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Affirmative Action Report Draws Fire

Task Force Assails Enforcement Policy

By Warren W. Ludwig

Spokesmen from the Task Force on Affirmative Action and the administration clashed yesterday over the University's revised affirmative action plan and status report released last Friday.

In Retreat

There still is "no way for women or minorities, who are the affected parties, to have effective input into the implementation of the affirmative action plan at any level of the enforcement procedure." Laura Lifsy '78, a task force steering committee member, said yesterday.

The absence of significant changes in enforcement procedure indicates a "retreat from a real commitment to a strong affirmative action program," another member of the steering committee said.

Phyllis Keller, equal employment officer for the Faculty, yesterday said she could not understand the task force's criticism since she, a woman, and Walter J. Leonard, special assistant to the president for affirmative action, a black, review all Faculty appointments.


Keller said the program has been "very successful" at raising the percentages of women and minorities hired, even though the report cites eleven departments as underutilizing tenured women, and the Physics Department as underutilizing tenured minorities.

The proportion of newly hired women and minorities has been greater than their proportion in the applicant pool. Keller said. The overall change in the composition of the Faculty has been small, she said, because the Faculty has only had about 30 tenured positions to fill in the last three years.

The chairmen of two departments cited for underutilization said yesterday that they were unable to find qualified women or minority candidates for open positions.

"We look as hard as we can, but if we don't find a minority candidate as good as the best in the pool, then we go for the best," Michael Tinkham, chairman of the Physics Department said yesterday.

Bok's O.K.

President Bok said yesterday the report is "thorough and systematic," and "reflects a very steady and substantial decline in the number of places where under-representation occurs," but he declined to call the report either encouraging or discouraging.

The University should not be satisfied when it meets its affirmative action goals, Bok said, because the goals are based on the proportion of women and minorities in the teaching position applicant pool.

Currently, these proportions are low, Bok added.

"Harvard should take it on itself to increase the number of people going into the graduate schools so that the supply of people available for teaching positions will increase," Bok said.

Bok said Harvard is working with other universities and federal agencies to develop a federal financial aid program that "will make grad school more attractive to minority students."

Commenting on figures in the report that showed slight declines in the percentage of black students attending several Harvard graduate school programs, including those in government, business, and law. Bok said the University should take a "hard look" for the reasons.

Don K. Price, dean of the Kennedy School of Government, where the report showed the percentage of black students has dropped from 5.6 to 4.4 per cent since 1971, said yesterday the school has made "vigorous recruitment efforts and will continue to do so."

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