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Affirmative Pressure


By Susan C. Faludi

Every year for the past five years Faculty Council members have listened while Dean Rosovsky's special assistant reads the annual affirmative action report. And every year they have heard the same problem: the University is recruiting women and minorities at a respectable rate at the non-tenured level, but in the tenured ranks, women and minorities are still inadequately represented.

In the face of this perennial frustration, Dean Rosovsky this week announced a new approach: he will actively pressure departments to accelerate affirmative action recruitment.

Twelve women, or 3.1 per cent of the Faculty, are tenured professors this year, according to the affirmative action report on women compiled by Thomas E. Crooks, special assistant to Rosovsky. Crooks's report dealt solely with women.

Nancy R. Randolph, special assistant to President Bok, said yesterday about 3 per cent of the tenured faculty are minorities.

Rosovsky intends to work closely with departments--primarily those in the humanities--that "underutilize" available women and minority candidates qualified to fill tenured positions. The federal government determines its affirmative action goals by tallying the number of women and minority Ph.D.'s in a field.

Rosovsky said yesterday he will ask these departments to meet with him and submit their short list of candidates so he can "make sure women and minorities are on their short list."

If the list does not include women or minorities because the department is seeking a candidate in a very specialized field, Rosovsky said he will "see if we could broaden the field so that women and minority candidates could be included."

Rosovsky added he believes these new steps will exert symbolic pressure on the departments because they know he is paying attention to an issue that has remained a nagging problem.

The University has trouble boosting the number of tenured women and minorities for a number of institutional reasons, Rosovsky said. One roadblock is what he calls a "stock and flow problem: the University has a stock of about 450 tenured members, but makes 12 to 15 tenured appointments annually."

Government targets can also be misleading because not all the candidates counted when determining availability pools "would be qualified for Harvard," Rosovsky said. The University must often negotiate with the government to modify the goals, he added.

Faculty Council members contacted yesterday praised Rosovsky's new hard line on affirmative action. Glen W. Bowersock '57, associate dean of the Faculty for Undergraduate Education, said yesterday he supports Rosovsky's approach of working with specific departments "because it goes straight to the sensitive area."

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