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On Presidential Search, Faculty Advisory Committee Stays Mum

University Hall
University Hall houses the offices of most of Harvard's central administration, as well as the room where the Faculty of Arts and Sciences typically hold their monthly meeting.
As Harvard’s search for its next president stretches into its ninth month, a faculty committee tasked with advising the search has yet to publicly announce its plans—and several committee members remain tight-lipped about the group’s role in the process.

Committee chair Robin E. Kelsey, the dean of arts and humanities in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, did not reply to repeated requests for comment over the past month.

In an email Thursday, committee member Hopi E. Hoekstra also declined to comment on the committee’s progress.

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“I apologize but I don't have any information to share with you,” Hoekstra wrote.

Committee member Alison J. Simmons said she was “not at liberty to say anything” about the search.

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The 13-member faculty advisory committee first formed in August 2017. It is tasked with helping guide the 15-member search committee seeking the successor to University President Drew G. Faust, who announced over the summer she plans to step down in June 2018. The search committee comprises all 12 members of the Corporation and three members of the Board of Overseers.

The advisory committee includes professors from all of Harvard’s schools except for the School of Dental Medicine.

In October, several chairs of social science departments confirmed that two faculty committee members met with department chairs in the division to garner their input on preferred traits for the next president. The faculty committee itself did not comment on the meeting.

In November, Michael D. Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, said in an interview with The Crimson that he had not yet met with the advisory committee.

By contrast, a similar search advisory body composed of University students disclosed in an email last week that they had met with members of the search committee “in person.” The student committee will eventually present a report summarizing their findings to the next president, according to committee members.

—Staff writer Lucy Wang can be reached at lucy.wang@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @lucyyloo22.

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