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Despite offers from several law schools of a visiting professorship, Weld Professor of Law Derrick A. Bell said this week that he will stay at Harvard and teach non-credit courses, pending approval from the school's dean.
Bell, who has vowed to take an unpaid leave of absence until the Law School tenures a Black woman, said he does not want to neglect his students by leaving Cambridge to be a visiting professor somewhere. He said Law School Dean Robert C. Clark was reviewing his request to teach the same courses that he normally teaches on a non-credit basis.
"I have indicated to all of them that I wasn't interested in going anyplace," said Bell. "I really hope to be here."
Bell declined to say which schools offered him the visiting professorships, but officials at the law schools of the University of Wisconsin and the University of Iowa confirmed that they had approached Bell.
"Without conferring with the [faculty], I telephoned [Bell]. I immediately sent a fax to his office and a Federal Express letter," Wisconsin Law Dean Cliff F. Thompson '56 said of his actions when he heard Bell planned to forego teaching at Harvard next year.
And Richard A. Matasar, associate dean of the Iowa Law School, said his school did not extend a formal offer to Bell because he had refused a similar position this past year.
"Somebody such as Professor Bell would be an extraordinary role model for our students," said Matasar. "That kind of role model we find part of our mission."
In addition to the advances made by law school administrators to attract Bell, students have hosted public demonstrations in support of his protest.
When Bell spoke two weeks ago at the Iowa Law School commencement, the law school's women's associates passed out multicolored ribbons to symbolize the diversity that Bell seeks, said Adrien K. Wing, an associate professor of law at Iowa.
"I was astounded by some of the people I saw wearing them," said Wing, adding that at least a quarter of the school's faculty and a university vice president sported the ribbons.
Earlier this month, about 200 students at Stanford Law School rallied in support of Bell's action, said Jennifer Wald, a second-year law student at Stanford who attended the rally.
Bell said since announcing his vow, he has received about 300 letters--most of which back his protest and many of which were written by law professors and lawyers. He added that he has also been sent petitions signed by students at Stanford, Yale and Northeastern.
"It's been a very good outpouring," Bell said. "Having the spotlight on the situation will end up being a plus."
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