Following the recommendations of two admissions officers, Kennedy School of Government officials this month reversed a previous decision and hired a recruiter for women and minorities.
Thomas P. Sellers, who graduated from the K-School's Master of Public Administration Program last June, was officially appointed September 22 to fill the newly created associate director of admissions post.
Sellers will spend only part of his time as an admissions recruiter. Other duties include sitting on the admissions committee and advising students. The position is temporary, lasting only three years.
"We need to build up the network of relations in women and minority circles," Graham T. Allison Jr. '62, dean of the K-School, said yesterday, adding "We have got very good relations with about 50 'feeder schools,' but we never had anyone to build up relations" with other colleges.
The Kennedy School Students Association (KSSA), complaining about the small number of women and minority students, last December urged the administration to appoint a full-time recruiter. At that point, K-School officials refused, citing budget restraints.
Allison said he is still concerned about the financial imposition of the new post, but added that a report completed last July by William E. Truehart, assistant dean and director of the public administration program, and Calvin N. Mosley, assistant dean and director of the public policy program, convinced him it was worth it.
Neither Truehart nor Mosley, who will be working with sellers, was available for comment yesterday.
The KSSA praised the move, issuing a statement that "the creation of this position at a time when the School faces budget problems shows a strong and welcome commitment to affirmative action."
Elizabeth J. Santillanez, a member of the KSSA when the group made the recommendation last year, called the appointment a "good move for the administration," even though the position is only part time and temporary. Officials did not contact students before making the decision, and notified them only when they returned this fall, she added.
"It's a big step for the school to make the commitment," Margaret M. Hamilton, registrar and secretary of admissions of the K-School, said yesterday.
Sellers said yesterday that he has not been on the job long enough to assess the school's current affirmative action policy, adding that he has set no firm numerical goals.
Target figures would provide an ineffective affirmative action policy, Sellers said, adding, "I'm developing and implementing a system which will continue long after I'm gone."
Sellers applied earlier in the summer for the public policy job that Mosley eventually filled. But, Allison said, a few weeks later "enthusiasm rose to find jobs for which (Sellers) could compete."
Before entering the K-School, Sellers served as deputy commissioner of corrections in Massachusetts. Since 1970, he has worked in various management positions in state government and public service involving planning and developing criminal justice programs
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