President Bok's search for a successor to Albert M. Sacks, dean of the Law School, who will step down next July 1, drew criticism last week from law students, who say they want a larger part in the process.
Bok, who chose Sacks to succeed him as Law School dean when he became president in 1971, said Friday he has written to the Law School faculty, students and 200 to 300 alumni, asking for their views of the school's needs and "for the names of any candidates they might have."
Bok said he has narrowed down the list of suggested outside candidates "to a manageable size," with the help of five faculty members. The group of five aided in a "very intensive, systematic review" of possible outside candidates, Bok said, adding that they did not discuss possible candidates from within the faculty because "it would have been awkward to talk about insiders."
Bok's request for students' views "is a token effort" which students "are not going to take seriously," Lorraine B. Pratte, a third-year law student and a member of the Law School Council, said yesterday, adding that students should be involved in evaluating the final candidates.
The Board of Student Advisors voted last week to ask for "more student input" at a meeting with Bok scheduled for Wednesday, Ted Howard, director of the board, said yesterday.
Pratte said the Law School Council, elected by the student body, has endorsed the board's proposal, which requests that the criteria students feel are important be taken into account, and that students be included in the screening of final candidates.
Students should not be limited to discussing the qualities of the next dean in the abstract, but should be consulted once the number of candidates has been "narrowed down to five or ten people," Pratte said, adding that "we can put forth criteria we think are important, but at the next step, we think we'll be excluded."
Bok said that since the problems of the Law School are "intellectual, academic and educational," it is important that the next dean has "spent time in legal education."
Bok said he would like to make his choice by the end of the calender year. "I'm shooting for the first of the year," Bok said Friday, adding that although there is no rigid deadline, "it would be nice to have it arranged by then."
Fewer than 20 students have responded to his September letter soliciting their views, Bok said, but added that he "wants the benefit of their ideas," and hopes for "give and take" discussion with students