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Hartman, in Memorandum, Seeks a New Review


(The following memorandum was just to Peter P. Rogers, associate professor of City Planning on January 11 by Chester W. Hartman '57 for presentation to the Graduate School of Design Faculty in anticipation of today's faculty meeting. The decision last week by Rogers and Maurice D. Killbridge, dean of the GSD, to begin Hartman's appeal proceeding again from scratch derived largely from Hartman's contentions in this memorandum, released to the Crimson by Hartman yesterday. Hartman, a former assistant professor of City Planning at the GSD, is currently on the faculty of design at the University of California at Berkeley.)

As you know, the "Rogers Committee" has now found five persons willing to serve on the committee to hear my appeal to the GSD's decision not to renew my teaching contract. Under the procedures approved by the Faculty on May 14, 1971, I have the right to make one challenge to the membership of this committee. After due consideration of the nature of the committee's membership and the procedures by which the body was chosen, I have decided that I must challenge the committee on its entirety. I do this because two important violations of the procedures established by your own body have occurred in the course of forming this committee, and my chances of receiving a fair and impartial hearing have been severely impaired by these violations.

I have already informed you of my view that a procedure which calls for one of the parties in a disputed decision to nominate and elect a committee to hear an appeal to that decision is inherently unjust and based. The GSD Faculty certainly cannot be said to be impartial or indifferent in this matter. A substantial part of the Faculty was directly involved in the decision not to renew my contract; many if not most others have personal or political feelings about "the Hartman case;" and as a corporate body it would be unusual if you would not be relieved to have that decision vindicated by an outside body. In recognition of these potential biases you stipulated that no member of the GSD Faculty could serve on this committee. Yet the nomination and election procedures were to be totally in your hands. This, I submit, retains a critical, although indirect, bias in the entire proceeding, one which seems to me repugnant to any true meaning of an impartial appeal. You have nonetheless insisted on adhering to that procedure, appending at various points a few procedural safeguards and concessions to my rights in order to introduce a modicum of fairness to those proceedings.

The two violations are: 1) The list of nominees was to have been created "using the list of June 5, 1970, augmented by additional suggestions from the Faculty of the GSD and the complainant" (from the GSD Faculty motion of May 14, underlining added). In fact, I was given no opportunity to add names to this list of nominees, an omission which Professor Rogers acknowledges (vide Prof. Roger's letter to me of Dec. 15, 1971.)

2) Although the May 14, 1971 GSD Faculty motion states that "those 20 candidates having the most votes will be the basis of selecting a Review Committee" and that "the Rogers Committee will then attempt to form a committee of five persons from the list of twenty starting with the persons with the most votes and working down the list," the Rogers Committee in fact went beyond the list of those 20 receiving the most votes in forming its committee. A letter to me from Professor Rogers dated Dec. 28, 1971 states that "the final acceptance (was) the 23rd place on the list;" other members also may have been further down the list than number 20. (In a phone conversion we had on Dec. 9, 1971, Professor Rogers told me that two of the faculty members who refused to serve were "well beyond" the top 20, so I assume that the two persons found to replace them were even further beyond that.)

Neither of these two violations is in itself trivial; taken together, they constitute a serious breach in the few rights I have remaining under the Rogers Committee procedures after they were revised by the GSD Faculty. Let me detail the implications of these violations.

I don't know exactly what procedure was used to derive the list of nominees for my appeals committee; apparently, the Dean (Maurice D. Kilbridge) and other faculty members nominated whomever they wished, either from the floor or in advance of the meeting. Nor is there any way of knowing on what criteria, and with what aims in mind, individuals were nominated: was it to put forth persons whose independence and probity would be beyond question, or was it to try to place on the committee persons who would be likely to find for the GSD? The presence on the list of so many persons associated with a conservative political stance and the university version of "law and order"--Professors Anderson, Banfield, Francis Bator, Cox, Deutsch, Heimert, Maass, Mason, to name just a few--suggests that the latter motive was paramount in at least some nominators' minds. Assumedly to balance this possible tendency, I was given the very important right to place names into nomination myself. But this rights was never accorded me, and the slate therefore consisted, and the final committee was formed, of persons of the GSD Faculty's choosing. The election procedure called for limiting the persons asked to serve to those 20 receiving the most votes. This stipulation assumedly introduced some additional modicum of fairness to an inherently unfair nominating procedure: given the fact that there was no limit on the number of nominations and no criteria for placing names in nomination, this provision at least insured that persons receiving a miniscule number of votes would not find their way onto the committee and that those asked to serve would only be persons for whom a substantial number of faculty had voted. Yet because of widespread refusals to serve on this committee on the part of those in the "top 20," the Rogers Committee went beyond its authorized limits to find at least one (and possibly more than one) committee member. (I have asked for and been refused detailed information on this as well as other basic facts on the procedure by which the committee has been formed: this secrecy and full control of all processes and information by the GSD adds further to the aura of bias inherent in the entire proceedings.) The fact that the Rogers Committee had to reach so far down into the bottom of the list to find acceptances further increases the importance of the violation first discussed: had I been allowed to make further nominations, as was my right, there is a high probability that one or more of the persons I nominated would have been asked to serve.

