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The Politics of the Afro Department


By Douglas E.schoen

After learning of the recommendations of the Afro-American Studies Review Committee report. Martin Kilson, professor of Government, said "We've got a handle on that Department now."

For Kilson, who spent a large amount of his time last year trying to influence the Review Committee, the report represents a major victory.

In its report, which was released last Monday, the Review Committee recommends that the Faculty institute joint concentrations between Afro-American Studies, and an established discipline. The Committee also suggests joint faculty appointments between Afro-American Studies and other departments. The Committee did not suggest, as Kilson did, that these two features be mandatory, but urged that they be used in some cases.

The Afro-American Studies Department opposed joint concentrations and joint appointments in a progress report released two weeks ago.

The Review Committee also made a number of other suggestions which the Afro-American Studies Department has opposed. The Committee urged that a graduate program be deferred until the Department is more established at Harvard, and that the chairmanship be rotated by the end of 1972-1973. The report also said that a University wide committee -- rather than the Afro-American Studies Department -- should administer the proposed DuBois Research Institute.

The report also is a victory for Azinna Nwafor '64, assistant professor of Afro-American Studies, who wrote a strong memorandum to the Committee last year charging that his Department had become isolated from the rest of the University.

Nwafor recommended that joint concentrations and joint appointments be used to breakdown what he described as the "intellectual apartheid" which the Afro-American Studies Department to living it.

The big question now is what is going to happen to the report. Does Dunlop said Thursday that the Faculty council was considering his recommendation. The Faculty Council could decide to let the Administrations implement the recommendations itself or it could present the report to the entire Faculty for consideration. If the report goes to the Faculty. Which is most likely, Kilson has indicated he may introduce some legislation to bring the report's recommendations back into lime with his own feelings.

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