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Calling on the Kennedy School of Government to make a formal commitment to hiring more minority and women faculty, student activists said yesterday they plan to wear armbands to the school's Commencement exercises tomorrow.
The students, who announced their planned action in a letter to Dean of the Kennedy School Robert D. Putnam, said a special committee designed to investigate alternative recruitment methods represents "a necessary but insufficient commitment" to increasing faculty diversity.
The Kennedy School has a mandate "to prepare students to be effective public policymakers in multi-cultural, multi-racial societies," protest organizers Cevette Harper and Fernando Tovar said in a statement released yesterday.
Of the Kennedy School's 24 tenured faculty members, one (4.2 percent) is Black and one (4.2 percent) is a woman, according to the University's 1990 affirmative action report. Institutions the report lists as "comparable" have 16.1 percent women and 16.1 percent minorities.
Steven R. Singer, the school's press secretary, said that increasing diversity at the Kennedy School is "one of the Dean's top priorities."
"We've been working hard to enhance the diversity of the faculty students and staff of the school, but we have a long way to go," Singer said.
Putnam was attending Class Day activites and could not be reached for comment.
The student activists have proposed a number of specific measures aimed at increasing minority representation on the faculty. Their proposals include setting specific goals and timetables for faculty appointments and bringing in minority scholars as visiting professors and lecturers.
In addition, the students have suggested expanding the pool of qualified minority faculty applicants by actively recruiting and offering financial support to minority students considering the school's Ph.D. program in public policy.
Approximately 485 students are scheduled to graduate from the Kennedy School, and activists say they hope at least 200 people will participate in the protest.
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