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Departure of Dean Marks Shuffle of Race Bureaucracy

By Melissa Lee

The departure of one of the three leading race relations policy officials at the College may signal a dramatic alteration in the Office of Race Relations, the College's race relations programming workshop, which she presided over since its creation in 1987.

As of October 1, Assistant Dean of the College Hilda Hernandez-Gravelle will become the special assistant to James S. Hoyte '65, the associate vice president for affirmative action. The move is the latest shake-up in the College's race relations bureaucracy which Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III, the overseer of race relations at the College, has been revamping since last summer.

For six years, Hernandez-Gravelle molded the Office of Race Relations as its first and only leader. She organized racism prevention programs through the student groups AWARE (Actively Working Against Racism and Ethnocentrism) and SHARE (Students at Harvard and Radcliffe Against Racism and Ethnocentrism).

Epps says he has no plans to replace Hernandez-Gravelle. He says her former office's staff will continue the programs and he will handle all race-related complaints. Epps has dealt with such complaints since January as chair of the Operations Committee which consists of former student and faculty committees of the Office of Race Relations and the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Minority Affairs.

Hernandez-Gravelle did not return repeated telephone calls last week.

With Hernandez-Gravelle gone, the future of the Office of Race Relations which was placed under Epps' supervision last summer is up to him. Epps plans this fall to implement the recommendations of a study of race relations at the College by the Harvard Negotiations Project.

The project's report calls for a mediation service that would deal with minority groups in conflict as well as providing training in negotiation and crisis management to campus leaders and faculty. After the report was released last May, Epps said: "We might turn to more consolidation under one umbrella--the simplification of the structure perhaps by retaining the factors that have worked so well."

Epps echoed those comments last week, saying the new mediation service would be an "addition" to and not a substitute for the race relations office.

According to Hoyte, Hernandez-Gravelle might have been seeking a post with more flexible hours to pursue advanced course work. Epps says he "thought her change was a step up--something positive."

Hernandez-Gravelle will be in charge of a project examining the atmosphere at Harvard for minority employees, according to Hoyte. She will work part-time, he says.

Hernandez-Gravelle's move to the University's affirmative action office coincides with an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigation of a complaint charging the office with discriminating against non-Black minorities.

Andres Paniagua, a Hispanic man who was denied a fellowship to the Philosophy Department which was administered by the affirmative action office, alleges in his 1992 complaint "racial patronage and favoritism in the recruitment, selection process and placement of fellows." The investigation is currently in the hands of an enforcement unit of theEEOC, according to Paniagua.

Hoyte, who has dismissed the discriminationcharges since they were first published in TheCrimson last month, denies hiringHernandez-Gravelle because of the EEOCinvestigation. He says that most of the fellowshipwinners are Black, but says the majority ofapplicants are Black.

Paniagua says Hoyte's hiring ofHernandez-Gravelle, as well as the sudden increasein minority representation in the fellowshipprogram, is part of a cover-up for non-Blackminority discrimination. Hoyte says the award offellowships to one Asian American and two Hispanicapplicants this year was the result of an intenseadvertising campaign

Hoyte, who has dismissed the discriminationcharges since they were first published in TheCrimson last month, denies hiringHernandez-Gravelle because of the EEOCinvestigation. He says that most of the fellowshipwinners are Black, but says the majority ofapplicants are Black.

Paniagua says Hoyte's hiring ofHernandez-Gravelle, as well as the sudden increasein minority representation in the fellowshipprogram, is part of a cover-up for non-Blackminority discrimination. Hoyte says the award offellowships to one Asian American and two Hispanicapplicants this year was the result of an intenseadvertising campaign

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