In response to a former Business School professor's charge that new evidence submitted in her sex discrimination suit last week "impeaches" testimony by the school's dean, Harvard's attorney filed papers in federal court Wednesday calling the new documents of "marginal relevance" in the case.
The seven-page Harvard response says that the 12 exhibits filed by the attorney of former associate professor of industrial marketing Barbara Bund Jackson '66 do not "support plaintiff's claims that defendants discriminated her because of her sex."
Jackson and her attorney say the exhibits they filed, which are excerpts of the new docucments, are at odds with several important points of B-School Dean John H. McArthur's deposition.
The Harvard response also expresses regret for "inconvenience" caused the court and Jackson's attorney, Evan T. Lawson, by the recent discovery by the University's lawyer, Allan A. Ryan, Jr., of hundreds of pages of documents from B-School files after the trial's completion.
"The significance of these documents will be decided by the judge," Ryan said yesterday, declining to discuss the specifics of the case.
Lawson said yesterday that he does not think Harvard's filing addresses his client's charges. "I don't think the response rebuts our contentions," he said.
The trial concluded last month and a verdict on Jackson's request for tenure, attorney fees and $847,000 in lost income is expected to be handed down next month by Federal Judge Douglas P. Woodlock, Jr. If the judge finds in her favor, Jackson will become the fifth woman tenured in the history of the 80-year-old B-School, and one of four women among the school's current 90-member senior faculty.
Ryan said he discovered the files in the course of trying to determine why a record of the faculty's 1981 votes on Jackson's tenure went undiscovered until late in the non-jury trial.
Ryan's filing includes comment on each of the exhibits filed by Lawson.
Concerning the public nature of the names of subcommittee members who first reviewed Jackson for tenure, Lawson's filing last week contained a letter from a B-School dean saying the names were not protected by academic privilege, even though McArthur in his deposition said the names were privileged.
The University's response says that McArthur's sworn statement "indicates that he had no knowledge that [the letter to the associate professors] was sent."
Lawson had sought the names for the purpose of calling them witnesses, but was prevented from doing so because the school claimed that they were privileged.
Another key part of the filing by Lawson cites two letters from professors to McArthur which Jackson and Lawson say suggest that the dean was less than impartial during the almost one-month interval between two votes on Jackson's tenure, the first of which was much more favorable to her than the second.
Harvard responds in the filing that the professors' letters do not indicate that McArthur took a stand on the case. The response says that it shows only McArthur's "concern" in Jackson's tenure bid, which Harvard says the dean has never disputed.
In his filing, Lawson also challenged McArthur's testimony that he had no formal meeting with the subcommittee members to discuss the report with them. One exhibit in Lawson's filing cites a record showing that a meeting between the dean and the subcommittee was scheduled.