Edley May Not Return to HLS

Unhappy With Diversity Effort

Professor of Law Christopher F. Edley Jr, who has taken a leave of absence to serve in the Clinton administration, said last night he is unhappy with progress on faculty diversity at the Law School, and may not return to Harvard.

Edley, who is Black, will take a post in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). His departure reduces to two the number of Black tenured professors teaching at the Law School.

Students and faculty members downplayed the impact of Edley's move because the professor is only taking a leave of absence. Unpaid leaves last no longer than two years.

"He's leaving for an administrative position in Washington so he'll probably be back," said third-year student Elizabeth G. Moreno, a member of the Law School's Coalition for Civil Rights (CCR), which has actively pushed for greater faculty diversity.

Edley, however, said in an interview later yesterday that he was not so certain he would return.


"I think there is a fair chance that I will come back within two years, but there is at least as good a chance I won't. It sort of depends on how it goes," he said.

"I've always planned on going back to Washington the minute a Democrat was re-elected, that's been my plan since '81," continued Edley, who was a White House aide in the Carter Administration.

Edley said his new job as associate director of OMB "involves the responsibility for coordinating the preparation of budgets for numerous agencies," including the departments of Justice, the Treasury, Commerce, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.

"I'm very happy for Professor Edley because he's been unhappy here [about the Law School's lack of faculty diversity]," Moreno said.

"It's true, but it didn't affect my decision," Edley said of his discomfort with the faculty's diversity.

Edley said he was not optimistic about recent steps the Law School has taken towards diversifying its faculty.

"The progress is very fragile," he said. "A few departures can make a substantial difference. I think there has been some self-satisfied complacency with recent progress and that's premature."

Third-year law student Camille D. Holmes, a CCR member, said, "The fact that numbers can change so rapidly really stresses the point that action must be taken so that numbers aren't so much of an issue."

Faculty members yesterday said Edley's move would help the government but hurt the Law School.

"It's a good thing for the country but not for our law school," said Professor of Law Todd D. Rakoff '67, who co-teaches an introduction to public law class with Edley.

"It's a loss for the Law School and a boon to the country," said Professor of Law Randall L. Kennedy