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Ad Board Review Moves Forward

By Madeline W. Lissner, Crimson Staff Writer

Interim Dean of the College David R. Pilbeam announced yesterday the new membership of the committee charged with examining the procedures of the Administrative Board.

The College has been considering a review of the Ad Board, a group of professors and administrators that examines student cases of academic and disciplinary misconduct in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, since last spring. In April, then-Dean of the College Benedict H. Gross ’71 expressed concerns that students do not have a strong voice in front of the 35-member board.

Organismic and Evolutionary Biology professor Donald H. Pfister will chair the review committee, which will also include English professor Elaine Scarry and professor of Scandinavian and folklore Stephen A. Mitchell.

“I think it is a big project as a way to look again at various aspects of the [Ad] Board,” said Pfister, a former Kirkland House master, who served on the Ad Board during the 2000-2001 school year and during the early 1980s.

Pfister said that the committee has yet to meet as a group, and will develop its priorities once it meets.

The committee’s composition confirms Pilbeam’s November statement that the review committee would not include student representation.

Incoming Undergraduate Council president Matthew L. Sundquist ’09 and Randall S. Sarafa ’09 popularized the issue of Ad Board reform during their December campaign and they have expressed disappointment that no students would serve on the review committee.

Sundquist said that the College had not consulted the UC about the committee appointments. But the UC’s own Ad Board Committee met with Pfister in December.

“We were aware of Professor Pfister’s role in the [College’s] Ad Board review committee,” said Sundquist about the December meeting.

The UC’s Ad Board reform committee, which includes UC representatives and other students, has met with various administrators and faculty members throughout the semester, in addition to holding open meetings to solicit student input.

“The entire point of the committee we put together was to generally get people to start talking about the Ad Board and to find out more about it,” said Sundquist. But “we are not proposing a specific model for how the Ad Board should look.”

The College’s review committee will also include Heather Quay from the Office of General Counsel and Ad Board Secretary John “Jay” L. Ellison as ex-officio members.

The most recent procedural revisions of the Ad Board occurred in 2001, when an independent fact finder was introduced for some disciplinary cases, most commonly those involving sexual assault.

—Staff writer Madeline W. Lissner can be reached at mlissner@fas.harvard.edu.

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