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Kennedy School Activists Protest Lack of Diversity

By Emily Carrier

About 150 students, faculty and administrators attended a rally yesterday calling for increased faculty and student diversity at the Kennedy School of Government.

Speakers representing a coalition of Kennedy School student groups, including the Black Caucus, the Latino Caucus, the Women's Caucus and the Asian Caucus, talked during the hour-long rally. The groups have been planning the rally for a month, according to coordinator Randy Parraz.

Students protested the low level of diversity in the Kennedy School faculty and student bodies, as well as the lack of student involvement in curricular and administrative decisions.

"The faculty issue is the most glaring problem," said Abelerado Avalos, co-chair of the Latino Caucus.

After realizing in 1989 that the Kennedy School faculty did not meet the Department of Labor's recommended levels of diversity, administrators vowed to hire three women faculty members and three minority faculty members by 1992, students said.

Administrators have failed to meet those goals, students said. There is currently one woman tenured professor, presently on leave, and there are no Black tenured professors. Professors at the Kennedy School who are Black, Latino or Asian are usually visiting or teaching on limited contracts, students said.

"They haven't really shown a commitment to go forth and increase diversity," Avalos said.

Administrators, many of whom attended the rallyat the invitation of students groups, said theyappreciate the students' concerns, but added thatfinding minority faculty members can be adifficult task.

"The bottom line is, to get more minorityfaculty, we need more minority Ph.Ds. The pipelineis really important," said Administrative FellowAndy C. Hernandez, who attended the rally.

The issues students raised are "underdiscussion, definitely," Hernandez said, but headded that students would have to continue theirefforts in order to bring about real change.

"The issue of faculty diversity has been aroundfor a while and it's not going to go away," hesaid.

Indeed, Parraz said the rally was only thestarting point for activities the coalition isplanning for the next two months.

"Today the goal was to open a dialougue in theschool. Over the next two months we'll besteamrollering," he said.

Parraz encouraged students to take theirconcerns to Kennedy School Dean Albert Carnesaleat a town meeting held after the rally last night.He also suggested that students visit PresidentNeal L. Rudenstine at his upcoming office hours.

But Avalos said he was skeptical about takinghis concerns to administrators. "They hear, but Idon't know if they listen," he said.

"They keep saying that they form committees,"Avalos added. "But we just want to see results.

Administrators, many of whom attended the rallyat the invitation of students groups, said theyappreciate the students' concerns, but added thatfinding minority faculty members can be adifficult task.

"The bottom line is, to get more minorityfaculty, we need more minority Ph.Ds. The pipelineis really important," said Administrative FellowAndy C. Hernandez, who attended the rally.

The issues students raised are "underdiscussion, definitely," Hernandez said, but headded that students would have to continue theirefforts in order to bring about real change.

"The issue of faculty diversity has been aroundfor a while and it's not going to go away," hesaid.

Indeed, Parraz said the rally was only thestarting point for activities the coalition isplanning for the next two months.

"Today the goal was to open a dialougue in theschool. Over the next two months we'll besteamrollering," he said.

Parraz encouraged students to take theirconcerns to Kennedy School Dean Albert Carnesaleat a town meeting held after the rally last night.He also suggested that students visit PresidentNeal L. Rudenstine at his upcoming office hours.

But Avalos said he was skeptical about takinghis concerns to administrators. "They hear, but Idon't know if they listen," he said.

"They keep saying that they form committees,"Avalos added. "But we just want to see results.

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