Dean Rosovsky yesterday announced a series of planned measures to improve the tenure search and review procedures of the Sociology Department, including the formation of an advisory committee of Harvard social scientists and sociologists, and experts in the field outside the University.
The measures are the result of a report by the University's and Faculty's affirmative action officers on hiring practices in the Sociology Department and a formal grievance field by Theda R. Skocpol, former associate professor of Sociology, charging the department with sex discrimination in its decision not to recommend her for tenure, Rosovsky stated.
In addition to the formation of the committee, Rosovsky announced plans to meet with tenured members of the department "to discuss in detail specific inadequacies in its administrative procedures," and to schedule briefing sessions with them of Faculty affirmative action policies, which will be conducted by the Faculty's affirmative action officers.
Rosovsky was not available yesterday for further comment on his statement.
James A. Davis, chairman of the Sociology Department said yesterday that there was "no connection" between Rosovsky's announcement and the affirmative action officers' report. "The affirmative action issue was dead" when the report appeared, he added.
Noting that the participation of outsiders in a tenure decision is not unprecedented, Davis called the advisory committee "more like a longer-term visiting committee."
Thomas E. Crooks '49, special assistant to the dean, who co-wrote the report on the Sociology Department's hiring practices said that as far as he could recall, past briefings on affirmative action policy have been in writing.
Conducting such sessions in person, he added, would be "something new,"
"I have a great deal of sympathy for the Sociology Department," Crooks said. "So many of them are engaged in teaching elsewhere in the University that they don't often have the time to sit down together and conduct the department's business."
Crooks's report, which he wrote with Nancy Randolph, special assistant to the president, determined that the Sociology Department's hiring record does not display a pattern of sex discrimination.
Skocpol, now a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, called the report this week "a shameful document: evasive, vacuous and illogical."
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