Harvard's search for a new vice president for government, community and public affairs has hit a snag, and an appointment probably won't be made until the end of the semester.
An announcement was expected weeks ago, but President Neil L. Rudenstine said yesterday that the process will be delayed because two of the leading candidates may be offered jobs in the Clinton administration.
"It's taking more time than I thought," Rudenstine said. "It's been complicated."
Harvard's public relations and lobbying efforts have already gone without a permanent leader for nearly a year. The job is one of the University's most important because the Harvard often plays a key role in shaping the national debate on education issues.
"The person who fills the position at Harvard traditionally has played an important leadership role," said Robert K. Durkee, vice president for public affairs at Princeton. "It's an important position for Harvard but it's also an important position for higher education in general."
Rudenstine would not identify the three or four other contenders he said were being considered. All of the candidates have been informed that Harvard is waiting on the outcome of the Clinton appointments, he said.
The vice president for government, community and public affairs acts as the University's lead lobbyist in Washington and oversees the operation of the Harvard News Office.
John H. Shattuck, the former vice president, resigned early last year to become Undersecretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
Acting Vice President Jane Corlette, who is not interested in staying on as a permanent replacement, said the slow pace of the search has caught her by surprise.
"When I became acting vice president, Neil said to me in February [that he thought] we ought to be able to wrap this up by the end of the term," Corlette said. "But it's been fine. It's been interesting and I'm enjoying myself."
Corlette said the future of the News Office--which has been operating under two acting directors since its previous director left during the summer--remains uncertain.
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