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Students: Search For HDS Chief Is Excluding Us

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

As the search for a new director of Harvard Dining Services (HDS) enters its final phase, undergraduate members of the search committee are charging that they have been excluded in some ways from the process.

Rudd W. Coffey '97, one of three student members of the committee, said he was not even informed when the committee began interviewing finalists for the position late last month.

Furthermore, student members of the committee said that, unlike administrators, they were not provided with resumes and references of the candidates they did interview, putting them at a disadvantage when asking questions.

Vice President for Administration Nancy H. "Sally" Zeckhauser, who is charged with picking the new HDS director, said she was surprised that the student committee members had not received the applicants' resumes ahead of time, and indicated that a mistake may have been made.

"[The students] were intended to have as much information as we did going into the meetings," Zeckhauser said.

Those student committee members who were informed of the meetings said they were given only one working day's notice--they were informed on a Friday that the first interview was scheduled for the following Monday, according to student member Adam J. Rymer '97.

"They've done a pretty poor job with student involvement," Rymer said. "There was a while that...[Coffey and I] knew we were both on the committee, and we hadn't heard anything about when this was going to happen."

The student members of the committee also objected to not being given basic information about the candidates before the interviews.

Administrators had received resumes and letters of reference about each of the five candidates interviewed, while students did not.

Coffey said that Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 subsequently "humiliated" the students during the interview, addressing them in a condescending manner in front of one of the candidates when a student asked a question answered on the resume.

"I've been on this committee since probably exam period," Coffey said. "There's no reason I shouldn't have had my hands on [the resumes and recommendations]."

Coffey said he also wasn't even informed of the first two interviews because the schedule was sent to the wrong e-mail address.

He said that the e-mails intended for him were sent to the address ccoffey@fas, while his actual address is coffey@fas.

"I e-mailed Dean Lewis and let him know my e-mail and phone number, and and somehow the administration screwed up," Coffey said.

He said the mistakes are not excusable.

"My name is Rudd Coffey, it's in all the phone books, they can finger me...and also call Harvard information," he said. "All this about not getting in contact, I think that's a crock of shit."

Students on the committee said they were also confused because there was never any meeting briefing them on basic details such as the history of the position, what the committee's goals were and which parts of the proceedings were confidential.

Finally, Coffey said he was fuming that Lewis has not yet responded to his concerns, even though he has contacted the dean's secretary.

"You see how much lip service is paid to student input," he concluded.

Lewis could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The allegations are just the latest fromstudents who accuse the administration of ignoring their input on key decisions.

The most high-profile recent accusations have come from student leaders in public service. Last November, Lewis selected Judith H. Kidd as the first-ever dean of public service, over the vigorous objections of student members of his search committee.

Zeckhauser was quick to distinguish the HDS director search from last year's search for a new dean of public service. She points out that unlike public service, no large controversy surrounds the appointment of a new HDS director.

Zeckhauser went on to say that if the student members of the search committee were to strongly object to any of the candidates, she would "certainly listen seriously."

Going Well Otherwise

In spite of the miscommunication, students and administrators agreed that the search for a successor to outgoing director Michael P. Berry is going very well.

The committee has selected five finalists from a field of nearly 50 candidates.

And Zeckhauser said she plans to hire the new HDS director before the beginning of the fall semester.

Rymer said that he felt his voice has been given significant weight by administrators at all meetings. He described one meeting in particular, a brunch in Kirkland House.

"I felt like what I had to say was valued," Rymer said. "Candidates were asking me questions.... I felt I was really making a difference in choosing the director.

Coffey said that Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 subsequently "humiliated" the students during the interview, addressing them in a condescending manner in front of one of the candidates when a student asked a question answered on the resume.

"I've been on this committee since probably exam period," Coffey said. "There's no reason I shouldn't have had my hands on [the resumes and recommendations]."

Coffey said he also wasn't even informed of the first two interviews because the schedule was sent to the wrong e-mail address.

He said that the e-mails intended for him were sent to the address ccoffey@fas, while his actual address is coffey@fas.

"I e-mailed Dean Lewis and let him know my e-mail and phone number, and and somehow the administration screwed up," Coffey said.

He said the mistakes are not excusable.

"My name is Rudd Coffey, it's in all the phone books, they can finger me...and also call Harvard information," he said. "All this about not getting in contact, I think that's a crock of shit."

Students on the committee said they were also confused because there was never any meeting briefing them on basic details such as the history of the position, what the committee's goals were and which parts of the proceedings were confidential.

Finally, Coffey said he was fuming that Lewis has not yet responded to his concerns, even though he has contacted the dean's secretary.

"You see how much lip service is paid to student input," he concluded.

Lewis could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The allegations are just the latest fromstudents who accuse the administration of ignoring their input on key decisions.

The most high-profile recent accusations have come from student leaders in public service. Last November, Lewis selected Judith H. Kidd as the first-ever dean of public service, over the vigorous objections of student members of his search committee.

Zeckhauser was quick to distinguish the HDS director search from last year's search for a new dean of public service. She points out that unlike public service, no large controversy surrounds the appointment of a new HDS director.

Zeckhauser went on to say that if the student members of the search committee were to strongly object to any of the candidates, she would "certainly listen seriously."

Going Well Otherwise

In spite of the miscommunication, students and administrators agreed that the search for a successor to outgoing director Michael P. Berry is going very well.

The committee has selected five finalists from a field of nearly 50 candidates.

And Zeckhauser said she plans to hire the new HDS director before the beginning of the fall semester.

Rymer said that he felt his voice has been given significant weight by administrators at all meetings. He described one meeting in particular, a brunch in Kirkland House.

"I felt like what I had to say was valued," Rymer said. "Candidates were asking me questions.... I felt I was really making a difference in choosing the director.

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