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Addresses Shortage of Minority Faculty Members

By Ivan Oransky

The Kennedy School of Government has been stymied in its efforts to hire more minority faculty members by a dearth of qualified candidates nationwide, a top school official told an audience of about 70 last night at a "town meeting" to discuss faculty diversity.

"The biggest problem is the process," said Albert Carnesale, academic dean at the Kennedy School, who appeared on a panel of three school officials who met to evaluate the role of a newly created affirmative action committee.

The Kennedy School, which has not hired a minority faculty member in the past five years, has also had difficulty creating faculty mentors and implementing race-blind hiring policies. He attributed the problem to a candidate pool that he said was "remarkably thin on minorities." policies, Carnesale said. He attributed the problem to a candidate pool that he said was "remarkably thin on minorities."

In response to this problem, the school organized the affirmative action committee last spring under the direction of Jose A. Gomez-Ibanez, professor of urban planning and public policy.

Ibanez said last night that the committee's primary aim now is to investigate non-tenured positions for Blacks and Hispanics.

"I have decided to focus on people of color and Hispanics, but no Asians this fall," he said.

George E. Benitez, the leader of the People of Color Coalition, which sponsored the panel along with the student government's community affairs committee, said that it was "very important to keep the lines of communication open between the students and faculty."

He said that many students at the Kennedy School were dissatisfied with the current hring process, creating underlying tensions which led to the formation of his group.

"There was a lot of unrest," Benitez said. "There was a recognition that this process has not worked consistently. The types of compromises of the past are no longer sufficient."

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