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President to Deny Bell Extension of Leave

Professor Likely to End Tenure at Harvard; Blasts lack of Faculty Diversity

By Natasha H. Leland, Crimson Staff Writer

President Neil L. Rudenstine said in an interview yesterday that he will not grant Harvard Law professor Derrick Bell an extension of his unpaid leave of absence.

The move will likely mean that Bell, who took a leave of absence in April 1990 to protest the lack of faculty diversity, will end his tenure with the University.

Before a crowd of more than 350 assembled in front of Langdell Library at Harvard Law School, Bell announced his plans to request a third year of unpaid leave and blasted the University's hiring practices.

University regulations limit to two years the time a professor may be on unpaid leave. Bell argued yesterday that the regulations should not apply because his leave was not voluntary. "[My leave] has, rather, been coerced by the faculty's rigid adherence to obsolete credentialbased hiring," Bell said.

But Rudenstine said an exception will not be made for Bell. "My view is that we cannot extend the rule," Rudenstine said.

The president added that the final decision to extend Bell's leave would be made by the Corporation.

Rudenstine said he believed offering Bell the extension would make future cases difficult to decide. "It would be really difficult to know what grounds one would have for sustaining the rule in the future."

But Rudenstine said that if Bell does resign, the law professor could return if the faculty extends a new tenure offer to him.

Black Law Students Association (BLSA) members said they are not as optimistic as Rudenstine about Bell's possibility of returning. "I don't know if they would take him back, because of the political situation," said Charrise Carney, a third-year law student and president of the BLSA.

Members of minority student groups met yesterday with Rudenstine to discuss the tenure offers to three white male visiting professors--which students are citing as groups met yesterday with Rudenstine to discussthe tenure offers to three white male visitingprofessors--which students are citing as furtherproof of the Law School's discriminatory hiringpractices.

Students claim the offers violate a Law Schoolpolicy that forbids the faculty from extendingtenure to visiting professors while they areteaching at the University.

Dean of the Law School Robert C. Clark insiststhe faculty voted to eliminate the policy lastspring, and has applied it consistently eversince.

Further Insult

First-year law student Juny Francois, a BLSAmember, added that the faculty's decision totenure two of the professors, who have only beenat the Law School since January, was a furtherinsult because student evaluations could not havebeen taken into account.

The students said they were pleased at theoutcome of their meeting with Rudenstine. Thepresident promised to ask Clark for a writtenexplanation of why the policy was waived for thenew appointees, according to Francois. He alsoarranged for a meeting with the dean and theappointments committee before March 18.

In his speech before the protesters, Bell urgedthe students to take action and stand up to LawSchool officials. "A commitment to change must becombined with a readiness to confront authority,"said Bell.

After the emotionally charged rally, a group ofapproximately 150 students marched to GriswoldHall to post their written ultimatum on Clark'soffice door. The students asked the dean toprovide within eight days a written explanation ofLaw School hiring policies.

"After eight days we want in writing what'sgoing on in hiring, in particular with AnitaAllen," said Francois.

After the march to Clark's office, members ofminority groups held a strategy session todetermine what measures would be taken in the nexteight days.

"The time is running out on Dean Clark,"Francois said

Students claim the offers violate a Law Schoolpolicy that forbids the faculty from extendingtenure to visiting professors while they areteaching at the University.

Dean of the Law School Robert C. Clark insiststhe faculty voted to eliminate the policy lastspring, and has applied it consistently eversince.

Further Insult

First-year law student Juny Francois, a BLSAmember, added that the faculty's decision totenure two of the professors, who have only beenat the Law School since January, was a furtherinsult because student evaluations could not havebeen taken into account.

The students said they were pleased at theoutcome of their meeting with Rudenstine. Thepresident promised to ask Clark for a writtenexplanation of why the policy was waived for thenew appointees, according to Francois. He alsoarranged for a meeting with the dean and theappointments committee before March 18.

In his speech before the protesters, Bell urgedthe students to take action and stand up to LawSchool officials. "A commitment to change must becombined with a readiness to confront authority,"said Bell.

After the emotionally charged rally, a group ofapproximately 150 students marched to GriswoldHall to post their written ultimatum on Clark'soffice door. The students asked the dean toprovide within eight days a written explanation ofLaw School hiring policies.

"After eight days we want in writing what'sgoing on in hiring, in particular with AnitaAllen," said Francois.

After the march to Clark's office, members ofminority groups held a strategy session todetermine what measures would be taken in the nexteight days.

"The time is running out on Dean Clark,"Francois said

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