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Harvard Needs More Tenured Minority Faculty

TO THE EDITORS

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

This letter was addressed to President Rudenstine, President Wilson and Dean Knowles and received by The Crimson on April 23:

As you are probably aware, many of this University's students are quite concerned about the slow rate at which most Harvard departments are tenuring women and minority faculty, as well as the lack of new courses on ethnic and gender diversity. Monday's rally and this week's signature-gathering campaign both reflected and amplified the campus's attention to the lack of diversity in Harvard's Faculty and curriculum. We have raised awareness and encouraged creative discussion about the complicated issues which surround Harvard's hiring process and course development.

While the University appears to be addressing the need to diversify the Faculty and curriculum in some ways, there is much more that the University could do. In many students' minds, the inability of the University to meet its self-prescribed standards, based upon a conservative estimate of the current availability rates for women and minorities, can only be blamed on bias in some departments against the top scholars when they happen to be women or minorities. This bias directly affects the students at Harvard-Radcliffe. We rely upon Harvard to provide a Faculty and set of course offerings that can give us the best education possible, and we have been disappointed with this aspect of our college experience.

We appeal to you to positively influence the Faculty and improve both the tenure process and the curricular selection at all levels, especially those which occur behind closed doors. Ideally, Harvard and Radcliffe would work together to ensure that, for instance, women Faculty members have a supportive community and attractive incentives to work at Harvard (better child-care and more Bunting Fellowships for Harvard junior Faculty, to name two). We hope that you take these symbolic checks (signed by approximately 875 students) at their face value. They express:

*Students dismay at the current representation of women and minorities in our Faculty and our curriculum,

*A desire to share with you the reasons why a Faculty and curriculum which reflects true excellence is vital to our education and

*A hope that you and the various departments of the FAS will implement new strategies to increase, first, the number of women and minorities on our faculty, and second, the range of ethnicities our curriculum includes.

This institution is supposed to lead the way in all areas of intellectual innovation and challenge, but it is falling short of meeting this responsibility when it comes down to these crucial issues.

On that note, we would be more than happy to meet with the three of you to discuss these issues. We, like many other students at this College, are willing to play a positive, active role in working with you to help maintain the quality of our education as well as that of future students. Thank you for your time. --Anna M. Baldwin '00,   Emma C. Cheuse '98,   Haydee Diaz, G.S.Ed. '97,   Megan L. Peimer '97,   Lamelle D. Rawlins '99,   Veronica Terriquez '97,

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