Law Students Protest for Diversity

Coalition Group Holds Picket, Silent Vigil, Seeking Tenure for More Minorities

On the last day of a week filled with sit-ins and a student strike, members of the Coalition for Civil Rights walked picket lines and held a vigil to protest the lack of women and minorities on the Law School faculty.

About 25 Law School students marched in front of professors' offices in Griswold Hall yesterday morning, saying that administrators and faculty members have been unresponsive to their demands for a more diverse faculty.

In the afternoon, 30 coalition members stood silently outside a faculty meeting in Pound Hall, distributing flyers stating that 330 students voted "no confidence" in Law School Dean Robert C. Clark's commitment to minority hiring.

The coalition--composed of six minority student groups and the Women's Law Association--held a number of sit-ins earlier in the week and participated in Thursday's strike of classes at several Harvard graduate schools.

The recent protests follow the granting of tenure to four white men by the Law School faculty last month.


Camille Holmes, a second-year law student, said she hoped the faculty would consider granting tenure to a senior woman professor from another school. "We're hoping to see some results," Holmes said.

The Law School announced last week that two women had accepted tenure-track positions. Christine Desan Huson and Carol S. Steiker '82 will assume posts as assistant professors next fall.

Most faculty entering the afternoon meeting said the vigil was a productive method of raising awareness.

"I think it's a great idea," said Professor of Law Christopher F. Edley Jr. "It ought to happen at every meeting."

Smith Professor of Law Henry J. Steiner said he thought the vigil was "fine."

"I believe in freedom of expression," Steiner said.

Clark agreed, saying "I think it's an appropriate thing. I hope to talk with some students afterwards."

But professors crossing the morning picket lines largely ignored protesters, who employed colorful chants and signs.

"We are picketing Griswold Hall because a lot of the professors have their offices here," said Julia R. Gordon '85, an organizer of the protest. "I have never done this before. Then again, I have never been treated with such disrespect in my life."

The demonstrators insisted their grievance was with faculty members--not the school's staff--by displaying a number of signs which read "Staff In, Faculty Out!"

"We understand that the staff--secretaries,clerks, maintenance staff--does not have much todo with policy making, so we do not have anythingagainst them," Gordon said. "We have spoken totheir union and they support our efforts."

Coalition members said picketing has animportant symbolic value.

"When you go $70,000 into debt in order to goto a place that tells you that you're incidentalto policy making, you cannot just sit quietly,"Gordon said