In an unconventional tape-recorded message, a Harvard Law Professor has called for a meeting to gather the "scarred" Law School faculty to discuss the controversy over last month's denial of tenure to Assistant Professor of Law Clare Dalton.
In a recording and memo distributed to Law School professors two weeks ago obtained by The Crimson yesterday, Professor of Law Charles R. Nesson '60 said President Bok "screwed up" last month last month by denying Dalton's tenure appeal and dividing the faculty into hostile camps.
In the message, Nesson, who supported Dalton's tenure bid, urged the faculty to attend a planning meeting for today and a general faculty conference for Saturday, April 23.
"Our faculty is left in a terrible position," Nesson said. "We are split, at war, battle-hardened, wounded, scarred. We should talk about it, together."
Nesson also charged that Loeb University Professor Emeritus Archibald Cox '34, whom Bok appointed to the five-member committee which investigated the Dalton case, was biased against Dalton because she supports the Critical Legal Studies (CLS) movement.
Based on the recommendation of that committee, Bok decided last month not to overturn last year's faculty vote denying Dalton tenure.
"Archie Cox is not impartial in this case," Nesson said in the taped message. "In a very important sense, Archie Cox was the object of it all. He was the symbol. He represented what Harvard stood for, and what this CLS movement attacked."
Cox, who also received a copy of the message, would not comment on the allegations that he was biased against Dalton's political beliefs.
"I've been around for a long time," Cox said yesterday. "People can judge me on my behavior without needing comments from me. That's the way it should be done."
Nesson said yesterday that he did not want his charges to be considered as a personal attack against Cox.
"[Cox] is such an extraordinary figure that any criticism of him is prone to be taken as personal, even though it's not," Nesson said.
The message to the faculty drew attention not only for its charges and recommendations, but also for its unconventionality. In the tape, a subdued Nesson--backed by the music of Dire Straits and Beethoven--gave a 30 minute monologue on why Bok's decision was unfair and why the faculty should meet to discuss the case.
"It conveys a little more information differently," Nesson said yesterday. "It's what I think."
Professor of Law Duncan M. Kennedy '64, a Dalton supporter, said the tape "doesn't strike me as out of character for Professor Nesson."
According to Kennedy, Nesson's message drewmixed reactions from the faculty. "There were awide range of reactions ranging from very hostileto very supportive," Kennedy said. "It's stillvery much an open question of whether anythingwill come from Nesson's initiative."
Dalton Still Deciding
Although Nesson said he hopes the faculty can"become a community again," now that Bok has madehis decision, the Dalton case may linger on in thecourts.
Dalton said Thursday that she may not decideuntil this summer whether to press the sexualdiscrimination suit against the University whichshe filed in November.
"I'm feeling at the moment not in any hurry tomake the decision," the torts and contractsexperts said. "[The decision] is both about whatdo I want the goals of that litigation to be andhow heavy do you imagine the personal costs wouldbe."
But Dalton said she has no doubts her case is asound one. "My taking some time to make thedecision is not a decision of whether it's a goodcase," Dalton said, adding, "I'm sure it's a goodcase.