Paved With Good Intentions


When the administration named its advisory board for the W.E.B. DuBois Institute last week, many people wondered why no one from the Afro-American Studies Department had been appointed to the panel that will oversee the development of Harvard's black research facility. As it turns out, the administration thought it had chosen someone from Afro for the DuBois board, but the appointment went sour at the last minute.

Walter J. Leonard, President Bok's special assistant, acknowledged this week that he had invited David Lewis, a professor at Federal City College who was a candidate for tenure in Afro, to sit on the DuBois panel. At the time of the invitation, Leonard said, he had "very good" reason to believe that Lewis was going to get tenure at Harvard.

But Lewis's tenure bid, strongly supported by Dean Rosovsky, was ended by Bok after three History professors lobbied against the appointment. When that happened, Leonard said Monday, "there just wasn't time" for the administration to find someone in Afro to replace Lewis on the advisory board.

"There was never any question of whether we'd appoint someone from Afro," Leonard said. "The only question was who we would appoint." Leonard also imitated that the administration may make some additions to the advisory group, but at his Tuesday press conference Bok said any new advisory appointments must be initiated from the current board.

Bok is still left with the problem of DuBois and Afro, but he said Tuesday that for now he will give top priority to raising funds for the institute. Noting that he has "never faced a year that has been so difficult for raising money," Bok said he is going to take a personal role in the effort to get the research center enough funds to begin operations.


Ewart Guinier '33, chairman of the Afro Department, is giving Bok something else to worry about. On Tuesday Guinier released a letter he sent to Bok in which he charges the administration with "glaring violations" of an earlier promise to give Afro some say in DuBois's development. Guiner's letter also said Bok's failure to consult him on the advisory board selection was "highly irregular on both administrative and ethical grounds."