Feds Investigate Scholar's Charge Against Harvard

Paniagua Says Black Fellows Favored

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is investigating a complaint that charges Harvard with favoring African-Americans and discriminating against Hispanics and Asian-Americans in its minority fellowship program.

In the complaint, Andres Paniagua, who was denied a position in the program for the past academic year, charges that because the leadership of Harvard's Office of the Assistant to the President for Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, James Hoyte '65, is Black, other minorities are excluded from the programs it administers.

"The limited participation of minority groups other than the one that actually runs this program and Harvard University's Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Office, serves as evidence of racial patronage and favoritism in the recruitment, selection process and placement of fellows," Paniagua said in his complaint.

Hoyte said this week that Paniagua's complaint is without merit.

"Certainly, my review of our past programmatic efforts is clear that we're reviewing this in a fair matter," Hoyte said.


But in an interview yesterday, Panigua said he would pursue his complaint with EEOC "to its completion." He said his research had determined that there have been only one Hispanic, one Asian-American and no Native American fellows in the past five years of the program.

"It's a very restrictive program and a very restrictive office," Paniagua said. "There is not a single Hispanic manager, not a single Asian-American manager, not a single Native American manager. There is something going on with that office."

Panigua also said his resume was not widely circulated to different departments by employees of the affirmative action office. He said he met with Carol Martin, who was officer in charge of minority fellowships, to discuss the issue, but found her answers unsatisfactory.

Paniagua also charged in the complaint that he received a "terse" rejection letter two months after a decision on his application for a fellowship was due.

Hoyte said the fellowship program's selection process often extended past its June deadline into August. He said, for example, that the selection of fellows for the coming academic year are not yet complete.

Hoyte also said individual departments choose their own fellows, with his office offering only assistance and maintaining little control over actual appointments.

"There's a preliminary screening that is done through this office," Hoyte said. "But it's the departments' decision."

Asked about Hoyte's explanation, Paniagua said that the office of the assistant to the president wields the real power in choosing fellows because it decides to which departments applicants' resumes will be circulated.

"They have to construct an argument to defend themselves," said Paniagua. "But why has there been no effort to make Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans part of the program?"

Paniagua also said Harvard needs to make a better effort to make minorities other than Blacks aware of the program. He said he learned about only in passing during a job interview with a different Harvard office."

Paniagua received his doctorate in philosophy from Boston University in 1991. He was a lecturer in the subject at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, during the past academic year. He received his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras in 1972.

Paniagua originally filed his complaint with the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. But, according to a February 1993 letter to President Neil L. Rudenstine that was obtained by The Crimson, the education department referred it to the EEOC because it was an employment discrimination complaint.

Paniagua's name was not disclosed by the Department of Education or the EEOC, but was learned by The Crimson. His complaint was obtained by Joshua A. Gerstein '91, a former Crimson executive, under the Freedom of Information Act