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Honig, Whinston To Leave Harvard

Accept Tenured Posts at Northwestern

By Andrew K. Mandel and Elizabeth S. Zuckerman

Bonnie Honig and her husband, Professor of Economics Michael Whinston, are packing up and moving to Evanston by September 1 when they are both scheduled to assume tenured professorships at Northwestern University, according to the Office of University Relations at Northwestern.

Incoming chair of the political science department at Notherwestern University Michael Wallerstein said Honig was "the very best of the applicant pool" and is "delighted" that Honig has accepted the post of professor of political science.

Honig, an associate professor of government, was denied tenure earlier this year. Her case sparked outrage across the University as Faculty, students and alumni questioned the administration's stated commitment to increasing the proportion of female faculty.

"This is a great loss for Harvard, and a great gain for Northwestern," Wallerstein said.

Bruce Meyer, professor of economics at Northwestern, said he was also excited about his department's acquistion.

"It's not everyday that we hire a tenured professor from Harvard--and that's some understatement," he said.

Meyer also said that Honig's acceptance of the Northwestern post was "crucial to [Whinston's] decision."

But while Northwestern faculty and officials say they are pleased, Harvard is registering only confusion.

Assistant Professor of Economics Andrew P. Metrick said that the news that Whinston was leaving came as a suprise to him.

"It's bad for the department if he leaves next year and even worse if it's for good. I hope he stays," Metrick said in a Tuesday interview.

Gund Professor of Economics and Business Administration Richard E. Caves declined to comment on which institution Whinston will be with in the fall, citing the fact that "his situation is sufficiently up in the air."

According to Professor of Economics Eric S. Maskin, Whinston has said that he will be "visiting North- western next year" but has made no decision about remaining there.

However, Maskin said, "There is a real risk that he may stay there permanently and that would be a tremendous blow to our department."

Metrick said he also believes that Whinston's departure would damage the department.

"It would be a shame if we lost [Whinston]. It would be a very difficult hole to fill," he said.

According to Metrick, Whinston is a "top industrial organization economist" and is one of the few in his field at Harvard.

Maskin said Wednesday he had spoken to Whinston and that Whinston has not yet decided to join Northwestern's faculty permanently nor has he resigned from Harvard.

Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles declined to comment.

Philip S. Khoury, dean of the MIT's School of Humanities and Social Science, said that MIT had been in the process of offering a tenured position to Honig, although "no final decision" had been made.

The selection process came to a halt when Honig informed MIT that she was accepting the Northwestern post.

Khoury is still "guardedly optimistic" that Honig may decide to renew her interest in MIT if things don't work out at Northwestern, or if Honig and Whinston decide they like the Cambridge area better.

"It's a very complicated situation for Honig, especially after all that she's been through," Khoury said.

Honig and Whinston did not return phone calls this week

However, Maskin said, "There is a real risk that he may stay there permanently and that would be a tremendous blow to our department."

Metrick said he also believes that Whinston's departure would damage the department.

"It would be a shame if we lost [Whinston]. It would be a very difficult hole to fill," he said.

According to Metrick, Whinston is a "top industrial organization economist" and is one of the few in his field at Harvard.

Maskin said Wednesday he had spoken to Whinston and that Whinston has not yet decided to join Northwestern's faculty permanently nor has he resigned from Harvard.

Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles declined to comment.

Philip S. Khoury, dean of the MIT's School of Humanities and Social Science, said that MIT had been in the process of offering a tenured position to Honig, although "no final decision" had been made.

The selection process came to a halt when Honig informed MIT that she was accepting the Northwestern post.

Khoury is still "guardedly optimistic" that Honig may decide to renew her interest in MIT if things don't work out at Northwestern, or if Honig and Whinston decide they like the Cambridge area better.

"It's a very complicated situation for Honig, especially after all that she's been through," Khoury said.

Honig and Whinston did not return phone calls this week

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