When members of the Women's Equity Action League (WEAL) filed a complaint with the Department of Labor (DOL) last month charging the Kennedy School with violating federal affirmative action hiring codes, they vowed to "keep up the pressure" on the school. This week they kept their promise.
Charging the K-School with falsifying information in its report to DOL on hiring, WEAL told Labor officials the K-School had labeled two Black women research associates in the report as "instructional," though they'd never taught at the school. WEAL's amended complaint alleges the school "misreported" the data to boost its low percentages of women and minority faculty.
K-School officials denied the charge, explaining they'd reported the women as non-teaching faculty, a label DOL sources say is accurate under departmental guidelines. They also rejected a WEAL charge that the school's five reported "firm offers" to women of faculty posts were "not firm at all."
But WEAL sources continued to maintain the unreleased report is inaccurate and that not all of the five candidates were given tempting offers by the school--and said DOL's preliminary findings, which Labor sources say are due in about a month but which will not be made public, will bear out their charges.
For the first time, WEAL's national leadership joined the fray, with national president Carol B. Grossman calling the K-School "hard-pressed" to back up its case and saying she expects DOL to support WEAL's charges.
K-School students also expressed their "concern" over the school's affirmative action record last week, though they did not explicitly support the WEAL complaint. In a half-page letter to K-School Dean Graham T. Allison Jr. '62, the governing board of the school's student association asked for a more active role in reviewing admissions.
But the students could not decide if they wanted to demand student membership on the school's faculty-only admissions committee, with some students favoring demonstration and others preferring "to educate or vacillate," in the words of student association member Lori Forman. By week's end, all that seemed certain was that the conflict over the K-School's affirmative action policy is not likely to end quietly.
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