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By John L. Larew

THE staff position advocates openness and student input in the search for Harvard's next president, but then abandons those values when it comes to one of the most crucial points in the process. Out of concern for the reputations of the last remaining candidates, the staff suggests that the University keep secret the names of the finalists for the presidency.

Traditionally, confidentiality in hiring works the other way. Names of those in the first rounds of consideration are often kept under wraps so that word of a candidate's quest for the job won't get his or her present employer worried. Once the pool has been screened once or twice, privacy gives way to the public's interest in knowing who will occupy a position of considerable power.

The majority leaves unclear just how the disclosure that someone made it to the final round in Harvard's presidential search would harm a person's reputation. Most of those on the search committee's medium list already hold prominent positions. By now, all of them should have learned something about facing public scrutiny and dealing with rejection.

The stigma of coming in second or third in Harvard's search is not going to ruin anyone's career. From here on out, the search committee should make public all of its decisions about those in the running for the University's highest post.

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