As a faculty-appointed committee continues to discuss candidates to replace outgoing Law School Dean James Vorenberg '49, President Bok said last week that he hopes to appoint a successor by the end of the semester.
Bok said the committee already has "a sense of a list of inside and outside candidates" to succeed Vorenberg, who announced his resignation last spring. Vorenberg will step down in May from the post he has held for seven years.
"I don't really have a strict time-table, but I am hoping that we will make the appointment sometime during the course of the first semester," Bok said in an interivew Friday.
The choice of a new dean has been deemed critical to the future of the school, which has been shaken by ideological battles among its faculty in recent years. While the appointment may help heal these rifts, some at the school have expressed concern that the appointment process itself may only perpetuate division.
During a 24-hour sit-in at Vorenberg's office in May. the Black Law Students Association demanded that Bok appoint Law Professor Derrick Bell to head the school. Bell, who is one of only two Black tenured professors at the school, however, said yesterday that he did not expect to be given serious consideration.
Administrators at the school have refused to discuss the current state of deliberations. Tyler Professor of Constitutional Law Laurence H. Tribe '62, who chairs the faculty search committee, would not say whether or not the committee has begun to narrow down a preliminary list of candidates. Tribe has also remained silent on what kind of qualifications the committee would emphasize.
"We're continuing to discuss candidates within the committee and within the faculty," Tribe said this week.
Bok and Tribe said they met with the faculty search committee several times over the summer. Last spring, the faculty elected six professors to serve on the committee to advise Bok on his appointment.
"We worked very hard over the summer," Bok, a former Law School dean, said. "I met several times with the faculty committee and individually with a large number of faculty and staff members which I had to do during the summer when I have more time."
Associate Dean and Professor of Law Andrew L. Kaufman '51 said yesterday the search committee had discussed candidates and search criteria with the faculty over the summer. "The dean search committee has been around talking to individual faculty members about everything," Kaufman said.
Tribe said the committee also spent much of the summer gathering input from students and alumni.
"We have written letters soliciting views of a great many alumni and received a great many responses--perhaps hundreds," Tribe said, adding, "We wrote letters over the summer to all current Harvard Law School students and have received a considerable number of replies."
Dan Kahan, a third-year law student, said the letters requested "just any kind of input a person felt like giving. It was pretty openended--not more than a half page long."
Kahan said that he thought most of the students are "just sort of mildly interested in it," but added "some people have more than a little interest. It's no secret that the Law Scool is embroiled in political controversies."
Vorenberg said he is recusing himself from the search process so that the search committee could have uninhibited "discussions of past and future."
The other committee members--Professors of Law Robert C. Clark, Gerald E. Frug, and David Kennedy, Cromwell Professor of Law David L. Shapiro '54, and Fessenden Professor of Law Bernard Wolfman--could not be reached or would not comment.
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