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Yale Agrees To Rethink A Denial Of Tenure

By Matthew W. Granade, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

Yale University, in a nearly unprecedented move, recently decided to reconsider its decision to deny tenure to one of its assistant professors, the prominent diplomatic historian Diane Kunz.

Yale shocked Kunz's students and colleagues last April when it rejected what observers describe as her nearly unimpeachable bid for tenure.

Though Harvard has made its share of controversial tenure decisions, sources said today that they could not recall-at least not in recent memory-Harvard making a similar decision to reconsider a denied tenure bid. However, some professors who have been denied tenure as assistant professors are later awarded the coveted status after leaving Harvard for several years.

For instance, last semester Harvard's decision to deny tenure to Assistant Professor of Government Bonnie Honig prompted outrage across the University, including a sharp letter from 12 senior faculty members to President Neil L. Rudenstine, and allegations of discrimination and intellectual bias were splayed in newspapers nation-wide.

Rudenstine did not reconsider his decision.

Yale professors were shocked when their President, Provost and other chief officials agreed to have the case reconsidered.

"I was astounded," said Gaddis Smith, a professor of history at Yale and one of Kunz's supporters.

Only two months after their April decision, Yale's top officials told the history department the case would be reconsidered. Their decision was prompted by what was perceived as an inequity in handling this particular case.

Kunz published her third book, Butter and Guns: America's Cold War Economic Diplomacy, a month after recommendation letters solicited from other scholars on Kunz's behalf were due to the Senior Appointments Committee, according to Smith.

"The letters-which the Senior Appointments Committee gives a lot of weight to-didn't refer to the book because it didn't exist when they had to complete their appraisals," Smith said. Meanwhile, a few Yale professors who had seen the book before publication evaluated it negatively.

This time the committee hopes for a fuller appraisal.

Last fall members of the history department voted 15 to 6 in favor of granting Kunz tenure, but the Senior Appointments Committee, the mid-level group that must approve each tenure, struck down the proposal.

Kunz refused to comment extensively on her tenure did to date as the university's decision is again pending, but said she was pleased that they are reconsidering.

"I'm delighted. I have spent my entire academic career at Yale, and what I have wanted to do-and continue to want to do-is to teach my students,"Kunz said.

Yale hired Kunz in 1989, a year before she received her Ph.D. from the university. In 1991, she co-founded Yale's international studies program with Smith.

The committee will reconsider Kunz's case on Oct. 16, Smith said

Rudenstine did not reconsider his decision.

Yale professors were shocked when their President, Provost and other chief officials agreed to have the case reconsidered.

"I was astounded," said Gaddis Smith, a professor of history at Yale and one of Kunz's supporters.

Only two months after their April decision, Yale's top officials told the history department the case would be reconsidered. Their decision was prompted by what was perceived as an inequity in handling this particular case.

Kunz published her third book, Butter and Guns: America's Cold War Economic Diplomacy, a month after recommendation letters solicited from other scholars on Kunz's behalf were due to the Senior Appointments Committee, according to Smith.

"The letters-which the Senior Appointments Committee gives a lot of weight to-didn't refer to the book because it didn't exist when they had to complete their appraisals," Smith said. Meanwhile, a few Yale professors who had seen the book before publication evaluated it negatively.

This time the committee hopes for a fuller appraisal.

Last fall members of the history department voted 15 to 6 in favor of granting Kunz tenure, but the Senior Appointments Committee, the mid-level group that must approve each tenure, struck down the proposal.

Kunz refused to comment extensively on her tenure did to date as the university's decision is again pending, but said she was pleased that they are reconsidering.

"I'm delighted. I have spent my entire academic career at Yale, and what I have wanted to do-and continue to want to do-is to teach my students,"Kunz said.

Yale hired Kunz in 1989, a year before she received her Ph.D. from the university. In 1991, she co-founded Yale's international studies program with Smith.

The committee will reconsider Kunz's case on Oct. 16, Smith said

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