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HEW Investigates Brown on Hiring

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The Department of Health, Education and Welfare last week sent Brown University a preliminary letter of evaluation as part of their effort to determine whether Brown has submitted an acceptable affirmative action plan for the hiring and treatment of women and minorities.

HEW is conducting a similar study of Harvard's affirmative action plan, submitted to HEW last November. Robert Randolph, contract compliance officer in HEW's Office of Civil Rights in Boston said the review of the Harvard plan will not be completed for at least another month.

Both Brown and Harvard face the loss of federal contracts and grants if their plans are rejected. Malcolm Stevens, vice president of Brown, said that he wasn't sure how much money Brown would lose should its plan be rejected.

Last year Brown hired twenty new faculty members. Of those twenty, eight were women and none were black.

Stevens denied that he had received any information from HEW regarding its recent investigation of Brown's proposal. "They sent us a letter telling us they were proceeding with their investigation, but they didn't elaborate," he said.

Randolph said that Stevens's statement was "inaccurate," but he refused to elaborate on the contents of HEW's communication with Brown.

Randolph said that two previous affirmative action proposals submitted by Brown had previously been rejected. Negotiations between Brown and HEW are now in progress.

Information on the negotiations will not be made public until HEW and Brown reach an agreement or HEW initiates legal proceedings against the University, Randolph said. "I don't expect any legal action to be brought against the University unless they cut off negotiations," he said.

Randolph said he had no idea when the review would be finished.

HEW visited Brown last May and July to do field investigations and data analysis. This part of HEW's study was completed during the last week of December, Randolph said.

At Columbia, over $688,000 in new government contracts have been withheld since November because the University has refused to submit figures on the numbers, qualification, position and pay of its women and minority staff and employees.

The Columbia Spectator reported that HEW has also attempted to block the renewal of old contracts between Columbia and various government agencies. However, Columbia recently renewed a $2,000,000 contract with the Department of the Navy. HEW cannot veto any contract outright, but the agency is allowed to make recommendations on any contract between a university and a government agency.

The Spectator said today that Columbia has submitted a tentative affirmative action plan. HEW refused comment on the report.

HEW is also reviewing the hiring of minorities and women at the University of Massachusetts, MIT and Yale.

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