The Afro-American Studies Department at Harvard will enter its second decade this year, but department members lately can find little cause to celebrate. In fact, if the Visiting Committee on Afro-American Studies--which has already conducted two investigations of the department within the last two months--has its way, the life of the department may be brief.
A source in the department said this week that the chairman of the visiting committee may recommend that the University demote Afro-American Studies from the status of a department to a committee.
The visiting committee is expected to return later in the semester to present its written evaluation.
During the committee's stay at Harvard, they examined a 30-page report criticizing the department, which a group of junior faculty members within Afro-American Studies handed to Dean Rosovsky several months ago. The committee also spoke with several department Faculty members and concentrators, a source said yesterday.
However, the actual procedure followed by the committee has generated much controversy over the past few weeks. A professor within the department said he felt the committee's methods of investigation were "shrouded in mystery."
Since the committee's last visit, the department has received no response from the committee members, the source said.