, recruiting, and placement;

* Increasing field education positions in black churches;

* Appointing a black member of the Visiting Committee.

"I'm personally very pleased with the report," Burkholder said yesterday. "I believe it's constructive and realistic.

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