Tension High at Faculty Meeting

Landes Initiates Debate on Relations Between Faculty and Administration

Although professors spent most of yesterday's Faculty Meeting criticizing the Corporation's decision to reject their benefits recommendation, the broader issue of Faculty administration relations weighed heavily on the minds of both professors and administrators in attendance.

Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles yesterday acknowledged that the relationship between the Faculty and the central administration had been "somewhat fractured."

And President Neil L. Rudenstine, acknowledging the tension, told the Faculty "we need ways of talking together that are different from the parliamentary procedures of this meeting."

Coolidge Professor of History and Professor of Economics David S. Landes initiated a discussion on the University administration and the soon-to-be-created Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) committee to monitor central administration finances.

Landes, mainly repeating comments he made at the February Faculty Meeting, said Harvard is in the midst of a constitutional crisis.

"There has been a major change in the governance of the University and the balance of resources," Landes said.

But, unlike in February, Landes brought his comments very much into the present, saying he has been told that the central administration's bureaucrats are unhappy with his proposals.

"A silent shift" has occurred in the past 25 years, Landes said, resulting in the proliferation of University administration.

"The central administration is in need of a drastic re-education about the nature of the University and also about their role and also about the role of students and faculty," Landes said.

When Landes first voiced his opinion that the central administration has taxed the Faculty without adequate representation or consultation, many professors distanced themselves from his remarks, and administratorscautioned that his views did not reflect those ofother members of the Faculty.

But Landes and two other professors visited theFaculty Council twice with proposals to create anFAS committee to monitor central administrationfinances.

Their moves have garnered the support of otherprofessors and Knowles' recognition.

Because the Faculty did not have to vote on theissue, it is unclear how many professors identifywith Landes's concerns.

Yesterday one of the professors who accompaniedLandes to the Faculty Council supported him.

"We have the conditions for a constitutionalcrisis in the near future," Professor of Englishand Comparative Literature James Engell told theassembled professors. "I do worry for the futureof [Harvard] if we do not take steps."