The final composition of the appeal committee is one that gives little confidence that a fair, impartial hearing will ensue. I know none of the five appointees personally. But it do know that one member is a recent colleague of the Dean at the Business School. One taught until recently in the Department of City Regional Planning (from 1966-69, I believe). Two others have been prominent, one extremely so, in University committees and actions which have sought to stifle political dissent and political activity on campus. It is in most respects a "loaded" committee, one from which at least two, and possibly more, members ought to disqualify themselves, or be disqualified, in view of connections and relationships with the GSD and the principals there involved in this appeal (particularly in the spirit of the GSD's own rule that no member of the GSD Faculty should serve on the appeals committee).

The composition of this group, the fact that so many people have refused to serve, the reasons for their refusals, the method by which the nominations, elections and arrangement have been handled all raise severe doubts about my ability to receive a fair and impartial hearing. I think that if you as a faculty have any pretense to due process and fairness you will review this entire situation and come to the same conclusion. (May I add another consideration: if the hearing I receive from the GSD is not a just one--and I refer not to the final decision reached but to the procedures--I will in all probability take this matter into the courts, which will prolong the issue even further. Your failure to insure proper procedure or your willful acquiescence in violations of your own rules will make it more likely that the courts will accept jurisdiction in the case). Let me be clear that the fault, as I see it, lies not with the Rogers Committee (who have had to carry out an unpleasant, long and thankless job) but with the procedures that have governed their work. (Let me also state in passing what should be obvious: I am most anxious for a speedy resolution of this appeal; the delay up to now--more than a year and a half have passed since I filed my "brief"--has in no way been of my doing; the only reason I am taking an action at this point that may lead to further delay is that I feel very strongly about the technical points I am now raising. I would also like to point out that I made known the violation of nominating procedures as far back as Sept. 27, 1971 in a letter to Dean Kilbridge; the second violation came to my attention only a few weeks ago.)

Few people have confidence in a procedure that is so blatantly one-sided; that is the reason so many of the "respectables" on the Harvard Faculty have refused to serve and will have nothing to do with the appeal procedure in its present form. The only way to insure impartiality is to create an unbiased mechanism from the outset--that is, to have the appeals committee formed by a person or group that in no way has an interest in the outcome of the case. The present procedure not only will produce biased results, but will not be convincing to the rest of the community. I have suggested in the past one specific mechanism--asking the University's representative to the Americans Association of University Professors to form the committee, and I'm sure there are other mechanisms as well that will satisfy the demands of fairness. One which is commonly used in arbitration proceedings, and which is widely recognized as inherently fair, is to have each party to the dispute (in this case, the GSD Administration and myself) select one member to the appeals board, and then have these two persons jointly choose the third member.

I turn the matter over to your hands, in the hope that you will ask yourselves why what would seem to be a relatively simple matter has taken over eighteen months, and then was done improperly. I hope you can acknowledge the need for re-intervention at this point, realize the underlying reasons for difficulties, and delay up to this point, and come up with a with resolution that is worthy of an academic body.

* Three persons on the May 27, 1971 list--Professors Rosenthal, Bowles and Ptashne--were persons I had suggested, via the right extended me under the original appeal procedure to have one persons on the committee whom I found "acceptable"; naturally. I nominated persons whom I considered ideal, even though they in all probability would not receive many votes, because one of the three was guaranteed a place on the committee. Had I been allowed to exercise the right of additional nominations granted me under the revised procedure, I would have placed on the list persons who, although not ideal, would have been to some degree acceptable and would certainly have had a greater chance of receiving a high number of votes. Having my three original nominees on the final list was of course no substitute for the right extended me under the revised procedure; this new right never would have been added if it did not contain a substantial benefit to me, necessitated by the simultaneous deprivation of several important rights contained in the original procedure, in particular the very right to be insured that one of my "ideal" nominees would be asked to serve on the committee.

** This of course will take additional time, but a neutral appointing party would probably be able to find three or five persons to serve within a very short while. An alternate procedure that would be satisfactory to me (although less so), should the GSD Faculty not want to take any additional time to form the committee, would be to ask Professors (Samuel S.) Bowles (associate professor of Economics) and (Mark S.) Ptashne (professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) to serve on the committee once again, and then select the other three members through random selection from the five who currently have accepted. Professors Bowles and Ptashne have my full confidence, and I would be willing to forego my claims as to procedural violations if this is the resolution you come up with

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