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UMass Tenures Bowles, Other Radical Economists

By Fran Schumer

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst this week took the final step in approving tenured appointments for Samuel S. Bowles, associate professor of Economics, and Herbert M. Gintis, lecturer in Education, thereby depleting Harvard's Economics Department of its radical junior faculty members.

In a unanimous decision last Wednesday, the Board of Trustees at UMass also granted tenure to two radical economists currently teaching at City College of New York.

The Board's decision was prompted by efforts in the Economics department to give greater weight to the radical perspective, Dean Alfange, acting chairman of the Economics department, said yesterday.

The four economists, who indicated earlier this year that they are "committed to working as a group," have accepted the offer.

Bowles, denied tenure at Harvard last December, said yesterday that the group's willingness to accept tenure at UMass hinged on what radical economists and how many UMass was willing to appoint.

"Working together will have a great effect on our ability to develop a coherent program of teaching and research," Gintis, appointed an assistant professor of Economics at Harvard this year, said yesterday.

At last Wednesday's meeting, the Trustees also voted to appoint Harvey B. Scribner, chancellor of the New York City public school system, a tenured professor of Education.

Scribner, allegedly booted out for his efforts to decentralize New York City's school system and to liberalize educational policy, will assume the position at UMass next fall.

In line with its efforts to balance the faculty, the Board also approved a policy which would give students significant responsibility in university decision making.

The policy, described in a governance document drawn up in March by student-faculty representatives, "assures" but does not specify by what procedure, students will participate in the "evaluation of faculty effectiveness."

Administrative sources indicated yesterday that student evaluation was a significant factor in Bowles's appointment.

Bowles, currently on leave from Harvard, will finish his last year as an associate professor here next year and will assume the tenured professorship at UMass in September 1974. Gintis will fulfill one year of his appointment as an assistant professor of Economics at Harvard next year and will begin his tenured appointment as an associate professor of Economics at UMass also in 1974.

The two other economic appointees, Stephen A. Resnik, who specializes in economic development of the Phillipine Islands, and Richard Wolff, who will soon publish a book entitled "The Economics of Colonialism: Britain and Kenya, 1870-1930," will begin teaching at UMass this fall.

Resnik has been appointed a tenured professor and Wolff a tenured associate professor.

Members of the Harvard community are dubious about the implications these appointments have for Harvard's Economics Department.

Stephen A. Marglin '59, the only radical economist left in the Department's faculty, said yesterday that the appointments will affect the quality of research in this field at Harvard.

"Research and meaningful teaching is hard to carry on in isolation," Marglin said.

Graduate students interested in radical economics have also expressed concern over the limited alternatives the Economics Department at Harvard is able to offer them.

William Lazonick, a third year graduate student here, indicated yesterday that undergraduates attracted to the non-orthodox approach will not choose Harvard as their academic haven and graduate students here looking for jobs, will search elsewhere.

Gintis urged students to fight against "faculty intransigence" and get more radical economists from other schools to come to Harvard.

Core groups of radical economists are currently clustered at American University in Washington, the New School of Social Research in New York City and the State University of New York at Stoney Brook. In 1969, when Harvard had five radical economists on its faculty, it was considered the school with the best potential for development in this field

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